Porsche Is First Automaker to Successfully Implement, Test Blockchain in Cars

Contify Automotive News

February 28, 2018

In collaboration with the Berlin-based startup XAIN, Porsche is currently testing blockchain applications directly in vehicles. This makes the Zuffenhausen-based company the first automobile manufacturer to implement and successfully test blockchain in a car. Transactions based on this technology are both secure and can be processed far more quickly than anything that has come before. The applications tested include locking and unlocking the vehicle via an app, temporary access authorizations and new business models based on encrypted data logging. This could be developed further, for example, to improve autonomous driving functions.


Blockchain is a decentralized protocol for data transactions between business partners. It also forms the basis of the well-known cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ethereum. Every change is recorded in chronologically arranged data blocks, making it transparent and tamper-proof. This could hold enormous potential, according to Oliver Doring, Financial Strategist at Porsche: We can use blockchain to transfer data more quickly and securely, giving our customers more peace of mind in the future, whether they are charging, parking or need to give a third party, such as a parcel delivery agent, temporary access to the vehicle. We translate the innovative technology into direct benefits for the customer.


The services developed on the foundation of blockchain are fast and very secure. The car becomes part of the blockchain, making a direct offline connection possiblethat is, without diversion through a server. Taking 1.6 seconds, the process of opening and closing the car via an app is up to six times faster than before. In addition, efficient cryptographic encryption takes place. This process ensures that all activities are documented in the blockchain in a way that prevents them from being modified, and can be viewed using an app. For example, access authorizations can be distributed digitally and securely and can be monitored by the vehicle owner at any time. Access also works remotely.


New business models based on blockchain


Moreover, the technology makes it possible to assign temporary access authorizations for the vehiclein a secure and efficient manner. A protected connection to vehicle data and functionalities can be established using blockchain. At the same time, it protects all communication between participants. Third-party providers can be integrated without the need for additional hardware, simply by using smart contracts. Smart contracts are automated contracts that trigger transactions upon the occurrence of previously defined conditions. This means that compliance with the contract is ensured through technology. With this modern technology, we are also fostering our electromobility offensive: ranging from a faster, easier and safer authentication at the charging station to the payment process, says Uwe Michael, Vice President Electric/Electronic Systems at Porsche.


Porsche is also working on new business models based on blockchain: Through auditable data logging, the data to be processed is encrypted locally in a distributed blockchain. The user is in control of the data, deciding how to use it depending on the situation. All activities are documented in the blockchain, making deletions transparent. With this basis, the future of autonomous driving will see improved functions on offer: Local data can be used to obtain regional learning effects, which can be shared securely with other vehicles. The customer can make use of swarm data, which is protected at the same time.


The startup XAIN won the first Porsche Innovation Contest on the subject of blockchain in the summer of last year, beating over 100 other applicants in the process. Following the contest, interdisciplinary teams from across Porsche worked in collaboration with XAIN over the course of three months to develop and test applications. Blockchain was introduced into the Porsche Panamera using an energy-efficient mining process from XAIN. In addition, Porsche is currently working on further applications for the technology, including in the areas of charging and parking.


XAIN offers various blockchain and artificial intelligence solutions, with a particular focus on intelligent industrial applications. The founders Leif-Nissen Lundbaek and Felix Hahmann are particularly active in the automotive industry, where the two started out their careers. Together with researchers from the University of Oxford and Imperial College London, XAIN has developed a blockchain system in recent years, which significantly reduces the energy consumption of mining. This means that the solution XAIN can offer is also suitable for mobile devices and vehicles.


Original headline: Porsche Introduces Blockchain to Cars


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Apple Is Opening Medical Clinics for Its Employees

CNNMoney.com

February 28, 2018

By Chris Isidore


An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but now Apple is looking to hire doctorsto serve its employees.


Apple is quietly planning AC Wellness clinics it describes as an independent medical practice dedicated to delivering compassionate, effective healthcare to the Apple employee population.


The company has posted jobs, including primary care physician, acute care physician, medical assistant, nurse practitioner and nurse coordinator, among others. It also is seeking health partners to help patients improve their health and wellness through sustainable behavior change.


Apple says AC Wellness is coming in the spring.


The AC Wellness employees will work in stunning, state of the art wellness centers near Apples Cupertino, California, headquarters, according to the job listings. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment about its plans.


Major companies are looking for ways to control their health care spending and improve medical care for their employees. Last month Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Warren Buffetts Berkshire Hathaway announced plans for a joint effort to do just that for their combined 840,000 employees.


Some 20% of employers offer an on-site health clinic, according to the 2017 Willis Towers Watson Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey. Some 34% are planning or considering it by 2019.


Apple has about 123,000 employees worldwide, including 84,000 in the United States. Many of its U.S. employees work in nearly 300 U.S. stores spread across 44 states, most of which will be nowhere near the clinics opening in Santa Clara County. About 12,000 employees work at Apples headquarters.


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Twitter Tweaks Its Direct Message Feature for Better Customer Service

IANS-English

February 27, 2018

In a bid to make customer experiences better on Twitter, the micro-blogging site has relaxed the rules for customer service direct messages (DMs) and introduced a new feature that makes sure businesses can always respond to the customers DMs.


We have introduced features that allow people to more easily start a private conversation with businesses such as the Direct Message deep link and Direct Message Card. We have also made it easier for people to quickly engage with welcome messages and quick replies, the company wrote in a blog post on Friday.


We are excited to introduce adaptive rate limits, a new feature for developers sending Direct Messages through our API, the company added.


Adaptive rate limits help to ensure that businesses can always respond to customers who privately message them, even when inbound volumes are high.


The change means that for every message you send to a company over DM, they can send you five responses within 24 hours.


If you send them another message, then that figure resets, meaning that you can theoretically chat forever, should you want to, according to the Engadget.


Original headline: Twitter tweaks its Direct Message feature for businesses


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The Interview Process: 4 Simple Ways to Make it ‘Forward-Thinking’

Indian Technology News

February 27, 2018

The pursuit of top talent isnt just an immediate goal that hiring managers face in their efforts to satisfy their companies internal needs. That pursuit is also the ongoing challenge they have for meeting the evolving expectations of their customer base over time. Consider the case of Gateway Engineers. Just last year, the civil engineering firm was looking for a way to build long-term customer satisfaction within its employee network. But the firm, based in Pittsburgh, faced a challenge: learning what to do to hire more A players. Given that challenge, Gateway changed its hiring process. It opted for an applicant-tracking system (ATS) to create more dynamic job descriptions. The ATS also gave the company greater confidence in its quality of hire when its employees reached out to their networks about open positions.


Employee networking fuels a remarkable number of successful hires. In fact, a February 2016 LinkedIn study of HR managers surveyed found that 85% of jobs at the companies surveyed had been filled by networking. While such referrals made candidates easier to find, Gateway used its ATS as a forward-thinking move to hire better candidates. As a result, the firm made better hiring decisions, boosted company morale and more easily transitioned new hires to quickly meet the demands of its growing ranks. Gateway had a good experience with its new applicant-tracking system. But an ATS alone cannot guarantee success in hiring the best quality talent. Here are four additional methods hiring managers can use to be forward-thinkers during the step that follows the initial one of finding good candidates. That next step, of course, is the interview process:


Strive for consistency


An inconsistent interview process can lead to the hiring of bad candidates. The Brandon Hall Group published a study, The True Cost of a Bad Hire, in 2015, finding that 69% of companies surveyed identified a broken review process as the greatest impact on the quality of a hire.


The solution to building a good interview process, then, is to make sure its consistent. Managers should use scorecards that have a benchmark comparison for all potential new hires. Metrics should be used in the evaluation but shouldnt be overdone. Finally, whoever is evaluating the candidates should ensure that the metrics cant be easily manipulated. The data wont effectively reveal the quality of the potential new hire if the candidate is able to cheat the system to make himself or herself look better.


Look for adaptability


A new employee must be fluid in his or her thought process. As jobs have become more complex, theyre requiring more creative solutions to problems that arise. Theres an added value to employees who can adapt to new situations and constantly adjust to the inevitability of change. Kristen Lee, lead faculty member of Behavioral Science at Northwestern University in Boston, said in an interview with Career Builder this month that, Rigid thinking doesnt have a place now, and it wont have a place in upcoming jobs, either. Hiring managers need to pose more creative questions and scenarios that provide a mental exercise for candidates. The correct answer isnt as important as how the candidate arrived at the solution he or she proposed. What managers should be looking for is the potential new hires ability to work through a problem and provide a cogent explanation behind that thought process.


Walk the walk


Gallups January 2017 study, Strengths-Based Cultures Attract Top Recruits, included 6,600 employees in the United States as well as other countries. The study found that people joined organizations because those organizations either presented chances for them to leverage their skills or matched who they were and what they believed in. Candidates who truly felt that match when they accepted a job offer were more likely to be highly qualified for the role they interviewed for. Hiring managers should make it a priority to bring prospective new hires in for a tour of the company. During that introduction, the managers will be able to figure out if any one candidate is a good cultural fit. They will also be able to better assess if this candidate is truly interested in the exact position. Have candidates meet potential co-workers from the specific department theyre applying to. A few such one-on-one meetings with the staff theyll be working with side by side will be a good test to see how well they connect, from various players perspectives.


Measure and adjust


Companies should make it a point to use data and analytics when making new hires. Analytics are a great help in determining how well new employees are gelling with their team. Hiring managers equipped with hard data will be able to identify any gaps or problems potential employees have, then adjust the process as needed. A 2017 survey, Human Capital Management, by HR.com and ClearCompany found that only 47% of participants measured the quality of their hires. Without assessing and adjusting for overall employee satisfaction and performance metrics in the hiring process, an organization risks costly losses, due to future failures in employee retention.


Furthermore, the study found 75% of job turnover occurs among new employees in entry-level positions. When data and analytics drive the interview process, new hires are more likely to satisfy all of the demands of their new roles, including employee and customer relations. This is a topic HR.com will be tackling in its upcoming webcast, How to Help Leaders Effectively Manage Todays Human Capital.


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Whoever Owns the Most Detailed Maps for Driverless Cars Will Own an Asset That’s Worth Billions

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