ICT events

Top 10 ICT events of 2014 in Vietnam

The Information Technology Journalist’s Club announced the top ten domestic information and communication technology (ICT) events for 2014 at a ceremony in Hanoi on December 29.

1. Flappy Bird, the Vietnamese-made mobile game created a global fever

Appearing in late January in applications for Android and iPhone, iPad, the game, created by Nguyen Ha Dong, a Vietnamese independent young game developer, became a world phenomenon. Though the creator later removed the smash-hit game from the mobile applications worldwide saying that it failed to bring excitement to players as he had expected, “Flappy Bird” was listed among the top ten keywords searched on Google in 2014. Its creator was also named in the list of top ten Internet Millionaire selected by the US entertainment website The Richest

2. The Vietnam Communications Joint Stock Corporation (VC Corp)’s system was hacked, causing losses of 20-30 billion VND (1.41 million USD): On October 13, many online newspapers and websites managed and operated by VC Corp stopped working due to hackers’ attack.

3. Mobifone was splitted from the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications (VNPT) to become a joint stock company: On June 10, the Prime Minister signed the Decision No. 888/QD-TTg approving a plan for restructuring VNPT in 2014-2015, transferring the major mobile network operator Mobifone to the management of the Ministry of Information and Communications. The movement is significant in restructuring VNPT, contributing to improving efficiency of the corporation’s operation.

4. Samsung became the largest foreign investor in Vietnam: In November, 2014, the northern province of Thai Nguyen officially granted an investment certificate to the Samsung Electronics Vietnam (SEVT) for constructing a telephone-manufacturing and assembling plant worth 3 billion USD. The project lift Samsung group’ total investment in Vietnam to 11.2 billion USD.

5. The Politburo issued Resolution No.36-NQ-TW replacing Directive No.58-CT/TW on IT application: The Resolution rolled out specific orientations for the country’s ICT development to 2030, considering the field as an effective tool and important driving force to spur the development of the knowledge-based economy and to improve national competitiveness in the process of international integration.

6. The website Haivl.com was shut down permanently: On October 24, the Ministry of Information and Communications permanently closed the website, and imposed a fine of 205 million VND (9,700 USD) on APPVL Vietnam, the website’s managing company for several violations including unlicensed operation and provision of unlicensed online games and historical distortions.

7. Viet Hong Company was discovered to have sold spy mobile softwares to thousands of customers: Investigations by Hanoi police and municipal inspectors in June found Viet Hong Company supplied its customers with two spy softwares – the Ptracker app for individuals and PtrackerERP app for businesses – since June 2013 for the purposes of collecting personal information. The company installed the software for more than 14,000 mobile subscribers.

8. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung allowed State agencies to use outsourced IT services: At the first plenary meeting of the National Committee on IT Application in June, PM Dung gave a head nod to State-run agencies to use outsourced IT services, creating a healthy competition in the sector, while helping State-agencies cut expenses and save time.

9. Uber Taxi service arrived in Vietnam, arousing widespread controversy: Uber network launched its service in Ho Chi Minh City in July and started operating in Hanoi in October this year, which triggered public debate. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has instructed the Transport Ministry to work with Ho Chi Minh City authorities to determine Uber’s legal status in Vietnam.

10. The Asian-American Gateway (AAG) sub-sea cable broken many times: Vietnam’s international Internet traffic was seriously affected due to disruptions in the operation of the Asia-America Gateway (AAG) cable line. The line stopped working for one week in March for maintenance, then in July a section was damaged off the coast of Vung Tau southern city. The cable was broken again in September. The breakdowns had reduced internet traffic in Vietnam by between 40-70 percent

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Top 10 tech stories 2015: Transformation and transition

Cloud and mobile computing have created an imperative for the tech world: Change or fail. This year, legacy vendors like Dell, EMC and Microsoft all took major steps to reinvent themselves, sparking some of the biggest tech stories of the year. And all around us we’ve seen portents of big change at the intersection of tech and culture: self-driving cars, wearable technology, the use of drones for fun and profit. That’s prompting increased attention on safety, privacy and public policy concerns as consumers and businesses alike figure out how to manage in this pervasively connected world. Here, not necessarily in order of importance, are the IDG News Service’s picks for the top 10 tech stories of 2015.

Take that, Google! EU files antitrust charges

The European Commission in April charged Google with abusing its dominant position in Internet search services by favoring its own comparison shopping product, Google Shopping. A decision against Google could include a fine of up to 10 percent of the company’s annual revenue. The Commission also opened an antitrust investigation into Android, suspecting Google of abusing its dominant position by, among other things, requiring device manufacturers to bundle Google’s own services and applications with the mobile OS. For Google, the cases strike at the heart of how it controls access to services and generates profit. For some Europeans, it’s a righteous blow against the hegemony of one of the giants of American technology.

Microsoft launches Win 10, gets mojo back

Just a year or so ago it seemed Microsoft was sucking its cash cow Windows OS dry while fading into post-PC era irrelevance. But with the launch of Windows 10 for PCs in July, along with subsequent releases for mobile devices, the company got a new lease on life. Microsoft is delivering a truly unified Windows platform on which universal apps can run across a wide variety of devices — even Xbox and the Windows Holographic system. The OS was complemented in October by the well-received Surface Pro 4 tablet and the company’s first laptop, the Surface Book, a keyboard-equipped notebook that can twist into a slate or snap apart to serve as a tablet — a real flagship for the revamped ecosystem. The company can now say it has mobile devices with specs that stack up to any and a unified software platform to run on them.

Dell buys EMC: United, will they stand?

Dell’s planned US$67 billion acquisition of EMC, announced in October, is the biggest tech merger ever, a marriage of aging titans whose dominance has been eroded by the cloud. Dell, together with EMC and its VMware subsidiary, will be able to provide private and hybrid cloud systems as alternatives to Amazon, Microsoft, and Google’s public clouds. The deal takes place as digital transformation of business via cloud and mobile technology has vendors scrambling to keep up, pushing IT mergers and acquisitions past the dot-com era record set in 2000. HP’s split this year into PC and printer company HP Inc. and software vendor HP Enterprise is another reaction to digital transformation: divestiture as a way for legacy vendors to stay spry.

Safe harbor dies, US tech giants shudder

The Court of Justice of the European Union rocked the business world in an October decision that jettisoned the Safe Harbor agreement on which thousands of companies  including Google, Facebook, and Apple rely for the transatlantic transfer of personal data. The court said the pact, which allowed companies to transfer personal data from the EU to the U.S. as long as they adhered to so-called Safe Harbor principles, provided inadequate protection for information about EU citizens. The U.S. and the EU are negotiating a new agreement but the case, sparked by a complaint filed by Austrian law student Maximilian Schrems against Facebook, highlights how privacy concerns are changing the rules for how personal data is treated in the cloud

FCC net neutrality rules reignite legal firestorm

Facing fierce opposition from large service providers and its own Republican members, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in February voted to approve net neutrality rules reclassifying broadband as a regulated public utility, prohibiting companies from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic and from offering paid traffic prioritization services. Supporters say the rules keep large providers from acting as Web gatekeepers. But the decision has to withstand a fusillade of lawsuits. The suits have been combined and though net neutrality proponent are hopeful, there are no assurances: Last year an appeals court overturned net neutrality rules the agency passed in 2010, saying the FCC pegged them to the wrong section of the Telecommunications Act.

Apple Watch attracts admiration — passion, not so much

The Apple Watch, released in April, was the most anticipated gadget debut of the year and notable as much for what it did not achieve as for what it did do. Apple’s entrance into the wearables market has been a success by other companies’ standards but its watch has failed to gain the fanatic following that the iPod, iPhone and iPad did. Apple debuted as the number-two wearables vendor worldwide, after Fitbit. But Xiaomi finished the third quarter as a strong contender for the position after Apple posted only a small quarter-to-quarter increase, according to IDC. The watch’s price is high and its wide range of features pose a learning curve. However, even though it hasn’t had the massive success of Apple’s blockbusters, it’s spurred competition and brought attention to a product category that will only grow over the next few years.

Tesla enables Autopilot: Look Ma – no hands!

The most futuristic consumer technology to appear in commercially available products this year slipped in as an over-the-air software upgrade to Tesla Model S sedans: Autopilot functions that let the cars maintain distances from other cars, change lanes and park themselves. Within weeks of the October upgrade, a million cars had the features installed and Tesla rushed to limit some of the controls after drivers posted what CEO Elon Musk called “crazy” videos showing drivers taking their hands off the wheel. While the Teslas are not fully autonomous, they break ground in a market chased by Google and Apple as well as automakers, introducing a technology that will fundamentally change transportation.

OPM hack highlights security weaknesses

After reports first surfaced in June about a breach into U.S. Office of Personnel Management systems, the news just kept getting worse. Initial figures were revised and it’s now estimated that hackers got away with information including Social Security numbers on 21.5 million people — almost everyone who underwent a security investigation for a government job through OPM since 2000. The hackers also are likely to have been involved in breaches of systems of at least 10 other companies including United Airlines and the insurer Anthem. One politician said the hack was a far more serious blow to national security than the 9/11 attacks. The Chinese government, accused of complicity, has denied involvement, but the fiasco points to poor security practices that continue to blow holes into the most sensitive systems.

Lenovo’s Superfish and the perils of bloatware

Lenovo incited the wrath of users around the world in February when they discovered that the company had pre-installed adware on PCs it sold in order to inject advertisements into browsers. It turns out that the software, Superfish Visual Discovery, installed a self-generated root certificate into the Windows certificate store that could enable so-called man-in-the-middle traffic interception attacks against any user that has the application installed. This could help hackers to steal sensitive data like banking credentials. While Lenovo gets the prize for wrong-headed PC maker move of the year, Dell was a runner up: In November it was discovered the manufacturer had been preloading systems with a management package including a self-signed root digital certificate that lets attackers spy on traffic to any secure website. While the vendors say their intentions were to be helpful, their actions  highlight the real dangers of “bloatware.”

Government to citizens: Register those drones!

Drones have interfered with California wildfire operations, buzzed uncomfortably close to airports and airplanes, carried contraband into a prison yard and crashed a U.S. Open tennis tournament. And this holiday season they are forecast to be a hot item on gift lists, with total units sold in the US numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Faced with the potential problems that come with the growing popularity of unmanned aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration announced in October that it would require consumers to register drones. While the FAA had already started loosening restrictions on the commercial use of drones , the registration rules for consumers are the clearest sign yet that the unmanned aircraft are hitting prime time.

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