Home automation goes over the top; smart machines threaten middle class jobs

OTT, home automation combine: Home automation providers including Verizon (NYSE: VZ) are increasingly partnering with other broadband service providers to reach customers outside their market footprint, a new study from Infonetics Research says. With competition in the home automation segment rapidly heating up--some 70 percent of operators surveyed said they will offer services by the end of this year--grabbing customers using methods like over-the-top service is important. "Our latest home automation study supports this trend: By 2015, the percentage of operators offering OTT home automation services more than doubles," Jeff Heynen, principal analyst for broadband access and pay TV at Infonetics Research, reports. "With Verizon functioning as the guinea pig for out-of-market and over-the-top home automation services, other operators clearly believe these services can be delivered outside their incumbent markets." Release

Infonetics home automation

Online fraud continues to empty wallets: While 45 percent of financial cyberfraud victims are fully compensated after the loss, 41 percent never get their money back, a new consumer security report by Kaspersky says. Fourteen percent get back a portion of the money lost. Where do most of the irretrievable losses occur? In the survey, 33 percent of consumers who never got their money back were victimized during an e-payment operation. For 17 percent, their money disappeared forever during an e-banking session, and for 13 percent, while shopping at online stores. Article

Cue the inevitable Skynet comparisons: Could smart machines demolish middle-class jobs? Gartner Research thinks it could happen by 2020, and that most business leaders are failing to recognize the impending shift to a much more automated workforce. "The bottom line is that many CEOs are missing what could quickly develop to be the most significant technology shift of this decade," said Kenneth Brant, research director at Gartner. "In fact, even today, there is already a multifaceted marketplace for engineering a 'digital workforce,' backed by major players on both the supply and demand side. This marketplace comprises intelligent agents, virtual reality assistants, expert systems and embedded software to make traditional machines 'smart' in a very specialized way, plus a new generation of low-cost and easy-to-train robots and purpose-built automated machines that could significantly devalue and/or displace millions of humans in the workforce." Release