The Five Biggest Things In Tech You Missed This Week: 12/12/15

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things that happened in the world of technology this past week and why they’re important for your business (and mine). Did you miss them?

1. Facebook FB -1.92% quietly tests a new way to find (and review) local businesses (and Yelp’s stock plunges).

From Business Insider: ”Facebook has quietly started testing a new recommendation service that lets users find the top-rated and reviewed local businesses in their area.The service looks similar to Yelp, which saw its stock plunge nearly 8% this morning. It finished the day down more than 9%.”
Why this is important for your business:

Facebook has been on a nationwide tour and continues to reach out to small businesses as a platform for applications, messaging and of course advertising. So many of my small business clients rely on Facebook for new leads and customer engagement and would be more than happy to leave Yelp for a similar service on the social media giant’s platform. This could be a move you make in 2016 too.

2. The FAA says that small drones must be registered by February.

From BGR: ”Just in time for the holidays, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier this week donned their Grinch costume and announced that individuals with drones that weigh more than half a pound (.55 pounds or 250 grams, to be exact) will have to register it with the FAA. On top of that, the registration process requires drone owners to fork over $5. It may sound like your everyday email scam at first glance, but rest assured that the FAA’s new guidelines are legit and are set to go into effect on December 21. To encourage drone registration, the FAA is willing to waive the aforementioned $5 fee if users register by January 20, 2016.”

 

Why this is important for your business:

Drones are for real. Amazon is testing delivery services in other countries and is ready to do the same in the U.S. Many companies are using drones to conduct surveys, cover news, photograph real estate and perform surveillance. Future drone technology will enable delivery of products and advertising at sporting events, to name a few applications. And many small businesses will be part of this opportunity.

3. A study finds that the leading cause of data breaches is employee error.

From The Wall Street Journal: ”‘Employee error’ turns out to be the most common reason for a data breach at companies, according to a new cybersecurity report released Wednesday by the Association of Corporate Counsel. This means the breach occurred as the result of a mistake the employee made, such as accidentally sending an email with sensitive information to someone outside the company.The report, which contained survey responses from more than 1,000 in-house lawyers in 30 countries, found that 30% of breaches this year occurred as a result of employee error. Other common reasons for a breach included unauthorized access by insiders intending to steal company data and phishing attacks, when third parties send spam emails designed to trick employees into giving up their personal information.”

Why this is important for your business:

This item was from the previous week, but it’s important enough to include. Sure, you can spend money on software and technical people to ensure your data is protected. But it’s the common sense and oftentimes innocent mistakes made by your own employees that put you most at risk. So put some money aside for training this year. It may save you a lot in the end.

4. Messaging start-up Slack creates an $80 million fund to invest in other start-ups.

From Bloomberg: ”The startup, which runs a popular corporate chat service, is forming an $80 million venture fund to invest in other startups. Stewart Butterfield, chief executive officer of Slack, said his company is contributing more than half of the total fund. The rest will come from some of Slack’s own backers. The fund will invest about $100,000 to $250,000 in smaller startups building applications that work with Slack’s messaging service, Butterfield said.”

Why this is important for your business:

Tech firms survive on their relationships with other tech firms. Butterfield wants to fund companies that create technologies which in turn increases his company’s value. Smart. And a good opportunity if you run a tech firm.

5. Ford is officially bringing its self-driving cars to California’s public roads.

From Quartz: ”The American automaker announced plans to begin testing its fully-autonomous Fusion Hybrid model on public streets in 2016, as part of a state-run Department of Motor Vehicle program. The Detroit, Michigan-based company joins Alphabet’s Google, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Nissan, BMW, Honda and others permitted to test self-driving cars in California—speeding up the race to make such vehicles publicly available.

Why this is important for your business:

Look for self-driving lanes and highways in the next few years where your employees can get work done while commuting to work and your products can be shipped on trucks that navigate on their own. And look to benefit from more productivity and lower transport costs.

Oh, and that Large Hadron Collider in Europe may have detected a new particle (and makes us realize just how little we still know about the world).

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