Intel’s Got a Big Problem, And Other Small Biz Tech News This Week

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Intel has a big hacker problem on its hands.

Intel recently disclosed that its core CPUs (Central Processing Units) have a critical flaw that could allow an Intel-based computer to be taken over by a remote hacker even if the computers are powered off. This technology flaw appears in all seven generations of its CPUs from the past nine years, but Intel said that the vulnerable chip does not exist on Intel-based consumer PCs. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

If you are concerned as to whether your business computers are susceptible to this type of hack, you can download an app from Intel to see if you need to upgrade your system.

2 — Amazon is dropping its free shipping minimum to $25.

With Walmart rolling out its new “Pickup Discount” program that allows its customers to receive cheaper prices on items shipped to its stores, Amazon has decided to retaliate in its own way by dropping shipping costs for non-Prime members. (Source: Forbes)

Why this is important for your business:

If you’re competing against Amazon online, then here’s yet another challenge you’ll have to meet. Is the minimum purchase you’re requiring your visitors to make for free shipping as low?

3 — Pebble Beach guests will soon have a virtual concierge thanks to IBM.

The Pebble Beach Golf Resort in California is partnering with IBM to add Watson’s artificial intelligence to the hotel’s new app. The app is “embedded with Watson’s Conversation applications programming interface (API), which enables visitors to experience Pebble Beach as if they’re traveling with a local guide,” said a spokesperson. (Source: VentureBeat)

Why this is important for your business:

Bill Perocchi, CEO of Pebble Beach Company, said, “IBM combines industry expertise and cutting-edge technology to deliver a level of engagement our guests haven’t seen before.” Virtual reality and artificial engagement tools will soon be giving you the chance to give your customers incredible experiences too…if you’re paying attention.

4 — The QR code is back and better than ever.

QR codes appear to be having a renaissance, thanks to the recent efforts of Snapchat (with its Snapcodes introduced in 2015) and Facebook. (Source: Mashable)

Why this is important for your business:

While older QR code readers were cumbersome and difficult to access, Snapchat has “made the entire process easier to use by building the reader into its app while simultaneously providing reasons to scan them.” Not to be outdone, Facebook is currently testing a Rewards feature “where inside the app users have QR codes that participating stores can scan and gift Facebook users with incentives.” Whether you love them or hate them, it looks like QR codes are here to stay — and your business may profit by using them in the same ways.

5 — Bozeman, Montana is a growing startup hub.

The small city of Bozeman, Montana, is a “boomtown for entrepreneurs,” thanks to its “natural amenities, the presence of a university, and an embrace of the digital economy.” These businesses also have higher retention rates and a better work-life balance for employees than their Silicon Valley counterparts. (Source: Fast Company)

Why this is important for your business:

Thinking of starting up a tech company or relocating to a better place? Small towns, like Bozeman are giving tech hubs like San Francisco and New York a run for the money.