Week Ending: 5th June - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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Where has the sun gone? The question every person who lives in the U.K. is currently asking themselves. However, on the plus side, since you’re not spending as much time outdoors, enjoying the sunshine, it will give you more time to catch up on the latest I.T. and tech news.

So, grab yourself a cuppa and catch up on MP Ruth Edwards’ new Cyber Awareness Campaign, the latest on the BBC’s voice assistant, Beeb, and lastly how Microsoft Teams will soon allow up to 300 participants in a video call.

Ruth Edwards MP launches Cyber Awareness Campaign

It has been brought to our attention that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.K. has become one of the highest countries for targeted Coronavirus scams, with many individuals falling victim to the scammers and fraudsters.

Action Fraud reports that 2,000 people have lost over £4,600,000 from Covid-19 scams already, and these numbers are still increasing.

This is the reason Ruth Edwards MP, and former employee of BT’s Cyber Security Team, has launched a Cyber Awareness Campaign to help keep people safe online. During the campaign, Ruth will be sharing useful tips and will be posting easy ways to stay safe in the digital world throughout the month of June.

The campaign will be split into themes for each week including protecting yourself, protecting your children, and protecting your business.

Ruth has promised to share all the content across her Facebook and Twitter, meaning it can be shared easily between friends and family to encourage everyone to keep safe.

When launching her Cyber Awareness campaign, Ruth vocalised: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen more people using online applications and tools to stay in touch with friends and family, as well as to shop and get essential supplies.

I wanted to use my background in cybersecurity to make sure that although we are more accessible online than ever before, we do not have to be more vulnerable to criminals.

Throughout this month I will be highlighting some easy, low-cost tips that will help protect yourself, protect your children and protect your business from online scammers.

It is important that during this crisis we do not let our guard down to people who would prey on our good nature and fears in order to take money or obtain sensitive information.”

For more information on how to keep safe online during the Covid-19 crisis, visit Ruth’s social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter, or discover more here.

The BBC develops its voice assistant

Back in August 2019, the BBC announced the launch of its new voice assistant, Beeb. The device will compete with the likes of Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Beeb will allow users to play any of the BBC’s radio stations, shows, music mixes, podcasts and individuals can also ask for the weather, latest news and sport.

The voice assistant from the BBC is still in the process of being developed and it currently stands in the beta phase. However, Beeb has been released to early adopters for testing on Windows computers, as the device uses Microsoft technology. But, not all features are present or working on the device properly at the moment.

A very interesting property of the BBC’s voice assistant is the fact that the team behind Beeb have been working hard to ensure the device will be able to understand different regional accents in the U.K. For example, when a user downloads the beta version, they will be asked what accent they have, so their voice will be used to train Beeb’s voice too.

The BBC has an ambitious vision for Beeb and new features will be continuously added over the next few weeks and months.

The BBC stated: “Ultimately we envision that Beeb will be available across a wide range of devices, including smart speakers, mobiles, televisions and many others," a representative said.

"This is still a very early version, which means that not everything will be working perfectly from day one, and the future Beeb assistant will be able to do a lot more."

Discover more here.

Microsoft Teams will soon allow up to 300 participants in a singular video call

It’s unquestionable that video call apps have boomed during the coronavirus pandemic, for example Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The apps have become an essential way to make working from home easy, keeping in touch with family and friends simple, and allowed business meetings and interviews to run smoothly.

To compete with Zoom, Microsoft has introduced premium features to Teams for free to ensure individuals can enjoy services such as its new 3x3 grid, a raise hand feature and the ability to pop out chats into dedicated windows.

Furthermore, to help consumers and businesses with their rapidly changing communication needs, Microsoft Teams is planning to increase its maximum number of participants in one meeting to 300 and this is expected to be rolled out this month.

Find out more here.

Those were some of this week’s top stories but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels: