Hashtag Trending – Emergency mobile alerts tested; Microsoft’s $25 million AI fund; smart luggage goes bust

Emergency alert! Systems for mobile devices is tested across Canada, Microsoft creates an AI for accessibility fund, and one “smart device” that’s packing its bags for the graveyard of good ideas.

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Trending on Twitter, that sound was blaring from cellphones all across Canada yesterday, except for in Quebec. It was a test of a national public alert system mandated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Quebec’s test run didn’t work because of a single space incorrectly placed in the code. Good thing they’re testing this thing, right? The nation-wide system is operated by Pelmorex, owner of The Weather Network. It will alert Canadians in a geographic region that’s threatened by dangerous weather events, terrorist threats, or in the case of an Amber Alert for a kidnapped child.

Trending on Google, Microsoft is funding a $25 million program that will use artificial intelligence to create technology to help people with disabilities. The program is called “AI for Accessibility” and Microsoft announced it at its Build conference in Seattle. The funding will be used over five years and award grants to startup, non-profits, and academics to develop AI tools that could create more opportunities for the disabled. Microsoft may also assign their own researchers to help work on compelling projects of this sort.

Maker of smart luggage goes out of business after airlines ban bags with built-in batteries from technology

Trending on Reddit, a smart luggage maker is going out of business because of new rules introduced by airlines. New York-based Bluesmart made suitcases that were powered with lithium batteries. This allowed them to be tracked using a GPS tag, automatically lock, and report their own weight. Since the five largest airlines in the U.S. have all banned any checked luggage with built-in batteries, this is one business plan that may never reach its destination. Bluesmart is selling all of its designs and technology to another luggage company, Travelpro.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jacksonhttp://www.itbusiness.ca/
Former editorial director of IT World Canada. Current research director at Info-Tech

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