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Daily Archives: January 22, 2020
Researchers went to festivals to study psychedelic drugs and found they left people feeling happy and connected hours after the high wore off -…
Posted: January 22, 2020 at 6:49 pm
As psychedelics are being embraced as a potential treatment for mental health conditions, new research suggests that mind-altering substances like 'magic' mushrooms leave people feeling positive and socially connected hours after the high wears off.
The study by Yale University, surveying 1,200 Brits and Americans at six music festivals, provided evidence to support lab-based research that psychedelic drugs can boost wellbeing.
Between 2015 and 2017, teams of researchers set up "Play Games for Science" booths in busy areas at their selected festivals between 10 AM and 1 PM, encouraging people to come and speak to them. Participants spent 15 minutes filling out surveys on their use of psychoactive substances, as well as age, gender, level of religiousness, political orientation and level of education.
Each person was asked whether they'd had a transformative experience at the festival defined as "an experience that changes you so profoundly that you come out of the experience radically different than you were before the experience" and, if so, whether they enjoyed it.
Most of the participants were moderately liberal 30-year-olds who had attended four-year colleges. Some 80% of them drank alcohol at the festival, 50% used cannabis, and 26.6% used psychedelics. (Only 12.3% of festival goers reported taking zero substances.) Researchers only approached people who weren't noticeably drunk, and they put a question into their survey that functioned as a sobriety check, ruling out participants that were too drunk to answer correctly.
The researchers, led by neuroscientist Molly Crockett, found that the results were strongest in people who'd taken the drugs in the last 24 hours, though most seemed to be experiencing an "after glow" hours after the effects of the drugs should have worn off. They found people who'd taken psychedelics were more likely to feel positive, and some even experienced a shift in their moral values.
Crockett's team could not verify which drug each person was taking, how much of it, and whether it was mixed with other substances. But even their general findings were useful, echoing results in previous controlled laboratory studies that found psychedelics make us feel socially connected.
Crucially, they wanted to understand whether participants' expectations affected their 'high'. People taking psychedelics may have wanted or intended to have a transformative experience, Crockett told Insider, and the fact that attending an event might be a transformative experience even without psychedelics.
"We found that psychedelic use is associated with transformative experience over and above expecting and desiring such experiences," Crockett told Insider.
The study did not look at negative reactions beyond asking participants if their transformative experience had been positive or negative.
In the 1950s and 60s, psychedelic properties such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) were the subject of many scientific studies, but they fell out of favor as the drugs became associated with debauchery and hedonism.
Recently there's been a resurgence of scientific interest in the benefits of psilocybin. In 2018, researchers at John Hopkins, America's oldest research university,urged the federal government to legalize psilocybin.
Last year Johns Hopkins launched a center solely dedicated to psychedelics research. This came after a number of studies which looked at the effect psychedelics had on depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
"Something with more immediate effects has a huge benefit as a tool in the therapeutic toolbox," Matthew Johnson, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, who authored his own psilocybin study, previously told Insider.
However, most research on the possible medical benefits of psychedelics takes place in a sterile lab environment, Crockett told Insider. It means scientists still don't have enough evidence to confirm if people will react to psychedelics in the real world the same way they would in a lab.
That's why Crockett led a group of researchers in visiting a bunch of music festivals, where psychedelics are often used to augment the musical experience, to find out what effect psychedelics might have in a natural setting.
"There is still a lot we don't understand about how psychedelics affect the brain and mind," Crockett told Insider. We need more research on how psychedelics "can be used to reduce suffering and enhance wellbeing, and how to minimize risks and potential negative effects associated with their use."
Researchers think magic mushrooms could have the potential to treat depression
A psychedelics expert says magic mushrooms will be approved for depression by 2027 here's why
Why psychedelics like magic mushrooms appear to kill the ego and fundamentally transform the brain
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Posted: at 6:49 pm
Welcome to Impact Factor, your weekly microdose of commentary on a new medical study. I'm Dr F. Perry Wilson.
In 2006, 36 research subjects were given the psychedelic agent psilocybin under carefully controlled lab conditions. The majority reported having a mystical experience, with 21 of 36 rating it one of the top five most personally meaningful experiences of their lives.
Lab-controlled experiments of the effects of psychedelics have repeatedly shown that the agents can induce so-called "transformative experiences"powerful, nearly religious experiences that may even lead to a reevaluation of central values. Lab studies also suggest that they can cause a dissolution of the ego, leading to certain universal "oneness" and lasting positive effects. But let's be honestthe vast majority of people who use psychedelics aren't using them in laboratories.
So where do you go to find people using psychedelics in the real world?
Yup. Burning Man.
You've probably heard of Burning Man, Coachella, Lollapalooza. And if you were a part of Dr Molly Crockett's Yale team of psychology researchers, you could actually gofor science!
Results of the in-the-wild study appear in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team attended six multiday mass gatherings in the United States and United Kingdom and set up a booth to interview participants about their experiences with various substances.
Credit to clever survey design here. They maintained anonymity by creating a unique identifier for each individual. And to make sure that people weren't actively under the influence, they included a few sobriety checks in the questionnaire. Here's one:
Did you catch that?
To ensure that participants would be comfortable being honest about their exposures, they mixed legal sources of exposure into the survey examples. So instead of asking if the participant had been smoking marijuana, they asked whether he or she had used cannabis products (eg, weed, THC, CBD, hemp oil).
The numbers indicate... well, about what you'd expect.
Eighty percent of individuals surveyed had used alcohol at the event, 51% had used cannabis products, and just over a quarter had used psychedelics. About 1 in 8 reported using no substances at all.
The big question was whether those mystical effects seen in the lab would translate to the real world. And, indeed, they seemed to.
Those who had taken psychedelics were more likely to report a transformative experience, more likely to have a positive mood, and more likely to feel socially connected. This was independent of the effect of other agents.
Now, you might think that people predisposed to take psychedelics are also more likely to claim transformative experiences. The researchers tried to disentangle that by asking the participants about their desire and expectation to have a transformative experience. The effect of psychedelic exposure was just as robust even after accounting for that desire.
The transformative experiences themselves were different when psychedelics were involved compared with other drugs. They were more positive and more likely to lead to shifts in one's moral values.
Now, a major caveat is that the survey wasn't really designed to pick up adverse drug effects, so take the Pollyanna-ish results here with a grain of lysergic acid. But still, overall, the drugs seem to do in real life what they do in the lab. And broadly, the effects are positive.
But why are we talking about this? Three reasons.
First, it's a fun study to remind us that science is cool and doesn't have to be done in a petri dish.
Second, it's a study to remind us that some of our patients use drugs that don't come from us. It is part of good medical practice to ask about them and to understand their effects in context.
But most of all, I think we need to start paying more attention to this space. Softening social attitudes toward certain drugs like cannabis and psychedelics have opened the door to more robust research about their effects. And though it's early days, there seems to be some promise here.
Depression is an epidemic in this country. Current therapies are okay but fail in too many patients. I am encouraged that certain previously verboten drugs, like ketamine, are seeing a rebirth as potentially game-changing antidepressants. We should proceed slowly and cautiously in evaluating any substance that has the capability to alter the sensorium so profoundly (and even change our moral values), but we'd be remiss to dismiss them out of hand. So pay attention. And stay groovy.
F. Perry Wilson, MD, MSCE, is an associate professor of medicine and director of Yale's Program of Applied Translational Research. His science communication work can be found in the Huffington Post, on NPR, and here on Medscape. He tweets @methodsmanmd and hosts a repository of his communication work at http://www.methodsman.com.
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Posted: at 6:47 pm
(WHNT) The Alabama School of Technology and Engineering(ASCTE) announced, in a press release, that they are now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year.
The new school will be the states third public, tuition-free magnet school, joining the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham and the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science in Mobile.
ASCTE is the new state magnet high school, created by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey in April 2018.
ASCTE is seeking students from every school system in Alabama, according to the release.
Our school will serve grades 9-12 and offer internships, co-op opportunities, and field experience with industries and governmental agencies in Huntsville that relate to cyber and engineering. We already have industries and government agencies eager to support the students who will be coming to our school, said Matt Massey, ASCTE President.
The school will open in an interim facility at Oakwood University on August 5, 2020. The school anticipates a first-year enrollment of about 100 students and growing to 350 when the permanent facility will open in August 2022.
Click here to apply or visit ASCTE on Facebook(@ASCTEAlabama).
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Posted: at 6:47 pm
Microsoft has cast a look into the future of education as it looks to prepare the classrooms of tomorrow with the technology they need to thrive.
The computing giant has revealed new research at BETT 2020 today that examines just what the teachers of 2030 will require in terms of technological needs.
With millennials and Generation Z set to make up a significant proportion of the teaching workforce by 2030, the needs of students and teachers alike are set to change, and Microsoft wants to be in pole position.
Microsofts study surveyed over a thousand new and early-career teachers around the world in an attempt to work out their needs, but also looked to drill into just what technology can do for the educators of tomorrow.
The company found that technology is set to play an increasingly vital role in the classroom of the future, both in terms of enabling learning but also enriching the student and teacher experiences.
The study found that the largest benefits of education technology were seen as allowing more engaging learning experiences (chosen by 36 percent of the participants), enabling self-directed learning (31 percent) and preparing students for the tech-centric job market (30 percent).
However there were also some concerns surrounding the use of technology in the classroom, with 36 percent of respondents saying they feared it could lead to a loss of traditional skills and knowledge, such as handwriting. 34 percent were worried that students already spent too much time on devices already, and 28 percent said that the technology could be too distracting.
A lack of proper tools was named as the top barrier to achieving positive education outcomes through technology, with inadequate training for teachers on the technology they would be using, and inadequate technical support also ranking highly.
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Posted: at 6:47 pm
How is technology changing the enterprise in 2020? It would be tough to pin down an answer that's anything close to comprehensive, but chipping ice chunks off the glacier of "the state of technology and work in 2020" can help us glean insights into the creep and flow of new and developing technologies in the enterprise heading into the new decade.
I caught up with ADP's corporate vice president,Don Weinstein, to get his take on how technology will continue to reshape the workforce over the next 6-12 months. Personalization, AI/ML, predictive analytics, low code technology ... Don's insights, presented below, are far-ranging and offered with an eye toward gleaning insights into the broader trends in technology and the workforce that he's seeing from his perch at ADP.
They're also offered, refreshingly, with an eye toward how the worker will be affected.
First up, Weinstein believes that the efficacy of teams and non-hierarchical working structures will gain even more traction, in large part unlocked by technology.
"The future of work lies in a flat working structure that unlocks the potential of criteria-based teams," he says. "Companies will increasingly look to meet their talent needs by supplementing their staff with highly specialized gig workers; former, returning employees; and retirees that can support nimble work."
Listening to this prediction, an interesting corollary that occurred to me lies in Hollywood. Movies, which are massively complicated endeavors to pull off, rely on teams of gig workers (everyone from actors and filmmakers to set designers and production coordinators) coming together quickly to pull off a herculean task.
Perhaps in contrast to Hollywood, where specialization is paramount, Weinstein believes there will be a loosening of strict job functions to allow for creative problem solving.
"Organizations will need to break down siloes to unlock potential and create a culture of connectivity predicated on engagement and performance. This is even more important for businesses managing multi-generational workers."
At the same time, technology will also enable new personalization opportunities for employees.
"Employers and employees alike will demand app-driven, consumer-grade HCM experiences [Human Capital Management], not monolithic software. The employee experience will evolve through a confluence of emerging technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)."
One result is seemingly banal but actually very impactful: Employees will be able to decide how and when they get paid, potentially alleviating the gnawing pressure that biweekly or monthly paychecks introduce.
"The pay experience will reach a new level of personalization, offering an easier way for workers to be paid, the way they want, anytime they want."
Worker mobility has been a trend for some time, but globalized workforces create compliance nightmares for HR and other partners.
"HCM partners will need to deliver global localization the ability to localize compliance tools that address changing policies, regulations and laws at all levels of regulatory control with ease. As organizational teams continue to become more global with workers logging in from around the world businesses will be increasingly focused on uncovering new, compliant ways to support worker mobility, without creating unnecessary burden."
Technologies coming online to help could enable new flexibility for workers to work where they want.
"The talent war will be fought and won on the ability to unlock and apply actionable insights derived from reliable, decision-quality data. Predictive analytics will be table stakes for any successful business in 2020, providing critical workforce insights such as overtime spikes, excessive turnover, labor costs and even pay equity."
The specific technologies Weinstein mentions suggest a real convergence of functionality.
"AI, machine learning, serverless computing, 5G connectivity these macro trends drive innovation as businesses strive to optimize experiences for employees and clients. In the coming year, companies that harness data and action it against emerging technologies will not only survive but thrive."
Adaptability and enterprise technology may seem like a non-sequitur, but Weinstein suggests that demands from workers in a tight labor economy will drive the transition.
"Just as teams will become more agile, so will technology platforms. Cloud-native, low-code technology platforms will receive favorability, as they eliminate maintenance windows, drive scalability and performance, and require less technical fluency from users. Companies will have greater access to technology that provides ever-evolving, personalized solutions to fit their organization."
I'll be tracking more predictions from across the enterprise in future coverage.
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Posted: at 6:47 pm
Financial services technology leader FIS (NYSE: FIS) and the State of Ohio announced today that the company plans to solidify its presence in Cincinnati as a Strategic Technology and Innovation Campus.
The campus in Governors Hill, in Symmes Township, Ohio, previously served as the corporate headquarters of Worldpay, which was acquired by FIS on July 31, 2019.
"Our significant presence in the Cincinnati market and the state of Ohio is integral to our long-term growth plans and goals to deepen our global leadership in financial technology innovation," FIS Chairman, CEO and President Gary Norcross said. "We look forward to our continued partnership with the Cincinnati region and the state as we focus on our mission to advance the way the world pays, banks and invests. We would particularly like to acknowledge JobsOhio and REDI Cincinnati for their leadership and assistance with this agreement."
"The technology provided by FIS and its Worldpay merchant payment solutions is central to the movement of money around the world and much of that technological innovation starts here in Ohio," JobsOhio President and Chief Investment Officer J.P. Nauseef said. "As the expectations of consumers change with new technology, it is exciting to know that a Fortune 500 company that is so influential in driving global commerce has one of its most significant locations right here in Ohio."
"We have a rich history in Cincinnati and are excited about the future impact our Ohio colleagues will have in innovating and advancing the customer experience for our clients all over the world," FIS COO Stephanie Ferris said. "This is all part of a new chapter for us in the Cincinnati region, as we continue to hire the regions top tech talent and will be seeking new ways to collaborate with this community."
FIS also said it will continue to invest in its location at the University of Cincinnatis 1819 Innovation Hub, where the company has plans to employ students to work on FinTech applications. The company also plans to continue to work with the University of Cincinnati and Miami University through its initiative to increase the number of studentsespecially women and underrepresented minoritieswho are pursuing degrees related to the fast-growing technology sector.
"Technology is advancing at a rapid rate, and FIS has been leading the way in its industry for a long time. I am thrilled that it will continue to do that from the Cincinnati region," REDI Cincinnati President and CEO Kimm Lauterbach said. "We expect to build on our relationship with FIS in exciting ways that will drive global innovation from our region and provide opportunities for those who want to work and live here."
FIS is a leading provider of technology solutions for merchants, banks and capital markets firms globally. Our 55,000 people are dedicated to advancing the way the world pays, banks and invests by applying our scale, deep expertise and data-driven insights. We help our clients use technology in innovative ways to solve business-critical challenges and deliver superior experiences for their customers. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, FIS is a Fortune 500 company and is a member of Standard & Poors 500 Index. To learn more, visit http://www.fisglobal.com. Follow FIS on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (@FISGlobal).
About REDI Cincinnati
The Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Cincinnati is the first point-of-contact for companies locating or growing in the 16-county region at the heart of southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky and southeast Indiana. REDI Cincinnati is supported by top business leaders and community partners, and staffed by a team of economic development experts who are uniting the Cincinnati region to compete globally.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200122005060/en/
Kim Snider, 904.438.6278Senior Vice PresidentFIS Global Marketing and Communicationskim.firstname.lastname@example.org
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Posted: at 6:47 pm
The available studies rely on data at least two years old and probably understate how rapidly China is leapfrogging into the developed world as a tech power. It has more than tripled research and development over the past decade to $440 billion a year, more than in all of Europe. Today nine of the 20 largest internet companies in the world are Chinese (alongside 10 from the United States and one from Canada).
Explosive growth in online banking is helping to fuel 20 percent annual growth in consumer lending and an overdue shift from export manufacturing to domestic consumption as the main driver of economic growth. Set up in 2015, Alibabas MYbank has extended loans to 16 million customers, including 3-1-0 microloans that require three minutes to apply, one second to approve and zero humans involved.
Automation is killing off jobs. At Hema grocery stores, owned by Alibaba, little white robots work the lunch counter in place of waiters. Gym patrons follow the steps on a giant video screen embedded in the floor, no trainer required. Shenzhen residents say criminals have been driven off the streets by the surveillance cameras.
Yet on balance, tech is probably creating more professions than it destroys. A recent International Monetary Fund paper estimates that after subtracting the jobs it eliminates, digitalization accounts for up to half of all job growth. Alibaba platforms alone host millions of small companies, which over the past decade have added 30 million jobs more than China has lost in heavy industry.
Chinas tech revolution was made possible by two of the forces that were expected to slow the economy. The population may be aging, but it still provides a vast market in which tech start-ups can blossom. And though growth normally slows when countries attain a middle-class income, in China the new middle class provides the main customers for new mobile internet services.
No other country has this combination. India has the population, not the income. Brazil has the income, not the population. And these democratic societies are also far more suspicious of government surveillance than China is. Witness the widespread controversy over the rollout of biometric IDs in India.
In China, at least outside Xinjiang, the relatively mild concern about personal data has helped fuel the boom in digital payments and e-commerce. China is the worlds largest e-commerce market by far, and fleets of motorbikes painted in the colors of online delivery companies park five to six rows deep outside malls and office towers.
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Kiwi automated checkout start-up IMAGR announces backing from global technology heavy-weight – Yahoo Finance
Posted: at 6:47 pm
USD$9.5million capital raise set to fuel IMAGR's expansion
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Jan. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Shoppers are one step closer to skipping checkout queues forever with New Zealand technology start-up IMAGR raising USD$9.5m in its pre-series A funding round.
IMAGR is the creator of the SmartCart intelligent shopping trolley. Harnessing computer vision technology and AI, this queue-busting solution automates checkouts and payments for a frictionless shopping experience.
William Chomley, IMAGR CEO, says the funding was led by global industry giant Toshiba Tec Corporation.
"It's thrilling to be backed by an international point-of-sale leader like Toshiba Tec which owns 96 percent of the convenience market in Japan (FY2017 Shipment in Japan).
Its support of IMAGR shows we have the right technology in place to change how retail shopping is done across the world."
Masami Uchiyama, Toshiba Tec Senior Vice President, says they underwent a rigorous due diligence process before deciding to support IMAGR.
"We looked globally for the most promising automated checkout provider and settled on IMAGR as the most advanced technology of its kind."
"Its computer vision and AI technology is industry-leading, outperforming other AI retail systems we have seen, and the integration into existing stores is simple and scalable. We can't wait to see IMAGR change the retail industry in the 2020s."
The funding round was also backed by Sage Capital and Harald McPike, both existing IMAGR shareholders.
Chomley says: "We were overwhelmed with support during this capital raise, with an over subscription nearly doubling the amount we initially set out for."
Next year, IMAGR's SmartCarts will launch in Japan with H2O RETAILING CORPORATION and in New Zealand with Farro Fresh.
Chomley says the funding from the capital raise will benefit execution in the Japanese and New Zealand markets, as well further international expansion.
"Since starting up in 2017 we've experienced rapid expansion, as well as interest and commitment for our product. We've always had a simple goal: to make it easier for people around the world to shop. This funding will allow us to accelerate our plans, ensuring more people will be skipping queues by utilising our SmartCarts in 2020 and beyond."
IMAGR is a retail technology start-up based in Auckland, New Zealand. It was founded in 2017 by William Chomley and the company has since gone from strength to strength.
IMAGR is the creator of the SmartCart, a checkout-less shopping experience which is made possible through computer vision technology. SmartCart's contain four cameras, coupled with the world's most powerful AI vision recognition system. As a result, SmartCart knows what a customer puts in, or removes from, their carts. Self-contained in a robust trolley which is visually indistinguishable from a regular shopping cart, the cameras examine, recognise and account for goods as they are added or removed.
About Toshiba Tec
The Toshiba Tec Group, the worldwide leading brand in the retail market aims to be a company that can continually provide the best solutions to customers, which include the retail, food and beverage industries, as well as logistics, manufacturing industries, and offices. Their Group conduct business operations in over 100 countries and regions.
Rather than continue as an extension of the past, they are actively striving to anticipate ever-changing market needs by looking at ways to enhance our creativity and adaptability, thereby enabling a swift response to these changes. By providing solutions that are one step ahead to all the customers, and endeavour to contribute to the realization of a better society.
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Posted: at 6:47 pm
The molecular structure of Graphene, which is made up of extremely thin layers of carbon. Image courtesy of Wikimedia user AlexanderAlUS.
two-dimensional materials will be the linchpin of the internet of everything. They will be painted on bridges and form the sensors to watch for strain and cracks. They will cover windows with transparent layers that become visible only when information is displayed. And if his teams radio wave-absorber succeeds, it will power those ever-present electronics. Increasingly, the future looks flat. The New York Times
Amos Zeeberg of The New York Timestakes a look at the wide world of super-thin materials, a growing class of substances that have the potential to reshape humanity's technological capabilities.
The materials include graphene, an incredibly strong and conductive "2-D form of carbon" that can be used to create electronics, including fast-charging batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. Other materials, likemolybdenum disulfide(MoS2), can be embedded within concrete to create stress sensors or "painted" on to surfaces to, for example, convert table tops into battery charging membranes.
"Increasingly," as Zeeberg puts it, "the future looks flat."
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BigID Introduces New Discovery-in-Depth Technology to Give Organizations Unmatched Data Intelligence for Privacy, Protection and Perspective -…
Posted: at 6:47 pm
NEW YORK & TEL AVIV, Israel--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BigID, the leader in personal data privacy and protection, today announced their Discovery-In-Depth technology to provide organizations with unprecedented visibility and insight into personal and crown jewel data.
The new technology builds on BigIDs patented Correlation technology for finding any Personal Information (PI) and sensitive data, across any data store or pipeline, and correlating it back to a person so as to address critical CCPA and GDPR use cases like personal data rights. It introduces three new ML-based data intelligence modalities to help organizations know their data for privacy, protection and perspective.
Data is the lifeblood of a modern business. However, traditional approaches to data discovery lack the detail, context, coverage or privacy-awareness to address modern regulatory and security needs, explained Nimrod Vax, BigIDs Head of Product. BigIDs next generation Discovery-in-Depth technology is the first and only data intelligence platform to combine ML-based Cataloging, Classification, Cluster Analysis and Correlation to give enterprises unmatched situational awareness and actionability across a modern enterprise data landscape.
To learn more, please visit bigid.com/demo.
Based in New York and Tel Aviv, BigID uses advanced machine learning and identity intelligence to help enterprises better protect their customer and employee data at petabyte scale. Using BigID, enterprises can better safeguard and assure the privacy of their most sensitive data, reducing breach risk and enabling compliance with emerging data protection regulations like the EUs General Data Protection Regulation and California Consumer Privacy Act. BigID has raised $146 million in funding since its founding in 2016 and has been recognized for its privacy innovation as the 2018 RSA Conference Innovation Sandbox winner, a CB Insights 2018 Cyber Defender, Network Products Guide 2018 IT World Awards Hot Company of the Year winner, a 2019 InformationWeek Vendor to Watch, a 2019 Business Insider enterprise vendor to bet your career on, and a 2019 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. Learn more at http://bigid.com or visit us at http://bigid.com/demo to schedule a demo.
Originally posted here: