Archive for Hardware

Apple Offers Free Repairs For iPhone X and MacBook Problems

Apple Inc. is reported to be offering free repairs / replacements for problems relating to screen touch issues on the iPhone X and data loss and storage drive failures in 13-inch MacBook Pro computers.

iPhone X Problems

The offer of free fixes in the iPhone X handset, which was only released last November and was superseded by the iPhone XS (and XR) in September, relate to user complaints that that their phones were making unprompted, random clicking noises, or simply stopped responding. Apple has put the problems of intermittently not responding / reacting when it wasn’t touched down to problems with a display module component on the £999 iPhone X handset.  As such, Apple has said that customers are entitled to a free screen replacement, and that any customers who have already paid for the replacement can have refund.

MacBook Pro Problems

In the case of 13-inch MacBook Pro computers sold between June 2017 and June 2018, Apple has acknowledged that there was a problem with a limited number of 128GB and 256GB solid-state drives which may have led to data loss and failure of those storage drives.  Apple has said on its website that Apple or an Apple Authorised Service Provider (AASP) will service any affected drives, free of charge, that Apple recommends having any affected drives serviced as soon as possible, and that Apple will send an email to customers who registered their device with the company.   More information about this issue can be found here: https://www.apple.com/support/13-inch-macbook-pro-solid-state-drive-service-program/

Keyboard Replacements Back In June

It was only back in June this year that Apple offered free repairs or replacements for the butterfly keyboard on its MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops after some users complained about letters or characters repeating unexpectedly, letters or characters not appearing, and keys feeling ‘sticky’ or not responding in a consistent manner.

Battery Woes

You may also remember the publicity Back in 2017 when Apple apologised for intentionally slowing down older iPhones (Phone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 models), perhaps with a view to encouraging upgrades.  Also, Apple made the news earlier this year when leaking vapours from damaged iPad batteries relating to small-scale problems with the iPhone battery replacement programme caused some stores to be temporarily evacuated.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Apple’s iPhone X only lasted a year, even though it was replaced by a handset that wasn’t too different from it (on the surface). At least only a sample of one-year’s-worth of buyers are likely to need the replacement / repair service.  It’s good that Apple is offering the repair / replacement for what is a relatively expensive product for many people, and this may go some way to maintaining generally positive perceptions of (and trust in) Apple and help to re-build trust after the battery-slowing admission.  Similarly, offering to repair the problems with some 13-inch MacBook Pros sends a positive message that will benefit Apple as well as those affected.  The tech giant is also likely to be conscious that it is about to re-introduce old favourites like the iPad Pro and Mac Book with new features and higher prices to match, so eliminating problems and clearing the way with some goodwill and good publicity can’t be a bad thing.

Fatal Security Flaws Discovered in Solid State Drives (SSDs)

Researchers from Radboud University in the Netherlands have released a paper highlighting several security flaws that they’ve discovered in SSDs which mean that data from a flash disk can recovered in more than one way, even if it’s supposedly self-encrypted.

What Is An SSD?

An SSD is a solid-state storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies (memory chips on a circuit board with and In/Out interface to feed power and transfer data) as memory to store data persistently. Even though it doesn’t actually contain a physical disk, it is sometimes called a called solid-state disk.

Hardware Encryption Not Better Than Software Encryption

Whereas the popular belief is that AES encryption should stop you from accessing data on a disc that isn’t plugged in to its home system (encryption with SSD through ATA security and TCG Opal encryption methods) and that hardware encryption is similar to or better than software encryption, the findings of the research appear to disprove this.

Not Just Cheap Drives Vulnerable

The research looked at top-of-the-range drives including models by Crucial and Samsung, and found that only the T3 and T5 (external) drives remained secure, whereas the others were found to have fatal vulnerabilities, some to non-cryptographic hacking. Even BitLocker, the Microsoft encryption with each copy of Windows was found to be vulnerable. According to the research, vulnerabilities are such, across the range of vendors, that determined attackers could access data in many so-called encrypted drives without any keys or passwords.

Vulnerable to a Range Attack Methods

Through the reverse-engineering of the firmware of a sample of SSDs, the researchers were able to discover a number of vulnerabilities in self-encrypting SSDs that can leave them open to a range of attacks and exploits. These could include attackers seizing full control of the CPU, corrupting memory, and cracking default passwords, thereby bypassing a custom password set by a user.

Example

The researchers provided a case study of how an attacker could try to breach a locked Crucial MX300 drive with encryption via TCG Opal. The case study outlines how an attacker could install modified firmware that includes read/write capabilities, and then, if encryption is performed via TCG Opal, write executable code to bypass several layers of security, and thereby access the precious data.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The discovery by the researchers shows that hardware-based encryption is far less secure than businesses may have thought and that hardware-based full-disk encryption may not, in fact, be a more secure alternative to software-based methods. Also, it seems that the security flaws are in leading products across multiple vendors.

Businesses may, therefore, be best advised not to rely solely on hardware encryption as offered by SSDs for confidentiality. In fact, it may be better to also employ an open source, audited, software full-disk encryption solution.

As well as alerting businesses to the risks of relying solely on the apparently flawed hardware encryption offered by SSDs, this story should surely make vendors take another close look at their SSD products and how the security of them can be improved.

Blurring of Personal and Business Technology Cause For Concern

A report by CCS Insight showing how three-quarters of employees are forced to install work software on their personal mobile devices has highlighted how the increased blurring of personal and business technology is causing concern.

Objections

The report, which took into account the views of 672 employees across the US and Western Europe about digital technology, revealed how, among many other concerns, workers object to the practice of having to download work-based applications onto their personal mobile devices just so that they can carry out their jobs. As well as the understandable objection to feeling forced to blur work and home life by having to install intrusive work software on a personal device, employees also objected to the practice out of fear that their employers could use the software to track them.

Poor Connectivity

Another major annoyance indicated by workers who took part in the survey was poor connectivity in the digital workplace.

WhatsApp Popularity

Despite highlighting poor connectivity at work as a major grumble for workers, it appears that it hasn’t stopped them from using always-on, connected apps. For example, the report revealed that WhatsApp is now the most widely used mobile app in businesses, even beating out Microsoft Office 365. WhatsApp, however, is likely to be something that workers will have on their phone anyway, and its end-to-end encryption means that workers don’t have to fear any kind of tracking by the boss through its use.

Other Concerns

Other employee concerns highlighted by the report include:

  • The fear that their job may be lost to AI. This concern was expressed despite half of the employees surveyed saying that they expect digital assistants such as Google Assistant to help them in their job.
  • Only two-thirds of employees saying that they trust their employers with their privacy.
  • A mistrust of tech giant companies, although Microsoft was shown to be more trusted than most.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The fact that many employees have high spec mobile devices and access to apps that could be used by the company, and the fact that ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) schemes are commonplace, doesn’t appear to make employees feel comfortable about having to download work-based apps. Employees may be justified in feeling that they shouldn’t feel pressured into having to employ their personal devices for work tasks, and that employers shouldn’t rely so heavily upon the personal devices of employees instead of providing their own, and that respecting the barrier between work and home life is important. By the same token, employers who allow workers to use their own devices at work may also expect employees to be respectful in terms of how much time they spend dealing with personal matters during work time on their devices.

Workers may be justified in worrying about the impact of AI on their jobs in the future, and connectivity problems are a known source of work stress, particularly in the case of mobile workers.

When it comes to the mistrust of tech giants, this seems reasonable considering the number of high profile reports of data breaches and unauthorised data sharing in recent times (e.g. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica).

Easyjet – Electric Planes By 2030

Easyjet is reported to have backed plans to develop and introduce commercial passenger aircraft powered by electric batteries on its short-haul routes, possibly by 2030.

Prototype

A prototype battery-powered, electric aircraft with a range of 335 miles is already being built by one-year-old US company Wright Electric, the same company that Europe’s no.2 low-cost airline Ryanair has been working in partnership with.

Wright Electric’s prototype is reported to be a nine-seater plane, although its CEO Jeff Engler, is reported as saying that the company is also starting work on a 50-seat version. Wright Electric estimates that an electric aircraft of this kind could reduce the energy costs of a plane by around 30%, and that its 9-seater prototype could be ready for testing by next year.

Easyjet & Wright

Easyjet’s involvement with Wright Electric is thought to date back to May last year when discussions were held with the start-up after it announced its intentions to offer an electric-powered commercial flight from London to Paris in 10 years. Easyjet is reported not to have invested money in Wright, but its validation and support of Wright’s work appears to be a considerable driver in the development of the new type of aircraft.

New Battery Technology = New Aircraft Design

It has been reported that new energy technology that could contribute to lighter batteries will need to be developed to make the development of electric aircraft successful. These new batteries could then be used to power the propellers or fans of aeroplane engines, meaning that motors could then be put inside a plane’s wings, rather than be slung underneath them.

Advantages of Battery-Powered, Electric Aircraft

The advantages of battery-powered, electric aircraft over current aircraft would be huge cost savings (no expensive oil-based fuel required), quieter planes that are also more environmentally friendly (no fuel emissions), more aerodynamic planes with less drag (with motors inside the wings rather than outside), and a more sustainable aviation industry.

Others Working On Electric Planes

Wright Electric is not the only company working on developing battery-powered, electric aircraft. For example, Zunum, backed by Boeing Co, is also reported to be working on an engine turbine from France’s Safran SA to power an electric motor for a hybrid plane, and Siemens is reported to have been working on developing electric motors for aircraft in collaboration with Airbus.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

For the aircraft industry, the development of battery-powered, electric aircraft could be an important new development with positive benefits. For example, airlines using these aircraft could save money, tackle pollution (noise and emissions), and publicise the environmental benefits to customers as a differentiating competitive advantage that could have positive rub-off value on the aircraft brand. Quieter, cleaner planes could also help airports to reduce their environmental impact, and could provide a feel-good factor to customers.

There are clearly many technological challenges to be overcome first, hence the estimate of at least 10 years development time, but it is exciting and promising to think that planes are going the same way as cars in terms of harnessing new battery / electric technologies and creating more sustainable, lower environmental impact transport for the future. In reality, it seems likely that hybrid versions of commercial aircraft rather than full battery-powered, electric aircraft will be the first to be introduced.
The new technologies developed along the way to producing battery-powered, electric aircraft will, in themselves, also create many new engineering and business opportunities.

Resurrecting An Old Android Phone Is Easier Than You Think

Many of us have an old Android phone somewhere in the house, doing nothing. Rather than leaving it there to add no value to your life and work, you may find that it’s much easier than you think to resurrect it.

Look Beyond The Launch

Even though your phone may have been the greatest and the fastest when it was launched, the passage of time doesn’t necessarily mean that it has become obsolete.

Performance issues can, of course, be exaggerated by age and resource limitations, but there are some steps you can take to clean-up your old android phone and bring it back into active service. These steps could include:

  • Freeing -up storage space. Begin this process by backing up the media that you have on the phone. This can be done by opening Google photos, selecting “Settings,” “Back up & sync” and activating the toggle that appears. This will allow you to back up your photos and images to the cloud. Get Google’s free Files Go app, open it, grant the app permission to access your phone’s storage, and from here you will be given suggestions for freeing-up space on your device. For example, this can include removing junk and duplicate files, removing downloaded files and large files, and deleting the photos and videos (now that you have back-up copies).
  • Getting rid of unused apps. This is a good move on any phone anyway as a way to improve security. In the case of refreshing your phone, the Files Go app can show you which apps are unused and therefore suitable to uninstall. You can also regain more phone resources by clearing out your app clutter. For apps that came pre-installed (and can’t be uninstalled), look for a button to disable those apps.
  • Using ‘lite’ app alternatives. Using ‘lite’ versions of the apps that you’d still like to have on the old phone e.g. Facebook, Google Maps and Skype lite, can mean that you get plenty of basic functionality, but take up less phone resources.
  • Reducing background activity / check-ins by certain apps. This can make the phone run faster, and can reduce monthly bills.
  • Making sure your apps are up to date. Checking-in with Play Store and making sure you have the newest (lite) versions of apps on your old phone can prevent many of the problems caused by less optimized older versions.
  • Making sure the home screen is up to date and not slowing things down. You may want to use a third-party launcher e.g. the free Lawnchair Launcher.
  • Keeping the software animations to a minimum. This will involve accessing the system settings ‘Drawing’ section, but could help towards speeding your old android phone up.
  • Trying a ‘factory reset’. This can make the phone run faster. Again, this is likely to involve accessing the ‘System’ section (after making sure everything important is backed-up).
  • Adding new, efficiency-enhancing apps.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

A succession of updated models, the need (or, being convinced by marketing of the need) to constantly upgrade to the next best model, along with a throwaway society means that there is so much wastage when it comes to devices, especially mobile phone handsets. This is why many businesses have seized the opportunity of refurbishing and re-selling them e.g. smartfonestore.com, Second-hand Phones.Com, envirofone.com and more.

There’s no doubt that smart-phones have become an important part of our lives with 78% of all adults now owning one, and with each of us checking our phone once every 12 minutes on average during our waking hours (Ofcom). Web browsing and using chat and other apps (WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger) are now equally as important as actually being able to make a call, so as long as your re-conditioned / resurrected phone has the storage space, speed, and available resources to accommodate modern apps (lite versions), you could be saving yourself money and making life easier for yourself by bringing it back into use.

Apple’s Autonomous Car Involved in Crash

Apple’s new autonomous vehicle, part of its ‘Project Titan’, has joined an expanding list of self-driving car prangs.

What Autonomous Vehicle?

Apple is reported to have been working on vehicle projects since 2015 under the name of ‘Project Titan’. Ever since the early reports, there has been much speculation about when an iCar will come onto the market.

The evidence, that this would be likely, came in the form of reports of hundreds of Apple employees working on a car project, hints during an interview with CEO Tim Cook back in June 2007, reports of two Apple computer scientists publishing research about a 3D detection system (that could be used in an autonomous car), and in July this year, news that an ex-Apple employee had been charged with stealing trade secrets from Apple to take to a Chinese car start-up.

Apple is also reported to be working with VW on a driverless vehicle to shuttle its employees to and from work.
The Apple car involved in the recent accident is a Lexus SUV that is being used as part of the testing for its autonomous car project.

In Driverless Mode, But Rear-Ended

In this case, even though the Apple autonomous vehicle was in driverless mode at the time, the cause of the crash (last month) is thought to be that the driver of a Nissan Leaf rear-ended the Apple car while it was doing less than 1 mph, trying to find a safe space to merge onto Lawrence Expressway in California.

Most Autonomous Vehicle Crashes Caused By Humans

It’s tempting to think that testing autonomous vehicles on public roads is bound to result in crashes caused by faults with the technology. In fact, the statistics tell a different story and indicate that human error has been the main cause of accidents involving autonomous vehicles.

For example, Axios research shows that only 8% of these types of crashes were caused by a vehicle fault, and only one such crash happened when the vehicle was in autonomous mode. In fact, six out of seven accidents happened while a human was driving, and only one of a total 57 accidents to date involving moving autonomous vehicles was caused by a fault with the AI. One more left-field statistic is that self-driving vehicles have actually been attacked by humans 3 times!

That said, and joking aside, it’s worth acknowledging that there has already been one fatality related to driverless cars. It happened when a woman was hit by a driverless car that was being tested by Uber while she was crossing the street in Tempe, Arizona.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Although we may not be entirely convinced yet, or used to the idea of cars, lorries, and even planes operating autonomously on our roads and above our heads, the fact is that all have been tested, and look likely to become a more regular reality. At this time, it is still relatively early days for autonomous vehicles which means that there are still many untapped opportunities to use autonomous vehicles commercially, and there are of course many challenges and issues to consider around safety, insurance, regulations and reliability. For the time being, autonomous vehicles are, therefore, likely to be adopted more quickly on closed sites but operators who decide to adapt such sites to work for autonomy could expect significant improvements in productivity and safety.

As the technology to operate these vehicles becomes more advanced, prices decrease, and technical and operational problems are ironed-out, their potential to add-value to businesses / organisations / cities .e.g. for distribution / logistics, public transport, and many other uses will become apparent. They may also offer cost savings, greater reliability and easier management and planning, which are appealing benefits to businesses.

Apple iPad Battery Gas Leak – Shop Evacuated

The leaking of vapours from a damaged iPad battery led to an Amsterdam shop being evacuated and 3 staff being treated for breathing problems caused by the released gas.

Fire Brigade Called

Although the fire brigade was called and attended, there were no reports of any actual flames / fire coming from the affected iPad. Staff had, however, initially reacted to the smoking iPad by putting it in a sand-filled fire bucket.

Incidents of Similar Faults

Reports online indicate that similar faults have occurred elsewhere since Apple had started its iPhone battery replacement programme e.g. as reported on the Apple news site 9to5mac. Some reports indicate Apple stores in Switzerland , Spain and Hong Kong have been evacuated and medical incidents being reported this year due to problems with combusting / fumes from iPhone batteries.

While details are patchy, the insinuation by some commentators has been that the incidents involved the batteries of phones that been brought into the shop as part of the battery replacement programme.

There have, for example, been reports from 3 years ago of old batteries giving off smoke if pierced during replacement, although it is not clear if this was the cause of the latest incident.

What Battery Replacement Programme?

Back in 2017, Apple apologised for intentionally slowing down older iPhones (Phone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 models), perhaps with a view to encouraging upgrades. Since Apple’s actions were discovered, Apple owners with older models complained of facing huge costs for upgrading, and Apple highlighted how older batteries lose power over time. This led to Apple deciding to introduce a battery replacement programme. This means that Apple will offer anyone with an iPhone 6 or above a newer battery for just £25. This represents a £54 saving.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Apple phones are widely used and valued by business people and home users alike. The revelation of Apple deliberately slowing down phones to speed up the act of customers replacing their devices with the latest (and some would say expensive) versions, blotted what had been a relatively clean copy-book. The battery replacement programme appeared to be a practical way to perhaps gain customer trust back, say sorry, and legitimately solve some battery problems.

Like many phone makers, however, the at times unpredictable and potentially dangerous behaviour of some lithium-ion batteries can cause some very unwelcome incidents and publicity e.g. the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. These incidents illustrate how important it is that all aspects of the value chain in the creation and branding of premium products are right.

There may be real hope for phone manufacturers, however, since Norwegian scientists at IFE claim to have discovered a new wonder-material, ‘SiliconX’, for phone batteries that can stabilise silicon anodes for Li-ion batteries and offer five times the charge capacity.

‘SiliconX’ Next-Generation Battery Material Discovered

Norwegian scientists at IFE claim to have discovered a new wonder-material for future battery production that they have dubbed ‘SiliconX’.

Years Of Research

The new material, discovered by scientists at Norway’s Department of Energy Technology (IFE) reportedly offers a way to stabilise silicon anodes for Li-ion batteries. This is an aim that years of targeted research and experimental trials with nano-particles has been intended to achieve.

The Challenge

The challenge has been that silicon anodes can far-exceed the lithium ion storage capacity of carbon anodes, and the change in size as they absorb the ions causes a physical swelling and shrinking that can destroy the structure of a Si-Li-ion battery.

The Solution – SiliconX

The solution that the Norwegian scientists claim to have found is to use nano-particles in a finely divided mixture of silicon and another material that the scientists have called ‘the matrix’. It is this matrix that helps the silicon to withstand the big volume changes, and thereby solve the bulging / shrinking problem that would normally wreck the battery.

Much Greater Charge Capacity

The end result has been, as well as the stability, that the new SiliconX battery is reported to have three to five times the charge capacity of the negative electrode compared to common graphite technology.

Freedom From Daily Phone Charging

In short, if your smartphone battery was made from SiliconX that behaves the way that the Norwegian scientists claim, you would not need to charge that smartphone every day.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Problems with phone batteries have damaged the performance of many phones, and tarnished the reputation of their manufacturers e.g. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 batteries catching fire.

The obvious benefits of a SiliconX battery for business users are the convenience of not having to keep charging your phone, and the elimination of the worry that a lack of sufficient battery charge will leave you incommunicado when you’re not near a charging socket / in the middle of nowhere, and / or in the middle of / needing to make calls that are vital to the business.

The fact that the battery materials are more stable may also eliminate some of the safety worries about batteries that have been in the back of many users’ minds since the Galaxy Note 7 fire incidents.

Windows 10: Fuelling PC Sales Recovery?

Reports by IDC and Gartner that shows PC sales registering their first quarterly rise in six years have led to some speculation that Windows 10 may be fuelling a Business PC sales recovery.

Over 62 Million Q2 Shipments

According to Q2 figures compared to 2017, market analyst firms IDC and Gartner have both noted 62 million+ PC shipments.

Gartner’s figure of 62.1 million PC shipments represents a 1.4 % rise on last year, while IDC’s figure of 62.3 million PCs shipped represents a 2.7% rise on last year.

Either way, it looks like a small recovery in one segment of a market that many believed had been sent into decline by mobile device use.

Businesses Buying Windows 10 PCs

Most analysts agree that although the consumer side of the PC market has been negatively affected by people turning to their smartphones for even more daily tasks, this latest rise in PC sales is being fuelled by businesses.

Tech and business commentators appear to agree that the rise in PC sales is mainly due to businesses accepting that they need to make the switch to Windows 10, and buying the next office PC with Windows 10 already on it.

Big Brands

Not surprisingly, the manufacturers that are selling the most units are the big names i.e. Lenovo and HP, both with around 22% of the market, followed by Dell, Apple, then Acer in fifth place.

Supply Chain Problems Solved

Market analysts also believe that the solving of some of the supply chain problems that held back PC sales this time last year is contributing to the recent rise in sales.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

While individuals in businesses have their own smartphones, and while some smartphones may be used for business and personal use e.g. in SME’s, many UK businesses still have PCs / desktops in the office that are used purely for business. Since support has stopped for many older versions of Windows, many people have experience of using Windows10, and Microsoft is essentially forcing PC users down the Windows 10 and SaaS route, it is not surprising that many businesses have simply ordered fully equipped Windows 10 PCs as part of the office upgrade.

Although these sales figures do show a small recovery of sorts, the prevailing direction of travel for computing tasks for the future is still in the mobile direction.

NHS … Still Reliant On Fax Machines

A Poll by the Royal College of Surgeons using freedom of information requests has revealed that 8,946 fax machines are still in use in NHS Trusts in England.

World’s Largest Purchaser of Fax Machines

The poll was carried out after a report last year by DeepMind Health revealed that the NHS was the world’s largest purchaser of fax machines.

The new RCS poll revealed that the NHS Trust with the most fax machines still in use is Newcastle upon Tyne NHS with 603. Barts Health NHS Trust still uses 369 fax machines.

Labour Party Says There Are More

In June this year, the Labour Party reported that it believed that there were at least 11,620 fax machines still in use across the NHS in England, costing £137,000 a year to maintain.

Fax Machines

What is considered to be the first commercial version of a modern fax machine (short for facsimile) was introduced (and patented) by Xerox Corporation in 1964. Fax machines, however, reached the peak of their popularity in the late 1980s.

NHS Also Largest User of Pagers

A report by telecoms consultancy CommonTime from last year showed that the NHS is the largest user of pagers, with 130,000 of them still in use in the NHS, mainly in acute hospitals. Pagers reached their peak of popularity back in 1994 (61 million in use), and it is believed that there are now only 1 million users worldwide. The NHS, however, spends £6.6m on them each year.

The reason for their continued popularity in the NHS is thought to be their simplicity, their use of radio frequencies rather than their reliance on Internet connections, their resilience, the fact that there’s an audit trail, they’re easy to carry, and they have a long battery life.

The CommonTime report suggests that the NHS could save up to £2,718,009 per year / over £10m across four years by simply replacing pagers with smartphone-based applications.

Hopes For Greater Move To Digital

These reports and polls appear to show that the NHS is lagging behind in the digital revolution and clinging to obsolete technology where its internal communications are concerned.

The last Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, had wanted a paperless NHS by this year, and the new Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, is known to be a supporter of technology and digitisation.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Those in the NHS have pointed out that years of austerity, cuts, lack of funds, and the need to pare back spending on facilities and technology in order to keep the service going are the reasons why the NHS still uses outdated communications technology like fax machines.

The natural substitute and successor to fax machines appears to be apps like SnapChat and WhatsApp. In fact, during the WannaCry cyber attack that brought down NHS computer systems, many NHS staff used WhatsApp to communicate, with an estimated 500 patients a day being diagnosed from X-ray images sent on the app.

Clearly, there is a need for an affordable, reliable, fast and easy to use day-to-day communications platform for NHS Trust staff to use that could help them to save the Trusts money, save themselves time, and add value to the provision of services. Continuing to rely on fax machines will probably only lead to stealth IT anyway. Apps appear to be the natural way forward, provided they offer the right level of security for patient data, but the NHS also has an internal email system called NHSmail that is not being used widely enough.