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The UK Government is exhibiting at the Paris VivaTech event this week and has partnered with London-based Vision AI firm Cortexica, whose applications range from construction to security.
Bitcoin's electric energy consumption set to balloon
One paper predicts the blockchain network could be using as much as 7.7 gigawatts by the end of this year, or as much as Austria, and 5% of the world's total in the future.
Deloitte survey highlights impact of automation on jobs
The survey reveals company attitudes to automation, robotics and AI, as well as what they mean for future career models and skills.
Samsung to open Cambridge AI research lab
The Korean technology giant is the latest Asian company to announce a major investment in artificial intelligence research in the UK.
Survey dispels myths of running a tech start-up
A UK survey of more than 100 founders of tech businesses uncovers the main challenges that face entrepreneurs as they attempt to get their business off the ground.
Sky wants to bring more young women into tech
Sky's new innovation centre facility will house tech engineering, software and app development. It will also be the home of a new scheme to get more young women into technology.
Quantum-algorithm superstore in the works
Quantum computers need sophisticated and specialised quantum algorithms to work, which a company hopes to be able to provide to others for wider use.
Consumer robotics market to hit 100m shipments by 2026
The market will be driven by homecare robotics and Asia-Pacific, taking it past 100 million shipments in less than ten year. Revenues and investment funding are also on the up.
Apple expanding driverless cars programme
The tech company's driverless fleet now consists of more than 50 autnomous cars being tested on the roads.
Tencent in wide ranging push with DIT on UK digital creativity
Tencent, one of Asia’s largest companies, is launching a number of Culture Creative initiatives with the UK government.
Hargreaves pumps £24m to help fuel Goonhilly space ambitions
UK billionaire Peter Hargreaves is injecting £24 million worth of investment into Goonhilly Earth station, which will be partly used to help fund its expansion, including assisting with lunar missions.
What next for ZTE as it suspends operations?
ZTE has temporarily ceased its main business operations, following the trade ban imposed by the US government last month.
Microsoft positions AI as key platform for developers
Microsoft is making artificial intelligence a central pillar of its future strategy. ‘AI for Accessibility’ was one of the many announcements concerning new AI efforts that came out of the Microsoft Build 2018. Google, meanwhile, is rebranding its research division to Google AI.
Talk Talk props up table of satisfied broadband customers
More woes for TalkTalk as the UK ISP finished bottom again of an Ofcom survey into customer satisfaction.
Dating, AR/VR and other highlights from F8
Facebook is rolling out a disruptive Tinder-like dating service and adding a host of new AR/VR features and events. Also launched is a standalone Oculus Go VR headset that promises a high-end immersive experience at a lower price.
L’Oréal enters tech market with purchase of AR firm
L’Oréal has made the first technology acquisition in its history, buying augmented reality and artificial intelligence company ModiFace.
Singapore tops Smart City rankings
The Asian country scores highest on a range of criteria within transportation and other urban innovation. Dubai comes second partly thanks to its blockchain projects.
Intel is using drones together with artificial intelligence technology to help restore China’s Great Wall. The technology will also be used for automating future projects.
Who will win the $1 trillion race?
One Wall Street analyst sticks their neck out and predicts Amazon will become the world’s first trillion dollar company by this time next year.
New study tackles rising influence of algorithms
A timely research programme will investigate how computer algorithms are influencing decision-making in key areas of public policy.
Automation and jobs – it’s not all bad news
Robots may indeed take over many roles, but many new professions will also emerge as a result of artificial-intelligence development and industrial change.
An 'AI Sector Deal' worth almost £1 billion has just been unveiled by the UK government, marking a big step forward in long-term ambitions. It includes a world-first AI ethics centre, the creation of 1,000 government-funded AI PhDs and a Turing Fellowship programme among many other investments and projects.
Facebook's Q1 results show users remain ambivalent about data
Facebook is under fire from many quarters, but took it on the chin, adding 70 million users in the first quarter despite a public outcry to delete the app. It will take much more than a lack of trust and data privacy concerns to stop growth.
The rise of hyperscale – how cloud is changing data centre economics
Data centre providers have seen an increasing demand for capacity from cloud providers, driven by larger enterprises embarking on a partial or full migration to cloud services. New research suggests that half of all data centre demand could be from hyperscale customers by the early 2020s.
Tech giants increase First-Quarter lobbying expenditures
Google topped first quarter lobbying expenditures in the US taking it to new highs, whereas Cisco Systems and Apple had the biggest percentage increases, new data reveals.
IoT thinking still mired in confusion - study
A new study has revealed that seven in ten service providers do not have a well-defined IoT strategy as they grapple with the multiple business and technical complexities.
EC opens “in-depth” investigation into Apple-Shazam deal
The European Commission has begun what it says is in depth investigation into Apple's proposed plans to acquire music-recognition service Shazam. At stake is the issue of “commercially sensitive data” about customers.
What does the Uber crash mean for driverless cars?
Uber crash may fast track the issue of fault and liability with driverless cars as an autonomous future looms.
Google goes all Nikon on SMS
In the 1970s if you purchased high end photographic equipment you found yourself locked into a ‘system’ such as Nikon. Other equipment, such as lenses – had to fit, and so the next camera would need to be a Nikon, and he next flashgun and so on.
AI is already having an impact on our lives, from financial services to leisure there’s AI - even if you are not aware of it. But the World Economic Forum (WEF) poses an interesting and difficult question about gender. As AI potentially has can create ‘personalities’ (remember Marvin from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?) are the physical, vocal and even behavioural elements becoming gendered? And if they are, is this an issue and why?
Consumers willing to buy insurance from tech giants
The UK insurance market remains vulnerable to the entrance of ‘alternative providers’ such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (GAFA), and nearly a third (30 per cent) of consumers say they would purchase some form of insurance product from these providers.
Roald Dahl wrote The Great Automatic Grammatizator as a short story in 1954 in which a machine writes better stories than authors, in 1948 George Orwell’s 1984 foresaw the proles read books generated by a machine. So it is little surprise that AI has been harnessed to write. Indeed, the only surprise it that it took so long.
Who would have thought it? Facebook using technology to profile its users? Now the company, seemingly undeterred by the privacy scandals that have hit it is seeking to use facial recognition and is asking users in the EU and Canada to allow it to deploy its face-matching technology.
Group action of cyber defence
A group of 34 leading global technology and security companies have signed a Cybersecurity Tech Accord, a major agreement among group of companies agreeing to defend all customers everywhere from malicious attacks by cybercriminal enterprises and nation-states.
A unified voice is needed for progress on digital trade
In light of UN’s E-Commerce Week Geneva and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 commence, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) United Kingdom has made calls for a cohesive voice on digital trade from the developed and emerging markets.
China Unicom teams up with Cisco
Cisco has been collaborating with China Unicom is pursuing network transformation based on an ‘Industrial Internet’ and building ‘cloud + network’ synergy. Industrial Internet refers to the practice of traditional industries leveraging the advantage of big data, cloud computing, smart devices and networks to increase internal efficiency and the ability to provide service for external customers.
BBVA invests in Chinese venture capital
Spanish bank BBVA is looking to the future and investing in Chinese technology companies, giving BBVA insight and access to the growing Chinese innovation market, especially around AI. From a financial perspective, it will also give BBVA the opportunity to understand and potentially co-invest into Chinese AI technological startups, gaining exposure to one of the world’s growing markets.
NCSC warns on use of ZTE equipment and services
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is writing to UK telecommunications organisations warning them of using of ZTE equipment and services.
Ethics needed in AI development, a parliamentary report states
According to the House of Lords, the UK is in a “strong position” to be a world leader in the development of artificial intelligence, potentially delivering a major boost to the economy.
Boeing and Rolls-Royce invest in Reaction Engines
Reaction Engines has raised a further £26.5 million in a strategic fundraising, including the backing of Boeing and Rolls-Royce, who now join BAE Systems in helping develop Reaction Engines’ SABRE aerospace engine. Financial investments in Reaction Engines will also be made by Baillie Gifford Asset Management and Woodford Investment Management.
Telegram blocked in Russia
A Russian court has approved the country’s media regulator Roskomnadzor’s decision to block the Telegram messaging app. The regulator had sought the key to decode the service’s encryption system, but Telegram had refused.
Google loses privacy case
A man who requested that search results on a past crime be removed from the search engine has won his case against Google in a ruling. Although not a legal precedent for all cases, another man who had committed a more serious crime lost his case, it none-the-less raises questions about how long and for what reasons ‘the right to be forgotten’ can be enforced.
Huawei achieves Cyber Essentials Plus Certification
Chinese-owned Huawei has achieved the UK Government’s Cyber Essentials Plus certification. The scheme, which was launched in 2014 and is part of the Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy, and involves an independent assessment of security controls that businesses need to have in place to mitigate risks from common cyber threats.
The long-anticipated idea of being able to charge an electric cart whilst driving has been achieved in Sweden, over a mile long run of road with an electric rail embedded in it, and the Swedish roads agency is now considering a national expansion.
Zuckerberg warns on Russia
During the hearing related to data misuse, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has warned US senators of the technology war Russia is waging.
2.6 billion records stolen or compromised
The latest findings of the Gemalto Breach Level Index, reveals that 2.6 billion records were stolen, lost or exposed worldwide in 2017, an 88 per cent increase from 2016. While data breach incidents decreased by 11 per cent, 2017 was the first year publicly disclosed breaches surpassed more than two billion compromised data records since the Breach Level Index began tracking data breaches in 2013.
Smart contract for the masses
The Smart Startup Company wants to harness the transparency and security of blockchain to enable SMRT (Smart Startup Token) contracts. The aim is to create a frictionless trade platform for startups and SMEs.
Mark Zuckerberg is facing the second day of questioning following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Zuckerberg’s mea culpa for failing in oversight and responsibility was backed by a promise to make sure Facebook's "tools are used for good" going forward.
Scottish FinTech sector attracts £37m investment
FinTech in Scotland has attracted nearly £37 million investment over the last 10 years, with an ‘ecosystem’ of startups, large firms, universities and the public sector. Firms such as HSBC, Morgan Stanley, NCR, Ingenico and Avaloq all have headquarters in Scotland, while JPMorgan’s European Technology Centre in Glasgow is a key hub, with 1,300 employees. Last year, the Royal Bank of Scotland opened a specialist FinTech hub at its headquarters just outside Edinburgh.
Verifone to be acquired for $3.4 billion
Francisco Partners, a technology-focused private equity firm, has entered into a definitive agreement for the purchase of payments firm Verifone for a total consideration of approximately $3.4 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Verifone stockholders will receive $23.04 in cash for each share of Verifone common stock held, representing a premium of approximately 54 per cent to the Company’s closing share price of $15.00 on April 9, 2018. The Verifone Board of Directors has unanimously approved the definitive agreement and recommends that Verifone stockholders vote in favour of the transaction.
MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that can ‘listen’ to words that the user verbalises internally. The system consists of a wearable device with electrodes that pick up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face, triggered by internal verbalisations, and an associated machine-learning system that can correlate particular signals with particular words.
Facebook has been in the news for all the wrong reasons of late, and Google has had a recent existentialist crisis regarding military AI, so generally YouTube (owed by Google) has been neglected. However the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy have now filed a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Complaint detailing how Google is breaking the law by collecting personal data from children on YouTube without parental consent.
The Changing face of the network
The growth in IP traffic continues to force change, and Cisco is predicting that network traffic patterns show 35 per cent of internet traffic will be carried ‘metro-to-metro’ in 2021, up from 22 per cent in 2016, with more mobile apps, IoT, video and 5G devices connected to the network. As a result, service providers are adjusting their network routing plans to distribute features further to the edge for improved performance.
M-PESA gains global links
A new service from M-PESA will allow Kenyans to sell and buy globally by linking to their PayPal accounts. Safaricom, PayPal and TransferTo have announced a collaboration on the new service that will allow movement of funds between M-PESA and PayPal accounts, presenting a huge boost to international eCommerce.
A survey from EfficientIP, a provider of network security technology, on 1,000 businesses worldwide found that most US organisations are ready to comply ahead of next month’s GDPR deadline and view compliance as key to retaining customers and increasing trust in a company.
Sainsbury’s is overhauling its Nectar card, rewarding not just money spent, but other facets of loyalty. In an era where customer data and customer loyalty are intertwined, and where retailers increasingly seek to differentiate themselves in new ways, Sainsbury’s has decided to reward its customers based on how often they shop and how long they’ve been shopping. For Sainsbury’s retention is more vital than spend. The rejig is Sainsbury’s first big loyalty shake-up since buying the Nectar scheme and reflects the ‘membership economy’, where customers want tailored rewards that reflect their buying patterns.
Google used to have the corporate motto ‘don't be evil’, the problem is that evil can be subjective. For example, if you were to help create better targeting for drone strikes, reducing the ‘collateral’ damage and helping eliminate terrorists is that good or bad?
The privatisation of space
The World Economic Forum has been musing on the next steps in space exploration. With the recent Falcon X launch and NASA announcing that private companies would soon have the possibility of docking modules at the International Space Station, a shift towards privately-funded exploration is evident.
Fidessa bidders come out from hiding
The potential sale of Fidessa has now drawn out two last minute bidders into the fight. ION Investment Group and SS&C Technologies Holdings have joined Temenos in the hunt – the original bidder.The British software firm has confirmed the above as bidders, having already accepted a takeover offer from Temenos, the Swiss banking software group.
This week Swedish music streaming service Spotify went public. The significance is less in that it realised a value of over $26.5 billion after first day of trading, but that it did not opt for an IPO but directly listed.
Colt fast-tracks the delivery of new services
Cisco and Colt Technology Services have announced that they have successfully achieved a milestone in upgrading Colt's pan-European, US and Asian packet network, laying the foundations further differentiated, high-bandwidth connectivity solutions.
A letter from over 50 academics has been delivered to the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), a state founded university, expressing dismay over the development of AI between the institution and its partner Hanwha Systems.
Monzo Beta launched in 2016 as a live experiment in banking – a way to find out what customers really wanted from the Challenger bank and the company worked on its banking licence and the permission to offer current accounts.
The long anticipated move by Amazon into the banking sector will impact the industry is assessed in a recent Forrester report, giving the financial sector the options of winning like Amazon, partnering with Amazon or losing. In all case the arrival of the ex-bookseller cannot be ignored.
A study from Juniper Research finds nearly 2.1 billion consumers worldwide will use a mobile wallet to make a payment or send money in 2019, up by nearly 30 per cent on the 1.6 billion recorded at the end of 2017.
Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen believe that they could be on the verge of making quantum commuting g a reality.
AI is going to threaten existing jobs – the question is to what degree. Some estimates have been placing the figure at near half, but the OECD has published a paper that places the number far lower.
Starling Bank first mobile-only with business accounts
Starling Bank has entered the business market, becoming the first fully licensed mobile-only bank to launch business accounts for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the UK. Using the app small business owners can open an account in less than 10 minutes, direct from their smart phone.
Nasdaq expands Fund Network
Nasdaq has expanded its Mutual Fund Quotation Service (MFQS) and relaunched it as the Nasdaq Fund Network (NFN). The global investment product information service now covers unit investment trusts (UITs), annuities, separately managed accounts/unified managed accounts, collective investment trusts, alternative investments, and structured products that are listed with Nasdaq. Previously it has covered only mutual funds and money market funds.
PSD2 drives Fintech demand
The second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) is being held responsible for a surge in demand for fintech skills. Vacancies for roles requiring fintech skills have risen by over 73 per cent year-on-year over the last six months, and the financial services industry is facing potential shortfalls in certain areas.
Uber Technologies is seeking a European payments processing licence, as the ride-sharing company looks to new revenue streams and the ability to connect consumer facing services such as UberEats.
BlackBerry’s way to recovery
As the devastating news comes across that Theresa May id ditching her Blackberry for an iPhone, the Canadian technology company is showing signs of a financial recovery, posting double-digit growth of sales and a record total company gross margin of 79 per cent.
Damian Collins is an unhappy man. As the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee he has found himself presiding over the unpicking of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica story. Despite the fact that a lot of the claims seem, well, almost obvious, one thing Collins thought he might get was Facebook CEO Zuckerberg to turn up and testify. But he won’t, and that makes Collins upset, and leads one to ask why not?
Shell installs hydrogen pump at Beaconsfield
Shell has announced that it has installed a hydrogen option at Beaconsfield refuelling station, the first ‘under the canopy’ in the UK. The new hydrogen refuelling station, situated on the M40 is fully owned and operated by ITM Power.
Dell’s Pivotal Software subsidiary has filed for IPO, allowing perhaps a glimpse of future Dell strategy to focus on core elements of the business. Formed when VMware and EMC assets were carved up, Pivotal offers cloud platforms for developers via its Pivotal Cloud Foundry. With healthy subscription sales, it has shown good growth, and an IPO could provide both an injection of capital to reduce debt as well as a more tightly managed partner in which Dell could retain a significant stake.
Forrester's Customer Experience (CX) Index has surveyed 9,000 UK consumers, ranking 36 UK brands on how a brand's CX strengthens the loyalty of its customers, with Nationwide Building Society coming top for the third year running of the banks.
Hammond looks to boost fintech
Philip Hammond has launched the Government’s strategy for the fintech sector as he sought to talk up the financial technology sector ahead of Brexit pointing to the investment attracted to the UK (and London in particular) exceeds the rest of Europe. In order reinforce the message that the UK takes technology seriously, he also launched a 'crypto assets task force' to help protect investors from the chopping waters of cryptocurrency.
eToro raises $100m to support expansion
eToro, the social trading and investment platform, has announced a Series E fundraise of $100 million to support its expansion into new markets as well as its continued research and development of blockchain technology and the digitisation of assets.
OakNorth reports £10.6m profit
Challenger bank OakNorth has reported that it provided over £1.2 billion of gross lending in the UK, up from £300 million a year ago, with a pre-tax profit of £10.6 million for the 2017 calendar year, only its second full year of operations.
New university to focus on the technology
A new university in Milton Keynes to focus on teaching the technology of the future world of work, leading in areas including digital, cyber, autonomy, robotics and artificial intelligence is being developed in partnership with business.
Amazon and others face digital tax
With the release of two draft EU directives introducing an interim digital services tax, along with a proposal for a longer-term solution, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren supported Commission efforts in seeking to prevent a confusing array of different national measures to try and ensure a level playing field between all business models.
Mobile bank N26 has raised $160 million in a funding round co-led by Allianz X, the digital investment unit of Allianz Group, and Chinese giant Tencent Holdings. The funding represents the largest German equity financing round (non IPO) in the fintech industry and will be used to accelerate N26’s global growth strategy and international expansion, particularly into the US and UK later this year.
RBS to set up own challenger
Royal Bank of Scotland is working on creating its own challenger bank to compete with new banks such as Starling, Atom, Monzo and Revolut.
Uber suspends self-driving car tests
Uber’s tests with self-driving cars resulted in a fatal accident, and the company has suspended all tests in the aftermath. A woman was hit by a car and killed in Arizona – the first death caused by an autonomous car.
Cambridge Analytica raises concern
Cynics might say ‘really’ but it has come as a surprise to some that social media companies aren’t always paragons of virtue. Combine this with the amazing revelations that political parties try to influence the voters and you have the current row over Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data.
Micro Focus suffers for HPE purchase
At one point, shares in Micro Focus, one of the UK largest IT companies, fell by a half, as the company announced a profits warning. The problems are related to the purchase of Hewlett Packard Enterprise's software business for £6.8bn, a purchase that included former UK company Autonomy that had been adsorbed into HP earlier. Despite the warning, the company has stated that its cost savings drive is ahead of schedule and its net debt was expected to be in line with expectations.
Quarter unsure of their regulatory compliance needs
A poll from hybrid cloud solutions supplier Pulsant shows a lack of alignment when it comes to managing and maintaining compliance, with 28 per cent of IT decision unsure which regulatory frameworks their organisations need to align.
Barclays signs seven wearable payments deals
Barclays has signed partnerships with seven watch brands, including Guess, Mondaine, Timex and Kronaby, to embed contactless bPay technology into traditional watches and fitness trackers. Building on the Timex Fairfield Contactless watch last year, bPay and Timex will launch an expanded range of contactless-enabled watches in May. Guess Watches will also work with bPay to launch a range of six contactless watches.
Rolls-Royce explores very high energy storage technology
Rolls-Royce has signed a collaboration agreement with UK-based technology start-up Superdielectrics to explore the potential of using hydrophilic polymers to create high energy storage technology. The agreement will see Rolls-Royce, Superdielectrics and researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Surrey, to help create a potentially significant breakthrough in energy storage properties.
WhatsApp stopped from sharing personal data with Facebook
The Information Commissioner has completed its investigation, started in August 2016, into whether WhatsApp could legally share users’ data with its owner Facebook. As it stands the Commissioner is not satisfied that there is any lawful basis of processing for any such sharing of personal data and WhatsApp has failed to provide adequate fair processing information to users in relation to any such sharing.
$200bn of cybercrime laundered every year
An academic study into the macro economics of cybercrime and laundering estimate that $80-$200 billion are ‘cashed out’ each year, and in total cybercriminal proceeds make up an estimated 8-10 per cent of all illegal profits laundered globally.
Wipro sells data centre hosting business
Ensono is buying Wipro’s data centre components in a deal that allows Wipro to maintain access to the capabilities and letting Wipro focus on the digital business. Wipro acquired Infocrossing at its data centre business in 2007, but the business is now very consolidated, with the large cloud players likely to further erode the opportunities for mid-sized players.
Salesforce targets smaller businesses
Salesforce is looking to expand its offering to SMEs with its Essentials – a slimmed down version targeting companies with less than 25 workers. The product offers the company both the chance to attract higher volumes from SMEs but also the opportunity to tempt growing companies into the Salesforce infrastructure with a view to upgrading the systems and costs as they expand.
Digital transformation and IoT to drive cybersecurity spend
Data from Juniper Research has found that global business spend on cybersecurity solutions will grow by 33 per cent over the next 4 years, reaching $134 billion annually by 2022. 'Cybersecurity: Mitigation Strategies for Financial Services, Operators, Enterprise & IoT 2018-2022' found that nearly 70 per cent of 2022 spend would originate from medium-sized businesses, as cybercriminals target ‘low-hanging fruit’.
Almost a third of consumers plan for new AI home devices
Almost a third (32 per cent) of consumers surveyed globally plan to buy an AI device including robots or automated assistants, with retailers watching closely as 'voice commerce' develops in the home. PwC's 'Global Consumer Insights' survey, which assesses the shopping behaviour, habits and expectations of over 22,000 consumers in 27 countries reports that that 10 per cent of respondents already own artificial intelligence (AI) devices, such as robots and automated personal assistants like Amazon Echo or Google Home, and 32 per cent said they plan to buy one.
IMF on Bitcoin: Fire with fire
In a blog on its site, the International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde has warned of the dangers that cryptocurrencies pose, suggestion that blockchain technology could help hold them to account and return control to traditional agencies.
In his spring statement, Phillip Hammond has requested that the way in which technology companies such as Google and Facebook are taxed is reviewed. Radical suggestions include taxing revenue rather than profit – even for an interim – could be considered, although such a tax breaks nearly all business tax arrangements.
Larry Page’s air taxi tests
Kitty Hawk, the company founded by Google co-founder Larry Page, has unveiled its ‘flying car’ taxi prototype. Called Cora, the aircraft can take off vertically and transition to horizontal flight, and is the result of eight years of research.
Qualcomm Broadcom merger stopped
Donald Trump has blocked the takeover of US chipmaker Qualcomm on the grounds of national security. The deal, one of the biggest in technology of recent years, would have seen Singapore-based Broadcom become the world's third-largest chip maker with only Intel and Samsung producing more.
First energy storage investment fund announced
The world’s first listed investment fund solely for energy storage has been announced, with a proposed float in London of GBP100m. Gore Street will invest in arrays of lithium ion batteries, such as those made by Tesla, powered by renewable sources that can make energy available to the National Grid.
Banca Generali and Saxo Bank sign digital and trading agreement
Bg-Saxo Sim is the new joint entity that will provide online trading and digital services to Italian clients. The partnership offers access to an innovative platform for advanced trading based on Danish bank Saxo’s technology, marking a major deal in which one bank will provide a raft of services to another in order to speed the development of opportunities for its financial advisors and clients.
Thomson Reuters creates Bitcoin sentiment monitor
Thomson Reuters and MarketPsych Data have launched a new version of their TRMI product including a sentiment data feed for Bitcoin. Surveying more than 400 news and social media sites, many specific to cryptocurrencies, the sentiment monitor coves a variety of financial data, but the focus on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is seen as a first.
Dell narrows loss, servers up, storage down
Dell Technologies (Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, Boomi, SecureWorks, Virtustream and VMware) revealed better Q4 results, generating $21.9 billion in revenue during the final quarter of its 2018 fiscal year and an operating profit of $2.1 billion. The main areas of growth were in servers and networking sales with the infrastructure services group (ISG), client services group (CSG) units and VMware doing well, but storage was down, by 11 per cent – mainly the EMC group. Dell has said that it wants to again become a public company, whilst it has also considered the options around VMware.
SpaceX and Tesla just survived
The BBC reports that Elon Must was so scared of the failure of both SpaceX and Tesla, that he would not let his friends invest. A man to whom the concept of hyperbole is alien, Musk told an audience at the South by South West (SXSW) conference that these companies were near collapse in 2008, and even earlier, in 2002, he dissuaded friends from investing. However, he kept backing his projects, and in his words “they both came through".
Digital adoption could power rural areas
Research by Rural England and Scotland’s Rural College, commissioned by Amazon, estimates that if digital tools and services were more widely adopted, they could deliver at least GBP15bn per year for the rural economy with rural microbusiness and small-sized business seeing the greatest returns.
Consultancy Bain and Co believes that the long predicted entry by Amazon into the banking sector might have taken a step closer. The company already has a cobranded credit card offered by Chase, and Amazon Cash allows customers to deposit cash directly to their Amazon accounts from more than 10,000 retail locations throughout the US, but now Amazon is now talking with big banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co.
SAP Ariba offers mid-market companies digital procurement
SAP Ariba Snap has been designed to enable growing companies to manage spend using SAP Ariba’s cloud-based applications and business network, and so utilising the same infrastructure as larger entities.
Startup BABB raises a $20 million to build its blockchain banking platform
BABB (Bank Account Based Blockchain) has raised its target $20 million in a sold-out token sale and is poised to open its first regulated blockchain-based bank accounts before the end the year.
VMware Cloud and AWS enter Europe
VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have been made available in Europe, offering cloud migration and hybrid cloud deployments and enabling system integrator and system outsourcer (SISO) partners, managed service providers, and solutions providers greater access to the resources to run, manage, and secure applications in a hybrid cloud.
Blackberry faces off against Facebook
Blackberry has accused Facebook of copying features from Blackberry Messenger for its WhatsApp and Instagram apps in a US lawsuit. The Canadian firm is seeking to mine its substantial patents bases (estimated at around 40,000 patents) and believes that many features of its then (2005) ground-breaking messaging system have been copied. Facebook started its services six years later.
The Government is announcing guidelines to make smart devices more secure. Manufacturers of internet-connected devices will now be asked to add security measures, including passwords that are unique and not resettable to a factory default.
WEF creates fintech cyber security consortium
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has founded a consortium with the aim of improving cybersecurity in financial technology companies.
Drone-tracking opens up skies for drones
In a move that could help open up the skies to commercial drone deliveries, an automated drone-tracking system is being co-developed by Nats, the air traffic control service, and a start-up, Altitude Angel.
Wind-up radio inventor Trevor Baylis has passed away. The inventor was most famous for the clockwork radio that allowed people to listen to the radio even if electricity was unavailable, such as in the Third-World, but was also a champion of intellectual property rights.
The shape of things to come
A restaurant in the US has installed a robot to cook its hamburgers. Taking orders through a digital ticketing system, the robot then uses thermal imaging, as well as cameras, to place meat on the grill, cook it and remove it.
VMware unveils healthy results, but won’t be drawn on further Dell links
VMware has produced some positive results, with revenue for the fiscal year 2018 up 12 per cent from 2016 to $7.92 billion, despite being hit by a $970 million charge in advance of the new US tax regulations announced in December.
Bank of England proposes regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has suggested that the virtual exchanges used to clear cryptocurrency transactions should be formally regulated, to protect consumers without stifling innovation.
Regtech firm Ascent on the rise with $6 million funding round
Chicago-based regtech company Ascent Technologies has managed to attract an impressive list of investors for a $6 million funding round, as the company continues to develop an AI and natural language-based method for managing compliance requirements. The technology turns regulatory data into action points, tailored to meet end user firms’ specific requirements.
Russian hackers accused of breaking into German government IT systems
Reports suggest Russian hacking group APT28 was responsible for cyber attacks on Germany’s foreign and defence ministries in December. German government officials confirmed this week that both ministries had been penetrated by cyber attacks, although they would not provide any further details. Although they claimed the attacks had been detected and mitigated quickly, there has been some speculation that the attackers may have had access to German government IT infrastructure and data for months.
Love for free apps is stronger than our data paranoia
A majority of UK citizens are worried about mobile apps stealing personal data, yet almost three quarters say they only ever download free apps, which are more likely to be supported by advertising or data capture, according to a survey by The App Developers.
Nomura tests a quantum approach to asset management
Nomura Holdings, part of Nomura Group, has launched a research project with Tohoku University in Japan, seeking to discover whether quantum computing could be used to optimise asset management services offered to clients. The company is turning to quantum computing in an attempt to increase the speed at which it can perform data analysis.
Desktop PCs on the way out – but staying in your office for a while yet
Global shipments of desktop PCs fell by 2.7 per cent during 2017; and demand for traditional PCs is expected to contract at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.9 per cent between 2017 and 2022, according to data from IDC. Even if anticipated demand for detachable tablet devices like Microsoft’s Surface Pro is added to the figures demand for PCs will only grow by a CAGR of 0.1 per cent to 2022.
Fintechs and tech giants set to disrupt capital markets infrastructure sector
Senior managers at capital markets infrastructure providers (CMIPs) such as exchanges and counterparty clearing houses (CCPs) believe that both fintech, in its various forms, and the technology giants could create significant disruption in the capital market infrastructure (CMI) sector in the near future.
Bill Gates says cryptocurrencies kill
Bill Gates has underlined his distaste for investing in cryptocurrencies, saying that they “caused deaths in a fairly direct way”. Speaking on a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, Gates criticised the anonymity on which digital currencies run, which he said allowed criminals to use them to participate in criminal activities including money laundering and drug smuggling.
Global investment in fintech rose by 18 per cent during 2017
Global investment in fintechs rose 18 per cent in 2017 to $27.4 billion, according to Accenture and CB Insights. Deal values increased by 31 per cent in the US, to $11.3 billion, almost quadrupled in the UK to reach $3.4 billion; and increased by a factor of five in India to reach $2.4 billion. The overall number of fintech venture capital deals increased from 1,805 in 2016 to 2,694 in 2017. Fintechs focusing on lending and payments accounted for about 30 per cent of total funding in 2017.
Security firm claims it can hack any iPhone
In the digital age, it seems, you’re right to be paranoid and to suspect that the government could find out anything they wanted to find out about you, if they chose to do so. Israel-based digital intelligence specialist Cellebrite (part of Sun Corporation) claims its engineers can break into any device running iOS 11, which would mean any iPhone, including the iPhone X.
Demand for IT hardware set to spike says Morgan Stanley
On-premises hardware vendors are about to see a boost in revenues according to a new Morgan Stanley research note. Companies have held back from investing in hardware while working out “how, when and how much of their workloads to move to the cloud”, suggests Katy L. Huberty, head of North American Technology Hardware Equity research at the financial services company – but now those decisions have been made companies will be making overdue investments in hardware.
EU considering legislation that would allow police to access data held anywhere
The European Union is drafting legislation that – like a draft law under consideration by lawmakers in the US – would effectively give EU law enforcement agencies the ability to request access to personal data even if held on computers outside the EU.
HyperGrid claims automated service finds the best cloud tech for any task
Service provider HyperGrid has redefined its HyperCloud software with the launch of a new capability within the stack: the ‘software-defined cloud’, which the company claims can assess which of 100 million possible configurations of cloud technology is the perfect one to suit an end user’s needs at a specific time, then automate allocation of each workload. The company says the service can also “cloudify” existing applications.
OneWeb satellites will enable mobile roaming on planes
US satellite firm OneWeb and aviation manufacturer Airbus are among the founder members of the Seamless Air Alliance, which aims to develop top quality internet access for aeroplane passengers. Other members of the alliance include US airline Delta, Indian airline Bharti Airtel, in-flight internet specialist Gogo and telecommunications company Sprint.
Net neutrality battle heats up in US courts
We should all be keeping an eye on a very important developing story in the US: the legal clash about to take place in the US courts about net neutrality. In December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to allow ISPs to speed up or slow down data related to different companies and to set different levels of charges for consumers with differing levels of access to faster data – provided the ISPs disclose this publicly.
Bank of America publicly acknowledges cryptocurrency risks
Bank of America has become the latest pillar of the global financial establishment to issue a public warning - albeit a subtle one - about risks that cryptocurrencies may pose to the existing financial order. The bank’s annual filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US includes references to the risk factors that cryptocurrencies could pose to its investors.
HPE happy with results and buying back shares following US tax reform
HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) is happy about its latest quarterly results, with quarterly net revenues up 11 per cent to $7.7 billion, exceeding analysts’ expectations. The company enjoyed a 24 per cent increase in storage revenue, year on year; and a 27 per cent increase in DC networking, both functions for which are within the company’s hybrid IT division.
Angry Birds no longer so popular with angry shareholders
Shares in Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish company behind the delightful, moderately violent timewaster Angry Birds, have plunged following a profit warning, just five months after the company’s floatation. Shares fell by almost 50 per cent to €4.90 on February 22.
Proposed US law would let Federal law enforcement agencies take data from computers anywhere worldwide
The US Congress is considering passing legislation that would mean US law enforcement agencies could demand emails and other personal communications from computers overseas, using a judicial subpoena. It would also allow other governments to ask to see the personal data of their citizens stored on computers in the US, subject to sharing agreements.
Marco Polo prepares for DLT trade finance pilot
Global banking initiative Marco Polo is to pilot a distributed ledger technology (DLT) trade finance solution, following a successful proof of concept. The initiative has developed a solution for post-shipment trade financing powered by TradeIX’s TiX platform and R3’s Corda blockchain technology. The platform enables real-time connectivity between trade participants, removing the data silos which prevent the free flow of information – causing inefficiencies and discrepancies.
MPs launch inquiry into digital currencies
The House of Commons Treasury Select Committee has launched an inquiry into digital currencies and distributed ledger technology. The inquiry will examine the role of digital currencies in the UK, possible opportunities and risks for consumers, business and government; and will consider the potential impact of distributed ledger technologies (ie.blockchain) on UK financial institutions and infrastructure.
C-suite security strategies may be misguided
UK executives of companies affected by security breaches may have the wrong priorities: basing responses to breaches on short-term concerns and taking misguided security investment decisions, according to research by security provider Centrify.
Lloyds Banking Group launches £3 billion strategy including IT overhaul
Lloyds Banking Group has announced healthy profits, a share buyback and a three year, £3 billion strategic investment programme, with a strong focus on digital. The banking group announced pre-tax profits of £5.3 billion, a 24 per cent rise on the 2016 figures and the highest profit since 2006, although actually a lower figure than had been predicted by some analysts.
Beware the malicious use of AI warns major new report
Governments must collaborate with technical researchers to investigate, prevent and mitigate potential malicious uses of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies, according to the authors of a new report. Its authors suggest AI may increase the incidence of some existing cyber threats by reducing the cost of cyber attacks, as well as introducing new threats and risks.
Surprise, surprise: fraud and cyber attack volumes both rising
Numbers of both fraud and cyber attacks are increasing, according to Kroll’s tenth annual Global Fraud and Risk Report. 84 per cent of the 540 senior executives surveyed for the report said their company had been affected by at least one instance of fraud in the previous 12 months, up from 82 per cent in 2016 and only 61 per cent in 2012.
Touchstone Innovations funds re:infer - an AI start-up automating business communications
Touchstone Innovations has led a $3.5 million funding round in re:infer, a London-based start-up that uses AI to automate the process of understanding high volumes of human communications. The company claims its machine learning and analytics technology can provide organisations with “a new perceptual capability to listen and understand all of their communications in real time and at scale”.
Microsoft security vulnerabilities increasing – but removing admin rights fixes most of them
Reported security vulnerabilities in Microsoft technologies have more than doubled since 2013 – but most could be mitigated by removing admin rights, according to research from Avecto. 685 vulnerabilities were reported during 2017, compared to 325 in 2013 and 451 in 2016, according to Avecto’s annual Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report. The number of critical vulnerabilities has increased by 60 per cent over the same period; and there has been an 89 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities reported in Microsoft Office products.
Opencell and Vodafone pilot indoor 4G for high rise offices
The days of mobile reception blackspots in your office could be numbered: Opencell and Vodafone have launched the first centralised indoor 4G mobile signal solution at engineering and construction firm AECOM’s new European headquarters building in the City of London.
Gartner: chatbots will run a quarter of customer service interactions in 2020
Gartner predicts that chatbots – virtual customer assistants (VCAs) – will be running 25 per cent of all customer service and support operations by 2020, up from just two per cent in 2017. The research firm’s forecast is based on the excellent results chatbots are delivering to some organisations today, with some reporting reductions of up 70 per cent in customer enquiries received through other channels after implementing VCAs.
Tech industry urges UK government to align with EU data regulations beyond Brexit
Two major technology industry organisations have pressed UK government ministers on the need to maintain alignment between data privacy laws and regulations in the UK and Europe after Brexit. A letter sent from techUK CEO Julian David and the Information Technology Industry Council CEO Dean Garfield to international trade secretary Liam Fox stressed the need for the UK to continue to comply in full with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) after Brexit.
Capgemini benefits from rising demand for cloud and digital transformation
Capgemini has announced reasonably healthy full-year results for 2017, as the company continues to benefit from demand for cloud services and digital transformation. Digital and cloud revenues at the French IT services firm grew 24 per cent year on year to reach almost €5 billion. Overall revenue grew by four per cent to €12.8 billion, with net profit up 11 per cent to €820 million.
SpaceX launching test spacecraft on Wednesday: first step towards 12,000 internet satellite network
This week should see the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will form the first step towards construction of a new network of 12,000 satellites offering internet connectivity.
Cisco changes financial strategy to benefit from US tax reform
Cisco has become the first of the US technology giants to provide tangible evidence that US tax reform is influencing financial strategy, with the announcement of a $25 billion stock buyback plan. The tax system changes, announced in December mean US companies can now repatriate some of the huge cash reserves many have accumulated outside the US over the past decade without having to pay higher rates of tax upon them.
UK government blames Russia for NotPetya cyber attack
The UK government has publicly blamed Russia for the NotPetya malware attack that took place in June 2017, paralysing IT systems in companies and other organisations across Europe and causing more than $1.2 billion worth of damage.
NTT Security and ThreatQuotient to partner
NTT Security, the security part of NTT Group, is partnering with ThreatQuotient to broaden its threat intelligence capabilities. ThreatQuotient's threat intelligence platform (TIP), ThreatQ, will serve as the cornerstone of NTT Security's new threat intelligence services offering.
Oracle demonstrates advances in autonomous cloud
Oracle has demonstrated advances in the Oracle Cloud Platform that extend its autonomous services to make all Oracle Cloud Platform services self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing.
AudioBoom reverses into Triton Digital
UK podcasting company AudioBoom is seeking a reverse takeover of larger US rival Triton Digital. The £134m deal will allow Audioboom access to the US in the growing audio advertising space, and if the deal takes place the US management of Triton will take over the running of the combined group.
Abu Dhabi has entered a new partnership with the distributed ledger Ripple, with the UAE Exchange using the RippleNet product for cross-border transactions.
UK crypto companies launch regulatory body
Some of the major UK cryptocurrency companies are uniting to launch a self-regulatory trade body to improve industry standards and engage policy makers on the future of the sector.
Mimecast, the email and data security company has announced financial results for the third quarter 2017 with revenue of $67.3 million, an increase of 39 per cent year on year, or 36 per cent in constant currency.
Deloitte’s patently good idea
DeloitteSmartReports.com is offering patent benchmark reports created by using artificial intelligence to analyse the 70 million patents filed by 268,000 businesses worldwide.
Citigroup to create London innovation hub
Citigroup is to set up an innovation centre in London, the FT has reported. One of the first major investments by the US bank following the Brexit vote, it will have 60 technologists initially.
Apex readies for a brave new future
Apex Supply Chain Technologies has expanded and opened a new European headquarters in Worcestershire, with nearly three times the area of its two previous facilities combined.
Unilever puts social media on a leash
Ethically renowned consumer goods manufacturer Unilever has threatened to pull its advertising from online platforms if they do not protect children, promote hate or aid division in society.
Unisys’ results show the company exceeding or achieving guidance for all metrics with its Annual Contract Value (ACV) up 22 per cent year over year and Total Contract Value (TCV) up 8 per cent year over year.
Twitter turns a profit, but social media gets tired
Twitter has finally reported its first quarterly profit after a rise in advertising revenue, and video advertising in particular.
BT blazes trail in cyber intelligence threat data sharing
BT has called on UK ISPs to follow its lead in sharing threat intelligence data across the community in a secure and trusted way, in an effort to protect businesses and consumers from cyber crime. The telecoms provider is the first telecommunications provider in the world to start sharing information about malicious software and websites on such a scale, and is in direct response to an initiative led by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to enable ISPs to share detection events.
Trifacta’s data business expands
Structuring data so that it can be useful is the core purpose of Trifacta, and the move to Big Data means that any firm that can offer an effective has lot to offer.
Big Blue crashes into on the cloud party
Forbes magazine has run an interesting analysis of the relative positions of the major cloud suppliers, with Microsoft top, and Amazon and IBM close behind.
Hong Kong issues guidelines for virtual banks
Hong Kong’s regulators have set up draft rules around virtual banks, with a minimum of HK$300 million (US$38.36 million) in capital, and restrictions on imposing a minimum account balance or low balance fees.
Huawei announces £3bn commitment to UK
Huawei Technologies has announced a major new commitment to the UK with a promise of procurement over the next five years of £3billion.
The Economist Intelligence Unit has predicted that Australia will benefit most from AI and the UK will gain least in new study looking into the impact of AI until the year 2030.
Elon Musk never fails to entertain, and gain publicity, even when making a serious point about the state of space exploration.
Former Intel president launches new chip maker
Intel’s former president Renée James has emerged as the chairman and CEO of Ampere Computing, a new startup backed by the Carlyle Group that seeks to leverage the dramatic rise in cloud computing.
Broadcom offers final $121 billion for Qualcomm
Broadcom has offered $121 billion as its final bid to buy Qualcomm, the US semiconductor giant.
Microsoft poll finds technology is a problem
Microsoft has conducted research revealing that “the introduction of new technology on its own, does not guarantee more effective work”.
Dell is in an interesting position, for whilst it is a private company it also owns a majority of VMware – which is not. This minor fact has some consequences, for example because of the impact of any major changes on VMware, it has to file intentions with the regulators in the US. And indeed it has made some filings that lead to a reading of the entrails.
Lloyds bans Bitcoin from credit cards
Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA customers will no longer be able to purchase crypto currencies via their credit cards as the parent group clamps down.
Credit Suisse gets virtual IT support
If you work at Credit Suisse and your PC needs to be turned on and off, then it will be the AI of Amelia who will be sighing at your stupidity.
BT: results and ultrafast broadband by mid-2020s
BT Group has released its third quarter results to end 2017, with revenue down 3 per cent to £5,970m and underlying revenue down 1.5 per cent.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, produced lower than expected profits in the last quarter of 2017.
Amazon’s full-year revenue rises a third
With both Alibaba and Amazon reporting recent results two themes become clear: online retail is a great cash cow and the big companies in it are expanding into other areas such as corporate cloud.
Alibaba sales rose 56 per cent in the last three months of 2017, with revenues hitting $13.2bn.
CGI Group has released Q1 results, with first quarter revenue of $2.8 billion, a growth of 5.3 per cent.
Microsoft has posted its second quarter results, pointing to the growth in its Azure revenue as a marker to is transformation into a cloud services company.
Juniper Networks and TIM to drive telco cloud
Immediately following its lacklustre financial results, Juniper Networks has initiated a joint agreement to collaborate with TIM (Telecom Italia) on the research and development of an innovative cloud-oriented network infrastructure.
Orange has adopted Cisco’s Network Services Orchestrator (NSO) software platform to its current and future network as a foundation for infrastructure programmability and automating method of procedure (MOP) operations and customer-facing services.
UK networks are vulnerable via apps
Research released by A10 Networks examining the behaviour and attitudes of the workforce towards the use of business and personal apps has revealed issues of risk, security and impact on corporate culture.
Fujitsu only tech company on LGBT list
Fujitsu only tech company on LGBT list
Juniper Networks reported its financial results for the year with net revenues at $1,239.5 million, a decrease of 11 per cent year-over-year.
CA Technologies holds steady
CA Technologies has reported financial results for its third quarter fiscal 2018, with strong revenue growth in the third quarter, partly due to recent acquisitions.
Rabobank launches Rabo Frontier Ventures
Rabobank has revealed its Rabo Frontier Ventures (RFV), a €60 million strategic investment fund to focus on early-stage fintech and food and agriculture companies.
GoCompare, the comparison site, is to open up its APIs, allowing external technology companies to harness anonymised transaction data for analysis.
Western Union expands tech with Indian centre
Western Union has launched the Western Union Technology Engineering Centre (WUTEC) in India in a new 125,000 square feet facility in Pune, Maharashtra
ABN AMRO and Cisco invest in BehavioSec
Behavioural biometrics specialist BehavioSec has raised $17.5 million in a Series B funding round led by Trident Capital Cybersecurity with contributions from ABN AMRO and Cisco Investments, and returning investors Conor Venture Partners and Octopus Ventures.
Nissan announces electric vehicle-to-grid systems
Nissan will lead a GBP9.8m programme to investigate how electric vehicles can feed into the power grid with a demonstrator project.
BP announces fast charge project
BP has released details of a project that will help the uptake of electric vehicles in the UK.
SAP buys Callidus Software
SAP America is acquiring CallidusCloud for a price tag of $2.4 billion, with SAP has electing to fund the transaction with existing cash balances and an acquisition term loan. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.
Thomson Reuters data unit may go to Blackstone
Blackstone Group, the US private equity firm, is reported to be engaged in talks to purchase a majority (55 per cent) stake in the financial and risk business of Thomson Reuters.
Startups – walls and bridges
Silicon Valley Bank has released its latest Startup Outlook report, polling over 1,000 startup founders and executives looking at the perceptions of technology and healthcare startups on business conditions, Brexit, fundraising, hiring and policy issues.
Internet crosses 4 billion users
Hootsuite and We Are Social have reported on social media and digital trends around the world in an annual report. 'Digital in 2018' considers 239 countries and territories, and estimates that the number of internet users in the world has now surpassed the 4 billion mark, putting more than half the global population online (53 per cent of the world’s population).
ING buys stake in Payvision
ING has entered payments processing by buying a 75 per cent stake in Payvision for £317m.
Big Data transforming Chinese business
Big data is significantly changing many sectors of the Chinese economy, according to research by ICAEW, in partnership with the Shanghai National Accounting Institute and Chinese technology company Inspur.
The British Blockchain Association (BBA) has been founded with the aim of supporting the technology’s adoption across public, private and the third sectors.
Moore Stephens acquires the data warehousing
Moore Stephens Consulting (MSC), a division of the accountancy and advisory firm, has announced the acquisition of the data warehousing division of Atticus Associates.
Baidu, the Chinese search engine, is looking to prospective investors in an attempt to raise $1.5 to 2 billion.
Online mortgage broker Trussle has opened up its pioneering mortgage monitoring service to mortgage borrowers.
The number of jobs advertised in the technology sector grew by 12 per cent last year as businesses continue to expand their tech departments, according to figures from Reed Technology.
Sky yields to the internet
Sky will make all its channels and content available online, ending the need fora satellite dish.
Alphabet looks to corporate security
Alphabet, parent company of Google, has launched a new business unit to supply cyber security products to corporates.
Synechron hires head of UK business consulting
More moves at Synechron, as Pankaj Gupta joins the Synechron Business Consultancy (SBC) team in the UK as managing director and head of UK business consulting.
HMRC stops scam text messages
HM Revenue and Customs has stopped thousands of scam text messages, with 90 per cent of the most convincing texts now halted before they reach taxpayers’ phones.
Deloitte buys ATADATA to strengthen cloud
Deloitte has announced it is acquiring the assets of ATADATA, an Atlanta-based provider of a cloud platform that maps, migrates and manages workloads.
Accounting software group Sage has announced its results for its Q1 trading, with performance broadly in line with expectations.
Preventing a digital dark age
The World Economic Forum has announced a new Global Centre for Cybersecurity to help build a safe and secure global cyberspace.
Stripe ending Bitcoin support
Tom Karlo, payments manager at payments organisation Stripe has stated that the company will be ending its support for Bitcoin payments.
Former Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has called on the government to spend more on Britain's Armed Forces, and at the same time, chief of the general staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, pointed to a return of cold war tensions with Russia and raised the prospect of hostilities between the country and NATO forces.
Graphics cards – prices spike
An unlikely side-effect of the crypto-currencies stampede is that graphics cards are now retailing at a premium.
IBM and Salesforce strengthen ‘strategic partnership’
IBM and Salesforce are expanding their strategic partnership, bringing together IBM Cloud and Watson services with Salesforce Quip and Salesforce Service Cloud Einstein to enable companies to connect with their customers more effectively.
IntegraFin, the parent of platform Transact, that offers online support to financial advisers and clients with trading and tax wrappers, is to float in the first stock market launch of the year.
Computacenter looks positive
European IT infrastructure services provider Computacenter has provided a postive update on trading.
Blockchain makes first agricultural commodity trade
Louis Dreyfus Company, ING, Societe Generale and ABN Amro have completed the first agricultural commodity trade using blockchain.
After news of the Google subsea communications plans comes Tata Communications, Facebook, China Telecom Global, China Unicom and Telstra joining to create a trans-Pacific cable system.
Shutting down the Internet
A Study for Website Builder Expert, has estimated the impact of internet loss globally.
The Nominet Trust is splitting from UK domain register Nominet. After ten years the two have agree to separate, in order to more effectively scale its social impact.
IBM has had a rocky time over the last five years, with 22 quarters of declining revenue, but the ‘Big Blue’ has finally seen growth in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Pega has commissioned a report regarding the adoption of AI into the workplace, with some surprising results
Marks & Spencer has extended its longstanding digital customer contact partnership with Capita for a further five years.
Synechron expands US business consulting team
New York-based Financial services consulting and technology services provider Synechron, has announced Chris Ekonomidis as its senior director and US regulatory practice head for Synechron Business Consulting as the company ramps up it abilities in banking transformation. Ekonomidis was previously at Sapient Global Markets and EY.
Silver Lake and P2 Capital Partners are buying US financial technology firm Blackhawk Network Holdings for $3.5bn.
Standard Chartered launches innovation and investment unit
Standard Chartered has started a new unit to invest in financial technology and innovation.
Global IT spending to reach $3.7 trillion in 2018
Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.7 trillion in 2018, an increase of 4.5 per cent from 2017, according to the latest forecast by Gartner.
Kaspersky uncovers Android spyware
Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered an advanced spyware that has been covertly active since 2014 and designed for targeted cyber-surveillance.
In light of governments around the globe making noises about crypto-currencies, a fall was one of the most predicted events of the year and with South Korea suggesting that it might take action in the near future it looks like a correction, at least, has occurred.
Maersk and IBM form Blockchain venture
Maersk and IBM will establish a joint venture to provide more efficient and secure methods for conducting global trade using blockchain technology.
China to limit fintech to ‘real’ economy
China will only support financial technologies that benefit the ‘real’ economy, the China Securities Regulatory Commission has said.
Google extends infrastructure reach
Google Cloud has spent $30 billion improving its infrastructure over three years, and will open its Netherlands and Montreal cloud platform regions in the first quarter of 2018, followed by Los Angeles, Finland, and Hong Kong.
Lars Klawitter joins InMotion Ventures as executive director strategic business from Rolls-Royce to oversee expansion of strategic partnerships.
NTT Security extends in Thailand
NTT Security has announced its expansion into Thailand. The company sees Thailand's economy as having great potential, with the second largest GDP following Indonesia in the high growth economy of ASEAN.
Softbank plans sale of mobile business
Softbank might list its mobile phone business, according to the Nikkei newspaper.
Ripple and MoneyGram to partner
Blockchain provider Ripple has partnered with MoneyGram to pilot crypto-currency XRP in its payment flows. As part of this agreement, both companies will also explore MoneyGram's integration into Ripple's ecosystem.
Intel: fixes could slow machines
Intel has estimated that the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre flaws could slow performance slowdown from between 2 per cent to 14 per cent.
Wireless Infrastructure Group
Barings has announced that it has sold its investment in Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG) to 3i Infrastructure.
Inmotion Ventures backs taxi start-up
InMotion Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover’s venture capital arm, has invested USD3 million in US-based self-driving taxi service Voyage.
Voice assistants to become a dominant mode of interaction
Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute has released a new report, Conversational Commerce: Why consumers are embracing voice assistants in their lives, highlighting how consumers are using voice assistants and the opportunities this creates for businesses to connect with their customers.
Intel and Apple: Senators pose questions
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich's sold shares three months before it publically disclosed the flaws in its chips that could make them vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre.
The Government is set to amend the Data Protection Bill to protect researchers who might otherwise break the law during legitimate work. An exemption for researchers carrying out “effectiveness testing” will be added. Researchers will still have to notify the ICO within three days of ‘deanonymising’ data however.
M&S in technology transformation with Tata
Retailer M&S has announced a new Technology Transformation Programme to create a digital-first business model and improve customer experience.
Kodak latest to go crypto
Historic photographic company Eastman Kodak has seen its shares lift by 120 per cent revealing plans to mint its own crypto-currency.
Google launches Google Pay
Google is combining its payment services, including Android Pay and Google Wallet, into one unified service, called Google Pay.
Tech entrepreneurs prioritise brand over money
Naming and brand are the most important decision technology entrepreneurs have to make, with decisions on name, brand profile and marketing costs topping the ranking of bosses’ most important to do lists.
Self-driving tech the hit at CES
Cisco and Hyundai, NVIDIA and VW, this year’s CES has seen a rush for technology companies to partner carmakers.
Delivery company Deliveroo is adopting technology from Looker to ‘operationalise’ its data and manage its network. Deliveroo will now have a complete view of all the marketing, sales, logistics, delivery and online data from its regional and international operations.
Sodexo and Huawei link up during Macron’s China visit
A partnership agreement was signed in China, opening the door to Sodexo providing Huawei with integrated facilities management services on a global scale.
Intel promises to fix its flaws
Intel used the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show in the US to pledge fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre bugs will be released over the next few days.
Google faces discrimination claims
Two former Google employees have filed lawsuits against Google claiming discrimination to themselves and others for their "perceived conservative political views, male gender and Caucasian race".
Seoul Leads Global Smart Cities Energy Ranking
Juniper Research has found that smart grids linked to smart cities will result in savings of USD14Bn per annum in energy bills by 2022.
Intel facing class-action lawsuits
The recent disclosure of the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws has led to the inevitable US law suit.
Pitchbook blogger Anthony Mirhaydari has pointed out that several major ‘unicorn’ technology companies are ‘overvalued’.
London Tech creates £2.5bn record
VC investment in London-based technology companies has reached £2.5bn in 2017, a record level.
A biometric identity scheme in India has come under close scrutiny after newspaper claims that personal data was being sold for 500 rupees (around £6) online.
In a somewhat logical, but depressing way, the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has speculated that any rise in the living wage will mean replacement of workers with robots.
Chip vulnerability – what we know
Security flaws in the vast majority of devices have been exposed in the last few days, and as the producers scrabble to fix the issues, it is worth looking at exactly what the problems are.
Fooling image recognition software
Image recognition software can be fooled by the addition of a simple ‘adversarial image patch’ next to any object, according to a recent report.
Apple tipped to become first trillion dollar company
Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet are all capable of becoming the first trillion dollar company in 2018, with Apple the bookies’ favourites following the reception to the new iPhones.
Tablets ensure compliance for collections
Charity fundraisers are the latest sector to use technology to ensure compliance and standards, with tablet-based software will ensure working hours are maintained and that the working areas are kept to using GPS.
Tax for failure to control terrorist content
Security Minister Ben Wallace has indicated that he would consider a tax fine on social media and technology companies that fail to control content with a terrorist message.
Apple has apologised for deliberately slowing down older iPhones to conserve their battery life.
Funding Circle moves for a 1bn float
Funding Circle, the peer-to-peer lender, is preparing for a £1bn London float, potentially in the autumn.
Blockchain with everything
Remember the turn of the century when merely adding dot com to the end of a company sent the City into fits of delight? Well you need not be nostalgic any longer as exactly the same thing has happened again with blockchain.
Forrester has released research that considers the risk and value of blockchain within the banking industry, and the attitudes of banking executives top its adoption.
Crypto-currency under investigation
Coinbase, a major US crypto-currency exchange is under investigation for insider trading.
Uber is a transport company
Uber has been officially categorised as a transport company by European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Legal ‘right’ to broadband
The Government has pledged that business and home users will be able to demand high-speed broadband by 2020.
Cyber threats biggest fear for financial and public sector
The financial services industry and public sector are aligned in their concerns about data and system security, with both citing a fear of harmful cyber threats emerging in 2018, according to a new study from digital workplace provider Invotra.
With Christmas come renewed warning of three malware strains in the form of Emotet, GratefulPOS and Zeus Panda.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have claimed to have accidently developed a glass material that can repair itself. Polyether-thioureas does not need extreme heat and can be pressed together by hand at room temperature to eliminate cracks. The substance was discovered during an attempt to create a new glue.
An open letter from Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab has filed an appeal in federal court challenging the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Binding Operational Directive 17-01, which requires federal agencies and departments to remove the company’s products from federal information and federal information systems.
Buyside faster top adopt technology than Sellside
Asset managers in Europe are faster to adopt technologies than their sell-side counterparts because CEOs in the industry understand the importance of technology within the business, according to a survey of 200 IT executives working in the financial services sector.
Tavis Ormandy, a researched with Google, has pointed out a security flaw with Windows 10 and the third party password manager that is installed by default.
Avaya Holdings has announced that it has successfully completed its debt restructuring and emerged from chapter 11 protection in the US.
Tech optimism abounds – yet priorities are confused in 2018
In a survey of technology across all sectors, cyber security, adapting to changing customer needs, and digital capabilities are the top three priorities - and have all increased in importance since last year.
Undersea communications at risk
Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach has raised concerns that Russia could target undersea communications and internet cables.
Warning over hacking of smart buildings
Smart building controllers create a double issue of being an access point to wider systems and also a direct vulnerability to issues such as heating or ventilation.
FCA publishes feedback on DLT consultation
The Financial Conduct Authority has published feedback on its discussion paper on distributed ledger technology (DLT), revealing that the UK regulator is open to all forms of deployment of the technology.
JPMorgan and IBM tap quantum computing tech
JPMorgan Chase and Barclays are collaborating with IBM to accelerate the practical applications of quantum computing technology in the financial services industry.
BP doubles supercomputer power to nine petaflops
BP has announced that it has doubled its computing power in the Center for High-Performance Computing (CHPC) in Houston, making it the most powerful supercomputer in the world for commercial research.
Data: explain the value to customers
New research from Experian has spit consumers into four distinct sets: The Unaware, The Accepting, The Cautious and The Incognito – revealing that there are varying levels of trust and engagement with the data exchange.
Net neutrality – the edge of reason
The concept of net neutrality - where all internet traffic is treated equally – is expected to be dealt a serious blow as the law underpinning it is set to be repealed in the US.
A man in the US has admitted being one of the persons behind the Mirai malware that caused widespread disruption to the internet in 2016.
One in three Millennials (33 per cent) will be invested in cryptocurrency by the end of next year, overtaking bonds and shares for those aged 18-35.
One per cent of sites hacked
A tool that detects when a website has been hacked by monitoring the activity of related email accounts has been created by researchers at the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California San Diego.
One day, two releases on AI-based solutions to the tricky issue of how to make money.
Legislation to ban Kaspersky Lab use inside government departments have been written into law, in the latest set of precautions against the Russian-based firm.
Join raises funds for AI-based influencer
Marketing-platform Join has raised a significant amount of money from investor Airbridge Equity Partners and intends to use the funds to expand across the European market and develop its artificial intelligence use.
Unilever and Sainsbury’s test blockchain for ethical supply chains
Technology company Provenance is leading a collaboration of fintech startups to test whether blockchain technology can help unlock financial incentives that improve transparency and sustainability in supply chains.
Engineering concern Rolls-Royce has launched R2 Data Labs, an in-house incubator for advanced data use.
Intel unveils new Pentium processors
Intel has released information on its new Pentium Silver and Celeron processors based on the Gemini Lake architecture.
Start-ups showcased at the NCSC
The nine companies chosen to join the nine-month GCHQ Cyber Accelerator have outlined their ideas for security products and services that will enhance the UK’s cyber defences to representatives at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) HQ.
Quarter of business leaders do not understand cyberattacks
Research revealing the widening gap between digital transformation and business understanding of the risks has been published by CA Veracode, showing that a quarter of business leaders have no understanding of cyberattacks.
Keylogger found in HP laptops
A keylogger has been found pre-installed on 460 HP laptop models, with HP has issuing a software patch for its customers.
Warning on Chinese use of LinkedIn
Germany’s intelligence service (BfV) has detailed how Chinse services are using social networks for intelligence gathering, including using fake profiles on LinkledIn.
Augmented reality to boost sales
A third of UK consumers would be more likely to buy a high-ticket product if they could use augmented reality (AR) to visualise how the item would look in their home.
Google Maps gets real-time updates
The Google Maps service is getting two new types of notification, with the app giving delivering live updates, and the ability to lock the screen notifications so that users will not have to unlock the phone and consult the Maps app each time new directions are needed.
Fintech’s could shake financial stability
Technological risks rose through the rankings of this year’s Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), risks to the financial sector in 2018.
One in three seeking change in 2018
Millennial IT professionals are the least satisfied with their work and pay, and are more likely to change jobs in 2018.
Barclays innovation chief moves to Santander
Santander UK has appointed a new chief operating officer in the shape of Michael Harte, who joins from Barclays where he was group head of innovation and previously served as group head of operations and technology.
UK Consumers are turning to AI-enabled home assistants for Christmas shopping, with nearly a third planning to use such devices.
Slovenia-based mining exchange NiceHash has reported that it is investigating a potential breach and is suspending operations until resolved.
Bitcoin reaches USD16,000
Bitcoin started the year at under USD1,000 has now reached sixteen times that, having gained 50 per cent in a week.
Google makes Chrome business friendly
The latest release of Chrome browser introduces a variety of new security enhancements for enterprises, with improvements to isolate processes, broader support for security standards and new policies giving administrators more options to protect users and businesses.
Gartner sees chief data officers now expected to drive revenue
Chief data officers are now expected to help drive revenues, according to a new report from Gartner, as opposed to manage and maintain data.
CrowdStrike sees lines blur
The lines between nation-state sponsored attack groups and criminals is blurring, with both groups utilising similar tactics such as fileless malware and “living off the land” techniques involving processes native to the Windows operating system, including PowerShell and WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation).
10 million banking app users at risk
Researchers from the University of Birmingham have announced that they had found a security flaw that puts 10 million banking app users at risk.
BCG sees citizens pressure governments
Dr Walter Bohmayr and Dr Stefan Deutscher of the Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) Cybersecurity Practice have predicted that citizens will demand of their governments protect cyberspace in the same way that they protect individual’s property rights.
London spreads VC investment
According to company data analysed by Workthere, venture capitalist (VC) investment into start-up companies located in London to the end of Q317, is already 8.6 per cent ahead of the £2.6 billion recorded for the whole of 2016.
Jaguar Land Rover invests in tech
InMotion Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover’s venture capital arm, has completed investments in 11 companies during 2017 as it seeks new business models and technologies to reach beyond its existing product range.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed the companies that are to begin testing in the third cohort of its sandbox.
2018 outlook: technology opportunities and cyber threats
Deloitte has published its Financial Markets Regulatory Outlook for 2018, predicting that the sector faces another formidable set of regulatory and technological challenges.
UK company turns into a unicorn
Anaplan has secured $60 million worth of investment in its latest funding round, making the company, which was born in a barn in Yorkshire, worth $1.4 billion.
SAP Ariba to transform procurement
SAP Ariba has announced a partnership with CA Technologies to transform the company’s corporate procurement for end users in 35 countries.
Public accepts biometrics
A study by Unisys surveyed the UK public on their attitudes towards biometric authentication, including the use of fingerprint scanning, heartbeat recognition and vascular scanning.
PwC and AngelsCube help scale ups
PwC and AngelsCube have launched a programme called Scale Commerce that aims to provide the missing link between fast-growth scale-ups and retailers.
Amazon pushes business services
Amazon Business has launched a new set of features designed to better serve the procurement needs of businesses of all sizes. Amazon Business, launched last year, now serves five countries including Germany, India, Japan, the UK and US.
IoT projects have concerns over security, lack of funding and commitment
The growing number of smart utilities, smart cities and broader IoT projects mean that IoT is the now the second most important IT priority for the next 12 months, just behind improving security. However, almost all (90 per cent) of those with an IoT plan at various stages of implementation have struggled to implement this, with over a third (36 per cent) saying they find it “very or extremely difficult”.
Tech-based spinouts raise over a billion
A report funding university spinouts has highlighted 2017 as a record year for investment, with more than £1 billion raised so far.
Research in the UK, US, Germany and Australia predicts that 75 per cent of employees will request their right to be forgotten (RTBF) under GDPR.
Oakham secures debt investment
UK digital micro-lender Oakam has announced that it has secured a £35 million debt investment from Victory Park Capital Advisors.
Barclays drops Kaspersky as ‘security precaution’
Barclays has stopped offering free anti-virus software from Russian firm Kaspersky to new banking customers, following a warning from the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) that using it could “harm national security”.
Facebook to make 800 jobs in London
Facebook’s new London office will host 800 new jobs for the tech giant, bringing the expected total to 2,300 people employed in the UK by the end of next year.
Jigsaw taps Retail Assist for IT support
British fashion retailer Jigsaw has partnered with Retail Assist to make use of its 24/7 IT Help Desk for its 95 stores in the UK, Ireland, US and Australia. Retail Assist is a single point of contact for all IT related issues seven days a week, as an extension of Jigsaw’s internal IT team. Improved out of hours service provision is helping Jigsaw store staff to provide a better experience to customers with increased systems uptime.
RBS joins $45 million funding round for 1QBit
Quantum computing startup 1Qbit has announced the closure of a $45 million Series B fundraising round led by Fujitsu, with additional investors including RBS, Accenture, Allianz and CME Ventures. 1QBit has seen significant growth over the last year, adding science and business leaders to its team of experts, and plans to use this latest investment to continue to expand its research and software development teams.
South Central launches new child health system
The south central region of England has gone live with a single child health information system to provide a comprehensive electronic record of over 906,000 children’s public health records. The new CarePlus system from System C combines 11 different child health information services and workflows to create a unified child health information service covering children in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Bath and N. E. Somerset, Wiltshire, Swindon, Gloucestershire, Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Shoppers ‘keen to set own contactless card limits’
Nearly half (48 per cent) of shoppers would like to customise their contactless card transaction limit, or would like to the ability to do so, according to new research. The survey from card machine provider Paymentsense also showed that for those shoppers wanting a customisable limit, just over a quarter (26 per cent) would immediately raise it, but nearly 1 in 5 people (18 per cent) would lower it. The top reason for those wanting to raise the limit is that £30 is too low (44 per cent).
Cyber criminals an ‘evolving threat to FIs’
There has been a significant evolution on the cyber threat facing the global financial industry over the past 18 months as criminal have significantly advanced their knowledge, according to a new report from SWIFT. The report evaluates cyber attacks on customers around the world, analysing the sophistication of the attackers’ tactics and techniques. Based on the insights gained, the report published how users can protect themselves better against the cyber threat – called the SWIFT Customer Security Programme.
More SMEs ‘see tech as threat than opportunity’
More than a third of UK SMEs (34 per cent) believe that technological disruption poses a threat to their business, while just one in five (22 per cent) believe technology will create opportunities for their business, new research suggests. The survey, conducted by Albion Capital, also found that SMEs are prioritising investment in defence of their existing business, with half of businesses citing cybersecurity (52 per cent) and data protection (50 per cent) as their most important areas of focus.
Operational risk ‘a concern’ for most EU banks
With the rapid development of financial technologies, operational risk remains an area of concern for 55 per cent of EU banks, according to a new EBA report. This number has increased from 43 per cent in December 2016 and 35 per cent in December 2015. Most EU banks are still taking steps to address their weaknesses that are stemming from technology-driven evolution.
Yours Clothing in payments tie-up with Klarna
Yours Clothing, a UK independent retailer of plus size ladies clothing, has announced a partnership with Klarna which will allow its customers to use the Pay later and Slice it payment options. Klarna’s Pay later allows customers to try goods first. When checking out online or on mobile, Yours Clothing customers who use Klarna’s Pay later will receive their products and then have 14 days to pay Klarna back interest-free.
IT issues ‘costing UK businesses £62bn a year’
The loss of productivity caused by IT issues costs UK businesses up to £62.4 billion annually, new research has found. The IPsoft commissioned survey of more than 3,000 respondents found that employees at large UK enterprises are losing an average of more than seven days a year each through IT issues hampering productivity. This equates to a negative productivity impact of more than £62 billion in revenue and £6.9 billion in salary cost.
CaixaBank helps launch cross-industry innovation hub
CaixaBank, Global Payments, Samsung, Visa and Arval have unveiled the Payment Innovation Hub – Spain’s first innovation hub specialising in merchant commerce and payment methods. The Payment Innovation Hub is located at Barcelona’s Pier01, a space set up by Barcelona Tech City to accommodate more than 100 digital and tech businesses and startups. An initial total investment of €5 million has been earmarked for the project over the next three years.
Ocado signs tech deal with Groupe Casino
Ocado has signed an agreement with French supermarket giant Groupe Casino which will see the latter implement Ocado’s e-commerce technology in its own online business. Groupe Casino will get access to the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) solution, including the construction of its latest generation, state-of-the-art automated warehouse (for which Ocado will invest to install its grid and its robots), Ocado’s front-end web site functionality, last-mile routing management and big data, real time implementation.
UK firms ‘underusing their tech investments’
More than half of UK businesses (56 per cent) have invested in technology over the past five years that has been underused, new research has revealed. The survey, conducted by TomTom Telematics, indicates that a lack of guidance and support from suppliers was found to be the number one reason for this, highlighted by 47 per cent of businesses. Forty-five per cent also said they lacked a dedicated resource to make use of the technology while more than a third (37 per cent) said the technology was incompatible with existing systems and processes.
CYBG and Mastercard announce 7-year deal
Mastercard and CYBG, owner of the Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank and B brands, today announced that they will extend their partnership, with CYBG switching all of their remaining Visa credit cards to Mastercard. The 7-year agreement means that all CYBG debit, credit and commercial cards will use the Mastercard network. The renewed partnership also allows Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank’s business customers to benefit from the enhanced functionality to control and add flexibility to their company’s future spending.
John Lewis invests £100,000 in tech startups
The John Lewis Partnership has announced a £100,000 investment in two technology startups following their success in the retailer’s fourth annual accelerator programme, JLAB. JLAB is the largest retail tech accelerator programme in the UK, and its innovation partner L Marks will match the £100,000 investment from John Lewis and Waitrose, bringing the total startup funding to £200,000.
Porsche launches live online tours with GoInStore
Porsche has partnered with retail technology company GoInStore to offer an immersive online experience to its global fan base, allowing them to experience a live, host-guided virtual tour of the Porsche Museum. Through GoInStore’s real-time video technology, visitors can explore Porsche’s range of historic and modern vehicles showcased at its museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany. Website visitors can now take an expert-led tour of exhibits on show in the 5,600 square metre venue, which is situated next to the headquarters of Porsche AG.
Oviva raises $12 million in Series A funding
Oviva, a digital health company that aims to revolutionise the treatment of health conditions relating to diet with technology, has raised $12 million in Series A funding. Albion Capital, Eight Roads Ventures, F-Prime Capital Partners, Partech Ventures and Walking Ventures all participated in the funding round. Oviva’s technology and nutritional treatment programmes were designed and tested by specialist clinicians and healthcare experts, with the ambition to dramatically increase patients’ access to tailored and effective treatments for diet-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and food allergies.
HSBC hires retail CIO in digital drive
HSBC has hired former Google engineering director Mike Warriner as its chief information officer of its retail banking and wealth management digital operations. Warriner has worked for the past five years at Google, where he was responsible for the company’s engineering site, and also served as the European chair of Google Payments. Prior to his work at Google, Warriner worked for 19 years at UK banking technology house Intelligent Environments, reaching the position of chief technology officer.
Clarks installs stock management scanning app
Clarks has partnered with Scandit who will provide the footwear retailer with the technology for an in-store scanning solution. Widely deployed across Clarks retail outlets throughout the UK, the Stock Assist app is available to sales teams on tablets and helps them quickly confirm if a customer’s choices are in stock.
UK launches £20m cyber security programme
The UK government has launched a new £20 million cyber security programme as it looks to inspire the next generation of experts. The Cyber Discovery programme will give those aged between 14 and 18 the opportunity to take part and test their skills in online real-world cyber challenges to see if they have the potential of playing a role in defending the nation from future online threats.
Estée Lauder launches Google beauty apps
Beauty retailer Estée Lauder has announced a collaboration with Google to offer consumers in-home personalised beauty experiences for the Google Assistant on Google Home. The first initiative is the ’Estée Lauder Nighttime Expert‘ app, which will give consumers personalised night-time skincare routines through a series of questions and answers. The personalised recommendation will be enhanced by asking users if they would like to learn skincare application techniques.
SEPA real-time payments scheme goes live
The SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme has officially launched, going live with nearly 600 payment service providers (PSPs) from eight European countries. The scheme, created by the European Payments Council, brings real-time electronic money transfers to the continent, allowing payments of up to €15,000 to be made in less than 10 seconds any time and on any day of the year, including weekends and holidays.
Volvo and Uber in driverless car partnership
Volvo Cars has signed an agreement with Uber, the ride sharing company, to sell tens of thousands of autonomous driving compatible base vehicles between 2019 and 2021. The base vehicles are developed on Volvo Cars’ fully modular, in-house developed Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). The non-exclusive agreement enhances the strategic partnership between Volvo Cars and Uber announced in August 2016. Volvo Cars’ engineers have worked together with engineers from Uber to develop the XC90 premium SUVs that are to be supplied to Uber.
Blockchain ‘could replace banks and clearing houses’
Blockchains that transact with one another could replace central authorities such as banks, clearing houses and lawyers in the future, a new report has predicted. According to an Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) study, with the ability to directly interactthe technology could save firms the cost and effort of doing business with a ledger owner, and increase transparency and security against financial crime.
Wales launches IoT startup incubator programme
A new Internet of Things (IoT) startup accelerator programme has been launched in Wales to provide promising businesses with the financial investment, knowledge and network needed to accelerate growth. The Internet of Things Accelerator Wales (IoTA Wales) is actively seeking promising innovators outside Wales to sign up to the accelerator – a collaborative initiative that has been jointly created and designed by The Accelerator Network, Innovation Point, Barclays Eagle Labs, Inspire Wales and the Development Bank of Wales.
UK ‘set for record online fraud this Christmas’
This Christmas looks set to be the UK’s most fraudulent ever for online shoppers, according to new data from Barclays. With fraud and scams becoming increasingly sophisticated, and with record numbers getting ready to do their Christmas shopping online, Barclays is warning of a perfect storm for seasonal online theft.
Deliveroo tops Deloitte’s Tech Fast 50 list
Deliveroo has been awarded top spot at Deloitte’s annual ranking of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies. The London-based online food courier service was announced as the leading firm in the 2017 UK Technology Fast 50 list, after reporting a record four-year revenue growth of 107,117 per cent. The awards, now in their twentieth year, recognise and rank the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in the UK, based on the last four years of revenue growth. The average four-year growth rate recorded for the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 companies is 3,756 per cent 2016/17.
OakNorth upgrades cyber defence systems
OakNorth has selected a new cyber security solution from Illusive Networks to defend its systems from targeted attacks and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). The new Deception Cybersecurity system detects and analyses attacks in real-time with no false positives, minimising manpower required to monitor alerts. The ability to mitigate attacks at the earliest opportunity accompanied by detailed forensic evidence at the time of the alert was also a priority for OakNorth.
Better tech ‘key to building brand loyalty’
UK businesses and brands that make the best use of new technology are more likely to build a loyal customer base, according to new research. The survey from DigitalBridge revealed that augmented reality (AR) is now leading the way as the technology people most want to engage with, as 50 per cent of UK consumers say they would be more likely to be loyal to a brand that offered them access to this type of visualisation experience either in store or online.
Payments Awards 2017: winners announced
Klarna, Zapper, Ethoca, Bleep, Barclaycard, Vocalink and Paysafe were among the companies who collected trophies at the fifth annual Payments Awards last night, hosted by National Technology News' sister titles, Retail Systems and FStech. Recognising excellence and innovation across the payments sector, the 2017 awards received a record number of entries, reflected in this year’s closely fought categories. The winners were revealed at a glittering gala dinner and awards ceremony at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, hosted by actor and presenter Chris Barrie.
Monzo brings NFC to sign-up process
Monzo customers can now activate their new current account service by tapping their card on their mobile phone. Once the card arrives in the post, customers simply have to open the app and tap their card to activate it, rather than having to type in the card number or take a picture. The new feature uses near field communication (NFC),
Delivery options ‘crucial for online shoppers’
Half of all online shoppers will abandon their basket if delivery choices are unsatisfactory, while 60 per cent will buy their goods from another retailer if more convenient delivery options are offered. This is according to a new survey from MetaPack, which found that 54 per cent of consumers choose who they shop with based on delivery options. Four in 10 said that they will never shop again with an online merchant following a negative delivery experience, rising to 48 per cent for 18-26 year olds.
Digital innovation in FIs ‘hampered by the board’
Technology departments in financial services firms are unable to innovate with technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain because they have lost influence in boardrooms, according to a new report. A survey of over 200 European IT decision makers commissioned by Excelian, Luxoft Financial Services reveals that 86 per cent of respondents have recently championed a major digital project that failed because it did not get past the boardroom.
NHS trust introduces e-whiteboards in wards
Staff at Southampton’s teaching hospitals are introducing interactive whiteboards on wards as part of a major digital transformation project. The touchscreen technology displays information taken directly from a patient’s electronic record, including clinical alerts such as existing medical conditions, length of admission and predicted discharge date. It also acts as a tracking system to identify what is preventing discharge when patients are medically fit to leave hospital.
EdTech outfit Wonky Start closes £600k funding round
Wonky Start, the brains behind education software Night Zookeeper, has closed a £600k funding round led by Newable Private Investing (NPI). Night Zookeeper, a digital learning tool that helps students improve their creative writing, has already helped 300,000 children develop their creative skills through agreements with UK and US schools. The additional funding will enable Night Zookeeper to further its disruption of the education market by expanding into more schools, and follows an agreement with Oxford University Press to roll out a book series.
Sainsbury’s rolls out F1-inspired cold aisle tech
Sainsbury’s has begun to roll out Formula 1 inspired aerofoil technology on fridges in the cold aisles across all of its stores – technology which helps to chill food to the same temperature whilst making the aisles warmer for customers. The UK supermarket giant has partnered with Williams F1 to introduce aerofoils, which will be used in aisles stocking products such as cheese, yoghurts and meat. The initiative is expected to deliver energy reductions of up to 15 per cent.
Vocalink powers real-time payments in the US
The Clearing House has launched a new real-time payments system in the US, which leverages technology from UK payments firm Vocalink. The new platform, labelled RTP, enables consumers and businesses to send and receive immediate payments domestically, with financial processes that used to take days now concluded within seconds. Two banks – US Bank and BNY Mellon – have completed the first live transactions.
Which? issues connected toys safety warning
Independent consumer association Which? has issued a child safety warning regarding connected toys for kids. The association said that it has uncovered “concerning vulnerabilities” in connected toys that could pose a child safety risk and is calling for retailers to stop selling toys with proven security issues. Which? had concerns about a number of connected toys so, in collaboration with German consumer group Stiftung Warentet and other security research experts, has conducted a snapshot test into popular Bluetooth or Wi-Fi toys on sale at major retailers. This “revealed concerning vulnerabilities in several devices that could enable a stranger to talk to a child”.
UK retail website speeds on the up
UK retail websites are getting faster, according to the latest figures from web performance firm NCC Group. For the first time since the analysis began in 2013, the UK’s top 50 retail websites have got faster, with the average load time reducing from 17.46 seconds in Q2 to 16.95 seconds in Q3 – the fastest they have been this year. It was also found that these websites were able to start displaying content slightly faster in Q3, with render start times decreasing from 2.91 seconds to 2.80 seconds.
Standard Chartered rolls out banking chatbot
Standard Chartered has unveiled a new chatbot on its online and mobile banking platforms and websites. Powered by Kasisto’s conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform, KAI Banking, the chatbot will act as a virtual personal assistant to help clients manage money, make payments and analyse their spending in a split-second, via natural conversations in English and other languages.
UK businesses ‘still wary of AI implementation’
Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of UK businesses are convinced AI can generate value for their business, yet nearly half are being held back by concerns around AI still being in its infancy, new research suggests. The survey, conducted by analytics firm SAS, found that nearly a third (30 per cent) of companies are not sure if they are ready for the technology, citing concerns over a lack of required skills (66 per cent), ROI (55 per cent) and fears over stories of AI malfunctioning (38 per cent).
Cath Kidston overhauls web and mobile offering
British lifestyle retailer Cath Kidston has announced the overhaul of its online and mobile shopping experience, making it easier for customers to search for and purchase products using any device. The retailer has chosen Oracle Maxymiser to help test, target and personalise its new responsive website to best serve the needs of its customers. The two firms are focusing on a number of features: easier product searches, faster checkouts, reduced cart abandonment, improved sales conversion rates, and a more seamless end-to-end user experience.
Barclays to trial instant digital receipts
Barclays has partnered with Flux to trial instant itemised digital receipts with 10,000 customers via the bank’s Launchpad app. Customers taking part in the trial will see their receipts in real time, including all purchases, with VAT, delivered directly to their Barclays app. Users can take ownership of their financial data by going paperless and keeping track of everything they buy without having to download extra apps or changing behaviour. Successful pilots are then rolled out to the five million customers using the Barclays mobile banking app.
Razer taps Worldpay for virtual credit service
Razer, a lifestyle brand for gamers, has selected Worldpay as a key online payments provider for its virtual credit service. Razer’s zGold service allows gamers to purchase virtual credits in exchange for digital content such as games and in-game items from different content providers. Worldpay was chosen by Razer as it offers global coverage and a comprehensive suite of payment services. The company will also provide deep analytics to help Razer better understand its customers’ online behaviour, as well as customer support.
Gender bias in tech industry ‘worse than expected’
Gender bias in the tech industry is “worse than expected” and is not just limited to IT and engineering roles, new research suggests. The global study from travel e-commerce firm Booking.com, found that while many women find working in the tech industry very appealing, gender bias exists and is not just limited to women working in technical IT and engineering roles. According to the findings the majority of women surveyed find working in the tech industry appealing because it offers them freedom to innovate (81 per cent), a fast paced working environment (70 per cent) and flexible working hours (78 per cent).
Adidas unveils new shopping app
In an effort to expand its digital presence, sportswear retailer Adidas has launched a new shopping app, designed to give customers a more personalised service. The new app uses Salesforce technology including Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud, and is available for download through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store in the US and UK.
TSB launches Face ID for mobile banking
TSB customers will be among the first in Europe to use facial recognition technology, Face ID, to unlock their TSB mobile banking app and make payments. The new facial authentication technology exclusive to Apple’s iPhone X aims to add further security and convenience for the increasing number of smartphone banking users. The move by TSB comes just weeks after it launched Samsung Pass iris recognition for its customers.
Babylon and NHS launch GP appointment app
Babylon Health has partnered with NHS GPs to launch ‘GP at Hand’, a free, transformative NHS service offering GP appointments within minutes via smartphone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. GP at Hand aims to slash waiting times to see a GP from the current average of two weeks to just a matter of minutes. The babylon smartphone app allows registered patients to: Book a GP appointment in seconds through the babylon smartphone app
Consumers ‘place trust in online reviews’
The vast majority of consumers (85 per cent) trust online reviews for local businesses as much as personal recommendations, new research has found. The BrightLocal survey revealed that 97 per cent of consumers used the internet to search for a local business in the last year, with 12 per cent performing a search every day. But reviews must be timely - as just four per cent of consumers pay attention to reviews older than a year and three quarters (77 per cent) admit they don’t let reviews older than three months impact their decisions.
Visa unveils Winter Olympics contactless wearables
Visa has introduced three new payment wearables for fans attending the 2018 Winter Olympics, including contactless gloves, commemorative stickers and Olympic pins. Visa has created these NFC-enabled wearables for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, allowing fans and athletes to complete seamless and secure payments with a simple tap at any contactless-enabled terminal.
Facebook brings P2P payments to the UK
Facebook has launched its Messenger payments service in the UK, enabling users to send each other money through the messaging app. Launched in the US in 2015, the social media giant has said that the payments feature has been used widely to split bills, pay babysitters and send gifts. Users press the blue plus symbol within a chat and select the payment option, with customers prompted to enter their card details upon the first time a payment is made.
Red Bull selects sensor analysis tech for F1 cars
Red Bull Racing has selected First Derivatives to provide technology that will analyse sensor data from its Formula 1 vehicles. The Kx technology will initially be deployed for the analysis of wind tunnel data, a critical element in the development of faster, more competitive F1 cars. Red Bull Racing will use Kx for a range of purposes including wind tunnel experiments and the analysis of in-race data to enable real-time decisions during Grand Prix races.
Mitsubishi UK launches online buying platform
Mitsubishi Motors has announced the launch of its Mitsubishi Buy Online facility – designed to offer customers convenience and transparency when purchasing online. Developed in conjunction with online vehicle retailing specialist Rockar, Mitsubishi Buy Online responds to the number of consumers who would consider buying a vehicle via the internet – a recent survey by leading automotive industry expert CAP Gemini showing this to be as high as 75 per cent.
Tesco Bank enables Face ID functionality
Tesco Bank has announced changes to its mobile banking app, which will allow iPhone X customers to log in and authenticate payments using Face ID. To date, the bank has seen over one million customers register for the mobile app as their preferred method of accessing their account. To use Face ID within the mobile banking app, customers must first ensure the functionality is enabled on their device. Customers can then turn on Face ID within the app by visiting the settings menu or during registration. At this point they will be prompted to provide either their passcode or password to confirm their decision.
DPD app reaches two million downloads
DPD’s mobile app has surpassed the two million downloads milestone since it launched back in May 2016. The Your DPD app enables customers to take control of their parcel deliveries, and includes half-hour push notifications, live driver tracking, preferred neighbours, multiple delivery addresses, safe place pictures, delivery between school runs and the option of a second delivery attempt, as the app can automatically notify the driver when the customers have returned home.
Car firms in electric vehicle charging initiative
BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group along with Audi and Porsche have announced a joint venture that will develop and implement a High-Power Charging (HPC) network for electric vehicles across Europe. The Inonity venture will see the launch of approximately 400 HPC stations by 2020, making long-distance journeys easier and marking an important step for electric vehicles.
Africa broadband usage ‘set to skyrocket’
The number of mobile broadband connections in Africa will double in the next five years, new research suggests. Mobile data will be the main driver of growth in the African telecoms market, with the number of mobile broadband connections on the continent set to rise from 419 million at end of 2017 to 1.07 billion in 2022, according to figures from Ovum. The growth of mobile broadband in Africa will be facilitated by the further roll-out of 3G W-CDMA and 4G LTE networks, and the increasing affordability of smartphones.
Africa broadband usage ‘set to skyrocket’
OakNorth sells £90m stake to Singapore fund
OakNorth has announced that GIC, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, will invest £90 million for a close to 10 per cent stake in the UK bank. GIC, which has more than $100 billion of assets under management in more than 40 countries worldwide, will assist OakNorth’s expansion in the US, European and Asian markets. The news follows a recent investment round that saw OakNorth secure £154 million in funding from Coltrane, Toscafund and The Clermont Group.
Zalando to open Lisbon technology hub
European fashion retailer Zalando is set to open a new technology hub in Lisbon, marking the third hub of its kind outside of Germany. The new hub, which is due to open in early 2018, will aim to boost its platform operations and increase digital offers for customers across its 15 European markets. Zalando will create more than 50 jobs in Lisbon over the first year of operations
Lancashire trialling stroke management service
Patients in Lancashire who have long-time heart conditions can now monitor and manage themselves at home and reduce their chances of having a stroke with a new digital health service. The technology is for people at risk of stroke (typically with a common condition called atrial fibrillation (AF) – an irregular heartbeat) who are prescribed the drug warfarin to prevent blood clotting. People with this condition typically have to attend medical clinics on a regular basis for blood tests to determine their correct dosage.
N26 announces UK expansion
European mobile banking platform N26 has announced that it will be entering the UK market in the first half of 2018. The bank has grown its customer base to more than half a million within two and a half years, adding an average of more than 1,500 new customers each day. UK customers can register on the company's website to get early access effective immediately, and will receive a fully-fledged GBP current account with an individual N26 account number, sort code and Mastercard.
Amazon opens new UK development centre
Amazon has welcomed its first employees, including machine learning scientists, knowledge engineers, data scientists and software engineers at its newly opened development centre in Cambridge. The new facility, which is located at One Station Square, is Amazon’s second development centre site in the Cambridge city centre and will house research and development (R&D) teams working on a range of projects.
Brexit worries ‘turn SMEs to alternative funding’
Brexit uncertainty is causing UK business owners to look at alternative finance options, such as peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding and business cash advances to support growth, according to a new Worldpay report. UK small business owners have expressed concern that political and economic uncertainty could make it more difficult to secure funding in the future. The survey of 1,000 small business owners found that more than half are planning for growth in 2018, but 52 per cent admitted that they are uncertain that traditional routes to finance, including bank loans, may not be available at the same levels in the coming year. Three in 10 respondents said that they have already encountered difficulties securing funding through these channels.
GWH develops synthetic voice for MND patients
Great Western Hospital (GWH) has introduced new technology which helps people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) to continue to communicate by creating their own synthetic voice. MND is a rare, progressive condition which can affect the muscles of the mouth, throat and tongue, leading to problems with speech and voice. The hospital's speech and language team has introduced a dedicated laptop with specialised software to enable patients to bank their own voice before it deteriorates.
ASOS teams up with Klarna for ‘Pay later’ service
ASOS has announced a partnership with European payments firm Klarna which will allow the fashion retailer’s UK customers to use Klarna’s ‘Pay later’ solution to pay for their items up to 30 days later. The service will be available to UK customers with the iOS or Android ASOS app and will allow them to pay for items in the future with no interest or fees attached.
LINK proposes free ATM funding shake-up
Cash machine network LINK is proposing to reduce its interchange fee, but the plan has been criticised for potentially cutting the number of free-to-use ATMs in the UK. LINK is consulting its members and the LINK Consumer Council on proposals to reduce the level of interchange - the fee paid by card issuers (banks and building societies) to ATM operators - by up to 20 per cent.
Brands ‘failing to address online queries’
UK brands are struggling to cope with a rising volume of queries and growing consumer expectations, according to a new report. The Eptica survey found that only 44 per cent of companies answered routine questions asked on the web, email, Twitter and Facebook, down from 49 per cent in 2016. Social media saw the biggest fall, potentially driven by its increasing use by consumers as a customer service channel. Just 34 per cent of tweets and 35 per cent of Facebook messages received a successful answer, despite 94 per cent of companies advertising their Twitter handles, and 89 per cent having Facebook pages.
Finance departments ‘lacking digital change’
Four out of five finance professionals have said that their department is not keeping pace with the rest of the organisation’s digital transformation plans, new research has shown. The survey, which was conducted by Sapio Research and Wax Digital and polled 200 senior finance managers and over 100 IT professionals, suggests the lack of change is leaving them struggling with productivity, cost and efficiency issues.
Majority of firms ‘failing to utilise digitalisation’
Four out of five companies globally (81 per cent) have made investments in digitalisation in the past three years, yet only one out of four (23 per cent) have achieved topline growth as a result. This is according to new research from consultancy firm Simon-Kucher & Partners which involved surveys of 1,925 companies across major industries in over 40 countries. Mark Billige, UK managing partner at Simon-Kucher & Partners, said: “Companies whose digitalisation initiatives didn't make an impact on their top lines often failed to recognise the value of technology or didn't properly integrate a dedicated digital lead into their existing organisational structure. They also tended to invest in the wrong digital initiatives.”
Maplin unveils new cloud-based digital offering
UK technology retailer Maplin has selected Ensono to help bring its in-store customer experience online in an effort to improve flexibility and consumer choice. Maplin’s new digital offering, built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), will be its first deployment of mission-critical applications onto the public cloud. The move will allow Maplin to quickly adapt its digital platform to meet the ever-changing demands of the retail market and help deliver better customer service.
New technologies ‘causing employees anxiety’
Moves to improve how people work by introducing new technologies is creating anxiety among the majority of UK employees, new research has found. The survey, which was conducted by Microsoft in collaboration with Goldsmiths, University of London, and YouGov, suggests that employees’ fear of change is putting British businesses at risk. Findings revealed that introducing new technologies creates anxiety among employees (61 per cent), the automation of tasks creates fears about job security (59 per cent) and staff express a fear of change when digital transformation initiatives are introduced (49 per cent).
R3 builds DLT international payments solution
R3 and 22 of its member banks have developed a solution that leverages distributed ledger technology (DLT) to enable efficient and cost-effective cross-border payments. While many DLT initiatives have experimented with specific use cases within international payments, R3 is the first to develop a shared infrastructure – built on its Corda platform – to facilitate the full payments workflow.
Debenhams unveils new mobile website
Debenhams has announced the launch of a new mobile website which has more than doubled the speed of the retailer’s previous site. The Progressive Web App (PWA) is built on the Mobify platform and aims to make shopping more efficient and reliable for Debenhams’ UK customers. The website speed has doubled with fast browsing and page load speed leading directly to revenue growth.
Roll-out of faster cheque clearing begins in UK
Vocalink and Exela Technologies have announced that the new image-based cheque clearing system, built on behalf of the Payment System Operator and the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company, has officially launched. The new Image Clearing System (ICS) enables cheques in the UK to be processed by the end of the next weekday, allowing customers to access their funds quicker and with certainty that their cheque will not bounce.
UK firms partner on fingerprint drug screenings
Intelligent Fingerprinting has partnered with a UK medical mouldings firm to accelerate the production of tamper-proof single use cartridge for fingerprint collection and drug screening. Intelligent Fingerprinting has signed a three-year deal with Europlaz to produce critical components for the fingerprint drug test cartridge. The Intelligent Fingerprinting system works by analysing fingerprint sweat on a single use collection cartridge. Sample collection takes a few seconds and can then be used to screen for the four main drug groups – cocaine, opiates, cannabis and amphetamines – simultaneously.
Amazon quarterly sales up to $43.7 billion
Amazon has published its financial results for its third quarter ending 30 September, revealing a sales increase of 34 per cent to reach $43.7 billion. Net sales include $1.3 billion from Whole Foods Market, which the e-commerce giant acquired in August. Operating income decreased 40 per cent to $347 million in the third quarter, compared with operating income of $575 million in third quarter 2016.
Smartphones ‘now preferred UK banking method’
Seven in 10 UK Millennials now use their mobiles to keep track of their financial affairs, according to new research from Visa. Visa’s third Digital Payments study asked over 42,000 Europeans, including more than 2,000 UK respondents, about their attitudes to alternative forms of payment and money management. It found that 69 per cent of British people between the ages of 18 and 34 said they have used a mobile banking app, with more than half noting that they do so regularly.
E-retail ‘driving brand awareness and sales’
Retail websites and apps are more influential than word of mouth for UK shoppers, new research suggests. According to a Criteo report, on average 80 per cent of shoppers first learn about new products through retail websites and apps, as opposed to just 43 per cent who learn through friends and family.
Global surgeons complete VR joint-operation
Three surgeons on different sides of the world have used virtual reality (VR) to operate together on a patient at a London hospital. Professor Shafi Ahmed used Microsoft's Hololens to virtually bring together surgeons from Mumbai and London to operate together on a patient at The Royal London Hospital. The surgeons used the headsets to appear live in the same hospital operating theatre where Professor Shafi Ahmed was operating to remove bowel cancer. They could ‘see’ each other moving as graphic avatars, standing and speaking as if together in the same room.
Amazon rolls out in-home delivery service
Amazon has unveiled its latest home delivery innovation – Amazon Key, which allows customers to have their packages delivered inside their home without having to be there. The new service, which will be available in 37 US cities from 8 November, enables customers to track their delivery with real-time notifications, watch the delivery happening live or review a video of the delivery after it is complete.
Banking AI ‘crucial to digital transformation’
Artificial intelligence (AI) is critical to a bank’s digital transformation, while integrating legacy technologies and security issues remain key challenges for the UK banking sector. This is according to a survey from financial services IT consultancy GFT, which found that 86 per cent of UK respondents acknowledged the importance of AI, while a quarter said that it has strategic importance within their organisation.
Harvey Nichols upgrades loyalty offering
Luxury retailer Harvey Nichols has partnered with loyalty app startup Bink which will see the latter’s technology embedded into Harvey Nichols’ existing rewards scheme. The partnership, which launches later this year, will see Harvey Nichols utilise Bink’s Payment Linked Loyalty (PLL) technology – an entirely digital offering which gives customers a fast track pass to complimentary services and exclusive perks and privileges.
Quarter of Brits now own Smart Home products
Almost a quarter of people in the UK now own a Smart Home product, new figures from Maplin have shown. Consumers who bought Smart Home products spent an average of £174 on the technology in the last year. With 71 per cent of consumers considering buying their first or additional Smart Home products, the market in the UK has the potential to be worth more than £6 billion per year, according to the Maplin data.
Cambio wins NHS Scotland contract
Cambio Healthcare Systems has won a contract to supply a Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system for NHS Scotland, through a national contract with NHS National Services Scotland. The long term aim is to deploy Cambio’s solution as the national decision support platform which works with clinical and care systems to improve patient safety and better outcomes for the country’s population of 5.8 million.
Consumers ‘not checking’ contactless purchases
Nearly half of all UK consumers do nott check the amount before paying with contactless, new research has revealed. A study by money management app Yolt, found that more than three quarters (76 per cent) of Britons have used contactless payments and 40 per cent now make half or more of their card payments using contactless. However, nearly half (48 per cent) are not always checking the amount before they tap to pay.
Swedish FinTech Tink signs deal with major bank
Swedish FinTech company Tink has signed agreements with three European financial institutions including the bank Nordea, Klarna and Nordnet as well as announcing €14 million in new investments. The agreements will enable the banks to integrate Tink’s aggregation and payment technology and Personal Finance Management (PFM) platform within their existing customer channels.
Mastercard unveils smart city app for London
Mastercard has announced a strategic partnership with London & Partners to develop smart solutions for the capital. As part of the deal, London & Partners, which is the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency, and Mastercard have launched a mobile application to improve the visitor experience in London. The Visit London Official City Guide app will deliver personalised experiences, offers and uses real-time data to help visitors get around the city more efficiently and explore less busy areas of the city.
Bank of America adds biometric tech to e-banking
Bank of America has announced that it will be implementing Intel’s biometric authentication technology into its online banking platform, adding a further layer of security. The Intel Online Connect solution aims to provide an effortless experience that improves security over passwords. It requires biometric data and is stored only on the user’s device and not on a public server or cloud.
Intu trials robotic assistant & queue-jumping tech
Shopping centre chain intu has announced it is trialling a robotic retail assistant and new queue-jumping technology at a number of its locations in order to gauge retailer’s reactions. Bo, Europe’s first ever shopping centre robot, will interact with shoppers at intu Milton Keynes, direct them to different parts of the centre and ask them about their shopping experience. It will also tell them about special offers they can take up at different shops in the centre.
Herts NHS trust to pilot AI coaching chatbot
Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) has teamed up with London HR analytics startup Saberr to pilot a new AI-powered coaching chatbot. The partnership, brokered by the Eastern AHSN, will see the mental health trust trial CoachBot, a team coaching chatbot. The news comes as NHS England announced recently that it plans to invest more of its £120 billion budget in AI to speed up its application to medicine and the health service.
Mid-sized UK firms ‘failing to analyse cyber threats’
Mid-sized UK companies are not adequately protecting themselves from cyber security threats, not due to lack of investment in technology but through a lack of the dedicated, skilled resource needed to make the most of those tools, new research suggests. The study, from IT managed services provider Coretx, found that 72 per cent of respondents have implemented a Security and Information Event Management (SIEM) solution, which combines data sources and presents security related information in an accessible form.
Poppy Appeal trials contactless donations
The Royal British Legion, in partnership with Cardnet, is piloting a scheme which allows the British public to donate to the Poppy Appeal via contactless cards. The trial will involve 200 mobile donation terminals across the UK, which will have three pre-set donation levels of £2, £3 and £5 enabling donors to quickly and securely make their donation for the traditional poppy or for a lapel pin.
Mastercard opens access to blockchain API
Mastercard has announced that it will be opening up access to its blockchain API for partner banks and merchants. The move means both the merchants and banks will gain access to Mastercard’s blockchain technology via its API published on Mastercard Developers. The blockchain solution provides a new way for consumers, businesses and banks to transact and is key to the company’s strategy to provide payment solutions that meet every need of financial institutions and their end-customers.
National Technology Awards 2018: entries open
The second annual National Technology Awards, which celebrate the pioneers of new technology in areas such as healthcare, finance, transport, gaming, IoT and analytics, are now open for entries. There are a total of 30 trophies up for grabs this year as well as two new categories - Manufacturing or Construction Technology of the Year and TV, Film and Broadcasting Technology of the Year. Technology experts have until 19 January 2018 to submit their entries.
RBS partners with Landmark
RBS has entered into an agreement with Landmark Valuation Services to adopt its Valuation Risk Model (VRM) service, to deliver greater risk insights and efficiencies in its mortgage valuation process for both Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest. Using property analytics and a wealth of land and environmental data, Landmark’s VRM will assess the potential risks relating to a property for every mortgage application processed by the lender. In doing so, it enables the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest to apply the best fit valuation approach on each and every case.
Average weekly online retail spending hits £1.2 billion
Average weekly spending online in the UK rose to £1.2 billion in September; an increase of 14 per cent compared with last year, the latest ONS figures have revealed. The amount spent online accounted for 17 per cent of all retail spending, excluding automotive fuel, compared with 15.6 per cent in September 2016.
Parcelforce unveils new delivery app
Parcelforce Worldwide has launched a range of digital tools including a brand new app, in a bid to give customers more control over their deliveries. The move is designed to give receiving customers more convenience when planning their day as well as providing customers with more information about the progress of their deliveries.
Intel Capital invests $60m in 15 tech startups
Intel Capital has announced new investments totalling more than $60 million in 15 technology startups, including ones focused on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and autonomous machines. The company introduced the CEOs and founders of the startups at the Intel Capital CEO Showcase. This latest group of new portfolio companies brings Intel Capital’s year-to-date investing to more than $566 million.
Many global FS firms ‘lacking a FinTech strategy’
Only 46 per cent of global financial institutions have a FinTech strategy in place, despite 57 per cent of institutions claiming that FinTech is the greatest source of disruption, according to a new report from KPMG. Furthermore, less than half of those believe that their strategy is well aligned with the challenges posed by FinTech.
Price comparison sites ‘don’t give the full picture’
Despite the fact that more than three quarters (77 per cent) of British consumers already use online price comparison websites (PCWs), UK shoppers are not aware that most of these websites do not give them the full picture, new research suggests. The survey of more than 2,000 UK consumers, which was conducted by Pricesearcher, found that that two fifths (39 per cent) of online shoppers are not aware that most PCWs do not show all the options available in the market because of the costs involved for retailers to list all of their products.
NHS trust trials baby video app for absent parents
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) is piloting a new web-based application which lets nurses record video updates for parents when they are not able to be by their baby’s cot side. Parents of babies being cared for on the LTHT neonatal unit joined neonatal nurses at an event recently to celebrate the official launch of vCreate.
UK government invests £6m in data innovation
Innovate UK is providing £6 million over three years to the Open Data Institute (ODI), to advance knowledge and expertise in how data can shape the next generation of public and private services, and create economic growth. Now in its sixth year, the ODI aims to build a strong, fair and sustainable data ecosystem by helping businesses and governments around the world get data to people who need it. The money will be used to enable the UK to build on its strengths in data and data analytics, break new ground in creating value from data across industry, and ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of data innovation globally.
Societe Generale hires new UK head of innovation
Anthony Wooley has been announced as the new head of innovation for the UK arm of Societe Generale. In his new role, Wooley will be responsible for strengthening connections between Societe Generale and the FinTech sector in order to accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies across the organisation and to leverage the bank’s financial services expertise with industry innovations in financial technology.
UK to become third biggest e-commerce market
The UK will be the world’s third biggest market for e-commerce in 2021, growing by an average of almost 10 per cent over the next five years, according to new data from Worldpay. In its annual Global Payments Report, Worldpay found that UK e-commerce will be worth £203 billion by 2021, putting the country behind only China and the USA in terms of the value of e-commerce transactions.
UK firms ‘still failing to prepare for cyber attacks’
UK organisations are still failing to prepare effectively for cyber attacks, new research from PwC has found. The survey shows that the cyber security risk to UK organisations continues to increase in both severity and impact, but nearly one in five (17 per cent) admitted that they do not prepare or drill for cyber attacks, and fewer than half (49 per cent) conduct penetration tests to examine their defences.
IoT set to transform the agriculture sector
With pressure on land and food resources set to increase, the Internet of Things (IoT) will play an increasingly important role in helping the agriculture sector become more efficient, productive and sustainable, new research suggests. The study, commissioned by mobile satellite company Inmarsat, found that spending on IoT is set to rocket over the next five years within agritech.
Esso rolls out new mobile payments app
Esso has launched a new mobile app that allows customers to securely pay for their fuel at the pump station. Customers can simply drive up to an Esso fuel pump, open the app from the comfort of their car, select the pump number and authorise the payment (up to a maximum limit) before filling-up. When the customer replaces the nozzle back on the pump, the app confirms the amount paid and automatically emails them a digital receipt.
Banks set for major Open Banking investments
All but one of 100 payments executives at large banks said they plan to make major investments in Open Banking initiatives by 2020, according to a new Accenture study. Open Banking is an emerging service model that allows customers to share access to their financial data with non-bank third parties. Banks can also use the Open Banking platform to offer plug-and-play financial products to third parties, such as retailers or FinTech companies, ultimately expanding their reach to new customers.
UK government ‘urged to boost AI industry’
The UK government is being urged to boost the UK’s artificial intelligence (AI) industry, a move which could unlock £630 billion for the UK economy. An independent industry-led review has set out a number of proposals for how industry and government can boost the UK’s AI industry in order to boost productivity, advance health care, improve services for customers and unlock billions of pounds for the UK economy.
SWIFT publishes blockchain PoC findings
SWIFT has published a report on the proof of concept (PoC) for real-time Nostro reconciliation using a distributed ledger technology (DLT) sandbox with 33 global transaction banks. The PoC is testing whether DLT can help banks reconcile Nostro accounts more efficiently and in real-time, while lowering costs and operational risk. The report provides an overview of the PoC to date, including technical objectives, early findings on the potential business benefits, as well as key challenges that still need to be addressed to achieve industry-wide adoption.
Alibaba opens tech development programme
Alibaba has launched a new global research programme, designed to increase technological collaboration through development of cutting-edge technologies, with the Chinese e-commerce giant expected to invest more than $15 billion over the next three years. The DAMO Academy, which stands for Discover, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook, will oversee the opening of research and development labs worldwide and seek to recruit talented scientists and researchers to join the programme. Alibaba Group’s chief technology officer, Jeff Zhang will be the head of the academy.
Hospital staff recreate sensory overload experience
Staff at the Great Western Hospital marked World Mental Health Day earlier this month by taking part in a virtual activity which recreates what it's like for an autistic person to have sensory overload. The mental health team toured wards and departments encouraging staff to take part in the immersive virtual experience. The 360 degree virtual reality film contains flashing lights, bright colours and loud, sudden noises to mimic the sensory experience of a person with autism visiting a shopping centre.
Wye Valley NHS Trust unveils new EPR system
Wye Valley NHS Trust has gone live with a new electronic patient record (EPR) system giving staff across four hospitals and community facilities a single, shared view of their patients’ records. The trust’s acute and community patient administration theatre systems have been replaced by a new EPR solution from IMS MAXIMS. Using a single EPR system and accessing data in real-time will make it easier for doctors and nurses to make clinical decisions and oversee their patients’ care from anywhere in the trust.
Healthcare sector to save $3.6m from AI chatbots
Annual cost savings derived from the adoption of AI chatbots in healthcare will reach $3.6 million globally by 2022, a new report from Juniper Research suggests. This forecast figures are up on the estimated $2.8 million worth of savings in 2017. This growth, Juniper Research predicts, will average 320 per cent per annum, as AI powered chatbots will drive improved customer experiences for patients.
UK online shopping market ‘stagnating’
The UK online shopping market has stagnated while international shopping from the UK has risen to 71 per cent of consumers in 2017, up from 66 per cent last year, new research has found. The Pitney Bowes study which surveyed 175 UK retailers and 1,000 UK consumers, also found that one in six UK consumers now purchase international goods online monthly, driven by choice, quality and price of goods (58 per cent).
FinTech investment doubles in Q2
Total investment in the FinTech market more than doubled on a quarter-over-quarter basis to more than $8.4 billion in the second quarter of 2017. This is according to KPMG’s Pulse of FinTech report, which found that large increases in private equity funding and M&A funding propelled the increase, while the amount of venture capital investment held relatively steady. The Americas dominated FinTech investment during Q2
General Motors completes Strobe acquisition
General Motors has acquired light detection and ranging technology (LIDAR) outfit Strobe as it looks to add greater focus to developing self-driving vehicle solutions. The Strobe engineering team will join General Motors’ Cruise Automation group as it looks to define and develop a range of LIDAR solutions. LIDAR uses light to create high-resolution images that provide a more accurate view of the world than cameras or radar alone. As self-driving technology continues to evolve, General Motors believes that LIDAR’s accuracy will play a critical role in its deployment.
Greater digital engagement boosts Dominos sales
Pizza delivery giant Dominos has announced a boost in Q3 sales on the back of double digital online growth. Overall group sales increased by 20.8 per cent year-on-year to reach £286.4 million in Q3 2017. These figures were reflected by the firm’s digital acceleration which saw it increase online sales by 17.4 per cent on last year, with online now representing 75 per cent of all UK system sales. Dominos also began the roll-out of GPS in Q3, with 64 stores active at the period end and over 200 due to be operational by the end of the year.
Openbank to implement new core banking solution
Openbank, the digital bank of Santander Group, has selected Temenos to provide it with a new core banking solution for retail and SME banking across its global operations. Openbank has chosen to implement the Temenos Core Banking system which will allow it to utilise open APIs to operate collaborative business models and work with an ecosystem of third parties. By adopting the new solution, Openbank will be able to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and be quicker to market with new personalised products and services.
High-tech radiotherapy tackles prostate cancer
A high-tech form of radiotherapy can dramatically improve outcomes for patients with prostate cancer, long-term clinical trial results have shown. As many as 71 per cent of tested patients with prostate cancer were alive and disease-free five years after treatment with intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT. The trial, led by a team at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden, was one of the first ever studies of IMRT, which is designed to be much more precise than traditional forms of radiotherapy.
UK sees surge in AI jobs but skills gap remains
The number jobs in artificial intelligence (AI) in the UK has risen dramatically in the last three years, according to research from job site Indeed. Figures released by Indeed show that since 2014 the number of available AI roles in Britain has increased by 485 per cent. However, it also reveals that there are over two times as many AI jobs available than there are suitable applicants, with a ratio of 2.3 roles available per candidate searching in the last quarter.
Ikea targets online sales with third party deals
Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is to start selling its furniture through third party e-commerce sites, in a bid to improve sales following a drop in footfall at its UK stores. In an interview with the Financial Times, Torbjörn Lööf, chief executive of Inter Ikea, said: “[This] is the biggest development in how consumers meet Ikea since the concept was founded. Traditionally the whole Ikea value chain has been designed to deliver to stores. That is changing and it is challenging a number of ways of doing business. We are fast learners and we are moving.”
Ripple’s blockchain network surpasses 100
More than 100 financial institutions have now joined Ripple’s enterprise blockchain network, RippleNet, which aims to modernise global payments by leveraging blockchain technology. The newest members of RippleNet include AirWallex, Bexs Banco, Credit Agricole, Cuallix, Currencies Direct, dLocal, IFX, Krungsri, RAKBANK and TransferGo. Each institution is now on path to join existing members like SEB and Siam Commercial Bank who have deployed Ripple solutions commercially.