5 Biggest Things In Tech You Missed This Week: 2/20/16

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five big 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 – Twitter’s new customer service features make it easier to send private messages and feedback.

From Forbes Twitter said all businesses can now add “Direct Message” deep links to tweets, which allow users to quickly send a private message to a business.. Over the next few weeks, some businesses will be able to send users private surveys to rate their opinion of the brand after a customer service interaction. Twitter said many of its advertisers receive more than 80% of their inbound customer service requests on Twitter, and that millions of customer service-related interactions happen on Twitter every month.

Why this is important for your business:

I have always believed that Twitter is more of a customer service tool than a marketing tool. It is a great way to stay close to your customers and make sure they’re satisfied doing business with your company. These new features gives you more options for keeping your customers close and resolving problems fast – for the world to see or privately.

2 – Apple refuses to hand over data on suspected terrorists.

From ForbesApple CEO Tim Cook has written an open letter to customers warning them of a “dangerous” request from the FBI to effectively create a backdoor in their iPhones. Cook was writing in response to a court order asking Apple to create a tool that would allow for unlimited guesses at a user’s passcode, in this case to crack into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, who killed 14 and injured 22 others in December 2015.

Why this is important for your business:

It’s a controversial issue. On the one hand, the government wants information to protect our national security. On the other hand, techcompanies like Apple are reluctant to share our private information with the government. If Apple loses, this opens the door for the government to dig into more of our personal business and would represent another loss of privacy.

3 – IBM bets big on Blockchain, the bitcoin technology that could revolutionize business.

From International Business TimesDescribed as “an operating system for interactions,” the blockchain allows two entities to transfers items in an accountable, trustworthy and transparent way. Transactions are verified by the network rather than by a single centralized body, meaning the blockchain is virtually tamperproof. In addition to improving efficiency of transactions, blockchain technology could also dramatically reduce the costs of doing business according to advocates of the system.

Why this is important for your business:

Arvind Krishna, a senior vice president of IBM says it all in the above article: “I think the number of places that a distributed ledger can be used could become almost limitless.” Besides IBM, the London Stock Exchange and the Japan Exchange are seriously looking into using this technology to enable secure electronic payments and could be the basis for how you and I get paid (and pay our vendors) in the not so distant future. Blockchain, which is the technology behind Bitcoin, could make these payments much more secure.

4 – Gogo shares drop 37% after American Airlines files suit to terminate its Gogo contract.

From USA TodayAmerican Airlines argues that its 2012 contract with Gogo requires the Net provider to match the performance of competing services or American may terminate the contract. Gogo’s system provides 3 to 10 megabits per second of connectivity for all users on a flight to share, American says in the suit. That compares to 12 Mbps per device on a flight offered by newer satellite-based services, it says.

Why this is important for your business:

I hate complaining about plane travel because, as Louis C.K. once put it, “You’re in a chair…and you’re flying! In the SKY!” But look, if you’re going to pay upwards of $30 for a service you do expect that service to work satisfactorily. And as a frequent traveler I can attest that Gogo does not work very well most of the time. So thank you American Airlines, for noticing this, too. Any improvements will be an improvement in my productivity – and my business.

5 –  A new application makes project management all about the personality types in your team.

From The Next WebTeamily is  a Web-based tool that assigns a different personality type to each member of a team, based on their responses to a short questionnaire. From there, it helps project managers identify who is best to lead particular phases of a project.

Why this is important for your business:

Some of my clients hire consultants. Others hire coaches. A few have even brought in corporate psychologists. All with the desire to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their people so they can use their abilities to the best advantage. Teamily is a new technology that’s on to something: evaluating and then merging personality profiles with the tasks on a project that suits best. This technology could change (and significantly improve) the way we manage projects in the future.

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