5 non-health tech stories you should care about this week

See the best and worst from Mobile World Congress, plus new Microsoft security features and thoughts on the Apple encryption battle.

Fourth (and last) day of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

It’s been a big week in the world of technology outside of healthcare, particularly with the Mobile World Congress happening in Barcelona, Spain.

It’s time once again to take a look at five interesting general technology stories from the last seven days that people in healthcare should pay attention to. These issues could have an impact on health tech in the future.

1. “The 10 coolest things we saw at Mobile World Congress” (Mashable)

The Cat S60 is not your typical smartphone. The rugged phone isn’t exactly attractive compare to the GS7 or G5, but it does pack a FLIR thermal camera. Pointing the thermal camera at things literally shows you how hot or cold it is, like it does with the FLIR One camera attachment. And you can take thermal images from 100 feet away.

2. “Microsoft strengthens security tools for Azure, Office 365” (InfoWeek)

The company announced security features for its cloud offerings, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and SharePoint Online. Along with enhanced security management and reporting capabilities, Microsoft integrated identity protection and threat visualization tools to provide real-time insights and predictive intelligence.

3. “Box’s Aaron Levie Defends Encryption as Central to the Digital Age” (Recode)

Box’s Aaron Levie — who has already voiced his support for Apple in its fight with the government over unlocking an iPhone — offered a nuanced defense of the value of encryption today.

Levie says the horrible mass murder in San Bernardino weighs on everyone, and acknowledges law enforcement has a difficult job. But as more people and companies rely on digital platforms to communicate, work together and do business, the devices we carry need to be trustworthy.

3. “Mobile Apps Upend Google Search” (The Wall Street Journal)

Not long ago, a search was a word or phrase typed into a personal computer that returned links to websites containing those keywords. Today, with more than half of U.S. searches coming from mobile devices, a search can be a spoken command, or an alert sent, unbidden, to a phone. The answers come from apps, email inboxes and digital calendars, as well as websites.

Search-engine optimization now is less about stuffing a website with keywords and more about opening apps to Google’s computers, or regularly feeding them detailed product information, prices and photos.

5. “9 worst Internet of Things junk at Mobile World Congress” (The Next Web)

Have a fat dog and don’t know how to make it lose weight? Don’t worry about your own fitness, get the Petfit tracker to track your dog’s steps and pit it against your friends!

Fun note, though: it’s not water resistant, so if your dog jumps in a lake there’s no more fitness tracking.

Photo: Flickr user Jordi Boixareu