Category Archives: Briefing

Shifting Reality

AI

Any investment is a huge decision. If the investment is in new technology the risks are even greater due to the speed in which variables can change, and with the selloff in big tech names such as LinkedIn and Twitter, investors may think that the golden era of the Internet and mobile is a thing of the past. How wrong they’d be.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)  investment reached $1.1 billion in the first 2 months of 2016 and Apple has confirmed that the Pokémon Go app was downloaded more than any other app in its first week. Apple has also reported revenue of over $42.4 billion is down approximately 15% on last year, selling 40.4 million iPhones in the recent quarter, compared to 47.5 million this time last year. Even though profit is down, the company is still a huge powerhouse of sales and turnover, having just sold its billionth iPhone.

As Apple faces its biggest test in years, the mobile giant still has a few tricks up its sleeve. While the declining iPhone and iPad sales certainly continue to present a challenge, if everyone is playing the AR game and Apple continues to make more money through its App store, it won’t really matter. The Services division, which includes iTunes, the App Store and Apple Music, makes up 11%of Apple’s total revenue, compared with 8%in 2015.

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Power to the People and the Network

BITCOIN

A lot of people in the global tech community are getting very excited about something called “the blockchain”, and see it as the real power behind the Bitcoin throne. If you don’t know what it is, you’re not alone, but know that its applications are predicted to be many and profound. In short, the blockchain is an ever-growing decentralised and permissionless public database ledger of each and every bitcoin transaction conducted since its inception.

With each computer, or “node” connected to the bitcoin network having a copy of the blockchain, it serves as permanent proof of what’s gone before it, detailing addresses and values. When a block – the current part of the chain – is completed, recording recent time-stamped batches of valid transactions, it is added in linear, chronological order (just like a chain, hence the name), after which a new block is created. Bitcoin’s star has significantly waned in recent years, and so financial and intellectual investors are increasingly looking at the engine underpinning it, namely blockchain as the real innovation story here, and the route to making big bucks.

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Brexit’s Impact on Science and Technology

BREXIT

Post-Brexit, the UK’s Science and Technology sector is obliged to adopt a “wait and see” approach. The United Kingdom’s science and technology sector is braced for change following the country’s recent vote in favour of Brexit. Just as for big business, it was an unwelcome outcome for the scientific community, since UK based researchers collaborate with their peers across the EU in large numbers, not only at a cognitive level, but also in having access to world-leading shared research facilities.

In addition, there is concern that a brain drain out of the UK will now hit science, with those remaining in the UK anxious that their ongoing involvement in international collaborations is now at risk. On the regulatory front, there is already talk of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), at present based in London, moving to mainland Europe. The principal worry, unsurprisingly, relates to financial provision, with the EU currently responsible for a large slice of research funding through various grant programs and fellowships.

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Big Ideas

BIG4The urban landscape is essential for economic growth and productivity, generating 80% of global GDP, so making cities great is a vital ingredient in building a better future. Throughout history, people typically lived in rural areas, focused on agriculture and hunting, but huge demographic change has seen an even bigger rise in metropolitan living.

We will see 27 cities with over 10 million inhabitants by 2025, 21 of which will be in less developed countries. The impact of this swollen population will be illustrated by 75% of the world’s population living in cities by 2050. This will put burdens on infrastructure, the environment and the social fabric of any urban area. Resilient cities appeal to people, welcoming co-operation and collaboration, while fragile cities are unable to manage, adapt or recover from external and internal pressures.

The bright lights, the burgeoning economy and the modernisation of the city appeal to people, but when there are more jobs there is also more unemployment and a widening gulf between the wealthy and the poor.

From debt crises to poverty, political unrest to energy shortages, water scarcity to infection epidemics, the city is the focal point for human problems where huge numbers of people have access to only limited resources in alienated ‘non-communities’ dominated by disease and violence. However, cities are also best placed to find solutions to these global disasters. Ongoing growth and development are estimated to add another 2.5 billion people to the urban population by 2050 and nearly 90% of that increase will be concentrated in Asia and Africa, areas that have the world’s fastest growing cities, predisposed to struggles and natural disasters. The earnestness towards cities, principally in developing economies, is motivated by a longing for a better life with more opportunities – as economies begin to integrate in cities, so too do people.

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Stay Protected

cyber

The Internet Security Alliance (ISA), an international, multi-sector trade association founded in 2000 and focused on cyber security. ISA’s Mission is to integrate advanced technology with economics and public policy to create a sustainably secure cyber system. ISA is unique in that it is structured as the internet is, on an international and cross sectoral basis. Although it is structured as a trade association, with corporate rather than individual memberships, many view ISA as equal parts think tank, trade association and professional association. ISA has three major goals;

  1. To generate thought leadership in the field of cyber security, 
  2. To advocate for policy advocacy
  3. To develop and promote sound security practices for public and private organisations. 

ISA’s President and CEO is Larry Clinton who is based outside Washington DC USA. ISA’s European operations are managed by Richard Knowlton, the former Global Director for Security at Vodafone. Mr. Knowlton currently resides in Italy. Noting that while there is a great deal of activity in cyber space there has been comparatively little overarching thought to guide this activity, ISA attempts to construct a coherent approach to the issue that ties together their thought leadership with their policy advocacy and best practice development. ISA seeks to develop programs that are scalable across industry sectors and across nations. For example, ISA believes that the traditional governance model with centrally determined government mandates applied to industry is ill-suited to address cyber attacks because both the technology and attack methods change too quickly for the traditional regulatory apparatus to manage. Moreover, mandating outdated methods to meet compliance regimes diverts scarce cyber security resources to compliance programs with minimal effect. Instead in 2008 ISA developed an alternative approach moved on the Social Contract.

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Latest Issue

Spring 2017 Issue

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