B.C.’s tech sector may be leading the way across Canada, but women still account for less than 20 per cent of its workforce – below the national average of 25 per cent.
Behind the statistic are advocates and women who pioneer the sector as they push for change. Some of them are set to speak at the upcoming BC Tech Summit in Vancouver.
“Diversity and inclusivity has become ever-so-more important and top of mind for everyone,” explained Tomica Divic, vice president of operations with Innovate BC, the Crown agency co-organizing the four-day summit.
“In the future, there is going to be a lot more jobs in the tech sector. We’re going to need to fill those jobs and it doesn’t make sense to leave out half of the workforce by not engaging women effectively.”
The B.C. non-profit Women in Tech World recently released a Gender Equality Roadmap Report, pinning down the key barriers that hinder more equal representation.
It found that “bro culture,” sexism, isolation in the workplace – particularly as a woman moves into bigger positions – and perceptions that women are less competent or less committed all play roles in women lacking confidence at work.
The report suggested these could also be reasons why women make up 54 per cent of post-secondary science and technology graduates, but more than half of those aren’t currently in that line of work.
Forum for Women Entrepreneurs CEO Paulina Cameron, who is one of the keynote speakers at the summit, told Black Press Media that government legislation is one possibility to improve recruitment and retention of women.
“I think policy can go a really far away in terms off setting quotas and mandating certain percentages happening,” Cameron said.
The companies that have succeeded in paying women equal wages and increasing the number of women in leadership positions, she said, are ones that “have stopped playing around with excuses and have put goals and metrics in place.”
Forum for Women Entrepreneurs offers support and education to women across the country looking to head their own business. Consultations includes how to access capital and building the right network, but also offers a sense of community.
“We have really seen a lot of magic when women are able to come together and support one another,” she said.
From robotics to clean tech to blockchain, Divic said it’s crucial women have a role.
“When we look at artificial intelligence, there has been a lot of conversations around ethics and biases that can be built into AI, and the impact this will have in various technologies,” she said.
Divic pointed to a panel discussion she attended at last year’s summit, which focused on programming for self-driving vehicles.
“Unless you’re looking at a female perspective of crossing the street, when we look at autonomous cars and drivers this could have a huge impact on the choices that these vehicles make.”
The BC Tech Summit happens March 11-13 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. A day of pre-summit programming will showcase the positive impact women continue to have in the tech sector.
Microsoft Documents Confirm Futuristic Surface Plans
It’s rare that you see a Microsoft Surface device being promoted without its Surface Pen. It’s a key feature that is talked up regularly by the Surface team, and it’s one area ripe for innovation. The latest details show work continues to make a more intelligent Pen.
“…Microsoft says the stylus still uses a vibrating tip to determine when the contact with a surface occurs. The patented Surface Pen also comes with a capsule that is designed to minimize the motion of the shaft and the shaft runs parallel to the length of the stylus.
“The tip has two antennas and one is connected to the shaft using a track made of metal material. There’s also a transmitter located in its tip and it can detect the position of the stylus tip, and then quickly switch to inking mode.”
Microsoft’s Surface vision has always been built around different modes of working. Think of the Surface Pro 2-in-1s with their detachable keyboards that allowed for a tablet experience with and without qwerty input. Think of the Surface Book’s outstanding feature of a laptop with a fully detachable screen? Even in the Surface Laptop, which doesn’t have a physical transformation you can still move between pen input and trackpad movements. Surface is about multiple modes, and switching between them quickly and easily.
That includes the Surface Pen. It has two modes of use. The first is the more traditional stylus-based approach to computing, replicating the ideas of a mouse or trackpad in operation. The second mode is inking mode, where your artistic flair can take over.
Allowing the Surface Pen to better understand when to switch modes, to decrease the delay in switching modes, and to create a ‘magical’ experience mixing stylus- and inking-modes, is a natural next step for Microsoft to address.
As always, a published patent does show the direction a company is taking with hardware development, but it does not guarantee that this technology will be seen on consumer devices. But some patents heel more likely to show up than others. This one feels like something we’ll be seeing in the near future.
100W wireless charging could be a thing next year
- A new leak points to 100W wireless charging by several brands in 2021.
- Heat and battery degradation would likely be two key challenges for the tech.
We’ve seen major strides in fast charging in the last two years, as smartphone manufacturers like Huawei, BBK, and Xiaomi upped the ante for both wired and wireless charging. We’ve previously seen wired charging top out at ~120W in recent months, but wireless charging solutions aren’t far behind, either.
Now, frequent leaker Digital Chat Station has claimed that several manufacturers are targeting 100W wireless charging for phones launching in 2021. Check out the post below.
This would be a major leap over current wireless charging standards. We’ve seen 40W wireless charging in the likes of the Oppo Ace 2 and Huawei P40 Pro Plus respectively. Oppo has also announced 65W wireless charging technology earlier this year, although we haven’t seen it on a commercial device just yet.
Nevertheless, we do wonder about heat and battery degradation with a move to 100W wireless charging. Oppo in particular stated that its 125W wired charging solution degraded the battery to 80% capacity after 800 charging cycles, compared to its 65W wired solution dropping down to 90% capacity after 800 cycles. So hopefully brands address this challenge adequately with 100W wireless charging.
Another concern with this tech is compatibility with other Qi charging devices. Oppo’s 65W wireless charging solution defaults to significantly slower 10W or even 5W topups for other Qi-compatible phones.
An iPhone 12 to please everyone — well, except Android fans
Remember when there was just an iPhone, and the only decisions you needed to make were capacity and color?
Well, if you like having lots of options, the iPhone 12 sounds like it’s the handset for you, with the latest rumors suggesting lots of choice.
It seems Apple wants to make an iPhone 12 for everyone — well, maybe not Android fans.
So far, we expect the iPhone 12 to be offered in the following configurations:
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 Mini
So, what’s going to be the differences between them?
All are expected to be powered by the new A14 Bionic chip, and all are expected to feature 5G. However, super-fast mmWave support could be reserved for the Pro models. Another commonality is that none will come with earbuds or a charger, but you will get a snazzy braided USB-C-to-Lightning cable.
The most obvious difference is going to be display size.
- iPhone 12: 6.1-inch
- iPhone 12 Pro: 6.1-inch
- iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6.7-inch
- iPhone 12 Mini: 5.4-inch
There are likely to be other differences to differentiate the Pro Max from the rest of the pack. The two biggest features — LiDAR depth sensor and 120Hz high refresh rate panel — are likely to be Pro Max only features.
Another difference that users will care about is battery size. The bigger the handset, the beefier the battery.
Rumors point to following capacities:
- iPhone 12: 2,775 mAh
- iPhone 12 Pro: 2,775 or 2,815 mAh
- iPhone 12 Pro Max: 3,690 mAh
- iPhone 12 Mini: 2,230 mAh
Another thing that people care about — because it can turn a cheap iPhone into an expensive one — is storage capacities. These are likely to be as follows:
- iPhone 12: 64GB | 128GB | 256GB
- iPhone 12 Pro: 128GB | 256GB | 512GB
- iPhone 12 Pro Max: 128GB | 256GB | 512GB
- iPhone 12 Mini: 64GB | 128GB | 256GB
RAM is another differentiator. The split here is likely to be Pro/non-Pro
- iPhone 12: 4GB
- iPhone 12 Pro: 6GB
- iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6GB
- iPhone 12 Mini: 4GB
Finally, starting price.
- iPhone 12: $749
- iPhone 12 Pro: $999
- iPhone 12 Pro Max: $1099
- iPhone 12 Mini: $649
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