ITU Connecting The World Exploring the industry impact of Blockchain with Swisscom’s David Watrin
Artificial Intelligence The use of robots to help autistic children
Workspace Intelligence VMware’s answer to improving user experience
Peer-to-peer lender launches its new ISA following FCA authorisation
Go Ahead Welcome to the digitisation of transport
Virtual Reality A new realm in film-making
LATEST NEWS • BEHIND THE SCENES • COMPANY PROFILES • INDUSTRY INTERVIEWS1
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e have been overwhelmed by the support we have received since hitting the button on our first issue of Digital Innovation Magazine last month. Thank you to everyone for your kind words – we look forward to seeing what the future has in store. Building on the success of our launch issue, our April edition promises not to disappoint. We have an exclusive interview from RateSetter’s Chief Technology Officer Richard Bastin, who shared the story behind the company’s new IF ISA. RateSetter has been on a real journey since forming seven years ago because this new product could only be launched after receiving authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority. A global technology company with another interesting story to tell, VMWare has unveiled new software to make it the first and only intelligence-driven digital workspace, aiming to improve user experience and enable predictive security. Senior Vice President and General Manager, Sumit Dhawan, sheds light on the thinking behind these latest innovations. That’s not forgetting our intriguing feature on the impact of virtual reality in film-making. It’s fascinating to see how far the virtual world has come, and it’s advancing all the time. It’s hard to keep up! Plus, don’t miss our business interviews with David Watrin of ITU and Craig Ellis of Go Ahead. Turn to pages for 28 and 48 for more.
Editor Anna McMahon
Managing Director Danielle Harris
Senior Digital Designer Daniel May
Managing Director Tom Barnes
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NEW BLOCK CHAIN
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE 5
BEHIND THE SCENES
VIRTUAL O n
c r e e n
Film-makers are breaking new ground in using VR to capture the imagination like never before. 7
"Only a few years ago, VR was on the outer fringe of film-making, but it has been increasingly explored by the movie industry to create films that are more in line with real-life experiences"
ou put on a headset, and you’re transferred into a totally convincing virtual world, one in which you can move about and hear what people are thinking. The headset detects who you focus on through your own eye and head movements – a bit like live theatre – offering a whole new platform for interaction, thus increasing the viewer’s emotional involvement. Whether you’re walking on a planet or feeling what it’s like to fly, this immersive technology guarantees to enhance the cinematic experience. Opportunities to experiment with this new technology abound, as Shari Frilot, Chief Curator of Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier section, highlighting work that expands cinema culture through the convergence of film, art and new media technology, explains, “With VR, it leaps every three months. Even though there’s a lot of hype and a lot of excitement, it’s still pretty new in terms of how storytellers are being able to engage it in different ways. The medium itself is so compelling. I know there’s a lot of anxiety about VR being an individual experience, and that’s not a bad thing. Part of the VR
experience, the power of it, is that it’s fully immersive around your individual body. I don’t think that it’s isolating. I’ve seen people getting excited about watching their friends go through it, talking about it, wanting to share it. It’s an intensely social experience.” Movie streaming giant, Netflix, has developed an app to enable subscribers to enjoy films in VR. With a screen that can be adjusted to larger than your own field of vision, Netflix’s specialised screen immerses you in the film in the same way that an IMAX cinema screen does. VR films available to watch via the app include Comet, Back Hawk Down, Trainsspotting, King Fury, Jaws, Jungle Book and Fantasia. But, on the whole, it is the annual film festivals, such as Sundance, that introduce the public to the world of virtual reality storytelling for the first time. Although VR is becoming more widely accessible, film festivals continue to be the main gateway, and 2018 marks a very exciting year for VR content.
“The best way to un making is to watch captivated by this 10
Sundance Film Festival Sundance is the largest independent film festival in the USA, championing VR filmmaking through its New Frontier programme.
CINEQUEST This Californian film festival is best placed to present the latest and greatest in VR. Its VR portion is divided into several programmes.
SXSW More recently, South by Southwest added VR film to its series, together with AR and mixed reality projects.
Atlanta Film Festival Providing a flavour of VR film-making, this year’s headline entry is La Camila, a short film about a little girl who must learn to take over her father’s important work after he passes away.
Tribeca Film Festival One of the biggest film festivals around, Tribeca Film Festival has fully embraced VR, splitting the content into two types – immersive and Cinema360. There will
nderstand VR-film h a film in VR and be new technology” 11
be over 10 360 films this year including a horror from Alejandra Aja, director of The Hills Have Eyes.
Overlook Film Festival Primarily focused on the horror genre, there is plenty of VR horror shorts to be watched here.
Seattle Film Festival Seattleâ€™s new SIFFX segment is perhaps the most comprehensive VR film festival you can attend, with talks, exhibitions and an academy to teach you about VR filmmaking.
Venice Film Festival The oldest film festival in the world, Venice Film Festival has dedicated an entire cinema to VR film.
The set is all around you There is still the notion of a camera that the actors look towards VR films, like other stories, require an engaging narrative
AFI Fest The popular American Film Institute has recently added a VR section with over 20 VR films. It also uses its pull with the industry to host panels with VR filmmakers.
Dubai Film Festival Big VR films, such as Knives, are presented alongside emerging ones from the Arab world, ensuring a rich and varied selection. The best way to understand VR-film making is to watch a film in VR and be captivated by this new technology. It is a technology that is quickly advancing, as major changes are happening all the time. The virtual world is becoming within our reach, as VR films enter their latest phase of development. And with the 2018 film festival calendar guaranteeing a few surprises, fans of VR are in for a treat.
VR film-making runs alongside traditional screenwriting â€“ it is not a replacement It is about creating a world that connects everything in the narrative
The viewer makes their own choice about where to look â€“ the filmmaker can only try to steer them
B U S I N E S S I N T E RV I E W
We talk to Richard Bastin, Chief Technology Officer at peer-to-peer lender, RateSetter, about the launch of the companyâ€™s new ISA, as well as the somewhat impressive statistic that no investor has ever lost a penny! Written by Anna McMahon â€˘ Produced by Danielle Harris
A UK business, with the goal of providing a simple and accessible way for investors to put their money to work, RateSetter is so far proving to be a low-risk way of investing your money.
ince it was launched over seven years ago, no individual investor has lost a penny, and the reason for this is an innovation that the company calls its ‘Provision Fund’. Chief Technology Officer at RateSetter, Richard Bastin, explains. “At RateSetter, we efficiently match investors’ money to a diverse pool of borrowers. Each borrower pays into our Provision Fund.
This helps manage risk, so that in the event that a borrower defaults, the Fund steps in to pay back the investor’s capital. This provides our investors with a buffer against any losses – it’s a unique proposition. So far, we have generated almost £100 million of interest to over 50,000 investors. And, we have lent more than £2.3 billion to UK consumers and businesses since we were founded seven years ago.”
RICHARD BASTIN CTO
“One of the benefits of full authorisation is that it opens the path to offering an ISA to customers, allowing them to enjoy their returns free of tax” 17
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Richard Bastin, CTO RateSetter
When peer-to-peer lending first came about, it was a completely unregulated industry. RateSetter pushed for regulation, lobbying the UK government for standards to be introduced. Richard said, “It was a lengthy but very important process that saw RateSetter initially become regulated in 2014 on an interim basis, before moving to full regulatory authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) last October.”
One of the benefits of full authorisation is that it opens the path to offering an ISA to customers, allowing them to enjoy their returns free of tax. The ISA product that RateSetter provides is known as an ‘Innovative Finance’ ISA. This type of ISA was officially launched by the Treasury in 2016, specifically to allow peer-to-peer lending to be included in an ISA wrapper. As Richard explains, “The key thing is, if you open an ISA with RateSetter, you still get all the same benefits that we
Earn between 3% and 6% (depending on level of access required) tax-free.
RateSetter investors have lent more than £2.3bn to creditworthy UK consumers and businesses
RateSetter has generated almost £100m of interest for investors.
RateSetter has more than 250,000 active customers (investors and borrowers) 19
â€œRateSetter has alway investing easy for ever model is simple, openin couple of minutes and select the level of a RateSetter takes 20
ys focused on making ryday investors. Their ng an account takes a d investors need only access they require. care of the restâ€? 21
have been offering to our customers for many years, but you are now doing it in a tax-efficient way. Our ISA customers can access the same healthy returns and also benefit from the Provision Fund buffer, but with the additional bonus of being able to invest up to £20,000 taxfree.” When the financial crisis hit in 2008, this caused an awful lot of problems for the regulators. One of the many issues that arose included when financial firms went bust, regulators could not differentiate between the firm’s money and their clients’ money. As a result, new regulations were brought in. Richard said, “The client asset regulations (CASS) are rules that all FCAregulated firms must follow. They are very strict, and mean that on a daily basis, firms must have fully reconciled all of their clients’ money, down to the penny, and have records that show how much customers’ money they have. In
The year RateSetter was launched in Australia the event of any FCA-authorised firm going bankrupt, the regulators can come in and look at your systems and check that they are fully up-to-date and accurate.”
RHYDIAN LEWIS CEO 22
The system that RateSetter employs is known as AutoRek. This gives complete separation from the company’s current system, ensuring confidence that accounts are being properly reconciled every day. Thousands of records go into the system, and it matches them all up, reconciles them, and provides reports for RateSetter’s finance team. Richard adds, “CASS compliance was a key part
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open up your isa
of us achieving full FCA authorisation and AutoRek was instrumental in this process. In turn, this paved the way for us to launch the RateSetter ISA. For months, we were building the foundations to get us to where we are today.” RateSetter has a development and testing team in its London head
office, as well as a team in the office of its partner, N-iX, situated in Lviv, in the Ukraine. The teams work together, acting as one, with the same processes and the same tools. Richard said, “We worked collaboratively with N-iX to build the ISA product, which involved lots of changes to our core system and website – all the functionality to support the ISA and adhere to ISA regulations. We
“Since the launch of its new ISA, RateSetter has seen a growing number of new and existing customers enjoy its tax-free benefits” 24
- 5 step process
e your ent period
fund your account
start earning tax-free
worked to tight timescales so that we could launch the ISA soon after securing full regulatory authorisation in October. We were aiming to launch in good time for the end of the current tax year (5th April) to give investors plenty of time to use their £20,000 annual tax-free ISA allowance. The tight deadlines made it a challenging project, but the team worked very well together to deliver it on time. It was one of those projects that required everyone to work in an agile way, delivering features in twoweekly sprints, to a high level of quality, enabling us to launch our ISA to our existing customer base of 50,000 investors in early February, and then opening up to new investors on 1st March.”
Richard adds, “We looked at various off-the-shelf customer ticket systems that we could introduce into our customer service function to enable us to track, manage and process customer queries as efficiently as possible. We selected Zendesk, which we felt was a marketleading product. You are given the training and the tools to configure it yourself, with support available when required. It was a very rapid process to get that rolled out to our customer service team. As a result, we have been able to improve service levels, respond to customers more quickly and more accurately, and manage that process more effectively than we could have done by using the previous home-grown system.”
The company was fully aware that the launch of a new product would inevitably lead to an increase in customer queries, as well as an increase in marketing to attract new customers.
The operational intelligence received from Zendesk feeds back into RateSetter’s product development cycle. Richard said, “The feedback is very useful because every interaction with every 25
The best customer experiences are built with Zendesk
“By using a product like Zendesk, we are able to capture a lot of information, and we use that to make sure we are improving our product and operational capabilities” customer counts. By using a product like Zendesk, we are able to capture a lot of information, and we use that to make sure we are improving our product and operational capabilities, to ensure that we are providing what we believe is the best Innovative Finance ISA on the market.” Since the launch of its new ISA, RateSetter has seen a growing number of new and existing customers enjoy
its tax-free benefits. The product is working well, and the customer feedback has been positive. Investors, who might not have used RateSetter before, are receiving a better return for their money than with a cash ISA, in exchange for accepting more risk. If RateSetter can continue to deliver for its customers in terms of healthy returns and risk management, we are sure that the company will become champion of the IF ISA.
B U S I N E S S I N T E RV I E W
Telcos: Brace yourself for the new Blockchain wave
David Watrin, Head of the Product Unit â€˜Security and Intelligenceâ€™ at Swisscom, the leading Swiss telecommunications provider, and Chairman of the ITU Focus Group on Distributed Ledger Technologies, talks to us about the industry impact of Blockchain.
So, David, tell us what your story is in relation to Blockchain?
The Blockchain adventure started for me and my group in 2015. This might sound like a late arrival, but this was before the release of Ethereum and the real start of Blockchain 2.0. In 2015, the financial industry was brimming with Blockchain. This industry being a key vertical for Swisscom, we all naturally focused our energy on how Swisscom could leverage these technologies to better serve its customers. After two years of probing the market, Swisscom decided to fund a dedicated company and launched Swisscom Blockchain AG. I believe this is unique on the telecom scene. With the creation of
this new company, my group and I decided to broaden our views by not only looking at a specific telco vertical, but by considering the whole Telco activities to identify new fields of applications. To this end, I have been fortunate enough to be chosen as the chairmanship of a new IT focus group named ‘Application of Distributed Ledger Technology’, which aims at providing a recommendation roadmap for the use of DLTs for Telcos. Q. The term, Distributed Ledger Technology, or DLT, is not as wellknown as Blockchain. Can you tell us how these two terms differ? A. One of the focus group’s work
“We all naturally focused our energy on how Swisscom could leverage these technologies to better serve its customers” 30
package precisely consists of fixing the terms and definitions. However, without pre-empting these conclusions, I will venture with the following distinction – DLT is a more generic term than Blockchain, to describe technologies distributing records. Indeed, some distributed ledgers such as CORDA or IOTA’s Tangle distribute the records at the atomic level, and not in blocks. As such, they are not proper ‘blockchains’. However, the two terms are commonly used in an interchangeable way. Q. Why do you feel that organisations like the ITU can help with the adoption of Blockchain? A. When I was first asked this question, I had to fight for an answer. Indeed, most of the Blockchain frameworks
David Watrin Head of the Product Unit ‘Security and Intelligence’ at Swisscom Chairman of the ITU Focus Group on Distributed Ledger Technologies
“What is interesting with today’s ICO is that they are not trying to solve Telco’s problems but address untapped customer needs”
are issued from Open Source initiatives which set their own agendas, and their own governance, independent from International standardisation bodies. It was therefore counter-intuitive to believe that an organisation like the ITU could significantly influence the adoption of Blockchain. However, with a closer look, one realises that Blockchain is essentially a technology designed to facilitate cooperation between various parties. In some ways, it is similar to the email. Now we wouldnâ€™t want history to repeat itself when, at the start of the internet, email applications were not compatible and gateways had to be implemented. Architectural designs for some Use Cases have to be agreed upon. Q. What has been the response of the community? A. I have been positively surprised by the amount of interest and active participation this focus group has already gathered. So far, two meetings have been organised, each counting more than 80 experts originating from five continents, and from companies as diverse as Telcos, equipment suppliers, system integrators, start-ups, consultants and auditors.
Houses that are broadly used in this industry. Thanks to automated Smart Contracts, Blockchains can also increase the efficiency of the manual and error-prone Data & Financial clearing processes. Finally, Blockchains can also diminish fraud, thanks to real-time clearing. Very similar to roaming, Number Portability was discussed, as Blockchains allow the ownership of numbers to be settled in a peer-to-peer fashion, rather than via a central trusted party, as it is done today. Furthermore, the whole porting process can be pre-agreed and automated thus avoiding many manual processes. 5G Network Slicing was also addressed, with the idea that the slice can be contracted and the access autonomously controlled with Smart Contracts, reducing the service creation time. We could also mention IoT security, Interconnect billing, Identity Wallets with selfasserted attributes, Network Elements certification, or collaboration for Fraud Management.
Q. And were there any unexpected Use Cases? A. Yes. They emerged during our last meeting when we considered a survey of the last ICOs in the space of Q. Can you tell us more about Use Telcos. ICOs are a very controversial Cases which are debated? matter, as some of them make hollow A. These have mainly been the usual promises. If you put this aside, what is suspects. Roaming was the most interesting with todayâ€™s ICO is that they recurring topic, as it bears many are not trying to solve Telcoâ€™s problems resemblances to interbank settlements. but address untapped customer The first benefit is that Blockchains needs. In this respect, these companies can disintermediate the Clearing are probably foreshadowing the 33
emergence of a new type of Over-TheTop player, whose business models are not necessarily based on advertising but on the principles of the sharing and participative economy. Blockchain is the perfect technology for such models. For example, DENT wireless claims to significantly diminish the roaming charges of its users by offering a platform where users can transact their unused data packages and by
leveraging local breakouts. Similarly, Bubbletone offers the same value proposition with a messaging app leveraging data packages bought from local ISPs. Birdchain is another messaging application rewarding its users for selling unused SMS messages or watching promotional videos. Cryptviser proposes another messaging app with the promise that the storage of keys on a Blockchain
ICOs targeting Telco business
â€œOur Focus Group is an open community that imposes no other pre-requisite than being interested in Distributed Ledger Technologies and having the capacity to contribute to the discussionsâ€? 36
allows an unforgeable mutual authentication, making Man-in-theMiddle attacks virtually impossible. AMMBR aims at offering a wireless mesh network, allowing users to sell their Wi-Fi access. Qlink proposes a decentralised telecom infrastructure, allowing Wi-Fi sharing and autonomous billing. And the list could be made longer. These examples are risks for Telcos, but they could also constitute an opportunity, as the window of opportunity is still wide-open. Q. And outside of Use Cases, is the Focus Group investigating other areas? A. Indeed. The Focus Group has the ambition to map all the most widespread Blockchain technologies to a very comprehensive assessment criteria framework. This framework encapsulates, for example, the effectiveness of the Consensus algorithms, the highest possible throughput of transactions and compliancy in terms of key management etc. Another dimension is the policy and regulatory framework, which will identify the needs in terms of auditability, privacy, traceability and legal compliance while highlighting, on the other hand, potential constraints such as GDPR or Legal Intercept. With such an exhaustive approach,
The kick-off focus group meeting in Geneva, October 2017
encompassing Use Cases, Technology and Regulations, we expect to have all the necessary information to make our recommendation by mid-2019. Q. Thank you for all this information, David. Would you have a final message to our readers? A. Thank you for this opportunity. Our Focus Group is an open community that imposes no other pre-requisite than being interested in Distributed Ledger Technologies and having the capacity to contribute to the discussions. It is a fantastic place to learn about what is going on worldwide, and the team is fun to work with!
About the focus group 37
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An all-in-one 3D printer and scanner, with powerful integrated computer allowing on-board editing and slicing, the Zeus software team is constantly designing new applications to be used on Zeus, and programmers equipped with the developer kit will be able to create their own applications as well.
Seagate Innov8 8TB External Hard Drive We’re storing an increasing volume of important data on our external hard drives, so it’s essential to buy one that suits your needs. The Seagate Innov8 8TB is a normal-size 3.5-inch desktop hard drive, but it doesn’t require an external power supply to run it. Instead, it is powered via a USB Type-C connector, paving the way for office workers to move staggering amounts of data around without being tethered to their seats. 45
Livescribe Echo Smartpen Available with a 2gb, 4gb or 8gb memory capacity, the Livescribe Echo Smartpen will change the way you capture, use and share audio information. A ballpoint pen with an embedded computer and digital audio recorder, when used with Anoto digital paper, it records what it writes for later, uploading it to a computer, and synchronises those notes with any audio it has recorded. This allows users to replay portions of a recording by tapping on the notes they were taking at the time. It is also possible to select which portion of a recording to replay by clicking on the relevant portion of a page on-screen. This is an innovation thatâ€™s set to transform business meetings. 46
InventHelpâ€™s Cord Charmer Most people like to work in a neat office environment. Enter InventHelpâ€™s Cord Charmer. This will create a clutter-free charging station, catering for a multitude of electronic devices, stashing away power cords as it charges them. The long-standing problem of cords cluttering floors and countertops is solved!
N E W T E C H N O L O GY
Embracing Technology to Drive Public Transport
With a keen eye on technological advancement, The Go-Ahead Group recently launched Hammock, a new business division which advises regional authorities and private operators on implementing technology to make travelling smarter and more efficient. Written by Anna McMahon â€˘ Produced by Tom Barnes 49
“4G AND WI-FI CONNECTIVITY HAVE BECOME THE NORM IN MANY PARTS OF LIFE, BUT THAT REVOLUTION IS NOW BEGINNING TO REACH COMMUTERS”
New initiative, Hammock, is all about tapping into Go-Ahead’s expertise as the UK’s leading public transport provider to bring innovations to the market which work across the sector.
oel Goulty, who joined Hammock from The GoAhead Group as a business development specialist, said, “We’re evolving our business, going beyond operating trains and buses.” The Hammock team consists of nine experts in smart ticketing, digital payments, retail and digital solutions, who, in their first three months, have already brought several groundbreaking pieces of technology to various Go-Ahead operators. The Oxford Bus Company, for example, recently successfully piloted a new smart-ticketing system, adapted by Hammock, which is now being used across 2,000 Go-Ahead buses, with plans to implement the technology across its UK network. The contactless payment system works on a Model 2 UK Cards Association framework,
which means customers can pay for multiple trips across services using their contactless card or smart phone, with the total fare aggregated at the end of the day. Noel explained, “It’s a tap-in-tapout system, similar to Oyster, and means fares can be capped just like in London.” Up until now, transport operators outside of the capital using contactless payments were based on what’s known as a Model 1 system, where passengers only tap in and pay a flat rate for each leg of their journey.
ON THE HORIZON
So, what does the future hold for Hammock? Noel answered, “Right now, our focus is on adapting Go-Ahead’s tried and tested technologies, like contactless payments and real-time journey optimisation, to make public transport services better across the sector. That’s where customer demand
is, and with growing populations across cities and towns, this is only going to expand. In fact, we’re already working with a number of local authorities around modernising their services. It’s a really exciting time to be working in the sector. Whatever our next move is, it will be guided by our ambition to make tomorrow’s commute better than today’s.”
GO, GO, GADGET!
The Go-Ahead Group’s chief technology officer is a busy man. But, as the technology lead at a FTSE250 firm, with more than 1.2 billion journeys a year in the UK alone, Craig Ellis finds his own commute is the best time to witness the digitisation of transport.
QUICK-FIRE QUESTIONS Q. How long have you been at The Go Ahead Group? A. I have been Chief Technology Officer since September 2016.
Q. What was one of your first jobs? A. A telecoms engineer in Amsterdam with BT Global Services.
Q. What are your interests? A. I like music, sports, Ayrton Senna de Silva (racing car driver) and the film, Jaws.
Q. What are your pet hates? A. The alarm clock ringing, overdrawn concert times, and the bad publicity surrounding the UK’s railways.
Q. What advice would you give to our future leaders? A. Treat all people the same regardless of role. Such things are temporary, people’s opinions are permanent.
Q. Do you have a favourite quote? A. Al Pacino said, “A primary emotive factor in me accepting a script from a director is not how genuine or nice the person is to me, but how they treat the doorman, waiter/waitress”.
“THE PRIMARY OBJECTIVE OF OUR OPERATING COMPANIES EVERY MORNING IS TO PROVIDE CUSTOMER JOURNEYS FROM A TO B IN A SAFE AND RELIABLE MANNER, WITH AN OPERATIONAL FOCUS OF ABSOLUTE PRECISION”
Craig Ellis CTO
“CLOSER TO HOME, THE GOAHEAD GROUP HAS OVER 25,000 EMPLOYEES, WHO EXPECT THE SAME LEVEL OF CONNECTIVITY AND ACCESS TO SERVICES AND APPS AS ITS PASSENGERS”
4G and Wi-Fi connectivity have become the norm in many parts of life, but that revolution is now beginning to reach commuters. And, having worked on railways for more than a decade, The Go-Ahead Group’s chief technology officer argues that passengers today are witnessing a rate of change unseen since the days of Brunel and the industrial revolution. Craig explained, “One of the key issues the transport industry has faced in recent years has been limited connectivity during journeys. That has greatly frustrated our travelling customers and stifled innovation, especially as digitisation reaches fever-pitch across all industries, and connectivity becomes a universal utility.” In recent years, the UK government and train operators have made progress in tackling the connectivity problem, and Go-Ahead has made the topic a central focus for its own train franchises. Craig added, “We have delivered enhanced on-board connectivity, both across our train and our bus operations, utilising existing technologies and the mobile network coverage available.
from around 2mb to 100mb per train by 2021. Craig said, “The next step is hugely complex to design and deliver as a collective and requires a multitude of parties working together.” Go-Ahead has also deployed a raft of innovations including award-winning bus and rail applications showing realtime journey planning, contactless payment systems across buses, and an industry first in delivering ‘smart cards’ akin to the TfL Oyster concept across the Southeastern train network. Improved connectivity has allowed Go-Ahead to ramp up R&D, backing projects like the award-winning iBeacons pilot, which offers truly contactless bus ticketing for the first time, payment fraud detection utilising artificial intelligence, and even anonymous passenger counting via shoes. According to Craig, “There are no limits to the amount of innovation and fantastic opportunities available today to help us enhance our customer experience. However, you still need the fundamentals in place at all times.
The next step is to bring the level of coverage up from around 70% to 95% thus increasing the bandwidth on a train
That means security at all costs, a great customer experience, and ensuring that people arrive at their destination on time and satisfied.”
THE IT CROWD
Closer to home, The Go-Ahead Group has over 25,000 employees, who expect the same level of connectivity and access to services and apps as its passengers. And in the past few years, the operator’s IT department has evolved from a traditional custodian of platforms and devices, into a unit working to unlock and enable digital capability across the business. Craig explained, “Our role today has to be one of a true service provider internally with an open approach to the needs of our customers and employees. The challenge for our team, however, is that it is no longer enough to just be building and operating managed services across next-generation platforms. We are now seeing an urgent need to open up and enhance these platforms, allowing for integration with our partners, our IoT (Internet of Things) ecosystem and our customers, whilst still providing highly secure and reliable services for our employees. In addition, we have made the move over to Office 365, and whilst it can unlock capability for the user, it naturally brings many challenges to our network engineering team and the information security aspect especially related to GDPR and data protection.”
One of the key challenges for Craig and his team is that whilst Digital Business Platforms which enable greater innovation can be built and scaled by large global technology corporations and start-ups with relative ease, doing so across Go-Ahead’s operating companies represents a major task. He said, “The primary objective of our operating companies every morning is to provide customer journeys from A to B in a safe and reliable manner, with an operational focus of absolute precision.” This mentality has secured industry awards and recognition for Go-Ahead’s operating companies, but stimulating innovation remains a conscious process, and a transition to more open, innovative ecosystems presents a huge challenge. Craig added, “As we run and operate such a diverse breadth of operators, from critical national infrastructure trains, down to small localised bus operators, moving from an on-premise, secure and highly reliable services platform into a more open, APIconnected digital platform to unlock innovation is a huge undertaking, with significant security and availability architecture design requirements. Plus, of course, ensuring the business case stacks up financially is an obvious need for a FTSE250.”
Destination: Elephant & Castle Arrival time: 11:05
Destination: Lambert North Arrival time: 10:45
Destination: St Thomasâ€™ Hospital / County Hall Arrival time: 10:41
“THE TRANSPORT OPERATOR IS CLEARLY AT THE VERY BLEEDING EDGE WHEN IT COMES TO THE DIGITAL WORLD”
BACK TO THE FUTURE
So, what does the future hold around innovation for Go-Ahead? Craig answered, “Right now, our focus is on embedding existing technologies across our services, like digital wallet payments, real-time journey optimisation, and enabling enhanced communications to our customer. After that, we will naturally begin to move into truly embedding IoT into our ecosystem en-mass, and to begin to understand the potential of Blockchain. We will even explore how virtual assistants, or chat-bots, can enhance the customer experience. But, innovation has to be anchored into tangible business problems. We won’t just enter a Blockchain pilot for the sake of it, or to introduce a chat-bot for publicity. That isn’t our way. Craig added, “Given our business model, deep big data analysis and
utilising AI could also bring enormous benefits for us around predictive analysis on our routes, managing our assets, and developing a greater understanding of our environment looking into the long term. Layering deep data analysis into our IoT ecosystem could open up new and innovative opportunities like we have never seen before. The ability to not only know when a given component may be predicted to break, but to create a level of understanding, of which factors facilitated the component developing a fault, and being able to manage that, would help reduce our down-time of assets.” Blockchain, chat-bots and awardwinning R&D… The transport operator is clearly at the very bleeding edge when it comes to the digital world. With so much exciting development on Go-Ahead’s slate, it’s hardly surprising that Craig has to use his daily commute to consider connectivity.
L AT E S T S O F T WA R E
VMware Introduces Industryâ€™s First IntelligenceDriven Digital Workspace
The leading innovator in enterprise software has unveiled new innovations to its Workspace ONE platform, making it the first and only intelligence-driven digital workspace to improve user experience and enable predictive security. Written by Anna McMahon 61
VMware software powers the world’s complex digital infrastructure.
he company’s compute, cloud, mobility, networking and security offerings provide a dynamic and efficient digital foundation to over 500,000 customers globally, aided by an ecosystem of 75,000 partners. Headquartered in California, VMware celebrates 20 years of breakthrough innovations this year with the launch of its latest technology, benefiting business and society.
Workspace ONE Intelligence is the company’s new cloud-based service, integrated with the Workspace ONE platform, uniquely combining aggregation and correlation of users, apps, networks and endpoints data. It runs alongside VMware’s Workspace ONE Trust Network, combining data and analytics from Workspace ONE with a new network of trusted security partner solutions to deliver predictive
and automated digital workplace security, and Workspace ONE AirLift, a new Windows 10 co-management technology aiming to ease the transition from legacy to modern management for Windows 10. Senior Vice President and General Manager of End-User Computing, Sumit Dhawan, explained, â€œEmpowered employees are at the heart of digital transformation. However, providing employees with the tools they need to improve productivity introduces operational complexity and increased
cyber threats, as apps, devices and networks proliferate and the security perimeter dissolves. Our new intelligencedriven digital workspace platform and partner ecosystem help customers leverage the power of insights, automation and predictive security to simplify operations and detect and remediate threats while delivering the best user experience.â€? Intelligence is the building block of a smart, automated and secure enterprise. Until now, organisations have struggled to gain visibility across all end users,
â€œWith the decision engin automate and optim
ne, IT can create rules to mise common tasksâ€? devices and applications, as the data is spread across many systems and tools. This lack of visibility contributes to poor user experience, greater operational costs, and a lack of proper security controls. Workspace ONE Intelligence features a decision engine that leverages the data to provide actionable recommendations and automation. This intelligent digital workspace can improve employee experience by allowing IT to identify and proactively fix issues before they impact productivity, set employee-friendly access policies, and provide a consistent user experience across devices and
platforms while helping mitigate security issues at scale. Integrated Insights bring together actionable information and recommendations for the entire digital workspace across all endpoints, apps, networks and user experience into one comprehensive view. The software pinpoints whatâ€™s working and whatâ€™s not in the environment, including monitoring application performance, and offers tangible recommendations that IT and development can easily act on. Insights-Driven Automation powered by a decision engine helps customers automate remediation rapidly across their entire digital workspace. Gone are 65
the days of analysing multiple timely decisions across several standalone tools. With the decision engine, IT can create rules to automate and optimise common tasks. Automating alerts, notifications and remediation steps enable improved employee self-service to eliminate time spent on issues such as battery changes or answering helpdesk tickets that get in the way of employee productivity. With the decision engine, organisations can create rules to automate remediation across their entire environment
â€œWorkspace ONE co-management o alongside Micros Configuration Ma 66
including workflows with other thirdparty services like ServiceNow or Slack. Brian Troudy, Director, Networking and Infrastructure, Corona-Norco Unified School District, California, said, “We’ve deployed Workspace ONE across our school district, which consists of 48 schools serving more than 53,000 students, and have been very pleased with the results. We are excited to test Workspace ONE Intelligence in the future, as the improvements in employee and student experience, as well as
strengthened data security, have the potential to be significant for us. This new service will provide us with a way to automate security practices and give us access to metrics that will help us improve user experience for our teachers, administrators and students. That is a clear win-win for our staff and IT team.” Security is the top priority for mobility and digital workplace investments in 2018, but there are too many standalone security tools burying data across multiple systems, limiting visibility and
E AirLift enables of Windows 10 PCs soft System Center nagement (SCCM)” 67
creating silos that perpetuate reactive, legacy security practices. These recent innovations will allow customers to connect their security technologies with Workspace ONE, giving deeper insight and richer automation across the digital workspace. When organisations are forced to manage endpoint remediation and access management with multiple disconnected solutions, visibility across the ecosystem is limited and vulnerabilities are bound to slip through the cracks. To address this challenge, Workspace ONE Trust Network provides a modern approach to digital workspace security that combines security capabilities inherently available in Workspace ONE with security capabilities of VMwareâ€™s new security partner 68
network. By extending Workspace ONE Intelligence and its application programming interfaces (APIs), security partners will be able to share and correlate threat data with Workspace ONE, to give their joint customers deeper insight and rich automation across their digital workspace. Carbon Black, CrowdStrike, Cylance, Lookout, McAfee, Netskope and Symantec are the initial partners who will integrate their security solutions with Workspace ONE as part of the Workspace ONE Trust Network. In order to deliver a successful digital workspace, organisations need to transition legacy Windows management models to a new modern approach. Workspace ONE offers the only unified endpoint management (UEM) platform with integrated Intelligence that
“Workspace ONE Intelligence is now generally available worldwide and included in the new Workspace ONE Enterprise package”
supports all stages of the Windows 10 PC lifecycle – from onboarding to retirement – providing a modern approach for any management task. Workspace ONE AirLift enables comanagement of Windows 10 PCs alongside Microsoft System Center Configuration Management (SCCM). AirLift’s co-existence with SCCM allows customers to speed and de-risk transition efforts by easily migrating PCLM tasks such as device onboarding, patching, software distribution and remote user support, to a more cost-efficient, secure
and cloud-based modern management model. This enables organisations to move quickly to the new model without replacing SCCM or requiring costly PC and SCCM server upgrades. Workspace ONE Intelligence is now generally available worldwide and included in the new Workspace ONE Enterprise package. If you would like to learn more about Workspace ONE innovations, visit VMWare’s website for end-user computing blogs and live virtual events.
A RT I F I C I A L I N T E L L I G E N C E
Bringing Robots to Life Hanson Robotics has enchanted and captured the imagination of the world with uncannily humanlike robots with remarkable expressiveness, aesthetics, and interactivity. And now the company has created a robot to assist with facial expression recognition in autistic children. Written by Anna McMahon
H a n so n R o b ot ic s c r eat e s a m a z i ng ly ex p r e s si v e a n d l i f e l i k e ro b ots t h at b u i l d t r u st e d a n d e ngagi ng r e l at io n s h i p s w i t h p e o p l e t h ro ug h c o nv e r s at io n .
ndowed with expressiveness and interactivity, with the ability to stimulate a full range of facial expressions, the robots are designed to engage with people on an emotional level. The companyâ€™s advanced AI software enables the robots to understand speech, hold natural conversations, see and respond to facial expressions, and learn and adapt from those interactions. It is almost as though the
robots come to life as animated characters, with endearing personalities of their own, interacting with people in their own unique way. Founder and CEO, Dr David Hanson, explained, â€œI develop extremely humanlike robots with cognition, the ability to respond to your emotions, with the framework for computational compassion, and with extremely natural-looking facial expressions and aesthetics that are intended to facilitate relationships,
Albert Einstein Hubo
Sophia the Robot is UNDP’s Innovation Champion for Asia-Pacific
" T h e A I so f t wa r e e m pow e rs c o ntact , r e c o g n i s e fac e s n at u r a l c o nv e rs at io n s , a n d e n a b l i ng t h e m to h av e m ea p e o p l e a n d evo lv e f ro so that you care about the robots and, as we develop artificial general intelligence, the robots will care about you.” Aiming to create a better future for humanity by infusing artificial intelligence with kindness and empathy, cultivated through meaningful interactions between robots and humankind, Hanson Robotics’ vision is for their robots to eventually evolve to become super-intelligent genius machines that can help us solve the most challenging 74
problems we face here in the world. Dr Hanson said, “We are pushing for consumer pricing that will allow these robots to come into your home and be an entertaining companion, develop a relationship with you, and teach your kids foreign languages. We are very excited about the impact that this could have on the world, as ingenious machines with a friendship with us to help rebuild this planet.” Hanson Robotics is partnering with SingularityNET, a platform for the
decentralised AI economy. SingularityNET is the first protocol for combining AI services with a global, Blockchain-based market, and will soon be powering the minds of Hanson Robots. Hanson Robotics is supported by a world-class team of roboticists, AI experts, scientists, technologists, hardware/software engineers, and
cognitive specialists. Dr Hanson added, “I quest to realise genius machines – machines with greater than human intelligence, creativity, wisdom, and compassion. To this end, I conduct research in robotics, artificial intelligence, the arts, cognitive science, product design and deployment, and integrate these efforts in the pursuit of novel human robot relations.”
t h e ro b ots to m a i nta i n ey e , u n d e rsta n d s p e e c h , h o l d si m u l at e h u m a n p e rso n a l i t y , n i ng f u l i nt e r act io n s w i t h o m t h o s e i nt e r act io n s " Will Smith goes ‘online dating’ with Sophia
Han Dr Hanson publishes regularly in materials science, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and robotics journals, including SPIE, IEEE, the International Journal of Cognitive Science, IROS, AAAI and AI magazine. He has been featured in numerous popular media outlets including New York Times, Popular Science, Scientific American, the BBC and CNN. He has been labelled a genius by both PC Magazine and WIRED, and has earned awards from NASA, NSF, AAAI, Tech Titansâ€™ Innovator of the Year, and Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial. The robots are created by the alchemy of artistry, engineering, and artificial intelligence, nurtured with emotionally 76
rich interactions between human and machine. This is accomplished by uniquely integrating leading-edge innovations in materials, hardware, software, and the art of animation and storytelling. The AI software empowers the robots to maintain eye contact, recognise faces, understand speech, hold natural conversations, and simulate human personality, enabling them to have meaningful interactions with people and evolve from those interactions. MindCloud, the Cloudbased AI in operation, enables largescale Cloud control of the robots, as well as deep-learning data analytics for processing the rich social data gathered from the millions of interactions with
" D r H a n so n â€™ s b ac kg ro u n d a s a Di s n ey sc u l pto r and filmmaker r e d e f i n e s ro b ots a s f o u r - di m e n sio n a l i nt e r act i v e sc u l pt u r e "
them. The robot faces are created with a patented material called Frubber (flesh rubber), a proprietary nanotech skin that mimics real human musculature and skin. This allows them to exhibit highquality expressions and interactivity, simulating humanlike facial features and expressions. Artistry is essential to bringing robots to life. Dr Hanson’s background as a Disney sculptor and filmmaker redefines robots as four-dimensional interactive sculpture.
Professor Liz Pellicano, Professor of Autism Education and Director of the Centre of Research in Autism and Education at UCL, is committed to understanding the distinctive opportunities and challenges often faced by autistic children, young people and adults and tracing their impact on everyday life – at home, at school and out and about in the community. She said, “The whole premise of using robots with autistic children is that they are more predictable than humans and therefore less threatening,
Dr David Hanson, Founder and CEO
The ability to transmute technology into a living being through artistry enables them to come to life and create the sense of a mind within the machine. Zeno is an example of a Hanson Robotics’ machine that has been designed to hold intelligent conversation. A 17-inch tall, 4.5 pound humanoid robot boy, Zeno has been recently utilised in teaching autistic children to learn about people’s facial expressions. 78
and so the idea is that they will be more at ease and therefore ready to learn.” This £9,000 super-toy is kitted out with a clever combination of facial recognition technologies and AI to assist those children who are minimally verbal or struggle with social interaction. Motors in Zeno’s face mean that he can make distinct facial expressions back to the children and they can grasp the concept of Zeno feeling happy, sad or angry, for example.
" T h i s ÂŁ 9 , 0 0 0 s u p e r - toy i s k i t t e d o ut w i t h a c l ev e r c o m bi n at io n o f faci a l r e c o g n i t io n t e c h no lo gi e s a n d A I to as si st t h o s e c h i l d r e n w h o a r e m i n i m a l ly v e r b a l o r st r ug g l e w i t h so ci a l i nt e r act io n " More than a dozen studies have suggested that there are real benefits in using robots in autism therapy, ranging from increased speech and eye contact, to improved social behaviour. So, as
we are allowing robots into our homes, we must also explore the possibility of allowing them into the classroom to assist those children with special educational needs.