Virtual Shopping; Apple AR Headset; US Back With Top Supercomputer; Microsoft New Identity Management Tools

There’s plenty hype about the supposed infinite potential of the metaverse and AR/VR technology as tools for future online marketplaces, but there has also been a decline in revenue for several ecommerce companies in recent years. A new report from Productsup has surveyed consumers’ tastes and expectations when it comes to digital hybrid shopping experiences. According to Venturebeat.com, for many companies looking to boost sales in the digital marketplace, the results illustrate an uphill battle:—60% of shoppers have zero interest in buying virtual goods whatsoever. With revenue from the metaverse expected to reach $800 billion in 2024, though, many companies will continue to ramp up their virtual shopping offerings.

Apple is unlikely to announce its rumored mixed reality headset or its new AR/VR operating system at next week’s WWDC with mass production of the device still some ways off, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a pair of tweets on Tuesday, Kuo said he expected Apple’s headset to launch in 2023, and that announcing it too early would see Apple’s competitors “immediately kick off copycat projects” and release rival products before Apple’s headset hits the shelves. Macrumors.com reports that Kuo’s thoughts echo the most recent report by Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman in which he played down expectations that Apple would make a “full-blown announcement” of its headset at WWDC. One fresh report from a more sketchy source has Apple starting production in the 2nd half of this year.

It’s a constant cat and mouse game, but the United States is on top of the supercomputing world in the Top500 ranking of the most powerful systems again. Engadget.com says the Frontier system from Oak Ridge National Laboratory  running on AMD EPYC CPUs took first place from last year’s champ, Japan’s ARM A64X Fugaku system. It’s still in the integration and testing process at the ORNL in Tennessee, but will eventually be operated by the US Air Force and US Department of Energy. Frontier, powered by Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) Cray EX platform, was the top machine by a wide margin, too. It’s the first (known) true exascale system, hitting a peak 1.1 exaflops on the Linmark benchmark. Fugaku, meanwhile, managed less than half that at 442 petaflops, which was still enough to keep it in first place for the previous two years. 

Microsoft has announced the launch of Entra, a new product family of identity and access management solutions. The family includes existing tools like Azure AD alongside two new product categories; Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) and Decentralized Identity. According to Venturebeat.com,  for users, the Entra product family is designed to protect access to any app or resource by enabling security teams to discover and manage permissions in multicloud environments so they can secure digital identities from end-to-end. With more providers maturing their approach to identity management and security, Microsoft is aiming to differentiate itself from other vendors by building an end-to-end solution to identity protection across employees, partners, and customers. Entra Permissions Management provides security teams with a solution to detect unused and excessive permissions, so they can more effectively enforce the principle of least privilege and maintain a top-down view of identities across all cloud services including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud platform. Verified ID, is available in early August and will enable users to decide what information they share, when, who they share it with, and provide them with the ability to revoke access when necessary.



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