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Author: webentro

Microsoft Corp’s plan to end support for Windows 10 operating system could result in about 240 million personal computers (PCs) being disposed, potentially adding to landfill waste, Canalys Research said.

The electronic waste from these PCs could weigh an estimated 480 million kilograms, equivalent to 320,000 cars.

While many PCs could remain functional for years post the end of OS support, Canalys warned demand for devices without security updates could be low.

Microsoft announced a plan to provide security updates for Windows 10 devices until October 2028 for an undisclosed annual price.

If the pricing structure for extended Windows 10 support mirrors past trends, migrating to newer PCs could be more cost-effective, increasing the number of older PCs heading to scrap, Canalys said.

Microsoft aims to discontinue support for Windows 10 by October 2025. The next generation of the OS, anticipated to bring advanced artificial intelligence technology to PCs, could potentially boost the sluggish PC market.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the environmental impact of disposal of Windows 11-incompatible devices.

Hard drives used in personal computers and data storage servers are recycled to gather materials for use in electric vehicle motors and even renewable power generation.

“Turning end-of-life computers into the magnets that power sustainable technologies like electric vehicles and wind turbines will help meet the rising global demand for electricity,” said Noveon Magnetics Chief Commercial Officer Peter Afiuny.

Afiuny added hard drives are often discarded before they reach the end of their functional lifespan, creating an excess of rare earth magnetic material waste.

Battery recycling firm Redwood Materials said batteries can be nearly infinitely recycled to recover metals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper.

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Google’s AI Support Assistant Chatbot Added To Some Of Its Help Pages

In the past year, tech behemoth Google has integrated generative AI into many of its products. The most recent implementation is an “AI support assistant”, which is now active on select Google Help pages. When you visit these support pages for certain Google products, a dialog box appears in the bottom-right corner, inviting you to chat with the new AI support assistant for answers and assistance with account issues.

Itel Launches First Open-Ear Headset Roar 75

Consumer electronics brand Itel has forayed into a new category and introduced the Itel Roar 75 open-ear headset. Featuring a lightweight design with a titanium metal skeleton, it promises stability during activities such as exercise and durability. The headphones feature a 75mAh battery supporting USB Type-C charging, claiming up to 13 hours of music playback on a single charge. Equipped with a 14.2-mm bass boost driver and Environmental Noise Cancellation (ENC) support, the headset ensures clear audio calls. Available in a lone blue color variant, the Itel Roar 75 open-ear headphones are priced at Rs 1,099.

Samsung’s Medications Tracking Feature Launched

Samsung has introduced a Medications tracking feature in its Health app, which claims to enhance users’ ability to manage their health effectively. This new functionality, initially released through app updates this week in the US, enables users to conveniently monitor both prescription and over-the-counter medications. Additionally, the feature provides crucial information and tips related to these medications.

Telecom Bill 2023 Passed, To Allot Satellite Internet Airwaves Without Auction

The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed the Telecommunications Bill 2023 through a voice vote, following its passage in the Lok Sabha a day before. This legislation enables spectrum allocation for satellite-based Internet services without the requirement of participating in auctions, benefiting companies like Airtel-backed OneWeb, Elon Musk-owned Starlink and Amazon’s Kuiper in the country.

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Apple’s Appeal To Halt Watch Ban Rejected

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has rejected Apple’s request to postpone the upcoming ban on its Watches. This means that the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2, both launched this year, will no longer be sold on the online store starting December 21, with availability at physical retail stores being limited only until December 24. The import ban is set to be enforced on December 26. This comes amid the tech giant’s attempts to avoid the ban, including pushing software changes, according to news agency Bloomberg.

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In the absence of cookies, agencies are now focusing on first-party data, prioritising compliance while pushing the envelope with creativity.

While the year that just passed may not have been particularly eventful for many lines of business, it was undoubtedly significant for the digital marketing ecosystem.

Despite signals from major tech companies like Meta and Alphabet indicating a shift towards prioritising user privacy and safety, concrete steps to solidify these intentions were not taken until this year. Throughout the year, global regulatory bodies heightened their scrutiny over user privacy concerns. 

In January 2024, the Indian government is set to announce the regulations of the Digital Personal Data Protection Act of 2023. Meanwhile, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) issued a permanent ban on Meta, preventing the use of personal data for advertising across the European Union (EU) back in November.

Although Meta has not yet unveiled its strategy to completely move away from the use of third-party cookies, Google plans to roll out its Tracking Protection feature, starting January 4, testing on one percent of its browser ‘Chrome’ users globally.

With this initiative, the company aims to phase out third-party cookies by the second half of 2024, enhancing user privacy. Also, on September 7, the company announced the general availability of Privacy Sandbox.

The company had announced that privacy concerns would be addressed with its Privacy Sandbox commitments back when it began working on it in 2019.

With privacy taking centre stage, experts express concerns about the planned retirement of third-party cookies, a crucial element in the effectiveness of digital marketing and advertising.

Often likened to the foundation of digital marketing, the removal of cookies could potentially bring seismic changes to the entire ecosystem. How are agencies preparing for the impending impact of these significant shifts?

Agencies transition to be more data-centric

Kiran Capoor, head of technology, Schbang, explains that agencies’ focus now lies on refurbishing their approach to adtech.

“We are witnessing a shift from relying on pre-provided data sets to actively gathering and deriving insights. Privacy takes precedence, given heightened user awareness, the impact of regulations like the DPDP Bill, and the departure from cookies by big tech. The emphasis now is on a data-first approach, voluntarily gathering data with a central focus on consent. Agencies are innovatively developing strategies, such as online gamified portals, to collect this valuable data.”

Capoor opines that, moving forward, agencies will be transitioning to a role where they actively crunch the numbers and prepare cohorts independently, without relying on third-party data sets.

He is of the belief that the development of centralised data sets for brands will reshape the dynamics of collaboration between clients and agencies.

“At Schbang, our proactive response to the challenges posed by the cookieless environment involves internal system development. We gather insights from various brand communication channels, including websites and apps, analyse the collected data, and use it to inform our strategic planning. This signifies a deliberate shift towards a data-first approach in our media and advertising endeavours. Embracing a data-first mindset, we leverage multiple sources as pipelines to fuel our robust data engine, ensuring our marketing strategies are driven by valuable insights.”

Siddharth Devnani, co-founder and director, SoCheers, says that the expulsion of third-party cookies entails a reinvigorated focus on different data points used in the design and implementation of brand campaigns. 

“Looking ahead, for a world without cookies, we are preparing ourselves by being super proactive. One big move is shifting our focus to first-party data, which means we’re getting to know our audience better by directly connecting with them. This helps us understand what they like and do online, so we can keep our ads right on target,” he adds.

Shift to contextual advertising

Given that the agency business now calls for a heightened focus on first-party data, there are multiple facets in the overall operations that are in the process of a reevaluation.

Preetham Venkky, CDO, DDB Mudra Group, says that agencies wield access to two critical facets of media—brand building through reach media and action optimisation via performance media.

Amidst this, a fundamental reconsideration has occurred concerning the alignment of these efforts with the collection of first-party data. For DDB, the recent years have already seen a pronounced focus on harnessing first-party data to drive campaigns efficiently, ensuring they reach the target audience with a higher likelihood of conversions.

“First-party data, in essence, establishes a profound connection, enabling brands to cultivate deeper relationships across diverse consumer touchpoints.”

Thus, he asserts that the significance lies not just in the touchpoint data itself but in the contextual understanding surrounding it. While vital for building mass reach, the era of third-party data has witnessed a dilution in engagement targeting. 

Although topics of interest still provide a framework, hyper-targeting is challenged in the absence of third-party data. Thus, the precision of engagement and action targeting becomes more elusive. Building a brand-consumer connection, therefore, hinges on the ability to gather and leverage first-party data sets.

Understanding the context in which consumers interact with a brand becomes paramount. In a landscape where third-party data’s efficacy diminishes, agencies must navigate the challenge of crafting meaningful connections by tapping into the richness of first-party data and the contextual nuances surrounding consumer interactions.

“Contextual advertising takes centre stage in our approach, emphasising that connections aren’t built with content but with context. In the realm of brand building, context holds more sway than mere content. Understanding the context in a consumer’s life that aligns with the brand becomes the focal point, and this is where contextual advertising assumes a more prominent role. The next imperative step is refining our approach to contextual advertising.”

“While contextual advertising has always existed since around 2004, its prominence was overshadowed by the prevalence of mass media or the intense focus on performance media. With the shift away from performance media, there arises a necessity to develop robust strategies for contextual advertising. However, a challenge lies in the fact that the startup ecosystem, primarily geared towards customer acquisition, heavily leaned on performance marketing,” he adds. 

For SoCheers, Devnani shares that the agency has been grappling with specific challenges related to targeted advertising, particularly in understanding audience personas and utilising tools that capture evolving behavioural patterns.

“The challenge was heightened by evolving behavioural patterns, demanding a reevaluation of our strategies for continued effectiveness. To address this, our agency integrated tools capable of adapting to dynamic audience personas. These tools provide valuable data and insights into audience behaviour, empowering us to refine advertising pitches based on the latest trends. This not only enhances targeting precision but also positions our agency as adaptive and forward-thinking in the eyes of clients, solidifying our ability to navigate the ever-changing dynamics of targeted advertising.”

He explains that the agency is actively working on evolving its contextual targeting abilities.

“Instead of snooping on individual users, we’re making sure our ads match the vibe of the content they’re hanging out with. It’s like showing dog food ads when someone’s reading about puppies – just makes sense, right? And to supercharge our smarts, we’re bringing in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Moreover, we are surely trying our hands on Google Click ID (GCLID) which helps us track how well our ads are doing and tweak them for even better performance. So, while the cookieless future is coming, we’re all set with this approach to ace the digital ad game!,” he asserts.

Venkky says that the ongoing transition demands a reevaluation of agency strategies. “Agencies need to re-optimise their workforce to effectively execute contextual advertising strategies, a process that might span 6-9 months. It’s not just about the creatives; it’s about recontextualising and fostering a shift in thinking towards contextual relevance.”

A more privacy-conscious world? 

Capoor also highlights that privacy now takes precedence as there is heightened user awareness and the impact of regulations like the DPDP Bill and the departure from cookies by big tech. 

Venugopal Ganganna, CEO, Langoor Digital, shares that brands, particularly in industries that heavily rely on digital advertising, have become more cognisant of data privacy issues.

He explains that the concerns about privacy issues and data protection in 2023 have been greater than ever before. This focus is also clearly visible in their expectations from agencies. Thus, the focus for agencies is now to prioritise compliance and adopt transparent data practices – while also pushing the envelope with creativity.

“Brands are increasingly open to investing in technologies and solutions that prioritise user privacy. This may include technologies like privacy-focused analytics, identity solutions compliant with regulations, and consent management platforms. Additionally, the changes in the digital advertising landscape have prompted clients to explore new ad formats and channels that may be less reliant on third-party cookies. This includes considering emerging platforms and creative approaches that respect user privacy,” he says.

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Microsoft’s AI chatbot Copilot will now be able to churn out AI songs on demand — thanks to a new plug-in with Suno. The Cambridge-based AI music startup offers a tool on Discord that can compose an original song — complete with lyrics — based on a text prompt. Now, Copilot users will be able to access Suno using the Microsoft chatbot. 

In order to start making music, Copilot users only need to sign on to their accounts and enable the Suno plug-in — or click on the logo that says, “Make music with Suno.” Users then need to think of a simple one- or two-line text prompt that describes their desired song, such as “create a folk song about Alaska summers” or “write a song about cats in the style of Cat Power” (both prompts I tried personally on Suno via Discord) and type it into Copilot.

Suno will then generate an original song — normally a minute or two in length — complete with a transcript of the lyrics. 

The Suno plug-in on Microsoft Copilot.
Microsoft

Other Big Tech companies are also testing generative AI music tools, like Meta’s open-source AudioCraft, which also generates songs based on text prompts, and Google’s YouTube tool, which spits out original music tracks based on a hummed song or a text prompt. In addition to Suno, a number of AI music startups promising similar tools have entered the scene, like Soundful, Magenta, Beatbox (which can generate beats and instrumental tracks), Soundraw, Loudly, Boomy, Beatoven.ai, and many others. 

Suno forbids its free users from, say, monetizing generated AI songs on YouTube or Spotify, but it gives paid users commercial rights to their songs. However, aspiring ghostwriters should keep in mind that Suno owns the rights to any songs generated by free users — though sharing on social platforms or other non-commercial uses is allowed.

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[Karah Rucker]

HUNDREDS OF PHOTOS WERE SNAPPED OF PEOPLE IN PARKS, ON TRAINS, AND ON HIKING TRAILS – WITHOUT ANYONE NOTICING.

THE PICTURES WEREN’T TAKEN WITH YOUR TYPICAL CAMERA, OR CELL PHONE.

IT WAS THE “NEXT GENERATION RAY-BAN META SMART GLASSES” USED IN AN EXPERIMENT BY NEW YORK TIMES WRITER BRIAN CHEN –

EXPLORING HOW THE BRIGHT-AND-SHINY NEW TECH NOW INTEGRATED WITH LIVESTREAM AND A-I TECHNOLOGY IS RAISING PRIVACY CONCERNS.

[MARK ZUCKERBERG | META CEO]

“Starting in the U.S., you’re going to get this state of the art AI that you can interact with hands free wherever you go.”

MARK ZUCKERBERG POSTED TO INSTAGRAM THIS PAST WEEK A VIDEO SHOWING HOW THE SMART GLASSES CAN HELP YOU TRANSLATE SIGNS.

“hey meta, look and tell me what this meme says in english. Sure, here’s what the image says in english.”

OR…HELP PICK OUT A PAIR OF PANTS TO MATCH YOUR DRESS SHIRT.

“hey meta, look and tell me what pants to wear with this shirt”

BUT BRIAN CHEN POINTS TO **OTHER USES OF THE GLASSES THAT ARE RAISING CONCERNS.

[Karah Rucker]

BY THE END OF THE EXPERIMENT –

CHEN SAID HE WAS “RELIEVED TO REMOVE THE GLASSES” BECAUSE HE “FELT BOTHERED BY THE IMPLICATIONS OF OUR PRIVACY.”

THE GLASSES HAVE A TINY LED LIGHT THAT SHINES FROM THE RIGHT-FRAME TO ALERT PEOPLE THE GLASSES ARE RECORDING.

AND WHEN THE GLASSES TAKE A PHOTO – THERE’S A FLASH.

THERE’S ALSO “TAMPER-DETECTION TECHNOLOGY” TO PREVENT SOMEONE FROM TRYING TO COVER THE LED LIGHT WITH TAPE.

A META SPOKESPERSON SAID PRIVACY WAS “TOP OF MIND” WHEN DESIGNING THE GLASSES. 

[BRIAN CHEN | NYT CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY WRITER]

CHEN SAYS “AS I SHOT 200 PHOTOS AND VIDEOS WITH THE GLASSES IN PUBLIC, NO ONE LOOKED AT THE LED LIGHT OR CONFRONTED ME ABOUT IT. AND WHY WOULD THEY? IT WOULD BE RUDE TO COMMENT ON A STRANGER’S GLASSES, LET ALONE STARE AT THEM.

[BRIAN CHEN | NYT CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY WRITER]

SLEEK, LIGHTWEIGHT, AND SATISFYINGLY HIP, THE META GLASSES BLEND EFFORTLESSLY INTO THE QUOTIDIAN. NO ONE – NOT EVEN MY EDITOR, WHO WAS AWARE I WAS WRITING THIS COLUMN – COULD TELL THEM APART FROM ORDINARY GLASSES, AND EVERYONE WAS BLISSFULLY UNAWARE OF BEING PHOTOGRAPHED.”

[Karah Rucker]

META’S COLLABORATION WITH RAY BAN IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE OF SILICON VALLEY’S TECH GIANTS TAPPING INTO NEW PRODUCTS THAT SHIFT WHAT CONSUMERS DO WITH THEIR PHONES AND COMPUTERS TO A MORE UP-CLOSE AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCE – THAT IS NOW ALSO **INTERACTIVE – WITH THE HELP OF A-I.

AND ACCORDING TO CHEN –

SOMEONE COULD BE PART OF THAT EXPERIENCE TOO –

IF THEY FAIL TO SEE THE LED LIGHT SHINING FROM THE RIM OF A STRANGER’S GLASSES.

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