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Is It Santa or Software?

The holiday season is in full swing and many of us are shopping for presents. We’ve talked a lot on TechPost about how software affects almost every aspect of our daily lives, and gift-giving is no exception. From making the present to capturing the joy, software is helping us out this holiday season.

Let’s say you want to buy a stuffed bear for your baby niece – let’s call her Zoe. Software can help you every step of the way.

Making

There would be no stuffed bears without the toy companies that design and make them. Before we even start to think about gifts, toymakers are hard at work preparing for the holiday season. Software allows manufacturers to get instant feedback from their customers to design the best possible product. Design software combines 3D modeling with IoT development tools, so that manufacturers can build smart components into their products right from the start. So not only can designers model the bear’s features from 360 degrees, they can also plan to program an “intelligent assistant” so the bear can speak to Zoe.

Shopping

Once you find the perfect bear, it’s time to buy it. Software and chip technology protect your information by generating a unique one-time code for every transaction that verifies the card’s authenticity. The chip also encrypts your information during the transaction to guard against identify theft. Banks use software to flag suspicious purchases and alert you of any potential credit card fraud.

Shipping

Software helps get the bear to Zoe quickly and accurately. During peak holiday season, companies like UPS each deliver around 30 million packages. Telematic sensors in tens of thousands of delivery trucks track engine performance, improve routes, and anticipate maintenance or route problems in advance. Shipping companies use data collected by vehicle sensors to save millions of gallons of fuel through more efficient logistics. Thanks to GPS tracking and AI, companies can predict weather patterns and anticipate delays. Cloud computing helps expand these systems to the thousands of additional employees hired during the holiday rush, and makes sure the bear gets to Zoe on time.

Sharing the Joy

Zoe loves her bear and her mom texts you a photo of her giggling with her new toy. Photo software helps ensure the picture is of the highest resolution and the lighting is just right. Once Zoe’s mom has a great photo, she sends it to you over a wireless network that runs on software. Wherever you are in the world, you can share in the joy.

In the mad rush between buying presents and spending time with family and friends, we may not realize how much work software does behind the scenes. Whether it’s a stuffed bear or the latest tech gadget, software helps businesses and people select, purchase, create, send, and receive their gifts on time. In the season of giving, software is doing just that.

Happy Holidays from BSA!

Victoria Espinel

Author:

Victoria Espinel, President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance and President of Software.org: the BSA Foundation, is a respected authority on the intersection of technology innovation, global markets and public policy. She leads strategic efforts that help shape the technology landscape in 60 countries through work in BSA’s 10 global offices.

Prior to heading BSA | The Software Alliance, Espinel served for a decade in the White House, for both Republican and Democratic Administrations. Espinel advised President Obama on pivotal IP issues in her role as the first US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. She was the chief US trade negotiator on IP innovation as the nation’s first Assistant United States Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation. She has also served as a professor of international trade and intellectual property at the George Mason School of Law.

Espinel is a founding and ongoing co-sponsor of Girls Who Code’s Washington, DC, summer immersion program, which empowers young women to pursue careers in STEM fields. She speaks at conferences around the world to build visibility for the amazing things people can do with software, and encourages businesses, governments, and the public to support a policy environment that will enable even more software breakthroughs.

Espinel chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software & Society and was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), the principal advisory group for the US government on international trade. She holds an LLM from the London School of Economics, a JD from Georgetown University Law School, and a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

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