SOLUTIONCENTERS AMERICAS (BETA) ACTION PLAN :
A UNIQUE SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERIENCE
The internet, the web and the digital economy have become essential tools of education, training, recruitment, administration, management, business, commerce, storage, logistics, sourcing, selection, delivery and consumption of goods and services. Like any tool, technology can be used, misused or abused. The SolutionCenters ecosystem filters, focuses and harnesses all that is best about our 21st century technologies and puts them closer to users, in the most effective ways, at tiered, online community, local, regional, national, international and global levels.
We are in a time of rapid transition to new ways of living, working, traveling, communicating, interacting and managing resources. Untold opportunities exist for entrepreneurs and professionals to find new, socially responsible ways to deliver optimum value to users, consumers and clients and for local, regional and national authorities to redefine, update and optimise the delivery of public services and local amenities. Greener, more efficient and more creative and innovative uses of the resources of the planet and repurposing of redundant spaces, buildings, structures, infrastructure and materials are an inevitable part of our future.
We all lead multi-dimensional digital lives but the richness and value of user and consumer experience varies signifcantly from platform to platform. SolutionCenters offers an ideal, safe, secure space for a nexus of administrative, civic, commercial, creative, social and personal interests to insect and add value at every visit. With an emphasis on the amplification and empowerment of local, regional, national and international business communities, SolutionCenters aims to help users network, build links, form networks, find suppliers or partners, identify opportunities, collaborate, source, hire talent, advertise, market, promote and deliver goods, services to customers and take client projects forward to completion.
Transformation is most discernible in local communities. It is therefore at local community level (particularly in Rust belts and other underdeveloped provincial areas) that changes must take root, to shed redundant remnants of the industrial era that add no value and embed them firmly in the 21st century. Challenges we all face in tranisitioning from current inefficient, ecologically unsustainable modes of operation to greener, more efficient models demand new thinking. Higher levels of automation and the need for the development of better, mode sustainable, less energy-intensive new materials, tools and processes offers local, regional and national authorities new imperatives to engage and collaborate with directly with entrepreneurs and professionals in local business communities, as never before.
Local authorities have fresh roles to play in the levelling up of economic opportunity and the evolution of underdeveloped provincial regions. Obvious targets include: infrastucture renewal, to improve and update amenities and create worthwhile, well-paying jobs. subsidization of public transport in a phase of post-pandemic and WFH realignment and a downturn in demand; investment in charging points for electric vehicles; cycle lanes; secure storage for expensive eBikes; acceleration of private eScooter use authotization/legislation (with mandatory safety equipment stipulated); domestic insulation programs; redesign of high streets; repurposing of redundant retail units and empty, unusable office buildings in an era of remote work and less commuting, into green, fibre-connected live/work housing units for knowledge workers, artisans, online microretailing, coaching, podcasting, online music performace and other small scale enterprises.
SolutionCenters creates the ideal environment for these synergies of the interaction of localized enterprise and imaginative local regional and federal government policy, to create a safe, secure interaction space for authenticated users engaged in serious commercial, administrative and educational activities, undistracted by the deficiencies of the wider web (undesired ad targeting; low value ad saturation; unsolicited data harvesting; unwitting usage tracking; unsolicited contact data aggregation; anonymous users, fake profiles, spammers, scammers, impersonators, impostors, fantasists, untested, untrained and unqualified incompetents).
The internet and web are invaluable tools in this digital era but they were not designed well enough to build in protections that offer optimum benefit to users. They have evolved into a small number of oases of value adrift in a vast ocean of valueless, inhibiting, lawless, unregulated misuse, abuse and illicit activity. Even the areas of value are rife with unethical undercurrents, where seemingly ‘free’ utilities are monetized by the wholesale appropriation, aggregation and sale and multiple resale of highly personal user data, exploiting lack of awarenesss and diligence among users. In this early, ‘robber baron’ era of the evolution of the ‘wild west’ web, vast, underserved fortunes are being amassed by those most willing to ruthlessly exploit user naivety and deploy highly intrusive methods of data overacquisition.
Users are relentlessly urged to sync their devices and add multiple email addresses and phone numbers to apps they use (to maximize the potential for intrusive integrated data aggegation). All manner of web-connected personal assistants are increasingly deployed in homes and workplaces, listening to every sound, in anticipation of their activation words. Since technology can malfunction, sometimes inappropriate eavesdropping, recording and storage of sounds and images from the private lives of users has ineviatably occurred, despite brands’ protestations that these devices are designed not to eavesdrop or store captured data.
In this IoT era, a whole array of devices now monitor multiple aspects of complicit users’ lives: door entry systems, internal CCTV; baby monitors, smart energy meters; smart TVs, smart refrigerators, smart speakers; smart radios, to mention only the most common. These devices vie for which can amass the richest user data with tablets, smartphones and SaaS computers using remote, online operating systems that continually share usage data with software suppliers’ servers.
Acting almost as a cartel with a hidden agenda in the last decade, hardware and software manufacturers have made a concerted effort to push users into reliance on devices with minimal local storage space. This acts as an impulse to upload our ever-increasing volumes of personal and commercial data ‘in the cloud’. In fact, there’s no such thing as the cloud. It does not exist. It’s a pure fabrication. To store digital emails, pictures video clips, documents, books, research papers, contracts, licences, design, blueprints, certificates, patents and other items of value in ‘the cloud’, is to effectively store those things on other people’s computers.
Worse still, if, at any point in the future, cloud funding models evolve to users’ disadvantage and a usage charge begins to be required to access previously free cloud accounts, users risk becoming obstructed and separated from their own data. Threats of potential deletion on non-payment could act as a powerful tool of coercion (or extortion) in unscrupulous hands. Users who have cashflow problems might not even be able to maintain continual internet access, if other priorities use up all available disposable income. With no web access, one’s own cloud-stored data becomes inaccessible and potentially lost in perprtuity.
Apps are part of an obscured, user-disadvataging status quo. They pose as free or low cost tools to empower users with the latest tehnologies. In fact, almost all apps are primarily surreptitious data aggregation, pre-marketing tools. Since most of us take our phones with us wherever we go and most modern phones have cameras, microphones, bluetooth, GPS and a personal digital assistant built in, the amount of data potentially gathered can be astounding. It makes very little sense for a holidaymaker on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to a particular destination to have to download and install an app and then scan a QR code in order to take a once only trip on a ferry. How could users know who built the app, how robust its security is, which data it solicits and extracts from users’ devices, how those data are used, who they are passed on to? In worst cases, how could most users tell if a rogue app installed fleeting on vacation were to distribute and install some form of long-lasting malicious code on their devices?
Almost every aspect of an unwary person’s life can be subject to the closest intrusion (even the most intimate ones). For gullible, biddable, ‘early adopter’ users who always hop impulsively on every latest trend, the urge to sync their phones with an increasing arrary of web-conneted devices in homes, workplaces, cars (and even outdoor devices like smart automated product dispensers, car sharing systems; cashless payment readers, autopay smart supermarket product tagging systems and the rise of ambient, interactive personalised advertising) can all prove irresistible. Every device or cloud- stored image, video clip or voice clip is now surreptitiously parsed by facial recognition, voice file and reverse image search, location-matching geolocation apps and techniques, to digitally associate users with other individuals whose data is stored on databses of known people. The ultimate purpose is to build a contact set for each user, as a precursor to matching needs for highly personalized ad targting of whole, interconnected networks of users.
SolutionCenters promotes and encourages viable strategies for users to benefit from all the latest technology has to offer, without compromizing on or succumbing to the unwitting the sacrifice of their privacy, personal data and the tracking and monitoring of their contacts, activities and movements. Aternative solutions are proposed that offer users all the best value the internet and web have to offer, while filtering out the most unethical, rapacious, detrimental, user-disadvataging aspects. Authentication of users is reinforced at local level, since malicious actors are inevitably members of communities and would thus be easier to discover, shame and hold to account and thus less likely to succumb to temptation or greed.
Fresh initiatives include the encouragement of a revival of PC-based storage of personal and commercial data, with secure, automatically backed up, local storage on partitioned space for built-in, encrypted personal clouds for remote access on authorized mobile devices. This returns control of personal and commercial data to owners of those data and guarantees continued access to them, online or offline, without compromise on allowing users access to the very latest technologies. App-free, unsynced, web-connected, bluetooth-inhibited, offline mobile devices with stored contact information, for communication, alternated with app-laden web-connected devices with no stored contacts, no personal data or communication history for web access, searches, streaming, viewing, listening and capturing images and video clips, that is only powered on when in use, put users much more in control.
There is no need for two expensive mobile plan contracts. The secondary device could be put on one of many flexible, opt in-opt-out-according to cashflow, low cost, monthly SIM plans with lage data allowances available from airtime providers large and small, in a highly competitive, no risk market. The only minor inconvenience lies in carrying two devices instead of one (which many of us already do). All the ad targeting, data harvesting, tracking and monitoring will still happen … but to a ‘sanitized’ device unlinked to any specific user or other device. Meanwhile, a user’s main device can be used for its primary purposes – voice calls and messaging – in a clean environment into which hardware and software manufacturers cannot easily intrude, if users prefer them not do so.
SolutionCenters encourages and promotes the same dual use strategy for home and business computing and data storage. There’s no reason for a web-connected computer to be the same computer used for data storage. A web-connected PC with nothing stored on it, no contacts, no documents, no images or video clips could be used for all online searches and web browsing. This denies browser-linked data aggregators access to personal data or other devices. Cookie-deleting browsers like Firefox, non-tracking search engines like DuckDuckGo and browser extentions like AdBlockPlus can be used to reinforce user privacy and data protection.
Using a VPN to prevent geolocation tracking, a main, unsynced computer could be used for personal computing, online shopping, email, etc. All apps could be disabled. Access to cameras and mics could be disabled (and activated only when required). Data could be routinely stored to an array of local SSD storage devices which rregularly back up to a personal, private, encrypted cloud. A scalable, modular, encrypted, VPN-protected local file server and email server array, with networked workstations and peripheral devices could be used for most SME business computing, commercial sales and purchases, accounting, CRM, email, etc. All apps could be disabled. Access to cameras and mics could be disabled (and activated only when required). Data could be stored to an array of local SSD storage devices which routinely back up to a private, encrypted, storage device-generated cloud.
Ideally, all social media should be accessed on a separate, data-free, contacts-free, web connected devices, in homes and workplaces. Social media is the biggest harvester, tracker and monitor of personal and commercial data, user behavior, contacts and movements. Its use is therefore discouraged and unneccessary for SolutionCenters users, since newsfeeds, social networking; link-building; friending; special interest discussion groups; topic chat forums; community building; community management; messaging; messaging chat groups; local, national or international adverstising; local, national or international trading; online local bootfairs/garage sales; marketing, promotion; marketplace microretailing; local, regional, national or international courier cargo consolidation; local buying groups; local, national or international selling groups and local, regional, national or global online social interaction, can all comfortably take place within the safe, secure environment of the SolutionCenters ecosystem.
SolutionCenters supplies all the necessary innovations, technology, hardware, software, services, support, guidance, advice, functionality, interface updates, state-of-the-art tools, features and services, for informed users to buck current trends, regain control of their data and use the internet and web with full confidence. User experience is enriched in activities mostly unperturbed by data harvesters, user manipulation, bots, fakes, scammers, impostors, fantasists and unqualified incompetents, all of whom are inhibited and dealt with fairly but ruthlessly, using a combination of powerful, automated filtration tools and dedicated remote human review and arbitration processes. Welcome to SolutionCenters the new, user-focused dawn of web and internet usage.