Cybersecurity leader Shinesa Cambric on Microsoft’s innovation journey to identify, detect, protect, and respond to emerging threats against identity and access

This month’s cover story highlights a cybersecurity program protecting billions of users.

Welcome to the latest issue of Interface magazine!

Interface showcases leaders at the forefront of innovation with digital technologies transforming myriad industries.

Read the latest issue here!

Microsoft: Innovation in Cybersecurity

Shinesa Cambric is on a mission to drive innovation for cybersecurity at Microsoft. Moreover, by embracing diversity and opening all channels towards collaboration her team tackles anti-abuse and delivers fraud-defence. Continuous Improvement doesn’t just play into her role, it defines it…

“In the fraud and abuse space, attackers are constantly trying to identify ways to look like a legitimate user,” warns Shinesa. “And this means my team, and our partners, have to continuously adapt. We identify new patterns and behaviours to detect fraudsters. At the same time, we must do it in such a way we don’t impact our truly ‘good’ and legitimate users. Microsoft is a global consumer business and any time you add friction or an unpleasant experience for a consumer, you risk losing them, their business and potentially their trust. My team’s work sits on the very edge of the account sign up and sign in process. We are essentially the first touch within the customer funnel for Microsoft – a multi-billion dollar company.”

ABB: Digital Technolgies contributing towards Net Zero

Nigel Greatorex, Global Industry Manager for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) at ABB Energy Industries, explains how digital technologies can play a critical role in the transition to a low carbon world. He highlights the role of CCS in enabling global emissions reductions and how challenges can be overcome through digitalisation…

“It is widely recognised decarbonisation is essential to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Therefore, it’s not surprising that emerging decarbonisation technology is becoming an increasingly important, and rapidly growing market.”

CSI: How can your IT estate improve its sustainability?

Andy Dunn, Chief Revenue Officer at IT solutions specialist CSI, reveals how digital technologies can contribute to ESG obligations: “Sustainability is a now seen as a strategic business imperative, so much so that 74% of companies consider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors to be very important to the value of their company. Additionally, we know almost three in four organisations have set a net zero goal. With an average target date of 2044, 50% of organisations are seeking more energy efficient products and services.”

“Optimising energy use and consolidating servers and storage infrastructure form a strong basis for shaping a more environmentally friendly and efficient IT estate. It no longer needs to be the Achilles Heel of an ESG policy. “

Mia Platform: Sustainable Cloud Computing

Davide Bianchi, Senior Technical Lead at Mia Platform, explores the silver lining of sustainable cloud computing. He reveals how it can help us reduce our digital carbon thumbprint with collaboration, efficient use of applications, containerisation of apps, microservices and green partnerships.

“We’re already on an important technological path toward ubiquitous cloud computing. Correspondingly, this brings incredible long-term benefits too. These include greater scalability, improved data storage, and quicker application deployment, to name a few.”

Also in this issue, we hear from Doug Laney, Innovation Fellow at West Monroe and author of Infonomics and Data Juice. Also, we learn how companies can measure, manage and monetise to realise the potential of their data. And, Deputy CIO Melvin Brown discusses the people-centric approach to IT supporting America’s civil service at The Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Enjoy the issue!

Dan Brightmore, Editor

HICX CEO Costas Xyloyiannis on why we should turn the spotlight toward the experience suppliers receive as they serve big manufacturing brands.

What’s clear from Deloitte’s Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey 2023 is that environmental and social governance (ESG) is now firmly on the corporate agenda. This year, it leapt right up the priority list, from seventh place to second.

Elevating ESG, however, is tough to deliver. In practice, it is hugely dependent upon good supplier data, which is notoriously hard to achieve and maintain. Exploring why turns the spotlight to its source: suppliers. So, do suppliers themselves cause brands to struggle with data? 

Supplier experience expert HICX’s CEO, Costas Xyloyiannis, says they do – but only reactively. Where we really should turn the spotlight, he believes, is toward the experience suppliers receive as they serve big manufacturing brands. 

Letting data live across teams will harm it

The way in which big brands work with suppliers creates too many entry points for their data. Each digital tool which employees use to engage suppliers is an opening. And by default, suppliers deposit their data in whichever tool they’re expected to use. 

For example, when working with a major brand, suppliers are expected to use different tools for placing orders, sending compliance surveys, assessing performance, and doing many other tasks. Furthermore, most employees across the business work with suppliers in some way. Each time the parties work together in one of these tools, it stores the supplier’s data. And when we step back and look at all the data across the brand, as a whole, it is very compromised.

When the master dataset is created this way, it gets peppered with duplicated, incomplete, and outdated entries. Regrettably, in this format, it misguides decisions – including those which shape ESG activity. 

The best team to own supplier data is overrun

Brands can reverse this weakness by addressing the data problem. But someone needs to do it. Despite so many teams contributing to and using supplier data, there is no one perfect owner for the job.

There is a function, however, which is closest. Procurement. As it already runs the relationship with suppliers, Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) can probe adjacent issues – such as data. 

A consideration though, is that Procurement teams already have mandates, which they are stretched to deliver. Eating into the function’s bandwidth is the necessity to tackle inflation, demand surges, driver shortages, and other Covid-19-related issues. Also waiting for the function’s attention is digital transformation, an area in which it seriously lags. 

Put data at the heart of current strategies

Looking at Deloitte’s latest survey results, there is an opportunity for CPOs to work smart. There is a clear path for CPOs to fit the brand’s data goal at the heart of their two top strategies, “increasing supplier collaboration” and “investing in digital transformation.” Supporting this approach is in the interest – and arguably the responsibility – of all C-suite executives. 

How then can fellow executives get involved? First, we can help Procurement’s collaboration strategy by reforming how every employee sees suppliers. Too often, suppliers are just a means to save costs. And while saving costs is important, it’s not everything. Untypically, cost savings slipped off the podium in this year’s survey, into fourth place. This shift in focus – away from squeezing suppliers and towards collaborating with them – will bode well for brands that want to perform in ESG. But only if everyone in the organisation can adopt the mindset.

If they do, brands can offer suppliers a better experience which will encourage them to contribute to improving data. It is human nature to want to give back. Further, we learnt in a recent HICX survey that suppliers are 20% more likely to “go the extra mile” for brands they rate as customers of choice. Therefore, it’s likely that suppliers will want to participate.

But a willingness to hike data quality is not enough. In addition to company mindsets, brands must tackle a second obstacle: digital processes.

Redefine what it means to digitise

Next, we can help Procurement to revamp the tools through which everyone engages suppliers. We know that too many entry points pull down data quality. The opportunity, then, is to guide the way in which Procurement digitises so that the brand and function can gain control. Thinking about processes in this way is real digital transformation.

Today’s situation makes maintaining reliable data very hard. Any attempt to cleanse data is undermined by the inflow of new data from multiple sources. It’s like trying to clean the ocean. The rate at which new pollution enters the ocean outstrips most efforts to remove it. And in both cases, it makes sense to control the inflow. 

In a digital environment, this means fitting a solid data foundation. A data foundation, in practice, is a central repository with one front door that is monitored and through which all new data must come in. Master data can be sent to other tools. The rule however is that they can only borrow the data, and never alter it. Good data resides in this foundational repository, where it is looked after. 

A word of caution though: be aware of quick fixes. A deeper look at the “multiple entry points” situation reveals a deeper integration challenge. Established tools, such as source-to-pay suites through which Procurement and Finance work with suppliers, don’t always mix well with newer tools on the market. One remedy is to use established suites fitted with newer features. But this fails to address the data quality goal. It reminds me of the famous quote by Henry Ford: If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. Using old suites fitted with new features is like using a faster horse. It’s a stopgap. Rather, let’s stop good data’s tendency to evade ESG leaders when they need it most. Let’s tackle underlying issues once and for all. 

Building for the future

Truly digitising, of course, gives suppliers a better experience too, which drives the collaboration goal—and sets in motion a virtuous cycle. 

Now, suppliers who once fed the ESG data problem can contribute to its solution. Leaders who help their CPOs to collaborate with suppliers and digitally transform, for the greater enterprise, can steer supplier behaviour and keep good data. And this, as we know, is the fuel to ESG success.

By Costas Xyloyiannis, CEO, HICX

Jolyon Bennett, CEO of Juice, discusses how sustainability has moved to the forefront of his organisation’s operations

A green approach is quickly transitioning away something that is ‘nice to have’ to an essential component of a company’s strategy.

To Jolyon Bennett, who heads up UK tech accessories manufacturer Juice, being environmentally friendly is non-negotiable. Bennett has transformed the mobile phone accessories sector, having consistently introduced a series of quality, vibrant and consumer-focused products to market, ranging from portable power banks through to super-fast chargers.

He takes us under the bonnet of his firm’s sustainability drive.


You have recently removed all single-use plastic from your entire product range – why?

Jolyon Bennett (JB): “Why wouldn’t you? Single-use plastic is one of the biggest polluters in manufacturing – it uses 3% of the entire planet’s oil consumption. This year, it’s forecast that there will be 50kg of plastic waste for every single one of the eight billion human beings on planet earth – that’s a lot! Consumers, manufacturers and brand owners like myself all need to get on board with the fact that we’re going to need to use and re-use plastic packaging to make different things.

“Why have we done it? Because it’s totally the right thing to do. We need to stop making so much plastic and we need start reusing what we’ve already got. We need to stop cutting down trees in order to make paper and cardboard – let the trees grow and re-use what we’ve got. It just makes sense on a planetary level to stop consuming quite so much and start being just a bit more content with what we’ve got. Why do we need to make ‘new new new’ all the time?”


What have you used instead of virgin plastic?

JB: “We’re reusing, reusing, reusing. Did you know that recycled plastic – depending on its quality and density – can be recycled and re-used between seven and 200 times. Isn’t that unbelievable? It’s such an amazing material. Plastic is a vibe, and we should be re-using it. Juice is using post-consumer waste such as Evian bottles to make speakers, old milk cartons to make power banks and so much more!”


Why do you love plastic?

JB: “I just think we’ve got a lot of it so why not reuse it? I admire the material because it’s so durable – it’s an incredible scientific breakthrough to be able to make something that’s not only waterproof and heatproof but lasts for up to 3,000 years. There are so many different elements that make plastic a great material. I would prefer it if we didn’t have any, but that’s not going to solve the current (and ever-growing) problem of plastic waste finding its way into our oceans, and burying it isn’t the answer either. The problem is with us humans is that we just shy away from the truth – l don’t want to shy away, I want to face these problems head on and meet the challenge.”


Has Juice taken a financial hit to make this happen?

JB: “As an example, we sell around three million cables a year (based on last year’s figures) and each piece of packaging that we are making using post-consumer waste costs us between $0.15 and $0.25 more, so as a minimum, our increased cost for doing this is almost half a million dollars. But I still think it’s the right thing to do. Money is made up – the world could end and money would no longer matter, so let’s stop making decisions based purely on money and let’s start making decisions based on the right thing to do.”


How do you rate the overall quality of the ‘Eco’ products compared to the ones they have superseded?

JB: “There is absolutely no difference whatsoever, so I rate them just as highly.”


Do customers really want these eco products or is this more for your own conscience?

JB: “I don’t suffer from guilt so in that respect I don’t feel driven by my conscience to do this – doing the right thing has its own gravity and its own way of whisking you forward. Generally, I believe that people and businesses that do the right things will prosper. I’m a firm believer in the philosophy of ‘do the right thing and good things will happen’ so it’s a strategic choice to do something that has a positive impact because positive things attract positive things. While not every consumer or every retailer is especially interested in our sustainability drive, I do think this is shifting slightly. Maybe I do have a conscience, but the reality is that it’s the right thing to do, and the right thing gets rewarded in the end.”


Are retailers keen to stock them?

JB: “We haven’t given them a choice! We changed all of our products because we wanted to and we are adamant that even though the materials we are using are different, our products still perform just as well, if not better.”


Should other tech brands follow suit?

JB: “Of course they should, and we would happily help them do so. We’re willing to introduce other tech brands to our suppliers and guide them through the same process we’ve taken, sharing our knowledge – including the hurdles we’ve overcome – because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t understand why any brand would want to continue producing virgin plastic when they don’t have to, it just doesn’t make any sense to me.”


What advice would you give to other brands wanting to embark on this process of removing single-use plastic from their products?

JB: “Do it. Stop messing about – get on with it and do it. Although it may cost you a bit more in the short term, we’ve proven that consumers do generally buy more of your products if you are making the right decisions towards the environment, so you will reap this extra cost back whilst also doing the right thing.”


What is next for Juice?

JB: “I want Juice to be a brand that limits its impact. We’re currently doing this with our manufacturing and through our supply chain and the way that we conduct ourselves in general. I want to start releasing products that have a positive impact on humans as well as the planet – I’m a firm believer that everyone can win. There will always be a demand for technology, so I don’t believe that we should be fighting against it, however, I would very much like to see people taking their technology off grid.

“My dream is to be able to take every mobile phone on planet earth off grid and start generating our own personal electricity. I want to create products that link to your activity – imagine if you could run 5k and the kinetic activity could generate enough energy to a charge a device such as a phone or a laptop while you do it? I’m interested in organic solutions to current chemical problems such as organic battery cells using salt water and algae as a storage method of electricity – so much so that we’re currently in discussions with a photosynthesis harvesting electronics brand about using photosynthesis as a charging capability!

“I want to get more connected with nature and I think you can have it all – I think we can still enjoy modern technology as well as the beautiful world around us. If we can utilise our intelligence in the right way, we can all live in a perfectly harmonious symbiotic relationship with amazing technology products and a sustainable environment for all wildlife.”

Sara Malconian, Chief Procurement Officer at Harvard University & Jim Bureau, CEO of JAGGAER explain how ESG & the Circular Economy is changing the evolution of procurement.

We speak to Sara Malconian, Chief Procurement Officer at Harvard University and Jim Bureau, CEO of JAGGAER to see how ESG and the Circular Economy is changing the evolution of procurement…

Sara, how have you seen your role evolve as a procurement leader over the years as ESG and supplier diversity come into focus? 

Procurement leaders have gone from ‘cost cutters’ to ‘problem solvers’ within their organisations. Our core mandates used to be to drive cost savings and efficiency. We were hyper-focused on getting the most out of the organisation’s spend and supplier relationships. Those priorities haven’t gone away, especially in today’s inflationary environment, but the expectations of the procurement function are significantly higher and broader today. 

Procurement functions saved their companies during COVID and the confluence of disruptions that followed. We showed we are a strategic linchpin. We are now looked upon to drive value and impact and strategically guide our organisations to achieve broader goals, including diversity and environmental, social, governance (ESG). Internal stakeholders realised the benefits of procurement and sought help with advancing their department’s agendas or solving their challenges. We listen to their needs, allocate the right resources, and ultimately enable them and the overall organisation to be successful.  

I’ve been in procurement for over 20 years, and I can honestly say you’d be hard-pressed to find a more rewarding and exciting career. Procurement professionals have a real opportunity to make a tangible difference within their organisations, communities, and the world through the way we source products and services. 

What is Harvard doing to have a positive impact on society? Can you share some examples, Sara?

Across the Harvard community, students, alumni, faculty, and staff are advancing scholarship and teaching on the world’s most significant challenges, and everyone wants to do their part to address inequities. Supplier diversity and inclusion have been a priority for Harvard for years, but we wanted to make even more of an impact and really invest in the growth and development of diverse businesses, especially as the pandemic highlighted inequities and disparities within our communities.

In 2021, we formed the Office for Economic Inclusion & Diversity (OEID), which is dedicated to reaching out to diverse suppliers, giving them opportunities, and providing them with tools, training, and resources to be successful. The office also encourages the use of underrepresented business enterprises (UBEs) in the purchasing of all goods, services, and construction at Harvard and standardises procurement practices with these businesses across the university. 

We’re proud of the work this office is doing. We’re actively training suppliers on Harvard’s policies and how they can work with us. We’re creating a central location for them to access bid and RFP opportunities. UBEs can also apply to be mentored by Harvard Business School students.

We’ve created a dashboard to track and analyse spend with diverse suppliers across all of Harvard’s schools and measure progress over time. Everything we’re doing is aimed at increasing spend with our existing diverse suppliers, as well as the number of diverse suppliers that work with Harvard, and helping these suppliers grow their businesses.

Jim, why is prioritizing ESG and supplier diversity important and what steps can companies take today to progress in their journey? 

Beyond being the right thing to do, investors, boards, regulators, customers, and employees now expect organisations to prioritise ESG and diversity initiatives and walk the talk. There’s also a clear business impact. Supplier diversity drives competitive bidding processes that lead to cost savings. Working with partners who are sustainable and have different ideas and perspectives fuels innovation and creates a competitive advantage. Sourcing from a sustainable and diverse supplier pool also reduces risk by broadening organisations’ access to multiple resources for various materials, products, and services. 

One of the most critical steps companies can take to progress on their ESG journey is to make it clear to suppliers that environmentalism is a priority for their organisation. They will attract suppliers with higher levels of ESG maturity and provide suppliers who are earlier on in their ESG journey with sustainability toolkits and training to help educate them on eco-friendly best practices and sustainability innovations.

This step avoids having to overhaul their supply chain to account for ESG. Strategically managing suppliers by leveraging third-party data, scorecards, and supplier audits are crucial for understanding the ESG risks that suppliers pose and minimizing disruptions by working with them to correct these issues. 

Successful supplier diversity programs start with a top-down culture shift. If a company’s culture isn’t diverse, inclusive, and supportive for all its stakeholders, they won’t be able to drive supplier diversity in a meaningful way. Supplier diversity strategy should map back to company goals and include an executive-level champion to sponsor the program internally and help bring in the resources they need.

Outside of leveraging technology to identify diverse suppliers and build a program, businesses can talk with people who have been in their shoes. They can collaborate with like-minded companies at industry events, engage in relevant LinkedIn groups, and connect with organisations such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Once diverse suppliers are on board, organisations can create a supplier diversity policy that clearly outlines how many diverse suppliers need to be invited to bid for each event to ensure teams are executing on the strategy. Leading supplier diversity programs go beyond simply spending with diverse suppliers to providing mentorship and training them on how to respond to RFPs correctly, as well as creating environments where it’s easier for them to engage. 

Jim, what role does technology play in helping organisations achieve ESG and supplier diversity goals?

Technology is a key enabler of ESG and supplier diversity initiatives. One of the biggest obstacles to supplier diversity and ESG is a lack of reliable supplier data. Suppliers don’t always keep their information up to date in self-service portals. The data procurement teams have isn’t always enriched to the level they need, with insights on diversity status, certifications, and proof of ESG compliance.

Researching and assessing suppliers is tedious and time-consuming, which leads many organisations to skip the verification step. Without this information, organisations don’t have a true picture of the inclusivity and sustainability of their supplier network, which makes it impossible to identify the right partners to source from to meet their ESG and supplier diversity goals and make an impact.

Technology addresses this challenge by automatically collecting, enriching, validating, and integrating the supplier data needed to obtain this level of supply base visibility and make decisions that drive ESG and diversity. AI-powered tools are available to match buyers with specific diverse suppliers who also have the capabilities to help drive ESG objectives and meet broader procurement criteria.

Software that segments the supply base and helps visualise spending with small and diverse suppliers across a variety of classifications is critical for setting benchmarks and measuring progress and ROI. 

Jim and Sara, how do you expect the ESG and diversity conversation to shift and where should procurement leaders focus for the future?

Sara: I expect we’ll see the conversation shift to emphasise measurement. It’s not enough anymore to say you’re committed to ESG – you need to prove it and show demonstrable progress and ROI. Maintaining the momentum on ESG initiatives is hard. Technology is key for setting benchmarks and goals, ensuring accountability for hitting key milestones, and measuring progress and return in a credible way. 

Jim: In a declining economic environment, choices inevitably need to be made. I expect the conversation around ESG will center around where companies can focus to maintain progress on ESG initiatives as financial and economic pressures come to the forefront. While some companies may need to scale back in some areas to preserve cash and resources to navigate a downturn, I’d advise them to be careful about slowing ESG down too much as it will be much harder to catch up to current levels after the economy bounces back.

I’d argue that when ESG is done right it can be a strategic lever for navigating a down economy, saving organizations money and resources, driving innovation, and helping them achieve broader business objectives and resilience. 

Research reveals that millennials would be willing to take a pay cut to work in a nicer office; and also consider quitting if their workplace is either outdated or inefficient…

Today, smart buildings are becoming more dynamic and tailored to individual requirements, specifically within the office space. And with Gartner predicting that the greatest source of competitive advantage for 30% of organisations over the next few years will be their ability to creatively exploit the digital workplace, the pressure is on for businesses and building owners alike to invest in the latest technologies and techniques to provide even better user experiences. 

Employee Expectations

Research reveals that millennials would be willing to take a pay cut to work in a nicer office; and also consider quitting if their workplace is either outdated or inefficient. Employers need to keep up with the rapidly changing demands of employees in order to stay competitive when attracting and retaining talent.

To achieve this, workspaces are now becoming more ‘aware’ through an ecosystem that allows buildings to dynamically adjust to the requirements of users through the convergence of IT and Operational Technology (OT) such as building management systems, energy and space management. There is an expectation in place that facilities and building management firms will adapt to meet employee expectations; if not, then they will fall behind.

Collaboration and Productivity

Many companies are leading the way with shared office facilities and hot desks on a part-time or multi-lease basis. With desk layouts developed by algorithms, companies are responding to the demand for mobility and flexible consumption in the modern digital workspace. By configuring open and closed spaces through noise-absorbing fabrics and glass doors, buildings are providing the privacy of individual offices within an open plan setup, meaning that staff no longer need to be confined by physical walls.

Furthermore, data can be collected about user movements, machinery condition, energy usage and other activities within the building that can be used to optimise the user experience and enhance collaborative processes further. For example, mobile phone controlled AV screens, wafer-thin sensors that can detect occupancy and trigger the air conditioning system, ongoing measurement of internal environmental conditions including temperature, humidity and CO2, and indoor mapping and navigation platforms.

Sustainability

With 72% of office workers revealing that a sustainable environment is important to them, embracing this new movement has become a competitive necessity. Through clever environmental design which optimises space, consumption and resources, smart offices can reduce the overall environmental impact and save money and resources along the way. From autonomous energy systems that shut off heating and lighting when rooms are vacant to systems that monitor and optimise the use of water and electricity, these offices can identify their most wasteful aspects and also lessen the pressure on the national grid. 

Making the Business Case

Smart buildings in themselves are opening up new revenue streams. But the cost of IoT implementation may be perceived as a barrier to its adoption and development. Many smart offices are built from scratch so existing workplaces need to be retrofitted with technology. And although there is an upfront investment or cost to retrofit an existing building, once installed, additions such as optimised lighting make running these spaces much more cost-effective to the building owner.

The Role of the MSP

Managed Service Providers have a valuable potential role to play beyond providing Digital Communications and collaborative infrastructure including high speed internet lines, Wi-Fi and cloud based collaboration technology such as Microsoft Teams. The MSP can work with an emerging ecosystem of expert IoT infrastructure, device and applications companies to deploy IoT sensor devices, capture and flow data to cloud based applications for insight and action. The MSP can become the agent of new efficiency gains for buildings and their users, generating new income streams and increasing user satisfaction.

Conclusion

People are the largest investment of an organisation, and as new technologies evolve to make their lives easier and safer, it is important to look at which technologies, strategies and approaches will create the most positive, productive and efficient impact for your office and users. IoT technologies, effectively overlayed and combined with existing digital infrastructure and collaboration initiatives, potentially deliver new data insight to further improve and enhance the intelligent workspace and productivity. An ecosystem of expert IoT companies working with incumbent MSPs can be an effective design, deployment and management mechanism for tapping into the intelligent workspace opportunity.   

Charities in the UK are reaping the rewards from GoPoolit – the world’s first social media for good

GoPoolit, which was founded in the United Kingdom over the COVID-19 lockdown by fundraising professionals with decades of experience, provides a new income stream for charities through the thing the world engages with the most: social media. 

Instead of prompting users to post ‘asks’ and lobby for funds on behalf of charities, GoPoolit users are encouraged to show off the creativity that they do on their usual social networks.

Users will talk about their lives, celebrate their achievements, and most likely, post adorable photos of their pets. When doing so, users nominate a charity to their post and share it across all their usual social networks from the GoPoolit platform.

Instead of a ‘like’, their friends, family and followers on GoPoolit have the opportunity to pool between 1-10p to that post, and therefore, that charity.

The more viral users go, the more opportunity there is to raise hundreds of thousands in pocket-sized donations for causes close to their hearts – simply by doing what they already do.

During these uncertain times, like most industries, charities and the third sector have been feeling an immense amount of pressure. In previous years, conventional methods of fundraising have faltered. A new, innovative approach has struggled to fill that void – until now.

There is an equal demand from social media users for a new platform focused on social good. According to the Pew Research Center, almost two-thirds of Americans think that social media has a mostly negative impact on the state of their country.

With users becoming increasingly disengaged with the policies and practices of many platforms, GoPoolit is the perfect chance to hit the reset button on their digital lives and use social media for good.

On the GoPoolit website and app, users can post their usual social media content in support of charities such as World Vision, SOS Children’s Villages, Habitat for Humanity and many more.

Matt Turner, Director of Communications for GoPoolit…

“Imagine if every post you ever made on Facebook or Twitter could be monetised into micro-donations for a cause you care deeply about.

In the months and years to come, we are confident that GoPoolit will become a part of millions of people’s everyday lives – and joining today means you’ll be able to say that you were there from the start.

Sometimes, the smallest gestures can collectively have the biggest impact – so join thousands of others who believe that their social media posts can be a cause for good in the world today!”

Cities are increasingly, and massively, depending on water technology as sea levels continue to rise…

Water is the elephant in the room. As the IDTechEx report, “Smart Cities Market 2021-2041: Energy, Food, Water, Materials, Transportation Forecasts”, explains, cities increasingly and massively depend on water technology as sea levels rise and for other reasons. They will eliminate sewage systems by treating it where it is produced. Gone are thirsty, traditional agriculture systems, and their global supply chains. 

Stop killing the sea

Currently, cities are killing the sea that is increasingly near to them. Dead ocean areas are spreading. They do this with untreated sewerage, salt from desalination plants, chemicals from factories, leisure activities, marine vessels, and farm runoff of toxins and fertilizer. Instead, they must farm the sea and maintain biodiversity and create benign marine tourism and leisure activities. Methods of distributing salt from desalination without killing anything do now exist, but deployment is slow.

Cities on the sea

Smart cities are planned at sea and on reclaimed land as at Forest City Malaysia, which promises a veritable jungle with “sounds of nature” and all that greenery self-watering. You can buy a DND house on and under the sea in Dubai. 

Independence

Cities will make all their own food, fresh water, and electricity for reasons of empowerment, security, and cost. That electricity-making is even pivoting to water with tidal turbines installed from Scotland to the Hudson River in New York and wave power, both being almost continuous and using almost none of the steel and concrete that produces 16% of global warming. Take a few hours to drop them in – not 10 years as for hydro dams. Part of the reason for water power is that there is less and less land for wind turbines and solar farms. Indeed, silicon solar works better cold, so it is migrating to sea or lake as floatavoltaics. New photovoltaic materials are even useful underwater, and photovoltaic paint is on the way, as explained in the IDTechEx report, “Materials Opportunities in Emerging Photovoltaics 2020-2040”.

Leaders in tidal power such as Simec Atlantis and Verdant Power have more and more companies chasing them. You can say the same for wave power leaders such as Seabased, Wello, and Eco Wave. Even ORPC RivGen horizontal axis water turbines are proving viable in shallow rivers, and they do not disturb fish. Most water power is virtually continuous – no massive batteries. See the IDTechEx report, “Distributed Generation: Off-Grid Zero-Emission kW-MW 2020-2040”.

Leisure and freight on water

Obviously, cities will focus more of their leisure industry and freight transport on the water. See the IDTechEx report, “Electric Leisure & Sea-going Boats and Ships 2021-2040”. IDTechEx sees several ways that even large ships can become zero-emission when today they each pollute as much as millions of cars. At the other extreme, Swiss Seabubble aquaplaning water taxis are zero-emission, charged by small river turbines under the landing platform. They are planned for Paris.  

Smart agriculture

Today’s farming systems on land gulp water and boost global warming. They are replaced by vertical farming (see the IDTechEx report, “Vertical Farming 2020-2030”), solar greenhouses, hydroponics in buildings, aquaponics and saline agriculture in marshes as sea levels rise. Genetic agriculture will save water. See the IDTechEx report, “Genetic Technologies in Agriculture 2020-2030: Forecasts, Markets, Technologies”. Meat and milk will be grown in city laboratories, and managing with one percent of the fresh water will become commonplace. See the IDTechEx report, “Plant-based and Cultivated Meat 2020-2030”.

Soliculture greenhouses on rooftops and elsewhere are adopting smart glass that provides electricity for the robots as well as optimally growing the plants again with almost no water. Robotic food cultivation is integrated with human facilities in parts of China, saving space and water.

Fish farming and barley, samphire, seaweed, and other vegetable growing in saline water is a done deal back to the ancient Sumerians, but it is necessarily broadening in scope as global warming and people moving to cities makes land even more scarce. The amazing thing is that there is a roadmap of many options to go even further. For example, aquaponics uses even less land than hydroponics, and it costs less. This is growing fish and vegetables in one closed system, the fish excrement feeding the plants.

Smart Cities Systems

Smart gardening

Some are planning turf that produces electricity as well as tapping and filtering rainwater for use. Xeriscaping is appearing in smart cities. It is the process of landscaping or gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It is promoted in regions that do not have accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water and is gaining acceptance in other regions as access to irrigation water is becoming limited. Xeriscaping is an alternative to various types of traditional gardening in necessarily frugal smart cities. 

On the other hand, the trend to multi-purposing even extends to damp turf, vegetation, and soil. Plant-e is a company that develops products that can generate electricity from living plants, and Harvard University has biofuel cells using such fuels. 

Smart water transport

Transport systems are reinvented for smart cities, and necessarily, Hyperloop shooting passengers from city to city by magnetic levitation in a vacuum and Boring Company Loop shooting autonomous cars at high speed across cities will increasingly be tubes in sea, lake or river for at least part of the way. That even saves money. Autonomous underwater vehicles are zero-emission and they monitor offshore wind turbines, sea-floor mining, fish stocks, and more. Leisure submarines anyone – as taxis too?

Thirsty desert cities

The largest challenge of the $0.5 trillion NEOM smart city in the Saudi Arabian desert is drinking water – all desalinated from the sea. See the IDTechEx report, “Desalination: Off Grid Zero Emission 2018-2028”. The Bill Gates Belmont desert city in Arizona is nowhere near the sea, and the state gets its water from the Colorado River, which is drying up. By far its biggest challenge is water. It has to guarantee 100 years’ supply to be allowed to start. Arizona-based startup Zero Mass Water’s SOURCE photovoltaic panels make electricity but also use the sun’s rays to pull water from the air. Each panel has the potential to draw up to 10 litres (2.64 gallons) of water per day. That will help, but all the sources still leave that city with severe water conservation requirements.

Here is one. Bill Gates has proven from his investments that the elimination of sewage distribution and treatment farms is coming when it is treated at the source. That saves huge amounts of water. One new toilet has an electrochemical reactor that can break down water and human waste into fertilizer for fields and hydrogen, which can be stored in hydrogen fuel cells as a green energy source. Even the little water used is treated enough to reuse for flushing or for irrigation.

For more information on “Smart Cities Market 2021-2041: Energy, Food, Water, Materials, Transportation Forecasts”, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/SmartCitiesMats or for the full portfolio of Smart Cities research available from IDTechEx please visit www.IDTechEx.com/Research/SmartCities

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Subscription and Consultancy products, helping you profit from emerging technologies. For more information, contact research@IDTechEx.com or visit www.IDTechEx.com

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced on Monday that it has set up a US$2 billion green investments programme…

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced on Monday that it has set up a US$2 billion green investments programme (GIP) to invest in public market investment strategies that have a strong green focus.

This will help to support the Singapore financial centre in promoting environmentally sustainable projects and mitigating climate change risks in Singapore and the region.

The GIP is a major prong of the green finance action plan announced by Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister of Education, and Board Member, MAS at the 2019 Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) x Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH). The GIP aims to foster the growth of a strong and diverse ecosystem of green financing capabilities in Singapore.

MAS will place funds with asset managers who are committed to drive regional green efforts out of Singapore and contribute to MAS’ other green finance initiatives including developing green markets and managing environmental risks.

Selected managers will be those who have demonstrated a firm commitment to deepening their green investment capabilities across functions such as research, stewardship, policy and portfolio management, accelerate local capability transfers, and increase the management of green-focused funds in Singapore.

The green capabilities and experience of the team managing the strategies will be a key part of the evaluation. The deep engagement with these asset managers will help to further the development of Singapore’s green financing ecosystem, as well as strengthen MAS’ understanding of climate change risks and to better position MAS’ own investment portfolio for long-term sustainable returns.

MAS’ first investment under the GIP will be a US$100m placement in the Bank for International Settlements (BIS)’ Green Bond Investment Pool (GBIP). Together with other participating central banks, MAS hopes that this initiative will help catalyse further deepening of the green bond market.

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The Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) and the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH) will come together for the first…

The Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) and the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH) will come together for the first time as SFF x SWITCH.

Running from 11 to 15 November, this event will gather the global innovation and business community in Singapore. There will be over 400 speakers, more than 900 exhibitors, 41 international pavilions, and about 60,000 participants from 130 countries.

Sustainability and climate change are the overarching themes of the combined conference this year, given the growing calls for the technology and financial sectors to be enablers and change agents for sustainability.

This theme is reflected in the content of the conference, the design of the event space at the Singapore Expo and through the provision of food from sustainable sources, with a sustainable dining menu featuring the Impossible Beef rendang pizza.

The inaugural SFF x SWITCH will feature innovative technologies across five key sectors – FinTech, Urban Solutions and Sustainability, Health and Biomedical Sciences, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, and Services and Digital Services – to catalyse cross-industry exchange and learning in technology adoption, application of R&D, and commercialisation of new solutions.

Debuting this year is the Sustainability, Finance and Tech Summit (11-13 November), featuring over 50 speakers who will take the stage to discuss how they are paving the way for a more sustainable future in the world of finance and beyond.

The annual Global Investor Summit (11 November) will bring together 17 venture capital, corporate venture capital and family office investors from San Francisco to Tokyo, to share their strategies for unlocking growth, impacting inclusion, and delivering long-term value creation in the FinTech and Deep Tech ecosystems.

Leading the Deep Tech conference, the Global Access to Innovation track (11 November) will feature perspectives from a myriad of movers and shakers in Asia’s innovation ecosystem. From founders of tech unicorns to senior leaders from both the private and public sectors, conference participants can look forward to finding out more about the opportunities in market access, innovation and investment, in Asia and beyond.

A new summit created this year to spotlight key issues faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is SME Digitalisation and Platforms – Business sans Borders (BSB) (13 November). The sessions in this track will cover pertinent issues such as ‘SME Financing Reimagined’, the ‘Impact of Trade Wars on SMEs and Platforms’ as well as the ‘Roadmap for BSB Beyond 2020’. The discussions will take place at a new Coral Triangle stage, which is designed for more intimate and interactive conversations.

Latest whitepaper provides detailed study of benefits and challenges for smart buildings and city management and highlights methodology to effectively…

Latest whitepaper provides detailed study of benefits and challenges for smart buildings and city management and highlights methodology to effectively address associated security risks

Axis Communications, the market leader in network video technology, has today announced the release of its latest whitepaper, Smart Buildings & Smart Cities Security. Authored in association with Virtually Informed and Unified Security, the whitepaper is the third in a series looking at specific aspects of security and provides an in depth review of the topic, addresses key questions and, importantly, provides recommendations that must be considered if the smart promise is to become a reality.

Against the global backdrop of population growth, the strain on limited resources and climate change, there is a growing demand for businesses and governments around the world to deliver significant improvements in the way our cities and the buildings within them are managed. The promise of future cities and buildings built around a smart vision to reduce waste, drive efficiencies and optimise resources is a prodigious one with many inherent challenges, not least, security.

Smart technology enables the collection and analysis of data to create actionable and automated events that will streamline operations. To deliver this at far greater scale means bringing together a large number of very different systems and empowering them to communicate freely with access to important and often sensitive data. Device interoperability will be a crucial component of its success but to have full confidence in the way that these diverse ecosystems operate together, and to ultimately cede important decision-making to them, stakeholders must be fully confident in the security of the systems.

The proliferation of IoT devices has witnessed in parallel an exponential increase in the number of threat exposures and attack vectors, that put in jeopardy the systems that our smart cities and buildings will rely on. With an ever-increasing number of cyber breaches and a common acknowledgment that ‘you are only as strong as your weakest link’, it is important that cybersecurity is considered and evaluated throughout the whole supply chain to protect data, maintain privacy and keep risk associated with cyber threats to a minimum. This process should always start by looking at device security and the vendors’ cyber maturity.

Managing cybersecurity in environments of this scale involves drawing up thorough risk assessments that go right back through the supply chain. Identifying vulnerabilities and mitigating the potential for damage that they could cause. Axis’Smart Buildings & Smart Cities Security whitepaper topics include:

  • Smart cities and why we need them – Smart cities are increasingly playing a significant role in meeting today’s resource and population challenges
  • Smart and intelligent technology – Smart devices, systems, buildings and cities defined – questions and issues around existing definitions are addressed
  • Roles and responsibilities – Review stakeholder roles and security risk management to better understand the security issues associated with smart building systems
  • Security challenges – Threat vectors are vast and varied with increasing levels of sophistication; understand the vulnerabilities, technologies and standards to be applied
  • Recommendations – Getting started; security standards and frameworks; product strategy, system and solution security; supply and purchasing; and converged operations.

The associated disruption as a result of a cybersecurity breach of a smart system could be catastrophic. At a minimum, it would cause system downtime and impact its ability to operate. The loss of personal data or IP may also damage reputation, impact a company’s share price or even cause actual physical harm. Ensuring that converged security becomes a vital component of this rapidly changing paradigm is of critical importance; safety and security must be at the heart of the shared ambitions for a smarter environment.

Steven Kenny, Industry Liaison, Architecture and Engineering at Axis Communications commented:
“At Axis we are passionate about using technology to help create a smarter and safer world. We also believe that technology should be used in an ethical and responsible way. You might say that this whitepaper reflects the very values of our business in that, used responsibly and with security front and centre, smart technology will help us address the big challenges of our time. Increasing efficiencies is vital in meeting carbon reduction targets and avoiding climate catastrophe. The smart vision provides a strong basis for economic growth and improved quality of life. We greatly admire the work that Virtually Informed and Unified Security are doing to help ensure that the worlds of physical and cyber security are aligned and working together to achieve a common goal of increased safety and security for all.”

The whitepaper’s two authors have impressive credentials. James Willison is the founder of Unified Security Ltd and one of IFSEC Global’s top 20 Security thought leaders in the world. Sarb Sembhi is the CTO and CISO at Virtually Informed and has contributed on security projects for the likes of the London Chamber of Commerce and the Internet of Things Security Foundation. Mr. Sembhi also sits on the editorial board of SC magazine.

Interface hears from Andersen EV’s co-founder and technical director David Simpson on how the design-led start-up is harnessing the tech…

Interface hears from Andersen EV’s co-founder and technical director David Simpson on how the design-led start-up is harnessing the tech to bring smart electric vehicle charging to the residential market.

Andersen EV was born of its founders’ frustration at the lack of smart, and stylish, home charging systems for electric vehicles. Back in 2015, technical director David Simpson (and his co-founders Mandy Simpson and Jérôme Faissat) could see the potential to build a business in tune with the ramp in e-car and hybrid vehicle sales.

“We saw a real lack of innovation in home charging,” recalls Simpson, who was keen for the company to find its niche utilising cutting edge design with high-quality materials. “Our business is built on three pillars… Design is paramount, we’re not making a futuristic car gadget with flashing lights, it’s an architectural accessory and one that should be discreet. The second pillar is technology. Both Jérôme and I have worked in the IT industry and appreciate what’s needed to bring the advances in commercial charging to the residential market. The third important factor is that we’re proud to be a British business developing products sustainably. We’re not contributing to a throw-away culture, our boxes are upgradeable.”

The big technological challenge for Andersen EV was how to bring smart charging to a consumer audience in a way that isn’t complex to use. “It should be just like setting up your Apple TV or your Google Chrome card so we’ve aimed for a user-friendly way of setting up your charge point to the cloud,” explains Simpson. “We’re also keen to develop features that build a service for customers who are asking: How can I charge faster? How can I charge more efficiently? We want to help them navigate the smart energy landscape and build on machine learning to make more user-friendly, economic products.”

Simpson explains the ‘Andersen difference’ is about setting expectations and exceeding them with transparency across the board – from pre-sales to installation via user experience and customer support. “We’ve tried to build on American standards,” he adds. “We’ve assembled a whole API spec which means you can plug our products into a smart home and simplify the smart energy experience. They are accessible to our customer to control and monitor via a range of devices – iOS, Android, Alexa etc – using our Konnect app. It’s key to tracking energy costs, aiding smart energy use at the right time of day and integrating with solar power systems to avoid use of the grid.”

Simpson notes there are still big eco challenges for electric vehicles to overcome… “A Tesla, for example, is 45% efficient from energy source out of the ground to forward motion – with all the wastage throughout the manufacturing process, wind resistance and transmitting energy across power lines it’s just 45%. And with wireless charging, when you can’t be bothered to plug the vehicle in to a charge unit, you’ll lose 10% of power so it’s only 90% efficient operationally.” Simpson points out it might not sound much of a sacrifice but if a whole street is doing that it clearly indicates a challenge for the EV industry to address to boost its eco credentials. Which is where he feels the Andersen difference can make an actual difference today. With the benefits of wireless charging perhaps five years away, Simpson identifies the emerging trends of vehicle to grid, local battery storage and the integration with solar as vital to the progression of the home EV market. “You might not be able to have an oil refinery at the bottom of your garden but you can generate enough electricity for the journeys you need to make,” he adds.

Andersen EV has recently partnered with Novo Energy – a leading energy consultant to some of the UK’s largest companies delivering energy purchasing, energy management, energy regulation, energy construction and sustainability polices – to deliver smart energy and green air into its charging units. Allied to this, Simpson is excited to be on the road to certification with three major car manufacturers. “Our boxes have a real synergy with some of the premium automotive brands,” he says. “We already have many of their customers coming to us indirectly because the key message we offer is customisation. All we do is live and breathe charging but the car manufacturers have other challenges, which has created an opportunity for us.”

More than just a pretty box, Simpson stresses a charge point is a mission critical item. He’s proud the industrial grade electronics and PCBs found in Andersen EV products are all designed in house and manufactured in the UK, guaranteeing that the supply chain delivers the correct parts to the highest quality standards. But what about when the supply chain can’t deliver what you need? One of the biggest challenges for the company was finding a cable with the necessary flex but still capable of sustaining heat to charge. To meet its particular specifications the Simpson collaborated with a UK supplier to design his own bespoke Evoflek cable for the wall mounted A2 unit. Next, he’s keen to develop a motorised winder for the cable for winding and unwinding.

The tech behind the finished product is bespoke too: “Every time we upgrade Konnect, we’re giving our customers more from their hardware,” pledges Simpson. With a lot of customers keen to make the most of that hardware and charge faster, Andersen EV will be standardising its boxes (such as the forthcoming floor mounted untethered P1) to be future proof at 22kw, allowing speed benefits for those who want to get their home electricity supply upgraded to 3-Phase. Its customers are already ahead of the curve with 20% upgrading against a UK average of 1-2% of homes 3-Phase equipped.

Conservative forecasts estimate 140 million electric vehicles on our roads by 2030 so the potential market for Andersen EV is huge. It’s a sign of the times that vehicle manufacturers are approaching Simpson and his team to meet the needs of a market set to expand massively from the four million EVs currently in use. Simpson believes the transition will be rapid and that over the next ten years consumers won’t consider buying anything else. He cites the price per kilowatt of battery power down from $750 in 2011 to just $140 today as indicative of dynamics changing.

“Our sales are up 25% each month,” reveals Simpson, who expects the company to grow significantly over the next 12 months thanks to £1.5m recently raised to fund European expansion. This will include working on new models with the goal of finding a niche in the new build market to take advantage of changes to European law which will increase the number of charge points that must be made available on future developments.

Simpson believes the future challenge in the UK is around charging more smartly and delivering a better user experience. “We’re looking into developing a middle-ware software product that allows us to use the existing UK infrastructure more effectively utilising machine learning to build proton models for a more efficient charging experience. This would work for local authorities and housing associations who want to install charge points but can’t afford to dig up the streets everywhere.”

When it comes to keeping that business traffic flowing, what has Simpson learnt during a varied career, including a stint at General Motors, that will help Andersen EV stay in the right lane? “You shouldn’t build something just because you can,” he warns. “If you’ve got a very complex product with lots of features, it’s very hard to scale it. Therefore, part of the thinking behind Andersen EV was to simplify the technology and develop features beneficial to the greater good.” With the dynamics of the EV industry changing fast, coupled with a ramp in eco tech, the smart money is on the Andersen difference reaping rewards for Simpson and co.(

By Alan Gunner, Business Development Director, Adjuno. With the impact of our consumer society increasingly influencing purchasing behaviour, it is…

By Alan Gunner, Business Development Director, Adjuno.

With the impact of our consumer society increasingly influencing purchasing behaviour, it is clear that there has been a shift in the need for sustainable supply chains. But this is not a simple task – as political negotiations dominate the headlines, more brands are seeking opportunities in new markets, which is having a considerable impact on their carbon footprint. 

As a result, it is now more important than ever for companies to evaluate their logistics processes, not only to reduce environmental impact, but also to reduce costs through increased efficiency. To move forward and tackle the ethical issues, organisations need to take control and focus on achieving full visibility. The implementation of tracking tools will enable businesses to automatically capture the level of carbon emissions that are produced as a result of the end-to-end supply chain operations, from sourcing and procurement through to final delivery. With a detailed level of information, brands are able to effectively see a reduction in not only carbon emissions, but also in the spending associated with transportation.

And by leveraging end to end supply chain insight, more companies will also be able to track the source of a product – this is particularly important when exploring new, unknown markets. For example, from the type of tree to location and certification, brands can ensure all the timber they use is sustainably sourced.

Additionally, enforcing robust packaging standards across the global supply chain is beneficial to a company’s CO2 levels. By insisting that suppliers use certain box sizes and materials, pallet fill will be optimised and the number of items that can be stored in a warehouse will be increased. This means that businesses will require a reduced amount of containers and shipments, minimising the number of journeys that will be made throughout the supply chain. This standardisation of packaging and complete transparency of the supply chain will put companies in the best position to demonstrate the provenance of their products and to assure the consumer that they’re taking steps towards improving their environmental credentials.

It is evident that conscious consumerism is going to grow, therefore, in order to position themselves as a leader businesses need to implement ethical practices across the entire supply chain. By addressing these concerns and making the necessary changes, companies will not only reduce the negative impacts new trading locations will have on the environment, but will be able to improve the perception of their brand.

A blog released by Amazon today has revealed the technology and distribution giant’s goal of delivering shipment zero for 50…

A blog released by Amazon today has revealed the technology and distribution giant’s goal of delivering shipment zero for 50 percent of its shipments by 2030. The company’s blog discusses its history of sustainable investment and goes on to discuss how it plans to move towards its shipment zero target.

While on the topic of giants, JP Morgan analyses the finances of firms in the iPhone supply chain and has found that the month-to-month aggregate revenues for suppliers dropped by 24 percent, two percent more than the average in 2018. However, when balanced against year-on-year results, the company has said that this could be a sign of stabilisation for the iPhone supply chain.

Utah-based company, Visible, has revealed its three-colour FFG folder gluer that’s designed to give the small to medium enterprise (SME) the edge in the supply chain market. The FFG delivers high-quality printing that reduces times and costs while assuring of high-quality packaging. Still in the USA, Walmart’s fourth quarter earnings showed that the company saw a 40% increase in eCommerce sales but this growth had impacted its deliverables and last mile efficiencies.

In the UK, Honda has announced that it plans to close its Swindon vehicle manufacturing plant which currently employs around 3,500 people. The move comes as part of its restructure and focus on electrified cars and will see the company close the doors at the end of the current model’s production lifecycle in 2021.

Tesla’s CEO revealed that supply chain challenges were behind production delays, lost deadlines and missed quotas. Elon Musk was quoted as saying that Tesla was in ‘delivery logistics hell’ in a tweet to an increasingly annoyed customer base. More on Reuters as to what lies ahead for the automotive manufacturer.

Also in the news: IBM Watson’s enhanced NAVIK AI platform has been integrated into Absolute Data to improve insight mining; in spite of Brexit-powered brain drain, the UK’s AI sector attracted record funding; AI4EU – a 20 million Euro project funded under Horizon 2020 – has launched and provides a collaborative platform for AI development; Google announced its plans to focus on Africa for AI and machine learning innovations; Professor Duncan McFarlane weighs in on the Internet of Things for industry; and Cisco estimates that there will be more than 12 billion connected devices by 2022.