This new model is a comeback for the HomePod, which was discontinued in 2021 after it struggled in the marketplace despite a price cut.
Critics and consumers felt that while the HomePod delivered outstanding audio quality and great ease of use within the Apple ecosystem, its inability to elegantly play back non-Apple content, the limitations of Siri compared to Alexa or Google Assistant, and the speaker’s steep price made it unappealing compared to more affordable smart speakers from Sonos, Amazon, or Google.
Apple went on to sell a cheaper cousin to the HomePod called the HomePod mini, which fared better but still didn’t dominate the market.
As far as we can tell from what Apple has said so far, the new full-size HomePod doesn’t do much to change its place in the market where the big complaints about its predecessor are concerned. It does, however, add a bunch of features. Some of them are familiar from the HomePod mini, but others are new.
Most notably, it supports the wireless Thread protocol and the Matter smart home standard, which was arguably the star of the show at CES earlier this month. Apple has been pushing smart home functionality across its product line lately. To that end, the HomePod has humidity and temperature sensors that can be used in our smart home automation flows. (The HomePod mini has technically always had this capability, and that has now been activated for that device, too.) Later on, it will also be able to detect carbon monoxide and smoke alarms, but that feature is coming in a future software update.
The new speaker includes Apple’s S7 chip, which we previously saw in the Apple Watch Series 7. In some other ways, though, it’s an apparent downgrade from its predecessor. It has five tweeters, down from seven in the 2018 model, and five microphones, also down from seven. It’s unclear how much of a difference that will make, though, given that the HomePod’s audio prowess is as much about computation as anything.
The second-generation HomePod is available in white and a black-adjacent color called “midnight.” It costs $299 and is available for order. The first units will ship to buyers on Friday, February 3. The 2020 HomePod mini remains in Apple’s product lineup for $99.
Sources: Nintendo and PlayStation will not attend E3 2023 | VGC – Video Games Chronicle
Nintendo [3,362 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/”>Nintendo and PlayStation [6,843 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/playstation/”>PlayStation will not have a presence at this year’s revamped E3 show, according to an IGN report and VGC sources.
E3 2023 will officially run from Tuesday, June 13, until Friday, June 16, according to organiser ReedPop, which has taken over the running of the flagship industry event from the Entertainment Software Association [90 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/entertainment-software-association/”>Entertainment Software Association.
According to VGC’s publishing sources with knowledge of Nintendo’s plans, the company has decided to skip E3 2023 – the event’s first physical show in four years – because it feels it has fewer major releases than usual ready to show and which would justify significant event space.
Nintendo has traditionally been one of E3’s biggest supporters and was present on the show floor at the last physical event in 2019, when PlayStation and Xbox [6,335 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/xbox/”>Xbox were not.
Sony Interactive Entertainment [2,796 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/sony/”>Sony Interactive Entertainment’s absence this year is less surprising since it skipped the last E3 show in 2019 entirely, and announced it wasn’t planning to attend the 2020 event either, before it was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Forza Motorsport – Developer_Direct, presented by Xbox & Bethesda
Meanwhile, Xbox Game Studios (Microsoft) [2,425 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/microsoft/”>Microsoft will have some form of presence in Los Angeles this year with an already-announced summer showcase. However, according to IGN, the Xbox firm will not have a show floor presence at the Los Angeles Convention Center itself.
VGC’s own sources claimed discussions were ongoing with Microsoft, however, and that it could yet have a business and media presence similar to last year’s Gamescom [195 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/events/gamescom/”>Gamescom, if not a traditional booth.
Microsoft traditionally holds its E3 live event away from the LACC, and in 2019 it didn’t have its booth there either, instead opting for the neighbouring Microsoft theatre. So unlike Sony and Nintendo, there should still be plenty of Xbox news around the event.
Microsoft’s plans are understood to be complicated by the backdrop of recent significant job cuts across the company, in addition to cuts to its marketing budgets which would traditionally cover shows like E3.
Losing all three platform holders would represent a blow to the revamped E3, but sources suggested there should still be a significant presence from major game companies at the event.
New E3 organiser ReedPop told VGC that it had received “a tremendous amount of interest” from many of “the biggest companies in the industry” and that it was confident the line-up would be worth the trip.
“Since ReedPop took on the contract to run E3 six months ago, we’ve worked diligently with ESA members, using their feedback to create a new type of E3 that supports their goals and needs,” a spokesperson said.
“This process takes time and we are working to balance getting it right, and being inclusive, with getting it done quickly. E3 is a deeply significant event for the game industry and being entrusted with an important cultural touchstone is not a responsibility ReedPop takes lightly.
“We continue to work tirelessly to create a show that brings together the global gaming industry. We believe we’ve created a new format for the event that serves the needs of both the industry and its fans, and are committed to building and growing it in the coming years.
“We have received a tremendous amount of interest from many of the biggest companies in the industry, and when we are ready to announce the exhibitors we are confident it will be a lineup that will make the trip to Los Angeles well worth it for the industry and consumers alike.”
When the games industry’s other flagship expo, Gamescom, returned from its pandemic hiatus last August, over 500 companies attended, including 2K Games [383 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/take-two-interactive/2k-games/”>2K, Bandai Namco Entertainment [669 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/bandai-namco-entertainment/”>Bandai Namco, Sega [583 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/sega/”>Sega, Ubisoft [837 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/ubisoft/”>Ubisoft, Warner Games and Plaion.
VGC has requested comments from Nintendo, Sony and Xbox, and will update this article upon their response.
Details of E3’s revamped 2023 format, which will see separate business and consumer events split between four days in June, were revealed late last year.
Under the revamped format, the first two days of E3 2023 (June 13-14) will be reserved exclusively for business. The third day (June 15) will welcome both business and consumer visitors, while the final day (June 16) will be dedicated to consumers.
As well as running high-profile events in the US and Europe, ReedPop is the owner of Gamer Network, which runs websites such as Eurogamer, GamesIndustry.biz, VG247 and Rock Paper Shotgun, and is the network partner of VGC.
Days before the revamped E3 returns, Summer Game Fest [92 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/events/summer-game-fest/”>Summer Game Fest, the digital showcase helmed by journalist Geoff Keighley [153 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/people/geoff-keighley/”>Geoff Keighley, will hold a live show at the YouTube Theater at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California.
Hacker finds bug that allowed anyone to bypass Facebook 2FA – TechCrunch
A bug in a new centralized system that Meta created for users to manage their logins for Facebook and Instagram could have allowed malicious hackers to switch off an account’s two-factor protections just by knowing their phone number.
Gtm Mänôz, a security researcher from Nepal, realized that Meta did not set up a limit of attempts when a user entered the two-factor code used to log into their accounts on the new Meta Accounts Center, which helps users link all their Meta accounts, such as Facebook and Instagram.
With a victim’s phone number, an attacker would go to the centralized accounts center, enter the phone number of the victim, link that number to their own Facebook account, and then brute force the two-factor SMS code. This was the key step, because there was no upper limit to the amount of attempts someone could make.
Once the attacker got the code right, the victim’s phone number became linked to the attacker’s Facebook account. A successful attack would still result in Meta sending a message to the victim, saying their two-factor was disabled as their phone number got linked to someone else’s account.
“Basically the highest impact here was revoking anyone’s SMS-based 2FA just knowing the phone number,” Mänôz told TechCrunch.
At this point, theoretically, an attacker could try to take over the victim’s Facebook account just by phishing for the password, given that the target didn’t have two-factor enabled anymore.
Mänôz found the bug in the Meta Accounts Center last year, and reported it to the company in mid-September. Meta fixed the bug a few days later, and paid Mänôz $27,200 for reporting the bug.
Meta spokesperson Gabby Curtis told TechCrunch that at the time of the bug the login system was still at the stage of a small public test. Curtis also said that Meta’s investigation after the bug was reported found that there was no evidence of exploitation in the wild, and that Meta saw no spike in usage of that particular feature, which would signal the fact that no one was abusing it.
January 30: Headline updated to reflect that only Facebook accounts were vulnerable to the bug; this was due to an editing error. ZW.
Updated with comment from Meta.
Elevate Your Customer Experience with the Best CCaaS Solution
Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions is a rising star in customer care centers today. Companies and marketers are embracing this cloud-based model with increasing enthusiasm as they address issues with legacy software, enabling better customer experiences. Moreover, there are several reasons why you may want to -if you haven’t already- consider investing in these technologies.
First, the business world is moving away from traditional call centers towards multi-channel contact centers, a move that was heavily fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers in the digital era are becoming increasingly demanding – only companies that adapt to the changing trends will survive the wave.
Also, the complexity of managing multiple channels and the need for secure remote working capabilities mean cloud-based natively omnichannel solutions are extremely effective. CCaaS solutions have been developed to resolve such issues and make it easier for all players.
So, what is a CCaaS solution, and why do you need one? We will be discussing this and much more in this article.
Physical contact centers are still an effective way of running your business. However, single-channel centers with rows are hard phones that are becoming history. The innovation of cloud-based communication technologies has changed everything, creating a platform that connects customers and agents wherever they may be and on the channel of their choice. That’s CCaaS.
Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions is a licensing model that allows businesses to use cloud-based contact center software on a subscription basis. They are designed to lessen on-premise contact center complexities by delivering a unified, robust and flexible solution. It also means your agents no longer need to come to the office.
Being able to log in remotely on their device lets them perform their tasks from anywhere. Customer support teams don’t need to manually install the software on new devices, simply an internet connection and secure login details. It’s extremely easy and convenient to serve your customers from anywhere.
Since 2020, scalability and flexibility have become success factors for businesses. On-premise solutions may still get the job done, but they are inferior and may not stand up to the digital era’s demands. Many legacy systems are also being retired by their providers leaving contact centers with less support. CCaaS solutions address so many of the concerns related to customer support and the customer experience.
The Idea Behind CCaaS Development
If your legacy system is not as dependable as you would like it to be, CCaaS may be all the solution you need. It’s intended to make your team more productive by moving away from disjointed histories and siloed data to enhance data analysis and integrate interactions. There is also the flexibility to customize elements of the solution. It’s clear that contact centers and customers are unique so static one-size-fits-all software is restrictive.
CCaaS solutions have evolved to provide unified, scalable, and flexible solutions that meet companies’ needs more efficiently and it’s simpler for agents than using multiple solutions to achieve the same tasks. It really can bring out the best in your customer care solutions.
Features of the Best CCaaS Platform
Due to the rising demand for customer experience solutions, there are quite a lot of CCaaS providers to choose from. However, not all of them may have what you need, which is why it’s crucial to understand the features of a good service. Consider the following:
A unified console
Many agents are used to multiple systems to do their job. This means investing in various hardware and software for every task and taking time to understand the tools. CCaaS platforms eliminate such strain by creating an all-in-one tool for call and contact management. All your agents need is a device to access it from, and they are set to go.
The best CCaaS platforms help companies to offer personalized service using real-time insights during a conversation. This can be done through integrated Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies, making it easy to offer the right solution for a specific customer’s needs.
Pay-per-use pricing model
A good CCaaS service allows you to pay for only what you need and make a budget per your organization’s size. This means as many agents as needed can access the latest version of the solution thanks also to automatic upgrades. Hybrid work, minimizing commuting and more satisfied customers mean CCaaS solutions help contribute to well-being.
Real-time performance monitoring
CCaaS services provide practical analytical reporting and insights, collecting crucial performance data. You can easily check call volume, hold times, agent performance, and resolution rates. Call recording and monitoring is also possible. All this information can be used to improve service delivery.
Integration with other software
A good CCaaS is easily integrated with other tools like unified communications tools or customer relationship management software (CRM) to seamlessly add additional capabilities. APIs and other complementary solutions can also easily be added to your tech ecosystem.
Training and support
Not only can CCaaS help collect data to coach agents on the job but there is also training to get them up and running with new software as quickly as possible. For instance, Odigo Academy helps people to transition rapidly to their new contact center solutions.
6 Benefits of Using CCaaS
Cloud-based solutions are the future, they provide the digital capabilities customers want and the functionalities that make running a contact center easier. For instance, Odigo has integrated WFM and QM software and can integrate or connect with UC and CRM solutions. It’s simply everything you need to serve your customers in the most efficient manner.
Here are some of the benefits:
1. Integrated omnichannel communication
Perhaps the biggest advantage of using a CCaaS solution in your business is the ability to connect with your customers using various communication channels: SMS, live chat, IM, email, phone call and more. It delivers the same seamless, responsive experience using the customer’s preferred channels.
2. Customer-focused services
CCaaS solutions can help bring experts and customers closer together. Internal communications boost teamwork and collaboration, getting to the right answers more quickly. Monitoring performance also helps highlight areas where service can be improved to deliver the best-ever experiences.
3. Creates a better work environment
Hybrid working is easily achievable with cloud-based solutions and workforce management capabilities. Add to this better internal communication, and complete customer interaction histories and agents are more supported, can make better decisions and as a result, are more satisfied in their roles.
4. More scalability and flexibility
Need more agents just for today or your business has expanded so much you need another contact center? CCaaS solutions can grow with you. It’s fast, and simple, you only pay for what you use, and agents can access the latest version of the software wherever they are.
5. Real-time reports
Supervisors need real-time data and accurate forecasts to make the right decisions so contact centers can run smoothly. CCaaS provides customizable visual dashboards and alerts that can monitor any channel. With Odigo, for instance, you can look at data on a per-agent or per-channel basis and plan to have the right number of agents for each shift.
6. Improved customer experience
Odigo’s CCaaS solution has over 35 years of experience with voice technology behind it. They also offer CX consulting and support to deploy the optimal CCaaS configuration to meet your business needs. When your business has the tools it needs you can deliver the service your customers need.
Why Choose Odigo for Your CCaaS Needs?
Odigo provides a Contact Center as a Service solution to facilitate communication between large organizations and their customers. It uses an innovative approach to a global omnichannel management system anchored on empathy and technology, enabling an effective interaction between brands and their customers. As a pioneer in customer experience (CX), the company serves over 250 large enterprise clients in more than 100 countries globally.
The benefits include: :
- Winning CX strategies: Leverage expert consulting to get expert support to better understand your customers.
- Integration: Use Odigo for channel-less strategies, API and other software integration.
- Operationalize your data: Get real-time performance data to inform decision-making and improve service delivery.
- A transition strategy: The Odigo Academy helps you transition rapidly to your new solution and develop expert skills for better growth.
- Round-the-clock support: Odigo assures the highest level of customer support with 24/7/365 access.
Investing in Odigo services allows you to maximize your contact center’s value using visionary technology, expert strategy, and implementation approaches. Get in touch with the team at Odigo now to discuss your needs.
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