Comcast Corp. plans to find out whether sweetening the deal with cybersecurity will persuade more customers to rent its xFi Gateway modem and router in an age when the Internet of Things is increasing security vulnerabilities.

The Philadelphia-based company began offering its Advanced Security product about a year ago for $5.99 per month. On Jan. 6 it announced plans to include a version of the service, branded xFi Advanced Security, without the additional charge when new customers activate an xFi Gateway.

The company is a major provider of broadband, subscription television and voice over internet protocol phone services in northeast Indiana.

The cybersecurity service doesn’t require any software download or setup beyond logging into xFi to protect a home’s wired and WiFi connected devices, such as security cameras, smart speakers, thermostats or smart TVs, the announcement said.

“We want you to have the peace of mind to know that in just a few minutes all the devices you connect in the home, and the people that use them, are safe and secured,” Dana Strong, Xfinity Consumer Services president, said in the announcement.

“Our customers asked for a better way to stream content and we answered with Xfinity Flex for free. Now, we’re giving them the protection they asked for with Advanced Security. That’s an incredible amount of value for our internet customers, and we’re just getting started.”

Using artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to monitor and analyze a home’s WiFi traffic, key features Comcast listed for the service included:

• A daily list of digital security-related actions that were taken each day.

• Preventing inadvertent visits to malicious sites and becoming a victim of phishing attacks.

• Blocking remote access to smart devices from unknown/dangerous sources.

• Monitoring of devices in real-time and delivering alerts when devices are behaving in unusual ways that could indicate a network threat.

• The ability to adapt to the home network and get smarter to keep up with new threats over time.

More information about xFi Advanced Security and what Comcast is doing to add value to its internet service is available at www.comcastcorporation.com/CES.

Navy modifies Raytheon jammer contract

Raytheon Co.’s Fort Wayne operations will handle 5% of the work for a $403.3 million contract modification the company received to supply equipment-supporting development of the Navy’s Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band Program.

The Navy increased the scope of a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to purchase seven more System Demonstration Test Articles shipsets, 60 SDTA pod subsystems, 27 pieces of peculiar support equipment, one static test pod and one fatigue test pod in support of the jammer program’s initial operational test and evaluation phase.

In addition to the work worth $20.2 million coming to Fort Wayne, work for the contract modification will take place in Dallas; Forest, Mississippi; El Segundo, California and Andover, Massachusetts.

The Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Maryland, announced the contract modification late last year, calling for the work to be completed in December 2022.

Homestead students win app competition

Homestead High School students Jack Gardner and Kobe Chen won the 2019 Congressional App Competition for the 3rd Congressional District of Indiana.

Their app, Radioactive Isotope Mass Calculator, arrives at the amount of radioactive isotope left after the material has decayed for a specified amount of time.

Scientists use the predictability of the decay process for radioactive dating of carbon in materials such as rocks to determine how old they are.

“To effectively compete with adversarial countries like China and Russia, American students must be encouraged to pursue scientific passions,” Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, said in announcing the competition’s winners last month.

“Kobe and Jack’s app capitalizes on the relationship between science and technology, and I applaud them for harnessing technology to learn more about our world. I’d like to thank all our students who participated in the competition this year.”

The Congressional App Challenge was launched in 2014 to encourage coding among the nation’s middle school and high school students, as well as creativity and participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

More information on the competition and its rules is available at https://www.congressionalappchallenge.us/ and more information on the Radioactive Isotope Mass Calculator is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSfn11Ktwtc&feature=youtu.be.

TechPoint changes some Mira requirements

Applications for the statewide 2020 Mira Awards competition were due on Jan. 17.

The annual event in its 21st year was designed by TechPoint to recognize each year’s most impressive technology achievements in Indiana.

The Indianapolis-based industry association made a few important changes in its nomination requirements for this year’s awards.

The Rising Entrepreneur award no longer has any age restrictions.

The Tech Product of the Year award is no longer limited to products launched during the past 12 months but is open to all new technology products achieving important milestones during that period.

The Service Partner of the Year award has been expanded beyond recognizing tech products and services to include the development of any type of professional service for a tech company.

The Startup of the Year award may now recognize startups that are up to two years old.

Veteran reporter Doug LeDuc joined Business Weekly in 2006 and primarily covers banking and finance and technology. You can send information for his weekly column to dleduc@kpcmedia.com or call 260-426-2640, ext. 3309.

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