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What caught my eye in tech: January 2020

Every month in 2020, I’m going to be sharing the top 5 interesting things in tech that have caught my eye. Enjoy!

1. CES

The first big tech event of the year has come and gone already! Hot on the heels of the festive period, I always get caught out by its arrival but this year’s event, like so many, was impossible to ignore. Filled with the usual onslaught of the big guns pushing TV’s we didn’t ask for and mainstream analog brands trying to find relevancy in the digital space, there were also some surprises that raised a lot of peoples interests.

The Sony Vision-S concept car revealed at CES 2020.

For me, the biggest of these was Sony wheeling a concept electric car onto the stage. Who saw that coming?! Titled the ‘Vision-S’, it signals a development of Sony’s ecosystem with a potential move into the automotive space. With Tesla dominating this area this will be healthy competition for consumers. Sony seems to be approaching this from a different angle as they spent more time pushing its ‘software orientated’ design, rather than its driving capabilities. If it does go into production, I’ll be keeping an eye out for news of the vehicles expected range and charging capabilities, which weren’t disclosed.

2. The US gets its own version of the GDPR, the CCPA

On January 1st the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) came into force. This is the first of its kind in the US as it aims to follow the EU in the protection of consumer data. In similar fashion to the ‘smooth’ implementation of the GDPR in the EU, it appears not many were ready for it despite its enactment in 2018. It’s also just as open to interpretation in places and very complex. The crux of it is if your company sells or buys data on at least 50,000 Californian residents each year, you must disclose what it is you’re doing with that data and give each person the ability to request it not be sold.

Whilst the ruling applies to only one state, it’s arguably the most interesting one to take the leap first with big players such as Facebook, Google and Apple all headquartered there. With Facebook already coming out and claiming they don’t sell data (!?), this is going to be a bumpy ride!

3. The UK introduces a new code of contact when it comes to children’s privacy online

Continuing on data, the UK introduced an ‘Age Appropriate Design Code’ this month. In an attempt to protect children’s online privacy, social media sites, online games and streaming services will have to abide by the new privacy code. The changes come into force in autumn 2021.

Whilst the GDPR affords some level of protection towards children, this aims to create more consistency and clarity. Looking at what’s included, it appears it’s doing just that, with guidance building on existing privacy settings rather than creating new ones. This should make compliance relatively easy to achieve which can only be a good thing.

More on the Age Appropriate Design Code via the BBC

4. The only guide to speed and performance you’ll ever need (until next year)

In recent years, Smashing Mag has produced probably one of the most comprehensive guides to optimising the speed and perforamcne of your site that I’ve come across. Good news, it’s been updated for 2020! Clocking in at a whopping 114min reading time it’s a huge investment of your time but it comes with equal reward. There’s something in it for everyone no matter what role you play in a product team. A big thank you to Vitaly Freedman for putting it together.

This topic is close to my heart and an area of passion for me. It’s a journey we’ve been on at Daniel Wellington (my place of work) for the past year and I firmly believe it’s a non-negotiable core pillar to creating a good mobile UX.

More on speed and performance and the guide itself via Smashing Mag

5. The Met Police rolls out live facial recognition technology

In a move bound to stir the AI ethics debate, the UK’s Met Police has now started operating facial recognition in targeted areas in London. Whilst the use of such tecnology has always been seen as inevitable, the questions we’ve always had about the technology will likely see the light of day. Is the technology ready? Can it be trusted? What happens if it doesn’t work (false positives)?

More on the LFR rollout via the Met Police

One more thing: Super Nintendo World is a thing! Lets-a-go!

Super Nintendo World, coming to Japan this year.

To say I was excited is an understatement when I heard Nintendo was planning to open up Super Nintendo World in the summer of 2020. Having grown up playing Super Nintendo, the nostalgia levels are peaking at the thought of this place! The teaser video doesn’t give much away, and to be honest, is a little cheesy, but I still have high hopes for this place! No doubt it’s set to become a gaming Mecca for Mario lovers the world over.

The only question is whether to visit the park opening in Japan 2020, wait for Orlando 2023, or head to both!

The Super Nintendo World Japan teaser video via YouTube

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