More Archive News
Cloud migration ‘more costly than expected’
As UK businesses look towards the cloud to enable digital innovation, more than half (58 per cent) report the move has been more costly than envisaged, according to Capita’s Technology Solutions division. It commissioned Vanson Bourne to survey 200 IT decision-makers from UK businesses with more than 500 employees, finding that cloud migration (72 per cent) still remains the top transformational priority for most organisations, ahead of process automation (45 per cent), data analytics (40 per cent) and artificial intelligence/machine learning (31 per cent).
SHE Software secures £7m scale-up investment
SHE Software has completed a £7 million Series B funding round led by Frog Capital, with existing investors Northern Venture Capital Trust and Mercia Fund Management also participating. The Scottish health and safety software company will help accelerate the growth of international operations, building on the momentum achieved over the last two years in North America. The company also plans to increase headcount, expanding its talent pool by 60, including 15 new jobs announced earlier this year following funding from Scottish Enterprise.
UK businesses ‘lack confidence to implement 5G’
Fifteen percent of UK businesses are currently investing in 5G, rising to 70 per cent within three years, according to EY. Yet, less than half (44 per cent) are confident they can successfully implement 5G-based Internet of Things (IoT), with only a quarter indicating that they do not need a significant overhaul of their operating model to realise implementation.
5G now available in 378 cities globally
As of January 2020, commercial 5G networks have been deployed in 378 cities across 34 countries, according to VIAVI Solutions. Using publicly available data sources, the network testing company revealed that the country with the most cities with 5G availability was South Korea with 85 cities, followed by China with 57, the United States at 50, and the United Kingdom with 31 cities.
FCA refers itself to ICO over data breach
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has referred itself to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) over a data breach after it mistakenly published the names and other information of 1,600 people. The regulator published a statement on its website this afternoon explaining that it had inadvertently published the details on its website in November as part of its response to a Freedom of Information request about complaints lodged against the FCA by individuals or organisation.
Met commissioner defends facial recognition
The Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick has defended the force’s use of facial recognition technology, calling critics ill-informed. The Met began operational use of the technology earlier this month, despite concerns about its accuracy and privacy implications being raised by the likes of Amnesty International, Liberty and Big Brother Watch.
Colliers rebuilds deal management system with OutSystems
Colliers International has used the OutSystems low-code development platform to rebuild its deal management system and is spinning off new applications to speed up transaction flows and streamline monthly reporting. The property services and investment management firm went live with a customised system called Our Deals in October, modernising a deal-tracking program that had been updated many times over the years to incorporate organisational changes and country-specific requirements.
Universal gigabit broadband ‘could boost UK economy by £13bn’
A full rollout of gigabit broadband would provide a boost to the economy of 0.7 per cent of GDP by 2025 - the equivalent of over £13 billion - or an extra £217 per person a year. This is according to research commissioned by the Internet Association and prepared by Public First, which followed up on the Conservative Party manifesto pledge to deliver gigabit-capable broadband nationwide by 2025.
Businesses sacrifice mobile security ‘to get things done’
The third annual Verizon Mobile Security Index has revealed that 43 per cent of organisations have sacrificed mobile security in the past year ‘to get things done’, even when doing so meant they were twice as likely to suffer a breach. The top reasons for making the sacrifice were time (62 per cent), convenience (52 per cent) and profitability targets (46 per cent).
Cloud usage ‘reaches global tipping point’
Organisations have reached a global cloud tipping point causing them to struggle with security challenges of digital transformation, according to the latest Thales Data Threat Report. With input from 1,723 executives with responsibility for, or influence over, IT and data security around the world, the research revealed that half of all corporate data is stored in the cloud and nearly half (48 per cent) of that data is considered sensitive.
Mastercard to hire 1,500 for Dublin tech hub
Mastercard is planning to hire 1,500 staff in Dublin as it looks to establish its European Technology Hub in the Irish capital. The payments giant is planning to treble its Irish workforce for the new campus in Leopardstown over the course of the next three to five years.
PropTech reaches ‘critical mass’ as funding soars
The UK is leading the way in PropTech investment in Europe, according to Oxford Saïd Business School. The report, compiled using data from Unnisu and Crunchbase, found that as of June 2019 over $5 billion was invested in 805 UK PropTech companies – five times more than Germany for instance.
UK Google users to lose GDPR protections
Google is planning to move its UK users’ accounts out of the control of European Union privacy regulators, placing them instead under US jurisdiction. According to sources cited by Reuters, the search giant intends to require its British users to acknowledge new terms of service.
OneTrust raises $210m at a $2.7bn valuation
OneTrust has announced a $210 million Series B funding led by Coatue and Insight Partners. Following OneTrust's $200 million Series A, the new round brings the total investment to $410 million and valuation to $2.7 billion.
Mobilus Labs debuts two-way bone conduction device
Mobilus Labs has launched the world’s first two-way bone conduction communication device, delivering audio and voice communications hand and ear free. The startup delivered the first batch mobiWAN TR headsets to positioning and navigation technology firm Trimble, to go alongside its XR10 with HoloLens 2. Together, built into an industry-standard hardhat, these products offer a mixed-reality experience which aims to increase safety and efficiency in extreme working environments.
Government backs £65m package for 5G trials
Nine projects across the UK will receive a share of £35 million from rural and industrial 5G competitions, and a new £30 million open competition will look at how 5G can create new opportunities in industries including film, TV, video games, logistics and tourism. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) noted that “none of the winning projects, or future projects, will use equipment from high risk vendors”, meaning Huawei will not be participating.
European Commission proposes AI strategy
The European Commission has unveiled its plans for a European data strategy and policies to ensure that development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology is human-centric. A key pillar of the plan outlined by EU commissioner Thierry Breton is the creation of a €2 billion European cloud platform alliance.
Tech talent visa cap removed
The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route is being expanded and renamed as the Global Talent visa, specifically to make provisions for science and research, while continuing to be open to promising applicants within digital technology. According to Tech Nation, the UK network for tech entrepreneurs which remains the endorsing body responsible for processing applications on behalf of the Home Office for the sector, the cap on the visa route has been removed.
ICO consults on AI auditing framework
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a consultation on draft guidance for an artificial intelligence (AI) auditing framework. The guidance contains advice on how to understand data protection law in relation to AI and recommendations for organisational and technical measures to mitigate the risks AI poses to individuals. It also provides a methodology to audit AI applications and ensure they process personal data fairly.
97% believe insider data breaches are ‘a major concern’
New research has revealed that 97 per cent of IT leaders think insider breach risk is a significant concern – with 78 per cent believing employees have put data at risk accidentally in the past 12 months and 75 per cent reckon employees have put data at risk intentionally. A survey of more than 500 IT leaders and 5,000 employees across the UK, US and Benelux regions last month on behalf of security solutions provider Egress found that 41 per cent said financial damage would be the biggest impact of such a breach.
OTB Ventures launches $100m tech fund
OTB Ventures has launched an early growth technology fund with $100 million in commitments from international institutional investors, including the European Investment Fund. Focusing on early stage, post-product, startups in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region - spanning cyber security, BigData, FinTech, Internet of Things, cloud and software-as-a-service industry verticals - the fund is targeting investment in a total of 16 companies to comprise its portfolio by the end of 2022.
Open source software use 'on the rise'
Enterprise open source software currently makes up 40 per cent of software used in the financial services industry, a figure which is expected to rise to 46 per cent in two years, according to RedHat. Its annual State of Enterprise Open Source research report pointed out that by contrast, proprietary software is expected to decline from 39 per cent of software in use today, to 30 per cent in the next two years.
National Technology Awards shortlist announced
The shortlist has been announced for the fourth annual National Technology Awards. Celebrating the pioneers of technology and encouraging excellence across 29 categories – from retail to cyber security, telecoms to finance.
Shetland Space Centre gets £2m funding boost
Shetland Space Centre’s (SSC) plan to build and operate the UK’s only satellite launch site has been given a major boost by a £2.05 million investment from private equity firm Leonne International. The cash injection, which gives Leonne a 20 per cent stake in the business, will be used for future growth of the company, such as the development of the launch site and ground station at the most northerly tip of Britain – the island of Unst in Shetland.
Phishing attempts grew by 640% last year
There has been a 640 per cent increase in phishing attempts and a 125 per cent increase in malware targeting Windows 7 last year, according to OpenText’s latest Webroot Threat Report. The report is derived from metrics captured and analysed by the Webroot platform’s machine learning architecture, which also showed that one in four malicious URLs is hosted on an otherwise non-malicious domain, and 8.9 million URLs were found to be hosting a cryptojacking script.
German manufacturers invest in smart factory growth
German manufacturers are looking to set up smart factories or further digitise their operations, with a range of new technologies including Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT). A study by technology research firm ISG Provider Lens found that manufacturers in Europe’s largest economy are looking to modernise, with newcomers unencumbered by legacy operations being able to deploy digital twins, collaborative robotics and additive manufacturing.
Atomico launches $820m fund for tech startups
London-based venture capital firm Atomico has launched a new $820 million fund focussed on European early-stage tech startups. Announcing the Atomico V fund, the company said it would partner with “mission-driven” European founders at Series A fundraising stage, with enough capital to support the businesses into Series B and Series C.
‘Data debt’ is holding back AI progress
More than 60 per cent of companies have admitted that a backlog of unused data is hampering their progress in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives. Experian’s global data management report surveyed 1,100 data practitioners and leaders of data-driven businesses globally.
5G IoT revenue ‘to reach $8bn by 2025’
The total number of 5G connections will reach 1.5 billion globally by 2025, rising from only 5 million in 2019, according to Juniper Research. The market analysis anticipated that revenue from these 5G connections is a highly sought-after new revenue stream for operators, with Internet of Things (IoT) connections considered as new connections that will not cannibalise existing operator connectivity revenue from current IoT technologies.
Government funds transport tech trio
The government has invested £1.5 million in three projects which use data and digital technology to deal with traffic problems. The latest round of the GovTech Catalyst programme - aimed at supporting the development of solutions to social issues - awarded three firms as part of a project managed by the Department for Transport over the next 12 months.
Gov invests £1.2bn in Met Office supercomputer
The government has pledged a £1.2 billion investment in the world’s most powerful supercomputer to predict severe weather events more accurately and help the UK prepare for the impact of climate change. The new supercomputer, to be managed by the Met Office, will also be used to help ensure communities can be better prepared for weather disruption, including adverse weather events such as storms Ciara and Dennis, which have hit the UK and caused widespread flooding in recent weeks.
Pilot launches to support communities’ access to cash
A new independent initiative has launched to help communities retain free access to cash, as the UK shifts to an increasingly cashless society. Communities across the country are encouraged to apply to participate in the new Community Access to Cash Pilots, which will help to test solutions to local access to cash needs, with the goal of developing scalable solutions which can inform national policy.
Mastercard details first Euro cyber-sec centre
Mastercard is developing its first cyber and security centre in Europe, aimed at driving collaboration between both public and private sectors, as well as regulatory bodies to further support enterprise resilience in the region. Located at Mastercard’s European Headquarters in Waterloo, Belgium, the European Cyber Resilience Centre is the first of its kind that the company has invested in outside of North America.
CMA clears Google/Looker deal
Following a thorough review, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared Google’s purchase of Looker Data Sciences. The ruling noted that both firms supply business intelligence (BI) tools, but while these are the primary focus of Looker’s business, Google offers this capability alongside various other software and internet-based products and services, including web analytics, online search advertising and cloud-based data storage.
SocGen invests €1m in Czech health InsurTech startup
Societe Generale (SocGen) has invested nearly €1.1million in Czech online life insurance startup Mutumutu. Societe Generale Assurances, the insurance branch of the French banking giant has made the investment through CreativeDock insurance holding as the lender aims to extend its involvement in the InsurTech market.
BigTech tax may mean we pay more: Zuckerberg
Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is set to acknowledge that international action to wage higher taxes on BigTech firms may mean his company pays more. In a speech to the Munich Security Conference today, he is due to concede that moves to agree taxes on digital revenues may mean that companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google may “have to pay more”.
IT departments ‘unable to deliver 75% of projects last year’
In the UK, over three quarters (76 per cent) of organisations were unable to deliver all their IT projects last year, leaving a significant 2020 backlog. This is according to a survey conducted on behalf of MuleSoft among 800 global IT decision-makers in organisations with at least 1,000 employees, which revealed that IT departments are having to innovate faster but with fewer resources.
Flywire buys HealthTech platform Simplee
Vertical payments company Flywire has acquired HealthTech platform Simplee to optimise the digital payments and patient engagement experience in healthcare, and scale its global payments services. Flywire also announced a $120 million Series E investment round, led by Goldman Sachs, providing additional capital to support its vision to digitise payments across education, healthcare and travel.
Ericsson launches AI-powered network services
Ericsson has launched two new artificial intelligence (AI) powered network services, enabling communications service providers to secure always-on networks. Network Intelligence and Omni Network Channel employ automation and predictive analytics to address exponential data growth and the continuous introduction of new technologies such as 5G, digital transformation and scattered information sources.
Tech Nation names its 10 Rising Stars
Tech Nation, the UK network for tech entrepreneurs, has today announced the 10 early-stage scaleup winners of its nationwide competition, Rising Stars. Designed to showcase the most exciting companies at seed to pre-Series A funding from all areas of the country, the competition's winners were required to pitch to a panel of industry leading judges, in front of an audience of over 200 of the top venture capitalists, founders and corporates in the UK.
Half of tech professionals set to change jobs in 2020
Two thirds of tech professionals are happy in their work, but despite this, half expect to change role in the next 12 months, citing pay (59 per cent) and work/life balance (40 per cent). Harvey Nash surveyed over 2,000 tech professionals globally, finding two areas where tech companies can have a significant influence in improving staff retention:
Brits embrace smart home tech
Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of UK homeowners would be willing to install a smart thermostat this year as Internet of Things (IoT) and connected home technology sees rapid adoption. Online property site Sellhousefast surveyed 1,462 UK households to gauge their interest in smart home technology, comprising devices and appliances that can be remotely controlled over Wi-Fi connections by smartphones and other devices.
Wearable tech on the rise, but ‘not yet mainstream’
Wearable technology - such as FitBit and Apple Watch - is maturing rapidly, but remains out of the mainstream, according to GlobalData. The data and analytics company forecasted an compound annual growth rate of 19 per cent between 2018 and 2023, with smartwatches the top selling wearable item.
AI ‘helps organisations grow profits 80% faster’
Organisations that adopt artificial intelligence (AI) in finance and operations are growing annual profits 80 per cent faster, according to the Enterprise Strategy Group and Oracle. The companies surveyed 700 finance and operations leaders across 13 countries and found that emerging technologies - AI, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and digital assistants - have passed the adoption tipping point and are now creating significant competitive advantage.
Ofcom to regulate social media platforms
The government is to appoint Ofcom as regulator responsible for policing social media firms over harmful content. Culture secretary Nicky Morgan this morning announced that the government is preparing to hand the broadcast regulator powers to ensure that the likes of Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter take down content deemed harmful, racist, explicit or abusive as part of a “duty of care”.
Half of all reported crime 'is cyber crime or fraud'
Up to half of all reported financial crime is either fraud or cyber crime, despite fraud being underreported and only one in eight cases being investigated. At last week’s Personal Investment Management and Financial Advice Association (PIMFA) Financial Crime Conference, City of London Police commissioner Ian Dyson emphasised this point, stating that three quarters of all fraud crimes reported are cyber-enabled – “it’s now a lot easier than robbing a bank and the rewards are far greater”.
Kx joins cyber security programme backed by Lloyds, Dell
Advanced data platform Kx has become the latest firm to join the likes of Lloyds Banking Group and Dell Technologies as a corporate partner to the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA). Kx, headquartered in California, will join the government-backed programme to give cyber security scaleups access to its advanced data processing platform, bringing together real-time and historical databases.
UK startups plan to hire as business optimism rises
Nearly 90 per cent of UK startups are planning to hire new talent in 2020, as Brexit-related political uncertainty clears and business confidence rises. A study of 1,100 founders of tech and healthcare startups in the UK, North America and China for Silicon Valley Bank, found that a majority (57 per cent) thought business conditions would improve in the coming year, compared to 47 per cent in 2019. Within that total, 86 per cent of UK companies said they were planning to hire.
MSPs come out against facial recognition
Members of the Scottish Parliament have ruled against the use of facial recognition by Police Scotland under the existing legal framework. The Justice Sub-Committee on Policing published a report stating that the police need to demonstrate the legal basis it would rely on for its use, as well as compliance with human rights and data protection legislation, eliminating biases against ethnic minorities and women.
A/O PropTech launches €250m fund and sandbox
A/O PropTech has now launched, after raising €250 million capital to invest in startups disrupting real estate. Europe’s largest PropTech fund is looking to invest in startups at Series A stage onwards, which have the potential to transform the real estate industry through technology, data science and artificial intelligence.
US charges four Chinese over Equifax hack
The United States has charged four Chinese military hackers over the 2017 Equifax data breach. Attorney general William Barr called it one of the largest data breaches in history as he announced the indictment charges yesterday.
Verizon opens 5G lab and studio in London
Verizon has opened a 5G Lab and production studio in London – the company’s first 5G-enabled facility outside the United States. The lab is based at Verizon’s Mid City Place office in central London, and offers a 5G-enabled environment where organisations can develop and test applications and experiences.
Tech sector expansion ‘grinds to a halt’
The UK tech sector’s performance is in limbo, with staff hiring declining and new business activity flat-lining in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to KPMG’s latest market analysis. UK tech companies reported that overall business activity was unchanged from the third quarter, which marked the worst performance for the sector since the current phase of expansion began seven-and-a-half years ago.
By 2030 ‘one in 10 vehicles will be self-driving’
The global market for autonomous vehicles is predicted to grow significantly, contributing some $13.7 billion by 2030. Statista’s DossierPlus analysis predicted that by that time, one in 10 vehicles will be self-driving.
OneWeb launches 34 more satellites into orbit
OneWeb has announced the successful launch of 34 satellites aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle from Kazakhstan. The company’s second successful launch will help build its phase one constellation of 648 satellites designed to deliver high-speed, low-latency global internet connectivity.
Splunk teams up with McLaren to accelerate Big Data
Splunk, a US-based Big Data connectivity platform, is to become an official technology partner to McLaren.The motor racing organisation and the wider McLaren group will uses Splunk’s ‘data-to-everything’ platform to capture data across its infrastructure, network and server environment to help them accelerate performance development.
Security flaw found in Philips smart bulbs
Security researchers at Check Point have discovered a vulnerability in Philips Hue smart lightbulbs that connected them to, and helped them compromise, the local network. The security flaw was discovered in the ZigBee wireless communication protocol that is used by a wide range of smart home devices.
TfL seeks partners for micromobility data system
Transport for London (TfL) is planning to pilot management systems for micromobility – the use of electric scooters, e-bikes and e-cargo bikes. The organisation is looking to reach near real-time visibility, with no more than one minute of latency, on the movements of such vehicles across the city, in order to feed this information into optimising its network performance and planning decisions.
Half of AI projects slowed by deep learning skills crisis
New research has revealed that nearly half (49 per cent) of artificial intelligence (AI) projects are being held back by a lack of deep learning skills. Research among 350 chief information officers and senior IT makers from the UK and the Nordic region, commissioned by operational AI firm Peltarion, found that 83 per cent of AI decision-makers thought the lack of skills in areas such as data science, machine learning and AI was impacting their business’ ability to compete in the market; with 49 per cent saying it is causing projects to be delayed.
Amazon previews Rivian-built electric delivery van
Amazon has given a preview of the design for 100,000 new electric delivery vans, as the e-commerce giant focusses on building the world’s most sustainable transportation fleet. A video published to the Amazon news channel showed clay models of the custom-designed van, produced by electric vehicle (EV) startup Rivian. The blue vehicle will feature Alexa integration with voice commands to help drivers finds packages in the van and central screen with a digital instrument cluster.
Innovate UK makes two council appointments
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has appointed two new members to Innovate UK’s council – Isabel Fox and Matt Clifford. Fox is one of just a handful of female general partners in the UK, who has raised and manages an early stage DeepTech fund.
Finance staff among most fearful of tech-based job losses
More than four in 10 employees in the UK believe their job will disappear in the next five years because of technology, according to new research. Spend management firm Compleat Software commissioned Sapio Research to survey 763 office workers and 250 finance workers late last year, finding that manufacturing and production workers (80 per cent), those in the medical profession (52 per cent) and accounting and finance staff (45 per cent) were the most fearful that their current job will cease to exist in its current form over the next half decade.
Met Police sets out cyber security approach
The Metropolitan Police Service has published its cyber security strategy, emphasising four ‘core vision principles’ to protect its information assets. Its new priorities are to: defend the data and distrust the asset; use identity as a perimeter; develop transparency of internet traffic; and be aware and prepared.
Nissan completes 230 mile autonomous trip
Nissan has completed an autonomous journey of 230 miles in the UK, marking the longest trip yet by a self-driving car. The Japanese carmaker announced that its LEAF electric vehicle (EV) made the driverless journey from its technical centre in Cranfield in the South of England to its Sunderland factory in the North East, according to Reuters.
Magway secures £1.5m in crowdfunding
Magway has secured over £1.5 million in private investment to fund the next stage of its plan to revolutionise the UK’s freight and delivery market. The British engineering firms’ solution proposes to move goods through a network of underground pipes to help keep up with the growth in online shopping and freight traffic, while reducing the air pollution and congestion that this causes.
floLIVE bags $21.5m funding, new CEO
Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity management provider floLIVE has announced a $21.5 million Series B financing round and the appointment of Nir Shalom as the company’s new chief executive. The funding round was led by 83North, and included Dell Technologies Capital, Saban Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures.
UK brings forward electric vehicle rule to 2035
The UK is to bring forward the end of the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2035. The move, announced to coincide with the launch of the UN climate COP26 conference in Glasgow in November, will mean that hybrid vehicles will now also be included in the deadline, with the UK aiming to transition to all-electric cars within 15 years.
Saint-Gobain Rigips gets real-time shipment visibility
Gypsum and plaster product provider Saint-Gobain Rigips has adopted Sixfold's live shipments visibility platform to lets its sales teams and planners give customers real-time data on shipments. The logistics visibility provider’s artificial intelligence-based platform will do away with calls to carriers, giving live data on the status of cargo, with predicted operational gains of up to 30 per cent from better planning resources for receiving inbound logistics.
Data watchdog urges social media algorithm rules
The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) has released a report suggesting that new regulation should be passed to control the algorithms that promote content on social networks. The government advisory body’s review of online targeting also recommended that social media platforms should allow independent researchers access to their data if they are looking into issues of public concern – which could include the effects of social media on mental health, or its role in spreading misinformation.
Pi Labs raises £17.5m for new PropTech fund
London-based PropTech venture capital fund Pi Labs has raised £17.5 million for its third fund, which is on course to be five times the value of its last one. In June last year, Pi Labs announced it would double the number of startups it funds over the next five years, giving each up to £1 million.
Smart home market to hit $158bn by 2024
The global smart home market revenue will reach $158 billion value in the next four years, according to data gathered by Precise Security. By comparison, in 2017 the global smart home market was worth $43.4 billion, with industry revenue doubling and expected to reach $91 billion value this year. The statistics quoted in the security firm’s report indicate the overall market will show an annual growth rate of 15 per cent by 2024.
SoftBank to set up UK robotics business
Japanese technology giant SoftBank has reportedly set up a robotics division in the UK as it looks to grow sales of robots including Pepper, the humanoid assistant. According to the Daily Telegraph, the Tokyo-headquartered investment firm, has hired Stefano Bensi, a former sales director at IBM’s Internet of Things (IoT) division, as the operations chief for SoftBank Robotics in the UK.
Rentify poaches Knight Frank trio
Knight Frank has lost a trio of staff members to property management platform Rentify. Last autumn, the PropTech firm poached the estate agency’s head of lettings Lucy Jones, who has become managing director.
NHS tech departments make senior appointments
Both NHS Digital and NHSX have made new senior technology appointments. NHS Digital has hired Pete Rose as new chief information security officer, starting on 4 May.
Arvind Krishna becomes IBM chief executive
The IBM board has elected Arvind Krishna as its new chief executive, effective 6 April. He replaces IBM chairman, president and chief executive Virginia Rometty, who will continue as executive chairman through the end of the year, when she will retire after almost 40 years with the company.
OECD commits to digital tax agreement by 2021
A group of 137 countries has backed an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) commitment to reach international agreement on digital taxes by the end of 2020. The inclusive framework published today is aimed at “reaching a consensus-based long-term solution to the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy”.
A third of SMEs plan post-Brexit tech spending spree
Nearly one third (32 per cent) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are planning to increase technology spending by 10 per cent in the first three months following the UK’s official departure from the European Union today. This is according to a survey of 200 senior business decision-makers conducted by Censuswide earlier this month and commissioned by Leonne International, a private equity firm focussed on the development of SMEs.
UK HealthTech startup gets £3m for growth
HealthTech startup Patchwork has secured £3 million in funding from Praetura Ventures, with participation from BMJ and some existing angel investors. Founded by NHS doctors Anas Nader and Jing Ouyang in 2016, the firm is aiming to solve the NHS staffing crisis by supporting hospitals to fill vacant shifts and offer flexible working to clinicians.
3D printing growth raises security fears
Three-dimensional (3D) printing is big business, with products and services expected by research firm Statistica to reach $35.6 billion by 2025. But as the sector expands, so do the potential security threats.
Facebook to renew digital payments focus
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said the company is planning new tools for commerce and payments in 2020, as well as a new computing platform featuring augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR). The social media giant’s quarterly results revealed that more than 2.9 billion people and more than 140 billion small businesses worldwide are now using Facebook’s platforms, including the WhatsApp and Instagram social media networks.
Research reveals reasons public sector cloud stalling
The UK government adopted a cloud-first policy in 2013, but new research has revealed that much of the public sector has been slow to follow. UKCloud commissioned a survey of 302 IT and business owners across 102 organisations in central government, local government, policing and education; 100 organisations in health and life sciences; and 100 in defence and national security.
DPD takes delivery of 300 electric vans
Parcel delivery company DPD will take delivery of 300 new electric Nissan e-NV200 vans by May, in what it claims to be the largest single UK commercial electric vehicle (EV) van order to date.The move will take its electric fleet to 450 vehicles in total, with plans in place to exceed the firm's stated target of 500 EVs by the end of the year, making it the largest EV parcel delivery fleet in the UK. DPD is aiming for 10 per cent of its van fleet to be electric in each of its 68 UK depots by the end of 2020.
Tech Nation names 30 scale-ups for accelerator
Tech Nation has revealed the 30 companies joining its Upscale programme for the UK’s fastest growing scale-up tech companies. Now in its fifth year, the latest cohort reflects the maturity of the tech landscape in the UK, with most of the companies on the programme having already raised a Series A round, and the average raise increasing from £4.2 million in 2017 to £7.2 million in 2020.
EU prepares 5G guidelines after UK ‘disappoints’ US
The European Commission is gearing up to announce its 5G guidelines today, after the US said it was “disappointed” by the UK’s decision to allow Chinese firm Huawei to supply ‘non-core’ parts of the 5G network. The guidelines will provide non-binding advice to the EU’s 28 member states to restrict or block ‘high-risk’ 5G vendors from core parts of the network.
Google Cloud partners Temenos for banking push
Temenos has signed a strategic partnership with Google Cloud to help financial services organisations run mission-critical banking software and applications. The two companies began collaborating last year to integrate Temenos’ cloud-agnostic software into Google Cloud and have already worked with several joint banking customers in Europe and Asia.
Research reveals extent of deepfake risk
New research has revealed that 77 per cent of cyber security decision-makers in financial services are concerned about the threat deepfakes pose to their industry, but just 28 per cent have implemented measures to combat such a threat. Biometric authentication firm iProov polled over 100 experts responsible for overseeing cyber security operations in financial services firms, finding that just under half (43 per cent) cited deepfakes as the tactic most likely to compromise facial authentication defences.
Thinktank calls for public data trusts
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has urged the government to develop a new public data trust facility for financial services and a digital platform for self-employed workers. A new report from the thinktank has also prompted the Local Government Association (LGA) to highlight the role of local councils in fostering digital inclusion.
Workplace data management app use grows significantly
New research has revealed soaring growth of data management apps in workplaces, with some applications growing by more than 270 per cent. A survey of 7,400 customers of Okta, a cloud software company, found that data-focussed apps such as Atlassian Opsgenie, Google Cloud Platform, Splunk, Looker and Envoy grew their userbase significantly in the past year, with Snowflake - which enables organisations to make decisions faster - grew by 273 per cent.
UK confirms limited Huawei role in 5G networks
The UK government has confirmed that Chinese telecoms firm Huawei will be allowed to play a limited role in the UK’s 5G network.Following months of speculation, the government said that a review of the supply chain for telecoms networks exposed the need for restricted access to core and critical parts of the network, but will push ahead with plans for Huawei to supply hardware to peripheral parts of the 5G infrastructure.
BigTech ‘winning war for talent’ as City loses out
A review commissioned by HM Treasury has found that Big Technology firms are attracting top talent as the financial services sector continues to lose out in the skills race against rival global centres. The Financial Services Skills Taskforce, chaired by former City minister Mark Hoban, and convened by TheCityUK, found that changes in the workplace due to technological and demographic shifts demand a new approach if London is to retain top graduates an survive the wave of tech-centred disruption.
New law to protect IoT devices from cyber hackers
The government is drawing up new laws aimed at protecting millions of households with internet connected devices from cyber hackers. Legislation being drawn up by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is aimed at ensuring that all Internet of Things (IoT) devices conform to the following three new security standards
Pompeo warns UK over Huawei decision
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has heaped further pressure on the UK government ahead of a "momentous" decision on whether China’s Huawei can build parts of the UK’s 5G infrastructure.The prime minister is due to make a final call over the controversial Chinese telecoms company’s involvement in the coming days.
Metropolitan Police to use live facial recognition
The Metropolitan Police Service has confirmed that it will begin using controversial live facial recognition (LFR) technology. It said that the NEC-provided tech will be deployed to specific locations in London, determined by police intelligence, as part of efforts to tackle serious crime.
Digital currency governance consortium launched
Following extensive consultation with the global community, the World Economic Forum has announced the Global Consortium for Digital Currency Governance. This is the first initiative to bring together financial institutions, government representatives, technical experts, academics, international organisations and members of the forum’s communities on a global level.
AI firm Blue Prism sees revenue spike 83%
Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation firm Blue Prism has announced an 83 per cent spike in revenues to £101 million.The Cheshire-headquartered robotic process automation (RPA) company released its results for the year ended 31 October, hailing “increasing momentum” for the business, sending its share price up 20 per cent.
Bailey calls for BigTech to work with regulators
Andrew Bailey, the incoming Bank of England (BoE) governor, has called for BigTech companies to collaborate with regulators to help protect consumers. In a podcast interview, in which he reflects on his tenure as chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Bailey said the regulator would need help from tech giants to ensure that the revolution in data and digital services does not harm consumer rights and protections; particularly with regards to false advertising.
Bank of England plans public cloud shift
The Bank of England (BoE) is planning to make more use of public cloud services as part of its One Bank Services Transformation strategy. It has begun to look for partners to work with it in the design and construction of a new hybrid cloud environment under a two-year deal scheduled to start in April.
Cloud alerts costing $1.5m a year
IT and cloud operations teams are being inundated by nearly 3,000 alerts from their management and monitoring tools each day, at a total average cost of $1.5 million a year. A global survey of 800 chief information officers (CIOs) by Vanson Bourne for Dynatrace revealed that IT teams spend 15 per cent of their time trying to identify which alerts need to be tackled and which are irrelevant.
Tech startups ‘struggle to spend funding on growth’
Startups across the UK and Ireland are securing funding with ease, but struggle when deciding how best to use the money to grow the company. A survey of decision-makers at 250 tech startups, commissioned by expense management platform Soldo, found that 70 per cent said they found the funding process easy.
Supply chain traceability blockchain launched
The World Economic Forum has announced the first neutral and public traceability platform capable of visualising blockchain-based supply chain data from multiple companies and sources, aimed at helping businesses across industries respond to consumer demands for ethical and environmentally-friendly products. To date, companies have self-published such data or relied on blockchain solution providers to do so. The pilot platform resulting from this initiative, however, can ingest blockchain-based data from multiple sources and visualize it on a neutral site.
Chancellor insists tech tax will go ahead
The chancellor has insisted that the UK will go ahead with plans for a tax on BigTech companies this spring despite threats the US to impose “arbitrary” tariffs on UK car exports. On a panel at Davos yesterday, Sajid Javid said: “We plan to go ahead with our digital services tax in April – it is a proportionate tax, and a tax that is deliberately designed as a temporary tax.”
Wirecard partners for e-mobility pay tech
Wirecard is partnering with UZE Mobility to develop a range of e-mobility and ‘commerce on the move’ services. The agreement will combine its payment technology with UZE’s geolocation platform to drive emerging trends in electric vehicles and innovative payments solutions.
Two thirds of FS roles require digital and tech skills
New research has found that two thirds (66 per cent) of job roles in financial services industry require digital skills from prospective candidates. Analysis from Gov.uk of eight million job adverts found that the industry where digital skills were most in demand was information and communications (79 per cent).
Facebook to create 1,000 jobs in London
Facebook is to show its commitment to London ahead of Brexit with the addition of 1,000 new jobs in the capital.The social media giant said that more than half of the roles created for the new London office this year will be in tech-focussed teams such as artificial intelligence and software engineering roles, as well as product design and data science.
Vodafone exits Facebook’s Libra project
Vodafone has become the latest in a growing list of global companies to withdraw from Facebook’s Libra digital currency project. The Libra Association confirmed that the telecoms giant has exited the collective following an exodus of major payments and financial organisations last year.
Gov puts £2m into Canadian/UK AgriTech innovation
Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £2 million in innovative research and development projects that involve UK businesses working with partners in Canada. The money is specifically directed at agriculture businesses, in an attempt to grow more food in a way that is sustainable and that reduces pollution, minimises waste and improves soil condition.
Vicarius raises $5m for cyber threat tech
Cyber security threat firm Vicarius has raised $5 million in seed funding to accelerate international growth. The Israeli company, founded in 2016, has developed technology to automatically detect, patch and protect against software vulnerabilities before they are exploited by hackers.
ICO publishes children’s online privacy code
The Information Commissioner’s Office has published its final Age Appropriate Design Code – a set of 15 standards that online services should meet to protect children’s privacy. The code sets out the standards expected of those responsible for designing, developing or providing online services like apps, connected toys, social media platforms, online games, educational websites and streaming services.
Weak passwords behind 30% of ransomware attacks
The proportion of internet users relying on passwords as weak as ‘12345’ has been exposed by research that showed poor account security caused nearly a third (30 per cent) of ransomware attacks in 2019. PreciseSecurity looked into cyber incidents in the US last year, finding that phishing scams remained the chosen method of hackers to launch a ransomware attack, with 67 per cent of infections caused by a fraudulent email infected with malware.
Amazon working on ‘pay by wave’ tech
Amazon is working with Visa to develop a contactless biometric identification system to let customers to pay by waving their hands through a scanner. The Wall Street Journal reported that the e-commerce giant is working with Visa, and is in discussions with MasterCard, to test its hand scanner terminals, which will digitally map a shopper’s hand, link it to their credit card and allow them to pay with a wave.
Gov doubles EV chargepoints funding to £10m
The government is to double the funding available for electric vehicle charging points on residential streets to £10 million. Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced the move as the government sets out a plan to fund another 3,600 chargepoints across the country next year. The aim is to ensure electric vehicle owners have access to chargepoints on residential streets to making charging at home and overnight easier for those without an off-street parking space.
Macron and Trump agree to digital tax delay
French president Emmanuel Macron has said he and US president Donald Trump will collaborate over France's planned digital tax to avoid an increase in tariffs. Reuters reported that after talks over the weekend, they agreed to put a hold on their tariff disagreement until 2021.
Survey finds data ‘crucial to art of negotiation’
New research has suggested that while skilled negotiation is as important as ever, businesses must adapt their approach to avoid a lack of data preventing them securing the best deals. Barclaycard commissioned Opinium to survey 512 UK senior managers and above who are procurement decision-makers in companies of 250 plus employees and have a turnover of £6.5 million and above.
BigTechs drive consulting boom, up $1bn in two years
As the US tech giants continue to grow aggressively and expand their range of services, they have ramped up use of consultants, according to Source Global Research. The professional services industry analysts found tech industry revenues rose 13.4 per cent to $4.8 billion last year – growing by over $1 billion in just two years. The global technology, media and telecom (TMT) consulting market grew more slowly at 8.8 per cent to $12.9 billion in 2018.
Ericsson seeks 5G progress with new R&D site in France
Ericsson will establish a new research and development (R&D) site in France with up to 300 employees, focusing initially on software development and security. Due to open in early 2020, the site will see progressive growth of employee numbers. An initial unit will be established at Ericsson’s offices in Massy, France, part of Paris-Saclay, one of Europe’s largest innovation zones.
Pichai calls for ‘proportionate’ approach to AI regs
Regulators should take a “proportionate approach” to governing artificial intelligence (AI), according to Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google’s parent company Alphabet. In a speech delivered in Brussels, he warned that EU regulators - due to publish proposed rules for AI in the coming days - should tread carefully when drawing up frameworks for AI innovation, but conceded the need for regulations to prevent misuse as the technology becomes ever more advanced.
Reapit joins DLT-based mortgage consortium
Estate agency platform Reapit has joined the IPN Consortium, a group of industry players developing a distributed ledger technology (DLT) system aiming to make the entire home buying process completable through a mobile phone. Launched late last year, the consortium includes NatWest, Dezrez Estate Agency Software, Redbrick Solutions Conveyancing Software, eTech Surveyor Software, Search Acumen Property Data, Conveyancing Data Services Property Data and LMS Panel Management Software.
Regulators hand out €114m in fines since GDPR
More than 160,000 data breach notifications totalling €114 million have been reported across European countries since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented in May 2018, new research has found. According to the annual GDPR Data Breach Survey from law firm DLA Piper in 28 EU member states - plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein - data protection regulators have imposed fines for a range of infringements of GDPR, not just for data breach.
Businesses ‘missing out’ on machine learning benefits
Businesses are missing out on key insights because just three per cent are using machine learning (ML) to analyse their unstructured data, according to research. A Censuswide survey of 150 senior IT decision makers at UK financial services firms for Cloud Technology Solutions found that while artificial intelligence (AI) and automated functions such as Machine Learning are being used to process and analyse structured data, the value of unstructured data remains untapped.
Culture sec calls for end of tech-as-utopia vision
The culture secretary has set out plans to strengthen digital governance and regulation as she set out the government’s vision for a society in which new technologies are no longer viewed as a “utopia.” In a speech setting out the five key principles that will guide government policy making on technology and the digital economy in the coming years, Baroness Morgan of Cotes explained that while technology is no longer a cure-all answer to social and economic challenges, it must also not be made the “the scapegoat for all of the problems in the world”.
Hyundai and Kia pump €100m into EV tech firm
Hyundai and Kia have invested €100 million in UK-based electric vehicle (EV) firm Arrival.The strategic investment will see the South Korean motor giants collaborate with Arrival to develop eco-friendly vans and other products for logistics, on-demand ride-hailing, and shuttle service companies.
Government cyber accelerator announces 20 new scale ups
The government’s cyber security accelerator programme LORCA (London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement) has announced the 20 scale ups selected for its largest cohort yet. This year’s cohort of cyber firms specialise in technologies ranging from AI and quantum to automated detection methods as well as zero-trust defence, cryptography and supply chain risk.
FinTech leads record year for UK tech investment
Investment in the UK’s tech sector surged to a record-breaking £10.1 billion in 2019, with FinTech leading the charge on £4.1 billion - more than double the total funding in 2018.
Data from Tech Nation and Dealroom showed that overall investment in UK tech companies increased by £3.1 billion last year- up 44 per cent on 2018- making the UK the strongest market in the world for growth in this sector, and smashing previous records.
Relx buys ID Analytics for $375m
Relx, the FTSE 100 data and information services giant has signed a $375 million deal to buy US fraud detection company ID Analytics. A statement said Relx’s LexisNexis Risk Solutions divsiion had agreed to acquire the San Diego-based enterprise analytics firm to expand its ability to deliver risk insights through the combination of proprietary data, patented analytics, and near real-time cross-industry consumer and identity behavior.
Dynatrace joins Google and Microsoft for open source cloud project
Dynatrace, an automated cloud platform and software intelligence company, is collaborating with Google and Microsoft to develop open source framework OpenTelemetry which aims to shape how the IT industry builds observability into cloud services.The Boston-based company said the collaboration would see Google and Microsoft increase the breadth of the data and scope of the cloud ecosystem that organisations can view.
EBA sets out ethical framework for Big Data
The European Baking Authority has set out the key challenges to emerge from the growth of Big Data and advanced analytics, including machine learning , across the financial services sector. The EU’s banking regulator’s report identifies key trends taking hold as banks embrace financial technology, Open Banking and other Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data-driven processes. It also recommends safeguards to ensure “technological neutrality” in the use of advanced analytics.
Travelex 'making progress' after cyberattack
Travelex, a foreign exchange service hit by a ransomware attack, has said it is making good progress on containing the virus and has begun the process of refunding customers while it remains offline.The company took its website down two weeks ago after a hacking group compromised systems and demanded a reported £4.6 million ransom with a threat to release personal customer data including social security numbers, dates of birth and card information.
ICO fines Currys PC World £500k over data breach
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has imposed a £500,000 fine on DSG Retail, after till systems at Currys PC World and Dixons Travel were hacked, leaving the data of 14 million customers exposed to attack. A hacker installed malware affecting the point of sale computer systems of 5,390 tills stores in an attack lasting from July 2017 to April 2018.
Gov puts £9.4m into trialling new rail tech
Innovate UK has launched a new competition offering a share of up to £9.4 million to show how new technologies could improve rail services for passengers and operators. According to a statement from the government, the UK rail industry transports 1.7 billion passengers and 110 million tonnes of freight each year, but faces challenges from rapid growth and changing customer expectations.
BP invests $3.6m in AI energy efficiency firm
BP has invested $3.6 million in Chinese energy management specialist R&B as it explores the uses of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in improving energy efficiency. The move by BP Ventures, which is the energy giant’s first foray into the Chinese AI market, led R&B’s latest funding round and was supported by investment from CLP Innovation Ventures and JAFCO Asia.
Calligo acquires DC Networks
Data optimisation and privacy specialist Calligo has acquired DC Networks, a Dublin-based IT managed services provider. The value of the deal was not disclosed, but buying the managed service provider was seen as a significant step in Calligo’s global growth strategy.
Stan Chart invests in supply chain finance platform
Standard Chartered has made a strategic investment into Chinese supply chain financing platform Linklogis. The purchase of an equity stake for an undisclosed amount is aimed at helping it join the supply chain ecosystem proposition and provide suppliers with access to affordable financing.
IBM adds to quantum research network
IBM has announced an expansion of its quantum computing Q Network, which now includes over 100 organisations across multiple industries, including: airline, automotive, finance, energy, materials and electronics. Anthem, Delta Air Lines, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and Woodside Energy are among the latest to begin to explore practical applications of quantum computing.
Time pressure ‘is blocking data-led decisions’
New research has revealed that 40 per cent of business leaders feel pressure to make split-second decisions is standing in the way of data-led processes. A Censuswide survey of 150 c-suite level executives and 462 business decision-makers in the UK, France and Germany. for data platform Splunk. showed that more than half (53 per cent) were under pressure to make a ‘critical’ business decision once a day, with fewer than one in 100 leaders claiming that they are always able to make decisions led by the actual data.
Libra chair bashes Bitcoin’s payment credentials
The Libra Association’s vice chairman has argued that Bitcoin has no future as a payment system. Speaking at the Digital Money Forum at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas yesterday, Dante Disparte commented: “Bitcoin as an asset class has proven that mathematical scarcity can support an incredibly exciting asset – it’s not a means of payment; it just isn’t.”
US and France work on tech tax deal
The United States and France have set a target of two weeks to reach agreement over the latter’s implementation of a digital or tech tax, mostly targeted at US tech firms. The dispute stems from when the French government decided to impose a digital tax on foreign tech firms at the start of 2019, implementing the law last summer.
Toyota to build smart city in Japan
Toyota has announced plans to build a futuristic smart city, fuelled by hydrogen fuel cells, at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The Japanese automotive giant unveiled plans at the CES industry conference in Las Vegas.
White House warns on ‘overreach’ in AI regulation
The Trump administration has issued proposals to limit regulatory “overreach” in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and has urged European countries to follow suit. A fact sheet issued by the White House sets out regulatory principles around the use and development of AI for federal agencies. According to Reuters, the document said that authorities should conduct “risk assessment and cost-benefit analyses” before taking regulatory action on AI and favoured instead “flexible frameworks rather than one-size-fits-all regulation”.
Amazon makes multiple moves into automotive
Amazon has made several announcements around moving its voice assistant technology into the automotive sector. Ahead of the Consumer Electionics Show (CES), the e-commerce giant revealed partnerships with Lamborghini and Rivian, auto-specific skills for Alexa, a market expansion for the Echo Auto device and a plan to bring its Fire TV edition into BMW and Fiat Chrysler vehicles.
UK hits smart speaker ‘mass adoption’
The UK has reached mass adoption level of smart speaker devices, according to new research showing that 22 per cent of homes now have a voice activated device, up from nine per cent in 2017. Consumer consultancy firm Quadrangle found that adoption of devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home has been driven by the younger Millennial and Generation-Z age groups.
Travelex 'held hostage by cyber hackers'
Travelex is reportedly being held hostage by the hackers that disabled its website and internal IT systems on New Year's Eve. They have demanded payment in exchange for either restoration of IT systems or the preservation of customer data. It is understood that a deadline for payment has been set by the cyber-criminals.
Home Office awards PFS prepaid card contract
The Home Office has awarded Prepaid Financial Services a contract to provide payments services as part of a prepaid card scheme. PFS won the contract to provide the Support Payment Card after the Home Office launched a tender process through the Crown Commercial Services Framework for Prepaid Cards.
Met Police hire Leidos for command centre tech
The Metropolitan Police has appointed Leidos to help upgrade its command and control centre. A 10-year contract has been agreed, under which the IT, engineering and services firm will implement a system to capture emergency contacts from the public and coordinate the deployment of police officers to incidents and operations.
Transport industry gets Open APIs
The Open Transport Initiative has launched the first version of its Application Programming Interface (API) specifications. This is the first time an open standard for transport customer account interoperability has been designed and made available, with a statement explaining that the customer account and centralised operator look-up service API specifications are the result of various transport and data specialists working together.
Government publishes cloud lock-in guidance
Government Digital Service (GDS) has published new guidance on managing the risk of technical lock-in in the cloud. The official advice explained that when using public cloud, companies only pay for what they use and avoid upfront infrastructure costs, potentially providing significant savings and efficiencies over traditional data centre models.
Mastercard acquires AI analytics firm RiskRecon
Mastercard has acquired artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics firm RiskRecon. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is expected to close in the first quarter of this year, subject to regulatory conditions.
NHSX building technical assurance service
NHSX has started work on a project to develop a technical assurance service for health service organisations buying technology. It is planning to work with local, regional and central NHS teams to consult with suppliers in order to understand what they need from such a service.
OnTheMarket raises £3.4m, invests in PropTech
OnTheMarket has raised £3.4 million by placing 4,857,143 new ordinary shares at 70p, with a combination of existing and new investors. The startup has also aqcuired a 20 per cent share - as a cash purchase of £797,000 spread over 10 months - in Glanty, the owner and developer of PropTech lettings platform teclet.
What's next for technology in 2020?
As another busy year in the tech sector draws to a close, it’s time to look ahead an predict what the next 12 months may have in store. We’ve gathered together a range of experts from across different industries to peer into their crystal balls and tell us what they think is set to come in 2020.
Government puts £25m into smart product innovation
Up to £25 million has been made available through Innovate UK’s Smart programme to invest in innovative business projects across any technology area. Smart is an open grant funding programme that supports the best UK business ideas whatever area they come from.
Sigh of relief as ECJ rules EU-US data transfers 'valid'
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has decided that personal data transfers from tech companies in the European Union into the United States are “valid”. In June, it was revealed that Facebook’s transfer of data belonging to European citizens to the US would be examined by the ECJ.The social media giant lost a bid for the landmark case to be referred to the ECJ, after the Irish Supreme Court backed a ruling made by the Irish High Court in May 2018.
Government 'creating BigTech regulator'
The government is planning to create a new body to regulate large tech firms, such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, after Brexit. The Financial Times reported that the regulator will be given power to implement a range of rules, including an enforceable code of conduct and ensuring better data accessibility for consumers.
ScaleUp arranges £3.6m funding for FISCAL Technologies
FISCAL Technologies has made £3.6 million in Series A funding lead by Octopus Investments and supported by Calculus Capital. The forensic risk management solutions startup is based in Reading, UK, with a Raleigh, North Carolina, operation and has been entirely self-funded since it was founded in 2003.
‘Libra must meet regulatory standards’: Fed
The Federal Reserve has warned Facebook that it will be expected to meet a high threshold of legal and regulatory safeguards before launching its Libra cryptocurrency. Speaking at the European Central Bank Colloquium in Frankfurt, Fed board member Lael Brainard laid out the US central bank’s concerns surrounding the rise of global stablecoins.
Peer-reviewed blockchain concept launches
Software engineering company Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) has publicly deployed Cardano, the world’s first blockchain network created from peer-reviewed scientific research. The technology was developed using studies into cryptography, behavioural economics and game theory at academic institutions including the University of Edinburgh. The platform has been designed to be scalable, self-sustainable and interoperable with conventional currencies, cryptocurrencies and future systems of exchange.
Data centres urged to re-evaluate contingency plans
Many data centres are in danger of experiencing significant downtime during a power failure, as a quarter of UK energy decision-makers do not have a contingency plan in place. This is according to a survey of 200 UK energy decision-makers commissioned by Aggreko, which found that although 82 per cent described power continuity as a major or significant concern, many who don’t have a plan in place in case of an outage.
McDonald’s signs international mobile payments agreement with Adyen
McDonald’s has entered into an agreement with Adyen to roll-out its payments platform globally, beginning with the UK early next year. The move is aimed at bringing simplicity and scalability through one integration so the food and beverage brand has a consistent customer experience everywhere it operates. In addition to making it easier to add new stores, markets, or regions, Adyen offers support for preferred payment methods, as well a single data view and customer insights.
Code quality 'sacrificed to hit deadlines'
When asked which factors contribute to poor software quality, 40 per cent of developers attributed it to manual processes, while a further 40 per cent cited unrealistic schedules. This is according to Diffblue survey conducted by Vanson Bourne among 300 participants - 200 in the US and 100 in the UK - who work in software development, application development and DevOps in sub-executive-level roles at companies with at least 500 employees, across various sectors.
Intel spends $2bn on AI startup Habana Labs
Intel has acquired artificial intelligence (AI) firm Habana Labs for around $2 billion. The Israel-based startup develops programmable deep learning accelerators for data centres, which the chip-making giant will see as a key growth area as PC sales stagnate.
Odoo gets $90m investment for growth
Odoo has closed a $90 million minority investment led by global growth equity investor Summit Partners, with participation from Odoo’s executive management team and existing investor SRIW and its affiliate Noshaq. The Belgian open source all-in-one business software firm has grown its team to 750-strong, including the addition of more than 300 team members in 2019. It operates international offices in San Francisco, India, Hong Kong and Dubai to support a global customer base.
Accenture HealthTech Challenge names 11 finalists
Accenture has named 11 companies as finalists for its HealthTech Innovation Challenge, which brings together startups with prominent health companies. Attracting more than 2,200 startup applicants in its first three years, the challenge supports innovative approaches and solutions for improving the way people access, manage and finance healthcare in North America.
Accenture signs DLT deal with TradeIX
Accenture has invested in and formed a strategic alliance with TradeIX, whose open platform uses distributed ledger technology (DLT) to facilitate the flow of goods, services, transactions and information for global trade. The terms of the equity investment were not disclosed, but as part of the agreement, Accenture Ventures will work with the Dublin-based company to bring to market new use cases, beyond banking, to address the needs of buyers and sellers within trade finance.
Brits ‘see the light’ on biometric security
More than six in ten Brits (62 per cent) would be willing to try retina recognition identification, as consumers become more familiar with biometric security methods, according to a new report. A OnePoll survey of 2,000 UK adults for Equifax found that respondents were generally very open to trying new forms of biometric verification, including fingerprint (61 per cent), facial recognition (57 per cent) and palm verifier (57 per cent) technology.
Analytics skills key for survival in ‘data decade’
Professionals will need to learn data science skills to do their jobs and help their companies thrive in the next decade, according to a survey of business leaders. MHR Analytics commissioned Censuswide to survey 500 UK finance and technology professionals employed by large UK companies in August, with 55 per cent believing data analytics will be essential for business survival in the next decade, while 53 per cent said automation will be essential and 42 per cent reckoned artificial intelligence (AI) will be key.
AI expert Sharkey calls for AI algo moratorium
An expert on artificial intelligence (AI) has called for all algorithms that make life-changing decisions to be halted immediately. Noel Sharkey, a professor of AI and robotics at the University of Sheffield, said algorithms were so “infected with biases” that their decision-making processes could not be fair or trusted.
JCB chooses Exide to power electric forklifts
Battery manufacturer Exide Technologies has been selected by JCB to power its new range of electric Teletruks. Under the partnership, Exide's GNB batteries and high-frequency chargers will be supplied with each new E-TEC forklift rolling off the production line.
Post Office settles IT system case for £58m
The Post Office has agreed to pay almost £58 million to settle a dispute with postal staff over errors in Fujitsu’s Horizon IT system. The case centres over the use of the accounting system - which has been in place since 1999 and records transactions across Post Office branches - which ran into problems which caused sub-postmasters to be wrongly accused of fraud, with many told to pay back supposedly missing funds or face prosecution.
Tunstall Healthcare launches nurse call tech
Connected care and health solutions provider Tunstall Healthcare has launch of a new nurse call system, Tunstall Carecom. Already supporting over 60,000 residents across Europe, the wireless system consists of a network of receivers placed around a building, with locatability beacons placed at strategic locations, which interact with smart pendants. These allow users to raise alarm calls but also offer location reporting, cancel at source, access control and geofencing.
Twitter to build decentralised social network
Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey has said the company will fund independent research into “open and decentralised” models for social media networks. The project, named Blue Sky, will involve an independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers and designers to develop an open standard for social media, which Dorsey said will have the goal of tackling online abuse and fake news.
Two thirds of SME leaders planning digital training in 2020
The majority of leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have plans to brush up their digital skills in 2020, according to Hitachi Capital Business Finance. It commissioned YouGov to survey a representative sample of 1,211 small business decision-makers, finding that 69 per cent were planning on attending courses next year, with leaders in the manufacturing (82 per cent), legal (85 per cent) and transport (73 per cent) sectors the most likely to want training.
Ministry of Defence invests in AR for telemedicine
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has invested in a company developing augmented reality (AR) for use in military telemedicine services. It has signed a £625,000 contract with Proximie, for a digital platform to support the use of AR by surgical teams. The company will provide an integration route across encrypted military communications systems and the product will also allow for real-time overlay of diagnostics in digital form - such as X-rays - to support both active and advisory surgeons.
World’s first fully electric test flight made in Canada
The world’s first fully electric commercial aircraft has taken its inaugural test flight. Taking off from Vancouver and flying for 15 minutes, the e-plane was a collaboration between Australian engineering firm magniX and Canadian air ferry firm Harbour Air.
UK ‘below average’ on public sector open data
The UK’s maturity level for public sector open data is below the European average, according to the European Data Portal. Capgemini Invent, which manages the portal, has published the fifth annual Open Data Maturity Report, which gives the UK a rating of 60 per cent, compared with an average figure of 62 per cent for the 31 countries covered and 66 per cent for the 28 members of the EU.
85% of FS workers distrust cloud computing
More than three quarters (85 per cent) of financial services professionals lack trust in cloud computing, according to new research. A survey of 6,000 professionals in five sectors in six countries for commercial property agent Savoy Stewart found widespread distrust of cloud computing security, along with confusion over how the technology works.
Current Health raises £9m for growth
Edinburgh-based HealthTech firm Current Health has secured £9 million in Series A funding. The patient management platform uses wearable tech to track patients’ health and applies artificial intelligence to detect illness and alert providers to high-risk patients.
World's largest AI research network opens in The Hague
The Confederation of Laboratories for Artificial Intelligence Research in Europe (CLAIRE) has opened its new headquarters in The Hague. Claiming to be the world's largest artificial intelligence (AI) research network, it was established in response to the need for excellence in AI research and innovation to ensure that Europe remains competitive in AI and its applications.
Which? calls on next government to halt unsecure smart toys
Which? has exposed serious security flaws with popular children’s smart toys and is calling for the next government to introduce mandatory security standards to prevent unsecure products being available for sale. In collaboration with security specialist NCC Group, the consumer champion conducted a snapshot test of connected toys sold by major retailers - including Amazon, Argos, John Lewis and Smyths - and found they are lacking in basic security which leaves them vulnerable to being hacked and could even enable a stranger to talk to a child.
Intel claims quantum milestone with new chip
Intel has claimed to have achieved a milestone in the quest for commercially viable quantum computers. The Horse Ridge cryogenic control chip streamlines the systems used to control quantum bits, or qubits, something Intel explained will be necessary for scaling systems to hundreds of thousands or millions of qubits.
Nets trials face payments in Copenhagen
Nets has launched a pilot programme testing facial recognition as a payment method. Around 1,000 people - all working at Vibenshuset, an office community of 25 companies in Copenhagen - can now sign up to participate in the pilot. By linking their face with their employee ID card, they can now pay for their lunch using their face at the cafeteria.
Applications open for Manchester tech scheme
A new digital and technology programme has opened applications for its first cohort, looking to foster the UK’s startups. The Exchange scheme will offer early stage tech companies and entrepreneurs access to the tools and infrastructure they need, as part of Enterprise City, a two million square foot tech, media and cultural cluster in the heart of Manchester city centre.
EU authorities weigh in on stablecoins
The European Council and the European Commission have stated that digital currencies such as Facebook’s Libra should not be allowed in the European Union until the risks they could pose are properly addressed. So-called 'stablecoins' may present opportunities in terms of cheap and fast payments, especially cross-border payments, the statement explained, but “at the same time, these arrangements pose multifaceted challenges and risks related for example to consumer protection, privacy, taxation, cyber security and operational resilience, money laundering, terrorism financing, market integrity, governance and legal certainty”.
Counter-drone technology gets government approval
Dedrone has been awarded certification from the UK’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) for its counter-drone technology platform. DroneTracker detects, tracks and identifies drones by using multi-sensor capability, combining radio frequency, radar and optical sensors.
ICO and Alan Turing Institute open AI consultation
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Alan Turing Institute have started a consultation to build guidance about explaining the decisions made by artificial intelligence (AI). The first draft of regulatory guidance into the use of AI is out for consultation until 24 January, and is aimed at data scientists, app developers, business owners or data protection practitioners whose organisations are using, or thinking about using, AI to support, or to make, decisions about individuals.
Millennials and Gen Z drive digital-first CX future
Almost 60 per cent of Generation Z and Millennials have used private social messaging for customer service, compared to 38 per cent of Generation X, 19 per cent of Baby Boomers and 16 per cent of the Silent Generation. This is according to a NICE inContact survey with more than 2,550 consumers across the globe, which also revealed that the majority of Generation Z and Millennials want companies to allow them to interact with customer service using private social messaging apps (72 per cent and 69 per cent, respectively).
Locum’s Nest launches digital bank for NHS
Locum’s Nest, the British HealthTech platform for locums, has launched The Digital Collaborative Bank, the NHS’ first digital collaborative staff bank for doctors, in partnership with eight Acute NHS Trusts. The bank will provide locum doctors with an online platform to access shifts at all participating Trusts, aiming to create one national staffing pool across the whole of the NHS, to help save £1 billion by 2025.
Page and Brin step back from Alphabet leadership
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the chief executive and president, respectively, of Alphabet, have decided to leave these roles. A statement from Google’s parent company explained that they will continue their involvement as co-founders, shareholders and members of the board of directors.
British businesses missing out on RPA ROI
British businesses are missing out on the benefits of automation by not combining the right technologies, research from ABBYY has found. While 19 in 20 businesses have deployed some form of automation, only one in 20 use the full stack, meaning most businesses are missing out on what the firm calls the ‘secret weapons’ that could deliver the most return on investment (ROI).
83% of Scots want more digitised public services
Over 80 per cent of Scottish citizens want to see their councils use a wider range of digital technologies, according to research from Capita and the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN). They commissioned Opinium to survey 2,000 Scots during ths summer, finding that 84 per cent believed public services should embrace more digital technologies, with growing interest in concepts such as smart cities and the potential for connected devices in hospitals
Prime minister pledges to make BigTech pay UK taxes
Boris Johnson has pledged to implement an 'Amazon tax' in the UK, forcing US tech giants to pay more tax on their digital sales, despite opposition from Donald Trump. The British prime minister announced yesterday that he would push ahead with a digital sales tax ahead of today’s Nato summit.
Wireless Broadband Alliance hails WiFi6 test
The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has confirmed the successful completion of its phase one trial of Wi-Fi 6 infrastructure and services at the Mettis Aerospace factory in the UK. The trial was the first of its kind in the world and an important part of the WBA's test and development program, which included applications of 4K video streaming, large scale file transfers, messaging and voice/video communications, and the first stage of Internet of Things (IoT) sensor and mixed reality testing.
MindFolio launches community engagement platform
Real estate consultancy MindFolio has launched LociLab, a community engagement platform for consumer insights to help shape the development of the public realm. Through an online community, LociLab engages users in the early stages of planning, obtaining local public opinion via daily polls, topical discussion on message boards and integrated surveys, to provide a deeper understanding of consumer demographics and psychographics.
Catapult to develop energy data platform
The Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) has awarded a contract to Urban Tide to develop a data platform for the Energy Revolution Integration Service (ERIS). The £500,000 deal with the smart cities data specialist is to produce system for data storage on projects run by itself and its partners, with the capability to make it privately or publicly accessible.
Councils pledge to make IT systems more accessible
Freedom of Information (FOI) requests undertaken by SoftwareONE have revealed that almost three quarters (72 per cent) of all English councils are planning to invest in making their IT systems more accessible over the next 12 months. Almost all councils (95 per cent) have at least one disabled employee, and all respondents said they have assistive technologies in place.
90% of UK enterprises face ‘major cloud migration problems’
Cloudhouse research has revealed that 90 per cent of UK enterprises in the FTSE 100 and 250 have run into major problems migrating legacy business applications to the cloud as part of their digital transformation, with 84 per cent holding applications back. Interviewing 50 senior IT decision-makers within the UK’s largest enterprises, the firm found that almost all companies (96 per cent) are still running applications on legacy Windows operating systems.
Experts admit digital identity plans have stalled
Open Banking standards are more likely to morph into some form of digital identity protocol than any government-backed scheme, according to a panel of experts at TechUK’s Open Banking conference. Alastair Campbell, global head of digital portfolio and digital identity at HSBC, admitted that the bank struggles internally to agree on sharing of digital IDs, so “while I suppose this could happen in the UK, I think it’s unlikely”.
NatWest joins blockchain mortgage consortium
Coadjute, a network for decentralised workflow and data sharing within the property industry, has agreed a project with NatWest and a consortium of property software providers to create a new home buying journey leveraging distributed ledger technology (DLT). The purpose of the consortium-led project is to speed up and simplify the entire home buying process through a NatWest mobile banking app.
MoJ develops cyber security log platform
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has begun work to collect its cyber security logs in an aggregation platform, after identifying that it was not able to fully understand the situation around its estate, as the logs are held in multiple systems. The government department is now aiming to develop a single, centralised store of logs that can be more easily queried to help correlate information on attacks and track the behaviour of cyber attackers.
Security fears persist as UK moves to cloud
New research from McAfee has revealed that 40 per cent of large UK businesses expect to be cloud-only by 2021, with only five per cent of organisations having already reached cloud-only status in the UK. The cyber security firm commissioned Censuswide in October to survey 1,310 senior IT staff and 755 employees in large businesses with over 250 employees across the UK, France and Germany – with 300 senior IT staff and 252 employees in the UK.
Equifax and ODI publish Open Data consent report
Equifax and the Open Data Institute (ODI) have launched a report looking at the international consent framework for Open Banking. It combines research into Open Banking and data portability initiatives from across a range of countries, as well as interviews with experts from each region, aiming to identify and compare consent environments from across the globe, as well as outlining the consequences for breaking national or regionally-specific data consent rules.
Law firm RPC hires new IT director
Law firm RPC has appointed Serious Fraud Office (SFO) chief technology officer Ben Denison as its new director of information technology. Joining the firm on 6 January, he will support firm's growth in technology and innovation, as well as helping to find solutions for clients to harness benefits of technology.
Cyber skills gap ‘reaches breaking point’
New research conducted amongst UK chief information officers (CIOs) and senior IT professionals has revealed that the cyber security skills gap has reached a crisis point. The study from digital resilience firm RedSeal showed that 87 per cent reported that they are struggling to find cyber security professionals with the expertise needed to combat serious and organised online crime, while 73 per cent said that uncertainty around Brexit was a concern when it came to hiring security professionals from outside the UK.
Buguroo raises $11m for global expansion
Madrid-based cyber security firm buguroo has secured $11 million in Series A funding to bring its deep learning-based online fraud detection and prevention technology to customers in new territories. Venture capital firms Ten Eleven Ventures and Seaya Ventures led the round, with existing investors Inveready Technology Investment Group and Conexo Ventures also participating.
HealthTech learning platform launches in UK
ANCILE Solutions is bringing its content creation and in-app learning tool uPerform to support NHS organisations with the deployment and adoption of major IT systems. The company already delivers uPerform to 4,600 global customers, who use it to train and support users on 200 business and healthcare applications.
EU blocks controversial ePrivacy rules
The European Union’s proposed ePrivacy regulations - which aim to put the likes of Skype and WhatsApp on a level playing field with established telecoms services - have stalled after member states failed to reach an agreement about the overall scope. The draft directive was proposed in January 2017, with the goal of holding online communications and email services to the same standards faced by telecoms providers.
Berners-Lee creates Contract for the Web
Tim Berners-Lee has launched a global plan to save the internet from the political manipulation, fake news and privacy violations which threaten to plunge the world into a “digital dystopia”. The Contract for the Web requires endorsing governments, companies and individuals to make commitments to protect the web from abuse and ensure it benefits humanity.
Weakest UK tech sector growth for four years
Business confidence, growth and sales volumes are all in decline across the UK’s tech sectos, according to KPMG’s quarterly survey. The latest analysis revealed a downturn in new work across the tech sector for the first time since the middle of 2012, due to softer global economic conditions and ongoing domestic political uncertainty.
Whether it be from David Attenborough’s documentaries, Greta Thunberg’s teenage activism or the Extinction Rebellion protests, it’s hard to miss the message about the earth’s impending climate catastrophe. But as governments miss environmental action targets, corporations greenwash their way to shareholder satisfaction and individuals struggle to make any impact, perhaps salvation comes from the variety of tech startups trying to make a difference.
Automation Anywhere gets $290m funding
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) firm Automation Anywhere has received $290 million in Series B funding at a post money valuation of $6.8 billion. The funding was led by Salesforce Ventures, with additional investment from existing investors including Softbank Investment Advisers and Goldman Sachs.
KPMG partners nsKnox for anti-fraud solution
KPMG has partnered with nsKnox to develop a secure payments system to prevent fraud in real time. KPMG Secure Payments will provide organisations with an end-to-end, holistic defense against fraud in supplier payments, whether caused by cyber attacks, internal fraud, social engineering, or data manipulation attempts. The joint solution verifies supplier and account details, safeguarding the payment process at every point of the transaction.
Celonis raises $290m to expand AI platform
Artificial intelligence (AI) process mining software firm Celonis has raised approximately $290 million in Series C funding, valuing the company at $2.5 billion. Arena Holdings led the round, alongside a group of principal investors and established entrepreneurs including Ryan Smith, co-founder and chief executive of Qualtrics, as well as Tooey Courtemanche, founder and chief executive of Procore.
Google to curb targeting on political ads
Google has announced plans to stop targeting of political adverts using data on public voter records and political affiliation, as UK voters prepare to go to the polls on 12 December. In a blog, the search engine giant said that recent concerns over the impact of political advertising on the democratic process had led to the change in policy, which will apply globally across all its platforms, including Google search and YouTube.
Manufacturers could make £13bn selling DTC
UK manufacturers stand to gain £13 billion over the next five years by using new technologies to sell direct to consumers (DTC), according to a report from Barclays. An Opinium survey of 500 managers at UK manufacturers found that 72 per cent believe retailing goods DTC and cutting out the middlemen is good for both consumers and manufacturers.
Alibaba set to raise £10bn in Hong Kong listing
Alibaba has revealed plan to raise up to HK$100 billion (around £10 billion) through a stock exchange listing in Hong Kong. China’s biggest publicly listed company is selling 500 million shares, with an extra 75 million available if there is substantial demand. This means the e-commerce group should raise between HK£88 billion and HK$101 billion, before underwriting fees and other expenses.
Porsche selects Dynatrace to drive software innovation
Porsche Informatik has deployed Dynatrace's Software Intelligence Platform to accelerate software innovation and improve user experiences. The sports car company’s wholly-owned subsidiary selected the tech firm to provide a 360 view across its applications, infrastructure and customers’ digital experiences.
UK PropTech gets $32m for expansion plans
London-based property management platform Plentific has raised $32 million in a Series B funding round led by specialist venture capital firm AO Proptech. The startup will now expand its presence in Europe - including in the commercial property sector - along with a planned launch in the US next year.
Judge warns of public service algo dangers
A Supreme Court judge has warned about the potential dangers of automating decision-making in public services. In a lecture at the British and Irish Legal Information Institute this month, Philip Sales QC said that while new systems of digital government offer potential cost savings, they also have the potential to undermine human rights.
Workers more willing to work alongside robots
Nearly 40 per cent of workers are now seeing artificial intelligence (AI) in their daily working lives, as the use of automated technology takes hold across the economy. A survey of 1,000 professionals by software provider Advanced found that 38 per cent of workers encountered AI in the course of this year, up from 26 per cent last year, while 29 per cent saw chatbots, up from 18 per cent last year.
VR and AR could add £62bn to UK GDP by 2030
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are forecast to add £62.5 billion to the UK economy - a 2.4 per cent boost to GDP - by 2030, according to PwC. The majority of the contribution to the UK economy will come from AR (£44.4 billion), with VR providing £18.1 billion. These technologies will also have a significant impact on the UK workplace, with 1.19 per cent of jobs - 400,663 people - utilising the technologies by 2030.
Oxford partners Ripple to solve tech skills gap
The Oxford Foundry has announced plans to tackle the growing technology skills gap in the UK via a partnership with blockchain technology provider Ripple and its University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI). Up to 1,000 University of Oxford students will be given the opportunity to gain new skills in blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning across different industries, as well as the opportunity to learn how to code in Python and build smart contracts.
British Business Bank invests in Balderton tech fund
British Patient Capital, a subsidiary of the British Business Bank, has committed $45 million to the Balderton Capital Fund VII, as it closed at $400 million. The fund will focus on the Series A stage to support tech founders at this critical point in a startup’s journey.
UK takes step towards crypto legal certainty
The UK Jurisdiction Taskforce of Tech Nation's Lawtech Delivery Panel has today published its legal statement on the status of cryptoassets and smart contracts under English and Welsh law. The landmark statement sought to address legal uncertainty by recognising cryptoassets as tradable property and smart contracts as enforceable agreements under English law.
UK HealthTech gets funding for growth
Careology, a HealthTech platform for cancer care, has raised £1.1 million in funding from UK health and technology private angel investors. Its data-driven platform connects users to their family and healthcare provider, helping those affected by a cancer diagnosis to be supported and cared for.
Magway crowdfunds underground tunnel delivery system
A British startup which has developed technology designed to transport online customer orders through a network of pipes, has opened a new phase of funding, aiming to raise over £750,000 via Crowdcube. Magway claims that its underground pipe network will significantly reduce air pollution, accidents and congestion caused by the millions of vans and articulated lorries on the roads annually, as they deliver billions of parcels of goods to consumers purchased online.
Rising threat leads to rising cyber security vendor M&A
The cyber security sector’s largest ever deal - Broadcom’s acquisition of Symantec for $10.7 billion - set the tone for rising transaction volumes and continuously strong valuations, according to Hampleton Partners. The corporate finance consultancy’s latest market analysis highlighted the popularity of cyber security vendors as all industries seek protection from cyber attacks. Transaction volume in the sector rose by 15 per cent in the second half of 2019, compared to that of 2017.
Google partners Citigroup for bank accounts
Google is preparing to launch a bank account in partnership with Citigroup next year. Code-named Cache, the Wall Street Journal reported that the current accounts will not be branded as Google.
Labour pledges free public sector broadband
Labour has set out plans to deliver fast and free full fibre-broadband by bringing parts of BT into public ownership and creating a new British Broadband service. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is set to make the announcement officially this morning, describing the new free public service as “bringing communities together in an inclusive and connected society”.
Data-driven electricity use to double by 2030
Global data flows will increase twentyfold by 2030 as data-driven electricity use doubles, according to the latest report from ING. Analysis of data use by the Dutch financial services giant showed that electricity use, as a result of increasing data flows, will account for five per cent of the world’s electricity by 2030.
Scottish startup creates security bot
Casta Spes Technologies has unveiled a robotic security vehicle with security and inspection solutions across multiple sectors, including agriculture, energy and construction. Named ZIVA, the multi-terrain robot saves 92 per cent on the cost of a manned patrol by combining autonomous navigation with multiple software add-ons, such as licence plate recognition and threat classification. It was designed to reduce the cost and time associated with false alarms, using dynamic and flexible nature to cover blind spots, a major drawback of static cameras.
Information security M&A surges to $21.6bn
Merger and acquisition (M&A) deal value in the information security market has surged to $21.6 billion in the first nine months of 2019. PreciseSecurity’s analysis of the cyber security, digital ID, critical communications, access control, and video surveillance sectors showed that deal value this year rose by 44 per cent compared to 2018, when during the whole year the M&A value reached $15 billion.
‘Gap widens’ between cloud perceptions and realities
UK enterprises are placing themselves at serious risk by misunderstanding their cloud service providers’ backup provisions, according to research by 4sl. Its survey of 200 large UK enterprises showed that the majority of senior IT decision-makers believe their cloud service providers retain backup data for much longer than they actually do.
Labour Party hit by DDoS attack
The Labour Party has been hit by a “sophisticated and large-scale cyber attack” on its digital systems from an unknown source, although it was confident that security systems ensured there was no data breach. Party officials reported the attack, which took place on Monday, to the National Cyber Security Centre.
Mayor partners Microsoft for tech challenge
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is launching an initiative with Microsoft aimed at encouraging tech companies to solve public policy challenges in London. The Civic Innovation Challenge will invite companies to come up technology-driven solutions to problems such as countering violent extremism online, delivering more affordable housing and making freight across the capital more efficient.
Survey finds NHS most trusted with data
The NHS has come above both central and local government in terms of public trust for how it uses personal data. The Open Data Institute (ODI) and YouGov surveyed 2,000 adults, finding 59 per cent trust the NHS to be ethical in its use of their data - the only sector to score more than 50 per cent - although this was a decline since a survey focused on healthcare data in early 2018, when the NHS was trusted by 64 per cent.
Regulators question Goldman Sachs’ Apple Card algo bias
Goldman Sachs is facing a probe by the New York financial authorities following online claims that the algorithms it uses to set credit limits for the Apple Card are gender-biased. New York’s Department for Financial Services confirmed it has launched an investigation after Bloomberg News reported that tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson posted a series of Tweets alleging he had been offered a credit limit 20 times higher than his wife when they applied for the card, despite her having a higher credit score.
75% of universities have cyber security staff
The proportion of UK universities achieving Cyber Essentials certification has almost trebled in a year, according to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). Figures released by the cyber security arm of GCHQ also revealed that three-quarters of higher educational providers now have dedicated staff for cyber security.
Cyber-skills firm Immersive Labs raises $40m
Immersive Labs has raised $40 million in a Series B funding round, led by Summit Partners and existing investor Goldman Sachs. The British cyber skills startup, founded by former GCHQ researcher James Hadley, uses real-time feeds of the latest attack techniques, hacker psychology and tech vulnerabilities to build cyber wargames for IT and security teams to learn from.
UK ‘must harness AI’ or risk losing power
Failure to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) could damage the UK’s economic prospects, according to the chairman of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. Speaking at the Westminster eForum policy conference on the progress of the UK’s AI sector, Roger Taylor warned that the UK’s efforts to lead Europe in the acceleration of AI-driven techniques are often slowed by the need to ensure data ethics are taken into account.
Global app revenue reaches $21.9bn
Mobile consumers spent $21.9 billion on apps across the App Store and Google Play in the third quarter of 2019. According to PreciseSecurity, this represents a 22.9 per cent increase compared with $17.9 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2018. Data includes user spend for subscriptions, premium apps, and in-app purchases.
PropTech Immo raises €11m from Series A
Immo Investment Technologies has closed an €11 million Series A funding round. The London-based PropTech, which purchases homes on behalf of buy-to-let investors, got the backing of Talis Capital and HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, with participation from Tom Stafford and Rahul Mehta of DST Global, among others.
Barnier calls for post-Brexit cybersec cooperation
The UK and Europe need to work together very closely to tackle cyber security, regardless of the eventual Brexit outcome, according to the European Commission’s chief negotiator. Speaking at the Amazon Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Michel Barnier stated that any new agreement between the EU and UK will be based both on trade and mutual security, noting that continued cooperation is key to protect against new threats.
Third of firms ‘more vulnerable’ to cyber attack
Over a third (36 per cent) of companies feel more vulnerable to cyber security threats than they did five years ago, according to a new survey of IT professionals. A YouGov survey of 506 IT professionals for Alsid, a cyber security software provider, found that there is a gap between perception of cyber risk and actual preparedness.
Government forms PropTech expert council
The government gathered PropTech firms in London this week to unveil a new expert advisory council dedicated to the digital transformation of the property sector. Housing minister Esther McVey explained that the group will advise ministers on how to support and grow the sector further, which will make it easier and cheaper to plan, build and buy new homes.
DataRobot ramps up European investment
Enterprise artificial intelligence firm DataRobot will invest millions more into Europe to meet the growing demand for its services in the region. The company, headquartered in Boston, has already opened new research and development centres in Copenhagen and Munich, employing dozens of software and data engineers and data scientists.
Brits give thumbs up to biometric verification
Brits are keen to use biometric verification for things like online shopping and app-based banking, according to new research from Equifax. Almost three quarters (71 per cent) would be happy to completely replace traditional security methods to access their mobile phones in favour of fingerprint ID, facial recognition or eye retina patterns.
UK HealthTech gets €22.5m from Bayer
Medopad has announced a €22.5 million Series B funding round, led by Leaps By Bayer. This brings the UK-based HealthTech startup’s total funding since inception in 2011 to over €45 million. It plans to use the latest investment to support new clinical studies, including digital biomarker discovery and creation of digital therapeutics (DTx) – as well as hiring new staff and expanding geographically.
Microsoft uses AI to store Superman in glass
Microsoft and Warner Bros have announced that a collaboration to store the data of the entire Superman movie on a piece of glass has been successful. The software giant said Project Silica saw scientists use recently discovered ultra-fast laser optics and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to beam the data into a piece of quartz glass the size of a drinks coaster measuring 75 by 75 by two millimetres thick.
IBM partners Bank of America for public cloud
IBM has teamed up with Bank of America to design a financial services-ready public cloud, as rivals gear up to challenge the dominance of Amazon and Microsoft in the fast-growing cloud services sector. The software giant said that its public cloud offering would also be available to financial services institutions and their suppliers, with Bank of America committed to collaborating to use its platform built on IBM’s public cloud to help develop the industry-specific offering.
Wirecard partners Rinspeed for autonomous vehicle tech
Wirecard has partnered with Rinspeed and will integrate its payment technology into the latter’s autonomous driving concept vehicles. The planned use cases include retail, logistics and transportation. In cooperation with other partner companies, Wirecard will expand the functionality of Rinspeed vehicles using solutions from its Innovation Labs, such as the Grab & Go Store or biometric hand scanner.
JCHR calls for online data registry
The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) has raised serious grounds for concern about the nature of the consent people provide when giving over information online. A new report stated that privacy policies are too complicated for the vast majority of people to understand: while individuals may understand they are consenting to data collection from a given site in exchange for free access to content, they may not understand that information is being compiled, without their knowledge, across sites to create a profile.
Stablecoins ‘could come under existing regulation’
Existing securities rules could apply to digital currency initiatives, like Facebook’s Libra, to help realise its benefits, according to International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). At its meeting on 30 October, the regulator’s board met to consider the risks and benefits arising from ‘stablecoin’ initiatives with a potential global reach, and how securities market regulation may apply to such initiatives.
Microsoft announces Azure Synapse Analytics
Microsoft is announcing Azure Synapse Analytics, a new analytics service that brings together enterprise data warehousing and Big Data analytics. A statement explained that it uses either serverless on-demand or provisioned resources, at scale, to ingest, prepare, manage, and serve data for business intelligence and machine learning needs.
Wefarm secures $13m funding to scale up
Wefarm, the digital network for global small-scale agriculture, has raised $13 million in a Series A financing round led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm True Ventures. This financing will help the startup further scale its network of 1.9 million farmers, and its newly created Marketplace, to connect farmers in Africa to the information, products and services they need to be more successful.
IT workers unaware how to tackle cyber breach
More than two fifths (43 per cent) of UK IT workers are unaware of how to defend their company from a cyber breach, according to new research. A survey of 1,032 IT workers by tech services company Probrand found that one in five (21 per cent) employees admitted to being in the dark as to what a cyber attack constitutes.
Tech Nation gets £2m to support UK LawTech
The Ministry of Justice has allocated £2 million in government funding to Tech Nation to support the development and use of UK legal technology (LawTech). Tech Nation will be responsible for delivering outcomes to achieve the aims of the funding, building on the work of the LawTech Delivery Panel.
Google buys Fitbit, promises not to sell data
Google has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Fitbit for $7.35 per share in an all-cash deal that values the wearable tech company at $2.1 billion. The deal had been reported earlier this week, raising concerns around what the search engine giant planned to do with the biometric and location data from people’s devices.
Sidewalk Labs scales back Toronto smart city plan
Sidewalk Labs will scale back plans for a ‘smart’ neighbourhood in Toronto after concerns were raised about data privacy issues inherent in the project. Instead of developing 190 acres of property, as it pitched in June, the Google sister company has agreed to only develop the 12 acres it proposed in its initial response to a request for proposals two years ago.
Military cyber security to reach $16bn by 2023
Global defence industries are transforming their operations and capabilities through significant investments in disruptive technologies and platforms that are driving changes in military cyber security requirements. This is according to Frost & Sullivan analysis, which anticipates global military cyber security to grow to $16 billion by 2023 at a compound annual growth rate of 3.6 per cent from 2018 to 2023.
Cyber criminals will target IoT: report
In 2020, cyber criminals will target Internet of Things (IoT) devices for ransom from the device manufacturer, as tech giants pivot from a range of connected products to a more advanced ecosystem of connected services, according to an analysis by Forrester. The research firm’s sector predictions warned of major developments for connected device technology next year, including mounting cyber risk for manufacturers and consumers, with specific attacks carried out on device manufacturers to “devastating effect”.
DLT ‘moves from irrational exuberance to realistic assessment’
In the world of enterprise blockchain, the shift from irrational exuberance to realistic assessment is almost complete, according to Forrester’s 2020 predictions. While the market research said it still sees a lot of excitement around what distributed ledger technology (DLT) can or could do, the focus has expanded to include questions about how DLT is going to deliver a particular benefit.
Alliance to tokenise £500m of UK property
Alliance Investments, a direct-to-developer real estate investment company, has announced plans to tokenise £500 million of property projects across the UK over the next several years. The first project of its real estate tokenisation plan is River Plaza, a 180-unit luxury residential development in Manchester. In collaboration with tZERO, Tezos Foundation and Megalodon, the project is the UK’s first real estate-backed security token offering (STO) and one of only a handful of real estate STO’s worldwide.
AI startup secures £1m for automated software development
Cambridge-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup TurinTech.ai has raised over £1 million in its seed funding round. The startup, spun out from University College London’s AI research center, will use the funding - led by IQ Capital - to grow its business, which applies AI to optimise and evolve generic software. The company is also an alumnus of Conception X, a venture builder and a deep tech incubator affiliated to UCL.
France and Germany unveil EU cloud plan
France and Germany have launched plans to establish an EU-wide data infrastructure as part of efforts to challenge the dominance of tech giants such as Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud computing market. A joint statement issued by the finance ministries of France and Germany announced a timetable for the development of a blueprint for a “secure and trustworthy” European data infrastructure to foster home-grown cloud computing challengers.
Labour seeks to halt Google/Fitbit deal
The shadow digital, culture, media and sport secretary has written to regulators to request that they halt Google’s reported acquisition of Fitbit. On Monday, Reuters cited people familiar with the matter as confirming that Alphabet had made an offer to buy the wearable device maker for an undisclosed sum.
VW launches autonomous driving subsidiary
Volkswagen (VW) has launched a new self-driving car subsidiary as it steps up efforts to take on US autonomous vehicle rivals like Tesla. The new foundation, called Volkswagen Autonomy, is billed as a centre of excellence aimed at helping VW to make its autonomous driving vehicles market-ready for the middle of the next decade.
Chatbot HealthTech raises $15m
HealthTech chatbot startup Sensely has secured $15 million in a fresh round of funding aimed at building its tech and expanding its reach. The London and San Francisco-based firm, founded in 2013, provides its virtual assistant solutions to insurance companies, pharmaceutical businesses and hospitals worldwide.
Ofcom announces second 5G spectrum auction
Ofcom is set to hold another 5G spectrum auction in Spring 2020, freeing up 200MHz worth of bandwidth for next-generation mobile services. This follows the government and the four main mobile networks pledging last week to deliver 95 percent 4G coverage in the UK via a Shared Rural Network programme.
UK lags in European GovTech rankings
The United Kingdom is lagging behind other parts of Europe in terms of its electronic accessibility, according to a new measure. Capgemini, along with partners IDC and Politecnico di Milano, examined more than 10,000 government websites across 36 European countries, giving the UK an overall score of 61 per cent - compared to ratings above 80 per cent for the leading pack of Estonia, Austria, Latvia, Malta and Lithuania.
Despite delay, UK businesses not ready for Brexit
Almost two in three UK businesses (63 per cent) are not ready for Brexit, with 26 per cent needing a further six to 12 months to get their company prepared, according to new research by ThoughtWorks. The global software consultancy surveyed 1,026 business leaders across the UK, finding that there was little variation between a hard or soft Brexit on business readiness - 37 per cent for both scenarios - with only 14 per cent of business stating they were already fully prepared for Brexit.
Amazon sees first profit drop in two years
Amazon has seen its earnings plunge for the first time in more than two years, as investment in its one-day delivery service began to take its toll on results.The e-commerce giant yesterday reported an unexpected 25 per cent drop in net income for third quarter trading to $2.13 billion, down from $2.88 billion in the same period last year.
London gets £10m for full fibre broadband
The Mayor of London has announced a £10 million investment to extend the city’s full fibre infrastructure using public buildings and the underground network. Sadiq Khan stated that this will involve laying fibre optic cabling along tube tunnels to create a ‘fibre backbone’ across London and linking it to places like community centres and libraries, with the claim that this will reduce the cost to providers of laying cabling and support areas with little or no existing fibre connection.
60% of firms fear Brexit data flow disruption
More than half of the UK’s largest companies are concerned that their ability to transfer data will be restricted after Brexit, according to new research. A survey of 200 IT decision makers by data custody and availability firm 4sl found that 60 per cent of UK enterprises are concerned that vital data back up and other critical processes could be severely hampered by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Google claims quantum computing ‘supremacy’
Google has laid claim to being the first company to achieve “quantum supremacy” with its Sycamore quantum processor.The search giant yesterday announced in the Nature journal that the programmable superconducting processor had breached a major milestone in computing by successfully performing a task in 200 seconds that would require 10,000 years from the best supercomputers in the world.
FS firms voice supply chain fears over data and Brexit
Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of financial services firms have encountered some type of supply chain risk in the last year, according to a new survey. The study of 200 procurement and supply chain professionals in financial services, manufacturing, telecommunications and retail organisations - conducted by Vanson Bourne for procurement platform Ivalua - found that the greatest supply chain risks encountered by financial services firms included supply shortage (45 per cent), supplier failure (43 per cent) and environmental impact (35 per cent).
Gov puts £30m into electric tech centres
Up to £30 million is being provided by Innovate UK and UK Research and Innovation to set up flagship centres supporting the manufacturing supply chain of the latest power electronics, machines and drives. A statement from the government explained that while these technologies are taken to concept level in the UK, new products are usually manufactured elsewhere.
CIIS warns over lack of cyber security diversity
The IT security industry is still failing to attract workers beyond a highly limited demographic, the Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIIS) has warned. Unless it can embrace greater diversity - in gender, age, ethnicity, disabilities and experience - it will face a stagnating workforce, and be unable to keep up with a rapidly expanding skills gap, a new report has argued.
NCSC tackled 600 cyber attacks in last year
The government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has tackled more than 600 cyber attacks on the UK in the last year, with the majority coming from foreign state actors. In its third annual review, the cyber security arm of GCHQ revealed that it had countered a total of 1,800 attacks since it was established in 2016, with 658 taking place between September 2018 and the end of August this year.
Cyber security age gap shows young ‘less concerned’
Older workers have adopted better cyber security habits than their younger co-workers, exposing a ‘cyber security age gap’, according to new survey. A survey of employees in 2,256 organisations globally for the security division of Japanese technology group NTT revealed that those under the age of 30 - most of whom had grown up around digital technology - were less likely than over 30s to adopt cyber security best practice.
Gov provides £1m boost for UK smart waste tracking
Up to £1 million of government funding is being awarded to two companies aiming to use technology to tackle waste crime here in the UK and prevent illegal waste from being shipped abroad. According to an official statement, illegal waste activity drains the UK economy of around £600 million every year and the current systems for tracking household and commercial waste are outdated and largely paper-based.
Citi launches digital supply chain payments
Citi has launched a digitised supply chain payment solution with its internal WorldLink Payment Services platform. The Citi Supplier Finance offering combines Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions with WorldLink’s cross-border payments platform to deliver one point of implementation, a virtual interface and the opportunity for clients to transact across multiple major currencies for settlement.
SAP and Microsoft sign cloud co-selling deal
SAP has signed a three year deal with Microsoft to accelerate the adoption of its cloud platform for business customers.The partnership, called ‘Project Embrace’ will comprise the go-to-market journey from conceptualisation to sales and will let the two software giants to simplify the construction of cloud architecture.
Housing minister calls for PropTech digital revolution
The housing minister Esther McVey has detailed plans to release data held by local bodies to enable the UK PropTech sector to thrive and “bring about a digital revolution in the property sector”. She is set to announce measures to open up Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) data for the first time in a transparency drive letting PropTechs obtain things like energy performance certificates and the square footage information of properties.
Government puts £30m into quantum tech
A new government scheme has opened for businesses to get a share of a £30 million fund to tackle barriers to new products and services that exploit the latest quantum technologies. It suggested such innovations could transform the automotive, healthcare, infrastructure, telecommunications, cyber security and defence sectors.
Volvo invests in connected vehicle cyber startup
Volvo’s venture capital arm has invested in an Israeli automotive startup specialised in protecting connected vehicles from cyber attack. Volvo Group Venture Capital said its investment in Upstream Security would fund the development of systems to protect connected vehicles following the introduction of data-driven technologies.
Government backs Arm for cyber chips
The UK government is partnering with Arm in a new project to develop new chip technologies that are more resistant to cyber threats, backed by £36 million in funding. This is the next phase of the government’s Digital Security by Design initiative, also backed by Google and Microsoft.
Digital transformation 'putting tech leaders under pressure'
While progress has been made in digital transformation, technology leaders are finding that running their newly-upgraded organisations is challenging and they are under increased pressure to prove business value. This is according to a survey commissioned by New Relic and carried out by Vanson Bourne among 750 global senior IT decision-makers of enterprises with 500 to 5,000-plus employees in the UK, Australia, France, Germany and the US.
Security and privacy top IT audit risk poll
Security, privacy and data management have been ranked as the top challenges facing IT audit function, according to Protiviti and ISACA. Based on a survey of 2,252 chief audit executives (CAEs), internal audit professionals and IT audit vice presidents and directors worldwide, the eighth annual benchmarking study also found staffing and skills challenges, and third-party vendor management rounding off the top five tech challenges.
Facebook can win back FS support: Libra chief
Facebook is optimistic that it can win the support of payments and financial firms for its Libra digital currency project once it is able to provide assurances over regulatory concerns, its head of Libra has said. David Marcus told a panel at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conference in Washington that he understood why a number of major payments and financial players - including Visa, PayPal, Mastercard and Stripe - had decided to exit the project in recent weeks, following mounting pressure from governments and regulators over money-laundering and data privacy concerns.
Scottish in-flight MedTech bags funding
MIME Technologies, a MedTech firm spin-out from the University of Aberdeen, has raised a combined £255,000 from first round investment and a Scottish Enterprise grant. The investment, led by Equity Gap investors and the Scottish Investment Bank, will be used to accelerate customer growth and create new operational and technical jobs in the firm.
Healx, an artificial intelligence (AI) driven HealthTech startup, has landed $56 million in Series B funding. The Cambridge-based company will use the money to launch a global accelerator programme for the detection of rare diseases, as part of clinical-stage portfolio including treatments for fragile X syndrome, the leading genetic cause of autism.
British Land backs PropTech firm WiredScore
British Land and Patrizia have become the latest investors in WiredScore, a PropTech company focused on digital connectivity accreditation. The funding forms part of a €3.6 million round supporting the UK-based startup’s plans to expand its Wired Certification offering.
National Technology Awards open for entries
The National Technology News Awards 2020 are now open for entries, with a deadline of 10 January next year. The fourth annual celebration of the best and brightest across the tech world will take place on 7 May 2020 at the Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square.
DfE and Nesta launch £5.75m digital challenge
The Department for Education and Nesta are set to launch a £5.75 million initiative aimed at developing tech innovations to help adults in England gain the skills they need for the automated and digitised workplaces of the future.The CareerTech Challenge, is aimed at helping to fund and scale entrepreneurs and technologists to come up with solutions to the digital skills gap in industries such as retail and manufacturing, which are expected to experience automation in the coming years.
CEV launches first clean energy tech fund
Clean Energy Ventures (CEV), an investor in early-stage energy startups, has announced the close of its first fund. The $110 million Clean Energy Venture Fund targets the current capital gap for seed and early-stage investments in promising advanced energy innovations.
Brexit concerns have not ‘deterred IT investment’
Nearly half (49 per cent) of IT decision makers in the UK believe that uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit has not impacted their company’s decision to invest in IT infrastructure. A survey of more than 2,450 global senior IT professionals for connectivity firm Equinix found that political uncertainty was not deterring companies from making longer-term decisions on digital transformation.
NICE seeks digital transformation partner
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has put out a call for a strategic supply partner to assist with its digital transformation programme over the next couple of years. A statement explained that it has already carried out an expert review on its data management practices, focusing on its use of data and Microsoft software.
Libra down to 21 members after FS exodus
Facebook’s Libra project yesterday confirmed that 21 firms have signed the Libra Association charter, following an exodus of financial services firms from the initiative amid regulatory concerns.The formal announcement of a governance structure and charter for the digital currency project confirmed the continued membership of tech giants Uber, Spotify and Vodafone, but revealed that major early backers Mastercard, Visa, eBay, Booking Holdings and Mercado Pago have now followed payments firms PayPal and Stripe in abandoning the project.
Thoma Bravo to buy Sophos for $3.9bn
US private equity firm Thoma Bravo has made an offer to acquire UK cyber security provider Sophos for $7.40 per share, representing an enterprise value of approximately $3.9 billion. The board of directors of Sophos have stated their intention to unanimously recommend the offer to the company’s shareholders.
UNICEF launches cryptocurrency fund
UNICEF will now be able to receive, hold and disburse donations of cryptocurrencies Ether and Bitcoin, through its newly-established cryptocurrency fund. In a first for United Nations organisations, UNICEF will use cryptocurrencies to fund open source technology benefiting children and young people around the world.
Dyson puts brakes on £2bn electric car project
Dyson has announced plans to scrap its £2 billion its flagship electric car project, after the company spent three years developing a prototype. In an email sent to all employees yesterday, James Dyson, the inventor best known for creating innovative vacuum cleaners, announced that the firm’s electric car division had successfully built a “fantastic electric car”, but that a roll-out of the model was “not commercially viable”.
Lloyd's of London warns of ‘supply chain catastrophe’
A new report from Lloyd’s of London and risk modelling firm AIR Worldwide has set out guidelines for risk managers and insurers aiming to close the ‘protection gap’ before the next catastrophic supply chain disruption occurs.The method is outlined in a new report that analysed data from almost one million disruption events. It stated that insurers can expect claims made up entirely of ‘business interruption’ and ‘contingent business interruption’ losses in the future.
EU warns over overseas 5G supplier risks
The European Union has published a joint risk-assessment warning that 5G networks could be at risk from suppliers with links to national governments. The report, prepared by an EU security group, stopped short of naming the likes of Huawei and ZTE, but highlighted the increased security problems posed by well-resourced state-backed organisations and called for a new approach to securing telecoms infrastructure across Europe.
Libra will need to meet strict standards: BoE
Facebook’s digital currency Libra must meet stringent standards if its it to become a significant part of the payments landscape, according to the Bank of England (BoE). In a hardening of its stance on Facebook’s plans to launch the digital payments system, along with the Calibra digital wallet, across its messaging platforms, the Financial Policy Committee (FPC) said the system has the potential to “become a systemically important payment system” and would need to ensure it meets the highest regulatory standards in advance of a roll-out, currently planned for 2020.
New IMF chief warns of ‘digital Berlin Wall’
A future slowdown in global economic growth and the breakdown in trade co-operation could lead to the creation of a “digital Berlin Wall”, according to Kristalina Georgieva, the new managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Setting out the agenda for her term as IMF chief, the Belgian economist spoke of the need for countries to continue ‘moving in synch’ to avoid a deceleration in global GDP growth.
NCSC looks to simplify Cyber Essentials
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has started a tender process as it prepares to hand over its Cyber Essentials scheme to one of the existing certification bodies. It has appointed the IASME Consortium to run the search for an organisation to take on the five-year contract beginning in April 2020.
London councils partner for IoT project
Five London local authorities have partnered with Digital Catapult to explore the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The South London Partnership - consisting of Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton councils - will develop IoT solutions to improve services for local residents and businesses.
US and UK sign serious crime data sharing deal
The UK and US governments have signed an agreement for access to electronic data in fighting serious crime. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office published the full agreement yesterday, responding to increasing fears that terrorists and criminals are using digital services, such as social media applications, to coordinate their activities.
PayPal quits Libra project
PayPal has become the first company to drop out of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, as the project receives increased regulatory scrutiny. The social media giant has attempted to reassure authorites by explaining the digital payment technology would be overseen by the Libra Association’s independent board - featuring what was 28 technology and payments firms - to ensure a stable roll-out and maintain high security standards.
Plexal names 10 startups for inclusion programme
Plexal has announced the first 10 startups to join the UK’s inclusion accelerator programme aimed at supporting products, services or projects that make work more accessible. Plexal, the innovation centre and coworking space based in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park last week announced a partnership with UCL and GDI Hub to launch the first fully accessible, specially designed space for entrepreneurs and business leaders who are either disabled or focused on developing products for the disabled community.
Scottish parliament investigates facial recognition
Holyrood’s Justice Sub-Committee on Policing has launched an inquiry into the use of facial recognition technology. MSPs are keen to find out more about police use and future plans in relation to the tool, which is becoming increasingly prevalent.
NHS launches AI platform for workplace automation
Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools that can be used to save NHS hundreds of hours of work are now available on a digital marketplace developed by virtual workforce platform Thoughtonomy. The platform, hosted on Microsoft Azure, enables NHS Trusts to launch and expand tech projects that automate repetitive tasks. This removes the need to start innovating from scratch for similar projects and is aimed at helping staff to spend less time on administration tasks and more with patients.
Joint call for Facebook to halt encryption
Home secretary Priti Patel has joined forces with the US and Australia to write an open letter to Facebook warning that encryption of messaging services across its social media platforms could put children at risk of abuse and prevent security forces from fighting terrorism. The letter, which has been jointly written by US attorney general William Barr, Patel and officials from Australia, calls on Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, to postpone plans to introduce end-to-end encryption on messaging across the WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram platforms, until officials can establish its impact on public safety.
UK and Singapore sign IoT security agreement
The UK and Singapore have signed an agreement on embedding security in the Internet of Things (IoT). It forms part of a wider strategic partnership on areas of common interest, with both countries seeking to ensure that connected devices have security built-in by design.
SnapLogic secures $72m in growth funding
SnapLogic has raised $72 million in growth financing to accelerate global expansion. The new round was led by Arrowroot Capital, joined by Golub Capital and existing investors. The company’s self-service, artificial intelligence-powered interface enables application integration, data integration, API management and data engineering projects on a single, scalable platform.
Businesses raise IoT cyberthreat fears
Despite estimates suggesting that £595 billion will be spent this year on Internet of Things (IoT) technology, more than half of organisations are concerned that they are unprepared to counter the cyber threats they face from connected devices. A survey of 1,800 IT security professionals by the Ponemon Institute for cyber security firm nCipher found that for those working in the manufacturing, finance and healthcare sectors in the UK, the top threat to IoT devices is having their function altered by a malicious third party, with 75 per cent citing hacking as their main concern.
Digital twins help bridge construction productivity gap
In a drive to increase on-site productivity and operational performance in the construction industry, BAM Nuttall has teamed up with tech firm Iotic and researchers at Cranfield University to develop a computer-vision system using digital twin technology. The Learning Camera project employs a standard webcam, integrated with an Internet of Things (IoT) framework of smart sensors to collect real-time environmental data, such as wind speed and weather conditions, combined with contextual information including location, date and time. All this data is fed into a cloud-based system to create digital twins, which bridge the physical and virtual world.
UK tech leaders ‘climb in c-suite rank’
A KPMG and Harvey Nash survey has shown that UK chief information officers (CIOs) are gaining more strategic influence in organisations, while more (54 per cent, up from 49 per cent last year) are seeing budget increases than at any other time in the last 15 years. The latest analysis, which examines responses from more than 900 senior technology leaders in the UK, also revealed that CIOs are likely to become even more vital in the near future, with 42 per cent of organisations expecting to change their product/service offering or business model fundamentally in the next three years.
SaaS drives $71bn of deals in record six months
The global market for enterprise software saw a record $71 billion of investment in the first six months of 2019, following a number of mega-deals between software giants. Hampleton Partners highlighted the rapid acceleration of digital transformation efforts in businesses worldwide, with 651 transactions agreed in the first half of the year, led by software-as-a-service (SaaS) deals.
Cyber threat reaches ‘sustained and sophisticated’ level
The current cyber security threat environment is “sustained and sophisticated”, with phishing attacks serving as the primary cause of data breaches, according to Carbon Black. The cloud-native endpoint protection company released the results of its third UK Threat Report, based on a survey of 250 chief information officers, chief technology officers and chief information security officers across the UK.
Government seeks ‘groundbreaking aerospace tech’
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can now apply for a share of £2.5 million to develop innovative technologies that could win new business in the aerospace sector. The National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) has £10 million to support SMEs developing innovative technologies for the aerospace industry.
Data breach cost to reach $5 trillion by 2024
The cost of data breaches will rise from $3 trillion each year to over $5 trillion in 2024, as the rate of incidents climbs by 70 per cent, according to Juniper Research.The report predicts that attempts to breach cyber defences will rise by an average growth rate of 11 per cent per year in the next five years.
Chancellor promises £5bn for rural broadband
Sajid Javid has unveiled plans to boost high-speed broadband internet connectivity across the country in a speech to the Conservative Party conference. The chancellor used his time at the podium in Manchester to set out a £25 billion infrastructure delivery plan.
Cyber and AI are top compliance concerns
Cyber security risk and artificial intelligence (AI) are amongst the top business concerns of compliance and procurement professionals, according to new research. A ComRes poll of 630 compliance and procurement professionals for data insights firm Dun & Bradstreet found that respondents were increasingly less confident of their ability to manage third party relationships.
MoD sets up cyber team for secure innovation
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has set up a Defence Innovation Cyber Security and Assurance Team (DICSAT) to support its Defence Assurance and Information Security (DAIS) service. Based in London, it will provide advice on support for innovation projects, for up to two years with a budget of £2 million.
AI driving ‘next generation’ of UK jobs
The uptake of artificial intelligence (AI) by industry will drastically change the UK job market in the coming years – with 133 million new jobs expected to be created globally. In the UK alone, up to a third of jobs will be automated or likely to change as a result of the emergence of AI, impacting 10.5 million workers, according to recruiter Robert Walters and market analysis firm Vacancy Soft.
More than a year on, 28% of firms are GDPR compliant
Over a year on from the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Capgemini Research Institute has found that companies vastly overestimated their readiness for the rules, with just 28 per cent having successfully achieved compliance.This is compared to a GDPR readiness survey last year which found that 78 per cent expected to be prepared by the time the regulation came into effect in May 2018.
Looking into the Quantum future
When the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger famously conducted his cat in a box experiment and concluded the cat could be simultaneously dead and alive until the observer opened the box, it highlighted, despite such a seeming absurdity, the much wider issue of how quantum systems can operate in multiple states until observed or measured.Fast forward to the 21st century and its relevance is becoming increasingly clear, with quantum computing eventually set to supersede the classical (binary) computing we have now.
Two thirds of business have no data science function
More than two thirds of UK businesses have no dedicated analytics or data science function, according to a recent poll. A survey of 1,000 respondents to a social media poll for MHR Analytics found that 69 per cent of organisation lacked internal data science expertise, as businesses struggle to catch up with demand for advanced data management skills.
Microsoft partners Vodafone for gaming tech
Microsoft and Vodafone have announced a new partnership which will enable customers to take part in a preview of the software giant’s new cloud-based game streaming technology.
The Project xCloud public preview will enable Vodafone customers to play Xbox games on their mobile phones and tablet devices via Vodafone’s 4G and 5G networks.
Amazon launches virtual health app
Amazon has announced it is entering the healthcare sector with the launch of a virtual health clinic app. The Amazon Care app pilot project will offer the company’s employees in Seattle access to in-app video consultations with physicians or nurse practitioners for instant diagnosis or referral to a specialist.
Audi partners commercetools for in-car purchases
Audi has chosen the commercetools software platform to enable new digital in-car services, so drivers can buy and activate new functions via their myAudi app. The on-demand capabilities will be launched in Germany before being rolled out to other European markets over the coming months.
Quantum computing ‘set to revolutionise cyber security’
Rapid developments in quantum computing methods are set to ‘revolutionise’ industries including financial services, cyber security, logistics and transport. A report into the state of quantum computing by Reply, a global network of affiliated tech firms, found that increased investment in quantum technology, included £153 million government funding, will enable major advances in artificial intelligence and data encryption tactics available to firms.
Google wins EU right to be forgotten case
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that Google only has to remove links to sensitive personal data in Europe, rather than globally. This follows the search giant’s 2015 dispute with Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), France’s privacy watchdog, which demanded that information be delisted from internet search results globally upon request, in what has become called the ‘right to be forgotten’.
UK 5G adoption to reach over 26% by 2024
The demand for 5G is robust in the UK and the technology's adoption is forecasted to reach over 26 per cent of total mobile subscriptions by 2024, according to GlobalData. EE was the first network to launch 5G in the UK, but Three and Vodafone have since launched their 5G strategies to try and make it to the top spot.
Microsoft chief calls for data democratisation
The world has reached a turning point as people demand more control over the use of technology and data, according to Microsoft’s president Brad Smith. Speaking at a launch event for his new book ‘Tools and weapons: The promise and Peril of the Digital Age’, Smith outlined how data privacy scandals involving global social media companies and governments have made the public much more protective of their personal information and how it is used.
Johnson pledges £1bn for climate tech
British scientists and innovators will be able to access up to £1 billion of aid funding to develop and test new technology targeted at tackling climate change in developing countries, prime minister Boris Johnson will announce at the UN General Assembly today. The Ayrton Fund aims to give developing countries access to the latest tech to help reduce their emissions and meet global climate change targets.
Mindtree opens European HQ in London
Mindtree has announced the opening of its new European headquarters in London. The office is equipped with the first European Digital Pumpkin innovation hub, which aims to help clients discover and design their path to digital transformation success.
Government looks for new digital chief
The UK government has begun its search for a new chief digital information officer (CDIO), potentially at a higher grade than the existing director general of the Government Digital Service (GDS). The Cabinet Office has advertised the current job with John Manzoni, chief executive of the Civil Service, saying it will be at second permanent secretary level. The person appointed will report directly to him and lead the government’s 17,000 digital, data and technology professionals.
Cyber security firm Red Sift lands $8m funding
Cyber security startup Red Sift has secured $8.8 million to drive growth and support its expansion into the US market. The London-based company, which counts TransferWise, Greenhill & Co and Telefonica as clients, said it would also use the funding to further develop its solutions which use machine learning to combat attempted online security breaches.
Digital performance challenges cost $3.3m
The cost to businesses of addressing digital performance problems has reached $3.3 million, according to a survey of chief information officers (CIOs). A Vanson Bourne survey of 800 CIOs in large enterprises for cloud software company Dynatrace found a 34 per cent increase in the cost of addressing digital challenges, with 88 per cent of respondents foreseeing that artificial intelligence (AI) will be key to their ability to master the growing complexity of IT systems.
Nets and KPMG partner for fraud prevention
Nets has collaborated with KPMG, to develop a new fraud monitoring and prevention solution. Nets Fraud Ensemble is an anti-fraud engine that deploys true machine learning - a system that identifies emerging fraud indicators as well as established patterns - to step beyond existing rules-based models that are currently in use across the banking industry.
Smart home security popularity increasing in UK
Research from GoCompare Home Insurance has revealed that 79 per cent of UK householders worry about being burgled, and are turning to smart home technology to keep their possessions safe. According to police figures, the number of recorded burglary offenses in England and Wales has actually fallen by three per cent in 2019, but 83 per cent still think they should be doing more to improve their home security, with 39 per cent rating their security measures as moderate to poor at best.
Banks team up on blockchain supply chain project
High Street banks including Barclays, BNP Paribas and Standard Chartered have teamed up with the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) to pilot the use of blockchain to enhance the sustainability and efficiency of global supply chains.The Trado model was also piloted with the backing of Rabobank, Sainsbury’s and Unilever in a bid to prove a use case for distributed ledger technology.
Government offers SME innovation loans
Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is offering up to £10 million in loans to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to commercialise innovative products or services. Ideas can come from any area of technology or the economy and must lead to sustainable business growth.
Tech Nation opens three growth comps
Tech Nation is calling for applicants for three of the UK’s most renowned growth programmes - Future Fifty, Upscale and Rising Stars. The programmes are designed to scale and grow the next generation of UK tech businesses, with alumni including Monzo, Starling Bank, Darktrace, Deliveroo and Skyscanner.
Cloud moves continue despite security concerns
The majority (60 per cent) of UK businesses plan to migrate their apps and data to the public cloud within the next year. This is according to a NetApp survey conducted across a database of 200 decision-makers responsible for IT buying decisions in the United Kingdom, working in companies with 500 or more employees.
UK workforce ‘unprepared’ for automation
Research has revealed that people feel unprepared for the introduction of new technologies, despite being optimistic about their job prospects. The Gallup Real Future of Work report was based on telephone interviews conducted in February and March with random representative samples of 1,000 employed adults in France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, finding that most are generally upbeat about the impact of technology on their careers, despite some analysis predicting that machines would take over half of human jobs within the decade.
Managers have highest digital skills gap
Business leaders are concerned about a chronic skills shortage in cloud based infrastructure (33 per cent) and cyber security (33 per cent), according to new research. A survey 500 senior UK business figures by The Open University analysed by the TheKnowledgeAcademy.com found that staff members at manager level are rated as the most lacking in the digital skills needed to compete with increased use of technology in the workplace.
UK businesses ‘unaware of Wi-Fi vulnerabilities’
UK businesses need to be more aware of the security vulnerabilities their wireless devices present, according to research from Probrand. A survey of 1,075 UK workers in full or part-time employment, carried out by the technology services provider, revealed that 72 per cent of companies which suffered a data breach in the last year found that the network infiltration came from an unsecured wireless device – such as a printer, scanner, mobile phone or laptop connected to their Wi-Fi network.
Many businesses ‘struggling with AI infrastructure’
Most businesses are well underway with artificial intelligence (AI) experimentation, but many still lack an understanding of the use cases to deliver business value and the data infrastructures for making it a success across the enterprise on a sustainable basis. This is according to a survey from digital transformation company Mindtree, which gathered data from 650 global IT leaders from key business markets, finding 85 per cent of organisations have a data strategy and 77 per cent have implemented some AI-related technologies in the workplace – with 31 per cent already seeing major business value from their AI efforts.
Virtual hospitals to provide cardiac care
Swedish-Indian HealthTech firm VBRI has launched the first field trial of a virtual hospital concept, which it is hoped will provide more than 500 cardiac consultations in 90 days. VBRI said its mHospitals, which use advanced technologies like cloud medicine, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), will go live in four different centers in China, India and Sweden.
Brits ‘mistrust US companies’ over data protection
Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of internet users in the UK are ‘concerned’ or are ‘somewhat concerned’ about storing private data with US companies. This is according to a YouGov survey of 2,534 UK adults last month, commissioned by European email provider GMX.
MPs slam addictive games industry practices
MPs have called for regulation on video game ‘loot boxes’ under gambling law, with sales banned to children in order to protect players. A new report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee also highlighted a “lack of honesty and transparency” among representatives of some games and social media companies in giving evidence.
Libra to apply for Swiss payments license
The Geneva-based association tasked with overseeing Facebook’s Libra digital currency is to pursue a license as a payment system in Switzerland.The Libra Association, an independent non-profit, brings together Facebook’s Calibra digital currency project with 27 global payments, technologies, telecommunications and venture capital firms - including Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, Uber and eBay - to supervise the launch and development of the social media giant’s Libra coin - currently scheduled for 2020.
Boundary secures £1.2m for smart home security
Security tech startup Boundary has landed £1.22 million investment from Equity Gap and the Scottish Investment Bank to develop its smart home security alarm.The investment, led by the investment arm of Scotland’s national economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, will create several new jobs and prepare its smart home security alarm for launch.
Mastercard partners R3 for blockchain payments
Mastercard is partnering with software company R3 to develop a blockchain-powered cross border payments solution. Under the terms of the strategic partnership, Mastercard will act as the network operator to process, clear and settle international payments while R3’s blockchain software and Corda ecosystem will enable banks to deliver a single frictionless real-time payments proposition.
Cybercrime-as-a-service industry ‘thriving’
Hackers and fraudsters operating on the dark web are fuelling a “thriving” trade in cybercrime-as-a-service, with a raft of new goods and services, even including aftersales support, according to new research.The data was taken from 12 different English and Russian speaking dark markets and forums between February and June 2019 by researchers at cyber security firm Armor.
Scourge of tech giants takes on EU digital policy
Brussels is bracing for further battles with the world’s tech giants after Margrethe Vestager was confirmed as staying on as the EU’s competition watchdog in a beefed up role which puts her in charge of digital policy. Vestager, a Danish politician who has built up a reputation as the scourge of US tech titans after doling out fines of €8 billion to Google and €100 million to Facebook in competition cases, was confirmed as the EU competition commissioner with an expanded remit for making “Europe fit for the digital age.”
MoD to explore AI and 3D printing tech
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that it will consider emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing as key concepts in its new approach to innovation and technological change. Two strategy documents published today - the Defence Technology Framework (DTF) and the Defence Innovation Priorities (DIP) - outline the MoD’s strategy for coping with the accelerating pace of technological change in the defence space, with the arrival of drones, cyber warfare and automated threat detection.
ProGlove raises $40m for industrial wearables growth
Industrial wearables firm ProGlove has announced a $40 million investment from global growth equity firm Summit Partners. It plans to use this funding to expand its international footprint and connect more of the world’s workforce with the industrial Internet of Things (IoT).
Royal Navy to launch autonomy accelerator
The Royal Navy’s autonomy accelerator Navy X is to launch a search for innovative ideas in autonomy capability. In a statement announcing the Autonomy Innovation Accelerator - a joint project between the Navy’s Defence and Security Accelerator and NavyX - the Navy said the new competition would involve “reaching out to innovators to propose mature autonomy ideas that will increase the efficiency of maritime operations, or otherwise provide improved operational capability and help them delivery military output on operations”.
Monmouthshire uses tech to tackle loneliness
Monmouthshire County Council has launched two projects to find solutions to loneliness and limited public transport in rural areas. The local authority has selected the projects from five that were funded to develop concepts and work with its private sector partners as part of the GovTech Challenge, backed by the Cabinet Office, to provide solutions to various social problems.
Facebook joins Microsoft to combat deepfakes
Facebook has launched a partnership with Microsoft and artificial intelligence (AI) researchers from Oxford, UC Berkeley and MIT to combat the online phenomenon of ‘deepfakes’.The joint project will take the form of a Deepfake Detection Challenge aimed at developing software and technologies to identify where AI has been used to alter a video in order to mislead the viewer.
Scots ready for IoT HealthTech
Research commissioned by Capita on behalf of the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) has revealed that Scots believe the internet of things (IoT) and smart technologies will improve healthcare. The survey of 2,000 Scottish adults found 88 per cent agreed, while 84 per cent said digital access to healthcare - through video appointments and online chats - was important to where they choose to live.
Amazon trialling ‘hand swish’ payments tech
Amazon is reportedly trialling the use of new technology which would enable shoppers to pay for goods with the swish of a hand. According to the New York Post, the e-commerce giant has been testing biometric scanners with employees at its New York office, with a view to rolling the technology out to its Whole Foods supermarkets chain.
Police facial recognition tech ruled legal
The High Court has thrown out a bid to block the use of facial recognition by police in South Wales in a landmark ruling. The court yesterday ruled in favour of South Wales Police to allow continued use of Automated Facial Recognition (AFR) after data privacy campaigner Ed Bridges launched a judicial review against the practice.
Consumers ‘prefer chatbots to humans’
The Capgemini Research Institute has found that consumers increasingly prefer to interact with robots rather than humans, especially when it comes to researching products, learning about new services or following up on post-purchase customer service queries. It surveyed over 12,000 consumers who use voice/chat assistants and 1,000 business executives - from companies covering consumer products and retail, retail banking and insurance, and automotive - finding that nearly 70 per cent of consumers think they will progressively replace visits to a store or bank with their voice assistant within three years’ time.
Facebook rolls out face recognition to all users
Facebook is rolling out its facial recognition setting to all users as it phases out the ‘tag suggestions’ option. Writing in a blog, Srinivas Narayanan, applied research lead at Facebook AI, explained that those who newly join the social media platform, or who previously had the tag suggestions, will have the face recognition setting automatically added.
Boots pilots electric vehicle prescription delivery
Boots is piloting a scheme in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to deliver prescriptions in electric vehicles. The pharmacy group is adding five electric Renault Kangoo iVans to its fleet used to pick up prescriptions and deliver them to patients’ homes.
Digital transformation projects ‘still failing’
Despite rising optimism for digital transformation projects, the vast majority of organisations are still suffering failure, delays or scaled back expectations, according to Couchbase. The cloud database provider surveyed 450 heads of digital transformation in enterprises across the UK, US, France and Germany, finding that 73 per cent have made ‘significant’ or better improvements to the end-user experience in their organisation through digital innovation.
King’s Cross cancels facial recognition tech
Facial recognition software will no longer in operation in the King’s Cross area, following controversy over its use in a number of CCTV systems last month. The Information Commissioner’s Office announced it would investigate the development’s use of the technology after it admitted to using facial recognition in the 67-acre zone of central London zone around King’s Cross train station.
Brits ‘concerned’ over driverless cars
Almost half (43 per cent) of UK adults are worried about the problems that may arise from driverless cars, according to new research. A survey of 2,000 adults by technology firm Studio Graphene found that the rise of automated vehicles and the impact they may have on road safety was highest on people’s list of technology concerns.
Dutch central bank to regulate cryptocurrencies
The Dutch central bank has announced that it is to begin regulating cryptocurrency services from 10 January 2020. In a statement this morning, De Nederlandsche Bank said: “In concrete terms, firms offering services for the exchange between cryptos and regular money, and crypto wallet providers, must register with De Nederlandsche Bank.”
Governments moving rapidly into cloud: Gartner
Government agencies around the world are making strong progress in adopting cloud platforms, according to Gartner. Its 2019 Hype Cycle for Digital Government Technology report revealed that cloud office is the only GovTech area to enter the ‘plateau of productivity’.
Millennials most likely to fall for ‘safe’ account scams
More Millennials are falling victim to scams designed to trick them into handing over cash to fraudsters than any other age group, according to Lloyds Bank. There has been just under a four-fold increase in the number of 18 to 34 year-olds being caught out by impersonation scams in the past 12 months, who are now as likely as those aged over 55 to fall victim to such scams.
Gov launches £3.5m AI fund for service sector
UK Research and Innovation has made up to £3.5 million available to support projects developing new accountancy, insurance and legal services based on artificial intelligence (AI) and data technologies. The funding comes from the UK government’s £20 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Next Generation Services Challenge, which aims to explore how new technologies could transform these services.
Google uncovers ‘sustained’ iPhone hack
A team of security researchers at Google claims to have uncovered hackers trying to access iPhones in an attempted attack that has lasted at least two years. Writing in a series of blogs, cybersecurity expert Ian Beer, a member of Google’s Project Zero security taskforce, said that a “sustained effort” had been identified to use websites to harvest contacts, images and data stored on iPhones. The hackers implanted the websites with malicious software.
Leeds firm acquires HealthTech in £1m deal
Leeds-based independent health and wellbeing business OneMedicalGroup has acquired HealthTech solutions firm Rescon for £1 million. The deal will allow OneMedicalGroup to use Rescon’s patient management platform Lincus, with plans to roll it out across primary and urgent care sites nationally, followed by wider roll out to the health and care market.
Biometrics Institute warns of innovative spoofing
The Biometrics Institute has warned of the risks of hackers spoofing identification technology with 3D face masks or fake silicone fingerprints.The independent body for public and commercial users of biometrics stated that such data could be obtained either directly or covertly from a person online or through hacked systems and used to attack a biometric system through the creation of fake identification.
Slow pace of digitisation costing procurement £1.9m a year
Less than half (45 per cent) of procurement processes have been digitised, with paper-based or manual processes costing UK businesses an average of £1.94 million per year, according to new research. A Vanson Bourne survey of 200 procurement, supply chain and finance professionals for procurement firm Ivalua found that procurement teams are spending almost a third (31 per cent) of their time dealing with analogue processes, with 71 per cent of respondents believing that the rate of digitisation is holding them back from doing their jobs.
UK PropTech Residently raises £7m
UK-based PropTech startup Residently has raised £7 million in seed funding from Felix Capital, LocalGlobe and A/O PropTech, along with a number of existing angel investors. The investment will be used to grow engineering and product teams, as well as to help build out Residently’s rental portfolio in London and New York.
Government ‘held back by legacy systems’
More than two fifths (42 per cent) of government bodies are spending more than a quarter of their IT budgets maintaining legacy systems, rather than investing in new technology, according to a new report. A survey of 190 state and local government technology professionals, published by the Centre for Digital Government at the University of Massachusetts and OutSystems, a low-code platform, found that 57 per cent of departments are using ‘legacy’ software or systems that are more than five years old.
Scottish Government publishes 5G strategy
The Scottish Government will work with local authorities and Transport Scotland as part of its strategy for 5G network deployment. The 5G: Strategy for Scotland report includes several steps to support regional councils in the deployment of the technology.
Less than a quarter of firms prioritise cyber
Less than a quarter (24 per cent) of businesses prioritise cyber security when it comes to technology investment, according to new data. A survey of more than 500 UK business leaders for security firm Advanced revealed that just over a third (34 per cent) of business leaders think regulatory change, including the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May last year, has driven the purchase of new technology in their organisation.
BBC to launch voice assistant to rival Alexa
The BBC is to launch a digital voice assistant in 2020, as the corporation seeks to diversify access to its content and face down the challenge from tech firms such as Amazon, Google and Apple. The smart assistant, which has been given the working name of Beeb, will not be a hardware device but rather a voice software assistant which can be used on a variety of smart speakers and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Cyber crime losses set to exceed $5 trillion by 2024
The cost of data breaches will rise from $3 trillion each year to over $5 trillion in 2024, an average annual growth of 11 per cent. Analysis by Juniper Research suggested this will primarily be driven by increasing fines for data breaches as regulation tightens, as well as a greater proportion of business lost as enterprises become more dependent on the digital realm.
Gov offers £30m for 5G in rural areas
Digital secretary Nicky Morgan has launched a £30 million, UK-wide competition to spark a tech revolution in countryside communities and help rural Britain seize the opportunities of 5G networks. Up to 10 rural locations will be chosen to run trials of 5G applications and stimulate commercial investment in 5G technology, which offers mobile speeds 10 to 20 times faster than previous generations.
Hacker’s Bitcoin to be sold for compensation
In a pioneering move for the UK justice system, £915,000 worth Bitcoin confiscated from imprisoned hacker Grant West is to be sold to compensate victims. The assets were seized after he was arrested on a train from Rhyl to London in September 2017, following two and a half years of criminal activities, including stealing data from more than 100 organisations worldwide and selling how-to hack manuals.
EU ‘considers plan for €100bn to help European tech fund’
The EU is reportedly considering plans to set up a €100bn to help European tech companies face up to competition from US and Chinese rivals.Under proposed plans put forward by officials in Brussels, and seen by the Financial Times and Politico, the megafund could help EU tech firms rise to the challenge posed by the likes of Amazon and Alibaba.
ICO changes Subject Access Request guidance
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has said that organisations need to change their calculations on responding to Subject Access Requests (SARs). The update to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act compliance comes after a ruling of the EU Court of Justice.
Startup unveils largest ever computer chip
US tech startup Cerebras Systems has revealed what it is calling the largest computer chip in the world, to aid the development of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Slightly bigger than an Apple iPad, the Cerebras Wafer Scale Engine (WSE) has 400,000 core processors and is described as the heart of the company’s deep learning system.
Fitbit to provide Singapore with HealthTech devices
Fitbit is to supply devices to track the health of up to one million of Singapore’s citizens as part of a major public health drive.The program, which requires users to sign up to Fitbit’s premium subscription in exchange for a free wearable device, the Fitbit Inspire, will be the company’s first integration with a national government.
EU ‘considering’ Facebook Libra competition probe
The EU’s antitrust regulators are weighing up a competition probe into Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, according to reports. The European Commission’s competition watchdog has sent out a questionnaire to a number of those involved in the Libra project, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the potential probe.
UK HealthTech gains key US patent
UK HealthTech firm Isansys Lifecare has announced that it has had a key method patent granted by the US Patent Office. Its patient monitoring platform aids the early detection of deterioration in patients, integrating sensors, connectivity and predictive analytics.
Human error remains primary data breach cause
New figures have revealed that of the 4,856 personal data breaches reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) between 1 January and 20 June 2019, 60 per cent were the result of human error. This is according to security firm Egress, which obtained the data via a Freedom of Information request. It found that of those incidents, nearly half (43 per cent) were the result of incorrect disclosure, with 20 per cent posting or faxing data to the incorrect recipient.
Deloitte launches 'Blockchain In a Box' tool
Deloitte has introduced Blockchain in a Box (BIAB), a new tool designed to provide intuitive, tangible blockchain demonstrations and experimentations. It is a mobile, self-contained technology platform capable of hosting blockchain-based solutions across four small-form-factor compute nodes and three video displays, as well as networking components that enable integration with external services, such as traditional cloud technologies.
Facebook launches data privacy feature
Facebook has launched a new tool allowing users more control over the personal data shared with third parties.The move, which will have an impact on the social media giant’s advertising revenue, lets users view the ‘offline’ information about them sent by apps and websites to Facebook and delete it if they choose.
UK tech sector pulls in record investment
Investment in the UK’s tech sector has hit record levels, with more foreign funding in the first seven months of 2019 than in the whole of 2018. Data released by Tech Nation and Dealroom showed that $6.7 billion has been invested in UK tech companies in the first seven months of 2019, with $3.7 billion - or 55 per cent - coming from US and Asian investors.
Porsche invests in road vision sensing startup
Israeli startup TriEye, whose shortwave infrared (SWIR) sensing technology enables vision in adverse weather and night-time conditions, has expanded its Series A funding round to $19 million with an investment from Porsche. The additional funding will be used for ongoing product development and operations, as well as team growth.
Tech giants call for France to ditch digital services tax
US tech giants are ramping up their resistance to France’s plans for a digital services tax.On Monday, senior executives from Amazon, Google and Facebook spoke at a hearing in Washington to outline the impact a French levy could have on their European businesses, urging Paris to withdraw the plans.
Scottish Government starts fourth CivTech Challenge
The Scottish Government has focused on tech solutions to 11 public service issues in the fourth round of its CivTech Challenge programme. It has begun the engagement process with potential suppliers, aiming to begin the exploration phase by the middle of next month. The programme is aimed at matching digital tech innovators with the public sector organisations leading the challenges.
Gov offers £20m for low carbon automotive tech
The Advanced Propulsion Centre and Innovate UK are looking for projects that demonstrate the development of on-vehicle technologies for on or off-road vehicles, offering up to £20 million for late-stage research and development in advanced low carbon propulsion in the automotive sector. Projects must either accelerate the development of low and zero tailpipe emission capable technologies, or demonstrate a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions leading to air quality improvements.
Manchester office trials finger scan payments
Employees and visitors to office space concept All Work and Social’s XYZ building in Manchester will be able to pay for food and drink using finger scan biometrics as part of a trial beginning this autumn. Launched in partnership with Fingopay, using its VeinID scanning technology, customers can link ‘vein signatures’ in their fingers with payment cards.
Cyber attack disrupts police forensics
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has revealed that forensics checks were disrupted earlier this summer, after a cyber attack on one of its private sector suppliers. While it has now approved the return of Eurofins Forensics Services, the NPCC acknowledged that it had suspended all law enforcement submissions to the company since June. This reduced national capacity and created a backlog of approximately 15,000 samples.
Police forces resist facial recognition tech
UK police forces are reportedly resisting efforts made by the Home Office to roll out trials of facial recognition technology, as controversy mounts over the privacy implications of biometric surveillance. According to Freedom of Information (FoI) requests submitted by the Observer newspaper, Kent and West Midlands police forces are pushing back against government testing of facial recognition systems.
ICO to investigate King’s Cross facial recognition tech
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched an investigation into the use of live facial recognition technology in the King’s Cross area. News of the probe comes after it was revealed this week that CCTV cameras in the 67-acre area around London's King’s Cross - traversed by thousands of visitors every day - were using facial recognition features.
Finance leaders predict automation benefits
A majority (87 per cent) of finance leaders believe that automation will lead to greater efficiency for their business in the next three years, according to new research. A survey of 250 senior finance decision-makers by data and analytics firms Dun & Bradstreet, in association with the the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM), found that despite expectations that automation is set to drive workplace transformation, nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of financial and credit organisations are automating less than a quarter of their processes.
IET to lead new UK Cyber Security Council
After a competitive grant competition, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has been appointed the lead organisation in charge of designing and delivering the new UK Cyber Security Council, alongside a wider alliance of cyber security professional organisations. According to a statement, the UK Cyber Security Council will aim to coordinate the existing professional landscape, to make cyber security a well-structured and easy to navigate profession which represents, supports and drives excellence going forward.
Innovate UK seeks quantum tech investors
Innovate UK has announced it has up to £12 million to spend on innovative projects exploiting new quantum technologies and is seeking private investment partners. A statement from the government’s innovation agency explained that new quantum technologies could transform products and services in many business sectors, including automotive, healthcare, infrastructure, telecommunications, cyber security and defence.
UK HealthTech secures funding for growth
Advanced Digital Innovation (ADI) has secured a £650,000 investment from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. The funding will allow the HealthTech startup to grow its sales and marketing team and further develop its product MyPathway.
EV charging points outnumber fuel stations in UK
Electric car charging points now outnumber petrol stations in the UK, as drivers accelerate the shift to green technology, according to figures from Nissan. Data from the automobile maker said that there are almost 1,000 more public places to charge electric cars than there are forecourts to pump petrol in the UK, with 9,300 EV charging locations compared to 8,400 fuel stations.
Researchers uncover 1m people’s biometric data
The fingerprints of over one million people, as well as facial recognition information, unencrypted usernames and passwords, along with personal information of employees, was discovered on a publicly accessible database for a company used by the likes of the police, defence contractors and banks. Last month, security company Suprema announced its Biostar 2 biometrics lock platform was integrated into another access control system – AEOS. Biostar 2 uses fingerprints and facial recognition as part of its means of identifying people attempting to gain access to buildings.
Blockchain firm R3 to open new Dublin office
Enterprise blockchain firm R3 is set to further its European expansion with the opening of a new office in Dublin next year. It will serve as another of R3’s tech hubs and will be primarily staffed by engineering specialists who will work closely with the existing engineering team in London.
King’s Cross cameras use facial recognition tech
Visitors to the King’s Cross area in London are being tracked by cameras using facial recognition technology.The Financial Times reported that the 67-acre area around King’s Cross, which is home to a number of residential units, retail stores and offices - including Google’s UK headquarters and Central Saint Martin’s college - is using cameras as part of security efforts.
Thames Valley councils make tech challenge call
The Thames Valley Berkshire Smart City Cluster - consisting of Reading, Bracknell Forest, Wokingham and West Berkshire Councils - have launched a series of challenge fund calls for the development of technology to improve public services in the area. The group of local authorities published details of its second round of calls at an event for potential suppliers late last week.
Vodafone switches on Irish 5G network
Vodafone has become the first mobile operator to switch on 5G networks in the Republic of Ireland. Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford are the first cities to get faster coverage, with additional locations planned in the coming months.
Aberdeen first Scottish council to partner Microsoft Cloud
Aberdeen City Council is the first Scottish local authority to partner with Microsoft’s Cloud Navigator Plan as it carries out a digital transformation of its services. Announcing the next step in its collaboration with Microsoft, Aberdeen City Council said its Cloud Navigator plan would “fundamentally change” the way it delivers services to more than 200,000 people, whilst driving efficiencies.
FS firms facing ‘onslaught of cyber attacks’
Financial services firms are facing an “onslaught” of cybersecurity threats, with 348 breaches targeted at Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and financial records data reported in 2018. According to a survey of 211 organisations carried out by IT services firm Wipro, the banking, financial services and insurance sector is consistently one of the most targeted industries, with 68 per cent of organisations saying email phishing is a top risk.
£2m grant for autonomous vehicle cyber security
Up to £2 million is being made available for UK businesses to define a cyber/physical connected and autonomous vehicle test facility. The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) is partnering with Zenzic - formally Meridian Mobility - and Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.
Ofcom to ‘fine tech giants for toxic videos’
Tech giants such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram could face fines worth tens of millions for posting harmful videos, under new powers being handed to broadcasting regulator Ofcom. The plans currently being drawn up by ministers give Ofcom the power to impose fines worth up to five per cent of a company’s revenue, if online platforms are judged to have failed in their duty to prevent young users seeing pornography, violence and other harmful material.
London boroughs call for tech ideas
The London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI) has called for ideas for future projects. The collaborative vehicle to strengthen London boroughs’ ability to innovate, build common capability and to scale-up digital innovation across public services, went live in June, backed by 15 founding boroughs.
Tech investment drops on slowing economy
Investment in the UK’s tech sector slowed down in the second quarter, as the wider economy showed sign of weaker growth, according to the latest industry survey from KPMG. Whilst the industry continued to outperform other sectors in the three months to July, data from the professional services firm showed that staff hiring plans were at their lowest point for two years.
Etihad partners for blockchain distribution
Etihad Airways has partnered with Winding Tree to explore using blockchain to distribute products and services without the need for third parties. The United Arab Emirates’ national carrier is one of several airlines and hotels - including Air Canada, Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, Swissport and citizenM hotels - that have joined with the Swiss open-source travel platform to bypass intermediaries using the distributed ledger technology.
Only a third confident of disaster recovery plans
Only a third of UK organisations (35 per cent) have full confidence in their current disaster recovery plans, while less than half (49 per cent) have complete confidence in their current backup solution. This is according to Databarracks’ annual survey, now in its 11th year, which questioned over 400 IT decision-makers in the UK on issues relating to security, disaster recovery and business continuity practices.
NHS gets £250m AI lab investment
The government has announced a £250 million investment in a National Artificial Intelligence Lab to use the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the health and lives of patients within the NHS. The lab will bring together the industry’s best academics, specialists and technology companies to work on some of the biggest challenges in health and care, including earlier cancer detection, new dementia treatments and more personalised care.
Commerzbank pilots blockchain payments with Daimler Trucks
Commerzbank is testing a blockchain-based machine-to-machine payment system with Daimler Trucks. The pilot involved the exchange and settlement of payments between an electronic charging point and a Daimler Truck system without any human intervention.
Chinese state hackers turn to personal gain
FireEye has identified a group of Chinese state hackers which are taking on more financially-motivated operations on the side. The intelligence-led security company has released details of the newly-named Advanced Persistent Threat group – APT41.
BA suffers IT systems issue at London airports
An IT systems issue affecting British Airways’ (BA) check-in procedures has caused cancellations and delays to flights departing from its London airports. National Technology News understands that technical difficulties have caused some systems to malfunction, but the airline is operating with back-up manual systems to try and keep flights operating from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City.
Which? warns Facebook still flooded with fake reviews
Facebook is failing to stop fake review factories that are increasingly being used to mislead consumers – despite being ordered to take urgent action by the regulator. This is according to an investigation by Which? revealing that more than a month after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) raised concerns, Facebook remains flooded with fake review groups.
UK PropTech completes seed funding
London-based PropTech firm askporter has secured a £1.5 million in seed funding. The property management software firm, which already counts Google as an investor, received fresh funding from Venture University, Pi Labs, Plug and Play, WISAG FM and Henley Investments.
Cybereason raises $200m for market disruption
Cybereason has announced a series of investments and commitments totalling $200 million by SoftBank Group and its affiliates. This raises the total invested and committed capital to date for Cybereason is now approximately $400 million, with capital previously raised from CRV, Spark Capital and Lockheed Martin since founding in 2012.
Two thirds worried AI will take their jobs
Two thirds (67 per cent) of UK adults are worried artificial intelligence (AI) will result in jobs being lost to machines. This is according to think tank and development company Fountech.ai, which surveyed a nationally-representative group of more than 2,000 people.
Consumer robotics shipments to hit 74m by 2024
Over 74 million consumer robots will be shipped in 2024, up from an estimated 28 million in 2019, according to Juniper Research. It’s market analysis forecasted that vendors’ focus on educational features in consumer robots, such as coding tools, and adding features to established device ranges will increase the consumer value proposition, will drive the growth of consumer robotics adoption over the next five years.
UK and Singapore sign GovTech MoU
After three years of facilitation and support, SIN Singapore has brokered a partnership between the UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS) and Singapore’s GovTech Agency (GovTech). The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is aimed at strengthening their collaboration in the design and delivery of digital government services.
Scottish spaceport counts down to launch
Plans to open a new spaceport in Scotland have moved closer to final approval after property developers working on the deal have signed a 75-year lease. The land to be used for Space Hub Sutherland will launch small satellites via private services from companies including Lockheed Martin and Orbex.
Survey reveals Whitehall data shortcomings
Only 48 per cent of 101 central government IT leaders responding to a survey from Pure Storage believe their current data infrastructure can help them meet their strategic transformation objectives. The data solutions company commissioned consultancy Insight Avenue to poll the civil servants earlier this year, finding that 85 per cent think their infrastructure can compromise operational agility, while 83 per cent believe it increases operational costs, 82 per cent reckon it creates compliance challenges and 80 per cent believe it reduces the ability to meet citizen expectations.
Tech giants ‘must open up about IoT device data’
Tech giants, such as Google and Amazon, should be forced to open up about the data collected through connected home devices such as Alexa and Google Home and destroy it if necessary.This is according to Damian Collins, the chairman of parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, who said that the scope of online harms legislation currently being drawn up by the government should include tougher rules over the data collected by voice-activated devices.
R3 commits to London as post-Brexit tech hub
Enterprise blockchain software firm R3 has reaffirmed its commitment to London, doubling the size of its London Wall hub to accommodate a rapidly-growing engineering team. The extra space will also support an “aggressive hiring plan” to increase the company’s global headcount from its current level of 215 to nearly 300 by the end of the year. Of this, over half of the new hires will be in the London office, with more than 40 new recruits being made in the capital.
Lack of budget slows gov cloud adoption
The number of public sector organisations that are ready to implement a cloud-first strategy or move their entire infrastructures to the cloud has decreased by almost 20 per cent since last year. In fact, only 32 per cent of government organisations would consider implementing a cloud-first strategy, and only 20 per cent would consider becoming completely cloud-based.
Cyber criminals launch 3.5bn hacks on banks
Cyber criminals launched 3.5 billion attempted attacks on the financial services sector over a six month period.Data from US cloud and digital services provider Akamai found that half of all unique organisations impacted by observed phishing domains were from the financial services sector.
British Army to launch cyber warfare division
The British Army is set to restructure its operations to combat the rising threat of cyber warfare, misinformation and hacking, the Ministry of Defence has announced. The planned changes involve the reintroduction of the Sixth Division unit, which will train existing troops recruited into the division in cyber skills such as intelligence gathering, covert surveillance and countering online propaganda from hostile states.
Nearly 90% say AI needs human supervision
A survey of UK consumers has revealed that 86 per cent think that the rise in artificial intelligence (AI) requires more accountability from government and technology leaders to tackle bias in automated decision making. A survey of more than 2,000 UK citizens by data integration and analytics firm Qlik found that debate over the impact of AI on job losses is moving to a fresh debate over the role of humans in AI programming, the potential for bias and where accountability should lie for trying to resolve this issue.
Human/robot interaction consultation launches
The John Lewis Partnership has partnered with the Small Robot Company, design consultancy Method and various robotics companies and industry bodies in the UK, to develop a blueprint for Human Robotic Interaction (HRI) in the 21st century. Envisioned as an open framework to be evolved over time, the initiative will foster and accelerate the safe and ethical adoption of robotics across British industry. It will also help define how autonomous robotic technology should interact with people in the real world across different environments and sectors, including retail, manufacturing and farming.
Security alliance demands encryption back doors
Five Eyes, the anglophone intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, has come out against the use of end-to-end encryption and asked technology firms to install backdoor access to encrypted communications. After a two-day summit in London, ministers from the member countries said the efforts of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute the most serious crimes would be "hampered" if the industry carries out plans to implement end-to-end encryption "without the necessary safeguards".
Connected devices ‘still not essential’ for digital lifestyles
More than a third of UK consumers now own a digital assistant such as Amazon Alexa and Google, but are still not considered an essential tool, with almost three quarters saying they would be willing to give them up for at least a week. A survey of the digital lifestyles of 4,500 consumers in Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, the UK and the US, also found that more than a third of digital device owners would be willing to stop using them permanently.
West Midlands tenders for 5G accelerator
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has put out a call for partners to help it set up a 5G network application accelerator. This will provide support for public and private sector organisations testing new 5G services and scaling them up in a real world environment.
Apple credit card to launch in August
Apple chief executive Tim Cook has confirmed that its new credit card will launch next month, as the iPhone maker looks to become the latest tech titan to enter financial services. Apple first announced plans for a Mastercard credit card, issued in partnership with Goldman Sachs, in March.
UK risks falling behind in IoT: Microsoft
The UK risks falling behind in the race to unlock trillions of dollars of benefits from the Internet of Things (IoT), according to research from Microsoft. The software giant conducted a survey of 2,496 business managers and 737 developers in companies across the US, UK, France, Germany, China and Japan, finding that UK firms are less likely to adopt IoT technology than those in parts of Europe, North America and Asia.
Capital One reveals 100m customer data hack
Capital One has confirmed that it was the victim of a hack which involving the data of around 100 million US individuals and six million in Canada.The US financial services giant announced that the hack, which was discovered on 19 July, involved “unauthorised access by an outside individual who obtained certain types of personal information” relating to people who had applied for its credit card products and to Capital One credit card customers.
Ripple makes crypto plea to US lawmakers
Responding to US lawmakers’ scrutiny of Facebook’s digital currency plans, Ripple executives Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen have written an open letter urging the authorities not to paint all cryptocurrencies with the same regulatory brush. Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee have demanded an immediate moratorium on the implementation of Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency and digital wallet, citing the social media giant's recent privacy issues as a threat to the world economy.