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December 2019

Strategic Technology

Key trends driving disruption and opportunity in 2020

Asda Logistics Services’ (ALS) Vice President (VP) on how the company achieves its goal of continuous improvement

ECO SYSTEMS Europe’s first solar-powered Seabins set to save our oceans


e’ve come over all festive in the Digital Innovation office, so as our special Christmas gift to you, we bring you our all-singing-all-dancing December edition! The last issue of 2019 promises to pack a punch with a fantastic lead interview courtesy of Jon Parry, Asda Logistics Services’ (ALS) Vice President (p6). It was great to learn more about the company’s strategic vision and how it works towards achieving its goals. In Jon’s words, it would not be possible without the longstanding support of key business partners. Speaking of which, we bring you the latest on the acquisition of digital health pioneer, Fitbit, by internet giant, Google (p64). How long before we are seeing ‘Fitbit by Google’ wearables? Plus, another tech leader that’s been making huge strides in the production of consumer devices is Samsung. It is currently investing heavily in AI and 5G... You can read our report on page 30. What’s more, we celebrate the City of Stockholm’s Smart City Award on page 72, innovative XR advances to hit the gaming world on page 52, the key tech trends to look out for in 2020 (p90), as well as news of Europe’s very first solar-powered Seabin (p80)… It promises to be an important step forward in the struggle to protect our plastic-swamped oceans. Finally, this just leaves me to wish our readers a very happy Christmas and best wishes for 2020. Season’s greetings from myself and all the team!

Editor Anna McMahon

Director Danielle Harris

Project Director Jennifer Davies

Director Tom Barnes

Senior Digital Designer Daniel May

+44 (0) 203 890 1189 All rights reserved. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of material published in Digital Innovation Magazine. However, the company cannot accept responsibility for the claims made by advertisers or contributors, or inaccurate material supplied by advertisers. Digital Innovation is a trading name of iThink Media Ltd. Company Registration Number: 10933897. Company Registered in England and Wales


Meet Jon Parry, Vice of Asda Logistics


The global oil and gas industry is boosted by tech automation



Samsung is investing heavily in AI and 5G The latest XR innovations to impact on the gaming world 4



Google acq a mo

e President (VP) Services (ALS)

The top 10 strategic technology Stockholm has been named trends to look out for in 2020 the world’s smartest city



quires Fitbit as it makes ove into gadgetry


Check out this issue's celebrated start-up of the month!


The launch of Europe’s first solar-powered Seabin 5



Vice President (VP) of Asda Logistics Services (ALS), Jon Parry, explains the key elements involved in driving efficiency, quality of service and culture in line with the company’s strategic expectations. Written by Anna McMahon • Produced by Jennifer Davies


ALS provides logistics looking after all import secondary distrib Asda’s Service Cen for the George Jon explains, “Our core purpose is to serve our customers better than anyone else at the lowest possible cost, driving efficiency and value back to our business. Our strategic vision is built on innovation, thinking differently and creating an environment where colleagues feel empowered to simplify the way they work.� Jon describes two accelerators that enable Asda Logistics Services to achieve this goal, driving profit while offsetting costs which, in turn, allow the company to invest in its own strategy. Firstly, Jon talks about leveraging data, technology, infrastructure,


s for Asda end-to-end, ts, primary distribution, bution, transport, ntres and fulfilment business. Watch Asda toyou’s Flex Journey


The ideal match for ASDA’s brief was Vanderlande’s automated case picking (ACP) solution. The process on site begins with the receiving of goods on pallets, which subsequently enter racking system uses nine cranes to store pallets in one of

Products are retrieved according to the orders received from in trays to the high-density storage (HDS) area, where two Vanderlande POSISORTERs perform a key role. Pallet high-bay

Once pulled from the HDS system, products are sent to the picking workstations, where new pallets are built in line with the requests from individual stores. In addition to hardware support engineers.

With the building of the new DC in Warrington, ASDA was looking to increase and maintain the high availability of products in store. The intention was to put more volume through a single depot in a smaller footprint. To become accuracy. The wellbeing of its employees was also a very important consideration. They should be able to do their job safely and ergonomically.

Posisorter and High density storage (HDS)


Palletising workstation

“A project of this magnitude and complexity is not without its challenges. We recognise that between ASDA and Vanderlande it is a partnership, and we can only move forward together.” David Marshall

Senior Manager Engineering ASDA

Moving forward together

“As a company, we need to trust that the ACP solution can deliver cases every minute of every day,” says ASDA’s Senior Manager Engineering David Marshall. “Thanks to the automation, we have the highest pick accuracy in the ASDA network. He adds: “A project of this magnitude and complexity is not without its challenges. We recognise that between ASDA and Vanderlande it is a partnership, and we can only move forward together.” Gary Stubbs, Managing Director Warehouse & Parcel Vanderlande UK: “Our partnership with ASDA is a special relationship. We achieve our targets together, always looking for continuous improvements and celebrating our joint successes. We are proud of NWADC, working endlessly to support delivering outstanding service and availability to stores and customers every day” Want to have more information? Please watch the video on or contact us at

Senior Management Meeting Vanderlande and ASDA


David Marshall

Head of Automation



Jon with Senior Directors in ALS Sharon Hammond (left) and Nathan Bower (right) equipment and relationships, while the second strategic accelerator is automation and technology. Jon says, “We are working hard to find new and innovative ways of working, but also implementing solutions where payback is strong or the capacity need is at its greatest. The accelerators drive an operating model across the logistics network, which ultimately drives value in service and cost.” Compliance is also hugely important for Asda Logistics Services. Jon adds, “Compliance is a key focus of ours alongside quality of service. Being the most compliant logistics provider in the industry alongside delivering 99.99 per cent of orders accurately is what we aspire to achieve.”


We are about to launch our first Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGV) solution in our Warrington depot, supported by Vanderlande and their parent Toyota Jon Parry, Vice President (VP) of ALS A highly-engaged team is the driving force behind the company’s aim for continuous improvement, and it has been on a long journey of engagement and leadership.

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Innovation has always been the driving force behind Scania. Since our first truck rolled off the production line in 1911, our relentless commitment to efficiency and environmental responsibility has kept us out in front. Now, over 100 years later, we already offer the widest range of ready-to-go alternative fuel solutions on the market. Combined with the connectivity of our automated tachograph reporting, remote diagnostics and driver coaching, Scania is proud to bring the future closer.



Jon adds, “We benchmark incredibly well in the industry – 20 per cent ahead on colleague engagement, and 27 per cent ahead from a leadership index perspective. We are very proud of that. It is about driving ideas bottom-up, engaging with our 12,500 colleagues to find smarter ways of working to drive improvement and value at a customer and cost level for

our business. It is rewarding for a colleague to have an idea that gets rolled out across the entire logistics network.� As part of the two accelerators, Asda Logistics Services collaborates with third parties to allow external customers to use spare warehouse space, benefitting both the company and its partners.

invested in automation and technology in the last five years.



We are looking to leverage our transport solutions, and in terms of automation and technology, we are working on numerous opportunities through the introduction of more AGVs, more AMRs, and more innovative solutions Jon Parry, Vice President (VP) of ALS


Working in partnership with ASDA

Designing and building a material handling system is not the work of a moment. It starts with understanding. Understanding the needs. Understanding the challenges. Understanding the goals. AMH Material Handling are proud to be strategic partners with Asda. From a material handling project concept and design, through to installation and ongoing asset


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management, AMH work closely as a team to ensure a fast-paced and robust solution within challenging financial and ever changing business requirements. Contact us today to experience a new way of delivering a successful material handling solution.



Jon says, “We have done this by driving efficiencies and reducing our footprint, enabling us to generate revenue from the additional space. “We drive innovation hard in our warehouses and transport operations, automating process in a methodical but fast-following way. This is where we have built relationships with companies such as Vanderlande, Dematic and AMH Material Handling, investing around £250million in automation and technology in the last five years. We have built new automated warehouses, one of which is in Warrington with our partner Vanderlande, and will continue to automate as many processes as we can within our exisiting operations. “We are about to launch our first Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGV)

It is thanks to our third party partners that we are able to enhance the logistics function within the Asda business Jon Parry, Vice President (VP) of ALS solution in our Warrington depot, supported by Vanderlande and their parent Toyota, and have plans to scale and implement them across our entire logistics network, supporting our strategy of automation and technology.” 19

Dematic has a longstanding relationship with ASDA of almost 20 years, delivering automated solutions in the Food and Clothing logistics networks. More recently, Dematic are also assisting in potential new innovation alongside their sister company, Linde. Jon says, “Linde-Sterling provide a number of our sites’ mechanical handling equipment and are also helping in a very important part of our future on AGVs. AMH Material Handling (AMH) assists in delivering the business’ material handling, providing automated solutions through a number of processes within the Clothing logistics network. They also provide support

functions to a number of our logistics and fulfilment centres.” Jon adds, “We are also working with Clipper Logistics in a number of our sites, implementing solutions that allow us to automate process in our fulfilment centres through the use of

Linde-Sterling provide a number of our sites’ mechanical handling equipment and are also helping in a very important part of our future on AGVs Jon Parry, Vice President (VP) of ALS



The impact of Automation on Logistics. “At Clipper, we’re now moving faster than ever, modernising and evolving to meet the expectations of retailers and their consumers” Peter Louden, Business Solutions Director s the world of digital continues to transform, the way consumers shop continues to evolve. 51% of consumers expect that companies will anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they even make contact by 2020. However, this puts real pressure on logistics companies in the supply chain to react quickly to those offers. In retail, the speed of change can be daunting, and the issues retailers face means that they need an agile, multi-channel partner who can keep them ahead of the retail curve, whilst driving performance. Clipper knows that retail brands benefit from an understanding of their customers, and with more shoppers looking for retailers to anticipate their needs, it’s time to invest in technologies that allow access to this information and enable the use of it to build products that meet customer needs. “What we do at Clipper is designed to be robust – we act as the execution arm for the promises retailers make to their consumers. Improvements that we make are built on solid foundations, so that we can continue to carry out tasks 24/7.” Says Peter Louden, Business Solutions Director at Clipper. “In retail logistics, there are two fundamental requirements: speed and variety. To cope with this, automation in picking, packing and sorting seems like a logical investment, but getting to this will require a new generation


of warehouse managers, who have the data analysis skills to work alongside artificial intelligence”, he adds. Automation improvements have the potential to change lead times and increase delivery satisfaction, and automated warehousing can support with improved space utilisation, improved productivity, increased reliability and better ROI. The future for logistics is data-driven. Clipper is committed to investing in new products and service offerings that are value-enhancing, and is starting to reap the rewards of the introduction of returns portals. Clipper is heavily invested in creating shared user operations, which localise critical mass of fulfilment activities to apply best practices to even the smallest of customers. This enables every Clipper customer to get the same experience and have access to the same services. To achieve this, Clipper is migrating to a flexible cloud-based system which will provide a scalable platform that is able to react quickly to the challenges of growing customers.

Automated Mobile Robots (AMR), in addition to working with us on our logistics network of the future, in support of our online business.” In the same way, Asda Logistics Services are collaborating with their partners to continue to look for new and innovative transport solutions. Jon says, “We have a longstanding relationship with Scania, having been partners for over 25 years. We are focused on driving safety on the roads, increasing sustainability by reducing miles, and finding more efficient ways of doing things through investing in next generation solutions. We have worked together on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) trucks and vehicle maintenance units, both of which have delivered cost and efficiency benefits across all regions in the UK in which we operate.”

We have a longstanding relationship with Scania, having been partners for over 25 years On the subject of future fleet innovation, Asda Logistics Services and Scania are already in talks about further on-board telematics capabilities, in a bid to enhance uptime and improve costs and overall performance. Jon adds, “We are working on driver apps, which allow real-time understanding of performance and coaching on how to improve, as well as understanding how to take advantage of the outputs


We are also starting the journey of what Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and AI can offer us, working closely with Tata Consultancy Services Jon Parry, Vice President (VP) of ALS


of connected vehicles. If you look at the expansion of alternative fuels, Scania has done a huge amount in that space and now have proven capabilities in gas trucks, which we are implementing in partnership with them. Alongside this, we are also in discussions with Scania about how we move forward with autonomous vehicles.” For their warehouse management systems, Asda Logistics Services are partnering with Manhattan Associates. Jon explains, “We have a relationship with Manhattan Associates, which goes back about 10 years. The

flexibility and innovation that their warehouse management systems bring to our fulfilment centres and our Asda toyou service are a very important part of our business. We are also starting the journey of what Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and AI can offer us, working closely with Tata Consultancy Services, where we will use self-learning robots to do administrative tasks, so our colleagues can focus on more important work.” Speaking of Asda toyou, it is the fastest growing Pick-Up and DropOff (PUDO) service in the UK and has been in operation for around four years. Jon explains, “Asda toyou


allows us to monetise our logistics and technology capability to sell our parcel services to third party clients. We now have 150 clients, mainly pure play retailers who don’t have physical assets to allow customers to collect or return a parcel. It is inspired by customers’ lifestyles, providing a convenient solution for picking up or dropping off a parcel in one of our 630 stores. This drives traffic to our stores and generates revenue and profit to offset our costs. It has simple tracking on

the go, providing text alerts when the parcel is ready to collect, ensuring the parcels are waiting for our customers and not the other way round. Complementing this service, we offer free parking, over 300 drivethroughs and extended opening hours. In order to ensure we hit the proposition, we monitor all movements centrally and make interventions across the network to drive our performance. It is the first of its kind from an end-to-end perspective in the UK.�

Asda toyou, it is the fastest growing Pick-Up and Drop-Off (PUDO) service in the UK and has been in operation for around four years Jon Parry, Vice President (VP) of ALS


Dematic Is Powering the Future of Commerce. Today. Distribution Centres | Dark Stores | Micro-Fulfillment Dematic has been designing and building distribution centres for our retail partners for decades. We’ve also been implementing dark store operations to leverage underperforming stores or third-party locations in dense, urban areas to create efficiency for online orders. So, it’s natural extension global innovation and chain Dematic has been designing and a building distribution centres forto ourbring retail partners for decades. We've also beensupply implementing leadership to micro-fulfillment. dark store operations to leveragethought underperforming stores or third-party locations in dense, urban areas to create efficiency for online orders. So, it's a natural extension to bring global innovation and supply chain thought leadership to micro-fulfillment.

Supply chain mega-trends Businesses are being challenged by a number of mega-trends that stand to radically alter the commercial landscape including mass urbanisation, climate change, and digitalisation.

smart fridges, freezers and washing machines. Combine this with big data, deep analytics and artificial intelligence, then new insights and opportunities can be instantly identified and acted upon by technologically enabled businesses.

Nowhere is this more real than in the supply chain. Digitalisation especially will have a profound impact on supply chains. The Internet of Things, where 50bn items have an individual IP address, will radically change the way goods are ordered – such as from

Jason de Kauwe, Marketing Director Northern Europe for Dematic, says Businesses will need to re-think how they serve a growing urban population that holds high expectations for fast delivery and service.

“As a business, Dematic makes sure that we understand the client’s pain points and, critically, we ask where the business wants to be in the future and how we can help them in reaching that destination.”


Saving customers’ time with smart parcel robots

> The click and collect process is easy and convenient. The journey begins with the customer placing an order online and choosing to pick up their parcel from the in-store parcel robot. When the order is ready, the customer receives an order code. They enter or scan the code at the robot’s touch screen, and the machine issues a parcel through the user console within seconds. > The parcel robots have a smart storing system which maximises the use of retail space. The robot measures all parcels during loading and stores them on trays according to their height. To save even more time, the robots have a fast loading mode – during loading, the parcels are placed near the console and after completion, the robot automatically readjusts the inserted parcels to save as much space as possible. > The innovative technology is provided by an Estonian company Cleveron which offers click and collect solutions to the world’s leading retailers. Asda’s clients can use the parcel tower Cleveron 401 and the scalable parcel solution Cleveron 402 to pick up and return their online orders.



> Asda’s customers can pick up their orders from innovative parcel robots in a couple of stores across the UK. The automated parcel solutions act as a self-service pickup point, so the customers do not need any additional help in getting their parcel. The entire pickup process takes only about 15–20 seconds.

Furthermore, Asda Logistics Services continue to innovate with their partner, Cleveron, having been the first UK parcel service to introduce automation into the retail experience. Jon says, “In collaboration with Cleveron, we now have automated parcel towers across a number of our stores, and we have introduced a new type of parcel automation called Flex, which can cater for bulkier parcel sizes.” As for the future direction of Asda Logistics Services, the plan is to accelerate collaboration with partners to drive win-win solutions, bringing further value for both parties. Jon concludes, “We are looking to leverage our transport solutions, and in terms of automation and technology, we are working on numerous opportunities through the introduction of more AGVs, more AMRs, and more innovative solutions. We will be scaling these

Asda Logistics Services continue to innovate with their partner, Cleveron, having been the first UK parcel service to introduce automation into the retail experience solutions fast across our entire network over the coming months and years. It is thanks to our third party partners that we are able to enhance the logistics function within the Asda business.” For further information on Asda’s products and services, visit 29



Samsung has announced it will increase AI and 5G investments, in collaboration with its partners and developers, in a bid to radically shake up the industry.


Tech giant, Samsung, is the world’s largest smartphone and memory chip manufacturer, as well as being a key player in the production of many consumer devices.


ith the convergence of powerful emerging technologies, such as AI, IoT, 5G and the cloud, there’s the potential to disrupt the industry, and Samsung has made it clear that it plans to pave the way.Koh Dong-jin, Head of IT & Mobile Communications at Samsung, said, “In a hyper-connected society via 5G, AI and internet of things, a company that innovates user experiences will be a global business leader.”


The company has seven dedicated AI research centres across five nations including the UK. Its first AI mobile processor with a built-in 5G modem is set for release later this year, simplifying the development of highly-capable devices with support for both AI and 5G. Amid a global slowdown in smartphone sales, Samsung will be hoping its investments help to fortify its position in a rapidly-changing world.


“We continue to make progress towards our vision to be the innovator of new mobile experiences that flow seamlessly and continuously wherever we go� DJ Koh, President and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications Division, Samsung Electronics



“Emerging technologies are constantly bringing new capabilities and opportunities to the developer landscape”

But, it would not be able to do this without collaborating with its extensive network of partners. At the Samsung Developer Conference 2019, Samsung shared its vision for the next era of mobile and connected living, offering inspiration to developers, enterprise leaders and consumers through innovative experiences with the devices they rely on every day.

DJ Koh, President and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications Division, Samsung Electronics, said, “We are fortunate to work with the world’s best developers and designers. Together, we have built an extensive and secure ecosystem of devices and services. We continue to make progress towards our vision to be the innovator of new mobile experiences that flow seamlessly and continuously wherever we go.” More consumers than ever are seeing how seamlessly connected devices and services can make everyday life easier. Developers can scale their device and 36

Cara Delevingne and Samsung unveil the world’s first selfie sent into space at a star-studded event in London


service offerings through Samsung’s IoT platform, SmartThings. Already, developers and partners have brought connected experiences to more than 45 million monthly active users and thousands of compatible devices, and the platform is expected to grow further with the Work as a SmartThings Hub (WASH) program, which allows partners like network operators to embed SmartThings Hub software into their devices. Samsung continues to invite developers to actively participate in its ecosystem and supports the developer community with several incentive programs including the Best of Galaxy


Store Award, the Samsung Mobile Design Competition, Bixby DevJam, and the Samsung Mobile Security Reward program. By inviting developers and partners on its journey in this way, new and secure experiences can be brought to life. Emerging technologies are constantly bringing new capabilities and opportunities to the developer landscape. For Samsung, it means providing the community with the tools and programs necessary to deliver secure and reliable solutions, set to enhance our lives. For more information about Samsung products, visit


for more industry news, check out their latest podcast! 40

regular member of Apple's top 50 technology podcast charts, leading to host David Savage being named Computing Magazine's Digital Ambassador, Tech Talks attracts thousands of listeners each month from a diverse community of tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, digital professionals and technology experts. Tune in for the views and stories from people at the forefront of the technology industry.




The global oil and gas industry could save as much as $100billion with tech automation.



A report by energy research firm, Rystad Energy, has highlighted how automation and digitalisation could make huge savings for the global oil and gas industry.


ccording to the study, “As much as $100billion can be eliminated from E&P upstream budgets through automation and digitalisation initiatives in the 2020s. Service companies are reinventing themselves to help operators unlock these savings.�

Last year, $1trillion was spent on operational expenditures, wells, facilities and subsea capital expenditures across more than 3,000 companies in the upstream space. There are varying degrees of potential savings within offshore, shale and conventional onshore activity budgets, but, in total, around 10 per cent of this spend can be erased through more efficient and productive operations thanks to automation and digitalisation. 45

Audun Martinsen, Partner and Head of Oilfield Service Research at Rystad Energy, said, “Many key industry players are setting optimistic goals, but the realisation of these initiatives largely depends on how freely data is shared amongst companies and how commercial strategies are deployed to drive this development. Because of this, it could be years before we see full adoption. However, based on our analysis of 2018 capital spend and operational budgets, we believe savings could easily reach $100billion.� The amount of savings has the potential to be significant and several operators expect automation and digitalisation to reduce drilling costs by 10 per cent to 20 per cent, and facility and subsea costs by 10 per cent to 30 per cent. However, not all field developments or drilling operations have the same capacity to reduce costs. Adoption across the entire value chain of suppliers, from


several opera automation and to red


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evron Corp, and rvices provider, V, have partnered t Corp to build processes and a from multiple rces”

national oil companies (NOCs) to smaller E&Ps, will vary, so the realistic efficiencies and synergies is expected to be closer to 10 per cent by the end of the next decade. Audun added, “In addition to cost savings, digitalisation initiatives can also increase productivity by increasing uptime, optimising reservoir depletion strategies, improving the health, safety and environment of workers, and minimising greenhouse emissions – all of which have significant value creation.” Some efforts are already on. Oil major, Chevron Corp, and top oilfield services provider, Schlumberger NV, have partnered with Microsoft Corp to build software that processes and analyses data from multiple sources. This ambitious project aims to visualise, interpret and ultimately obtain meaningful insights from various data across exploration, development, and production and midstream sectors.


The painful oil market downturn has given upstream operators and service providers a strong incentive to adapt and become more efficient, or be forced to close down. As well as Schlumberger NV, the last few months alone have seen major releases by Baker Hughes and TechnipFMC. A race amongst suppliers is currently underway as companies roll out new digital products. Another driver of digitalisation is that data storage and processing have become significantly cheaper, and the increased connectivity through the Internet of Things has allowed more data to be efficiently digested. Nonetheless, the digital systems of an offshore platform can have around 5,000 to 15,000 sensors, and connecting this myriad of data points is not a straightforward process. Given the complexity of digitalisation efforts, it is likely that investments will be primarily aimed at new greenfield projects, while aging producing assets are unlikely to be a priority.


digital systems of an offshore platform can have around

5,000 to 15,000 sensors

“Another driver of digitalisation is that data storage and processing have become significantly cheaper�


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We explore the latest advances in gaming technologies.

Technology has evolved at an incredible pace, and if you ever need proof of how far we’ve come, just take a look at the gaming industry. Who could have imagined playing video games against people in


different countries using immersive VR headsets? We have seen the introduction of motion control, voice recognition and facial recognition in recent years, so with this in mind, just what can we expect from the future of gaming?


Augmented Reality Pokémon GO took the world by storm, and developers are keen to think up a subsequent use of AR that will capture people’s imaginations. From virtual scavenger hunts to interactive theme parks, we can 54

anticipate some exciting new opportunities beyond existing franchises. Eventually, we may have a gaming session with wearable user interface, where playing a game almost feels like you’re on the ground in the gaming realm.

HD Graphics Upgraded gaming consoles come out more often than they used to in order to keep up with evolving TV tech. Original systems were not designed to support 4K/ HDR picture modes, and with manufacturers constantly pushing the boundaries, by the time a game goes live, it’s time to start thinking about the next iteration of

gaming technology. With 4K capabilities, developers are now able to experiment with unbeatable colours and graphics, and the ability to produce high-resolution image quality has increased playability, making for a highly engaging experience. We can therefore expect exceptional designs and multiple interactive features on future releases.


voice control Players’ ability to control their environment without using video game controllers ensures an enriched gaming experience. However, at the moment, it feels like you are talking to yourself


or shouting at the screen when playing games with a voice control feature. As games get smarter and AI technology improves, we could be able to have actual conversations with characters in the games we are playing.

Virtual Reality VR has come so far that medicine is now experimenting with it as a way to teach paraplegics how to walk again. The job of developers, however, is to address the current issues surrounding VR, which include nausea if you play too long, spatial limitations and physical constraints. How do you explore the world

without the help of a handheld controller and without bumping into everything around you? Currently, we are only scratching the surface of what VR can do. The next leap will deliver a level of interaction like we have never seen before. Soon, we will be able to engage ourselves completely in gaming before coming back to the real world.


Cloud Gaming With more reliable and faster internet connections, the technology of cloud computing has gained momentum. The Sims creator, Will Wright, has embraced the idea of cloud gaming as a crucial part of the future of the industry. For one thing, the gaming industry sees it as an opportunity to make games


as easy to access as music and movies. With cloud gaming, we need not wait forever to get updates to high-quality games – all you have to do is connect to the cloud with a stable internet connection. Using the cloud in this way opens up massive server-size limits and brings numerous benefits, including the ability to play instantly on any device.

Mobile Gaming The release of the Nintendo Switch brought us the ability to seamlessly move around from connected screen to handheld screen. The portability aspect is something we have come to take for granted, playing games anywhere while

connecting with friends. With the ever-increasing power of the mobile phone, developers are continually focusing on tapping into our mobile gaming habits. This is all possible because of improved internet connectivity, allowing for minimal latency, maximum uptime and uninterrupted gameplay. 59

Open-Source Gaming Look at the number of free homemade games available in the mobile market today, and you will have an idea where future games may be heading. Open source works under the concept that games should be cheap to build and cheap to buy, with 60

independent developers not having to purchase an expensive software development kit (SDK) to create games and release them to the public. Making game development easier and cheaper creates more creative game-makers, giving rise to more variety of free-to-play games.

Emotion Tracking We have seen facial recognition and 3D scanning enabling gamers to create customised avatars that reflect their own real-time expressions, but emotion tracking is the next big thing. Using a 3D depth

camera, developers can adapt facial reactions and make changes to gameplay to suit your mood. It is already possible for hand gestures to control the action in games, so the next step will involve head and face movements.


Evolved AI AI capabilities are able to scrutinise a player’s actions over time and recommend the optimal strategy for success, providing a greater level of efficiency and understanding. Harnessing the power of self-learning AI will allow the building of games that are sophisticated enough to respond to user feedback, with in-game characters that continuously evolve, leading to exciting, 62

unchartered gaming territories. And with the added benefits of 5G, the gaming industry will be boosted further, making multiplayer functionality and real-time live gaming easily accessible to everyone. It is certainly a very exciting time for tech. With the gaming industry continually exploring and pushing the limits, who really knows what it has in store?




Stepping into Gadgetry Fitbit has announced that it is has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Google.


’s acquisition of wearable pioneer, , may be a bold plunge into health and fitness technology, but it’s just the latest step in the internet giant’s oftenhalting effort to become a force in consumer hardware. nce a pure software company, known for its search engine, apps like Gmail and its Android software for smartphones, Google has, for the last several years, been building out its own suite of hardware products. These include its niche Pixel smartphones and a variety of smart gadgets, from speakers and thermostats to Wi-Fi routers, all recently rebranded as ‘Nest’ products. Recently, the company announced a slate of new products including a Pixel phone, a Nest speaker and wireless earbuds, but its gadget sales are still minuscule compared to rivals Apple and Samsung. That doesn't necessarily matter much to Google, which sees 66

hardware mostly as a way to get people hooked on its software and AI services. Health and fitness wearables like the ones that made Fitbit famous are just one more avenue for Google to forge a presence in people's lives. James Park, Co-founder and CEO of Fitbit, said he believed Google to be an ideal partner to advance his company’s mission. He explained, “More than 12 years ago, we set an audacious company vision – to make everyone in the world healthier. Today, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved towards reaching that goal. We have built

“Fitbit has been a true pioneer in the industry and has created terrific products, experiences and a vibrant community of users� Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President, Devices & Services at Google


a trusted brand that supports more than 28 million active users around the globe who rely on our products to live a healthier, more active life. “With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone. I could not be more excited for what lies ahead.” Google has previously tried and failed to build a business in health technology, and its Wear OS software offers fitness tracking and AI for smartwatches made by other companies. But it doesn't have its own branded fitness wearable. That seems about to change. It is possible that we might soon see ‘Fitbit by Google’ wearables. Although Fitbit has been struggling recently against amped-up competition from Apple and Samsung, it still has one of the most recognisable and trusted brand names in wearable health tech. Victoria Petrock, eMarketer analyst, added, “I think this gives Google immediate credibility in the market.”


Google is realising that it needs to build products that are consistent and coherent, like Apple does, because it makes both hardware and software. The Android model has been successful to a point, but it has also created a fragmented user experience. Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President, Devices & Services at Google, said, “Fitbit has been a true pioneer in the industry and has created terrific products, experiences and a vibrant community of users. We're looking forward to working with the incredible talent at Fitbit, and bringing together the best hardware, software and AI, to build wearables to help even more people around the world.�

Digital health is a fast-growing market, with one study tracking more than $8billion in venture investment in 2018


But, the push for Google, and increasingly other tech companies, is about the services they can sell along with the hardware. They aim to provide a seamless connected device experience to users across the board, and wearables are part of that strategy. Digital health is a fast-growing market, with one study tracking more than $8billion in venture investment in 2018. Fitbit pioneered the wearables category by delivering innovative, affordable and engaging devices and services. Being ‘on Fitbit’ is not just about the device – it is an immersive experience from the wrist to the app, designed to help users understand and change their behaviour to improve their health.

Fitbit has sold more than devices


Because of this unique approach, Fitbit has sold more than 100 million devices and supports an engaged global community of millions of active users, utilising data to deliver unique personalised guidance and coaching to its users. The Fitbit deal, which is expected to close next year (subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Fitbit’s stockholders and regulatory approvals), will also give Google another big chunk of personal health and location data. But, Google has said it won't sell ads using this data. However, it will still have all that information, which puts a lot of personal information in one place, so safety remains a huge concern. For further information on Fitbit, visit



The City of Stock named the world 72

kholm has been d’s smartest city. 73

Stockholm won the prize for the world’s smartest city during the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona last month. he World Smart City Awards seek to reward pioneering projects, ideas and strategies that promote sustainable urban development around the globe. Stockholm’s leadership in the


EU-funded Smart Cities project, GrowSmarter, was the deciding factor for the city to take home the award. Gustaf Landahl, Project Coordinator for GrowSmarter and Head of Department for Planning and Environment in the Environment and Health Administration at the City of

Find out more about GrowSmarter



Stockholm, said, “As a representative of the City of Stockholm and also the GrowSmarter project, this award acknowledges what we have done in Stockholm for many years.” GrowSmarter’s project coordination team, Gustaf Landahl, Lisa Enarsson and Sigrid Granström, all received the award during the ceremony on behalf of the City of Stockholm. Upon which, Gustaf thanked the staff in Stockholm and the cities of Cologne and Barcelona for their partnership as Lighthouse Cities in GrowSmarter.

The group added, “Stockholm is proof of what a connected, smart and sustainable city is. Winning the World Smart City Award is a testament to the huge journey we have been on both in the GrowSmarter project and in the City as a whole. That journey is neverending, but GrowSmarter has taken us an important step on the way.” This year, more than 450 nominations were made from 54 different countries. The award is divided into seven categories and

the city award is given to a city with global strategies combining project initiatives and policy implementations for their citizens. The other finalists in the city category were Bristol (UK), Curitiba (Brazil), Montevideo (Uruguay), Seoul (South Korea) and Tehran (Iran). Stockholm has been leading the GrowSmarter project since the beginning of 2015. The project is funded by the European Union through the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, and

brings together cities and industry to integrate and demonstrate ‘12 smart city solutions’ in energy, infrastructure and transport. GrowSmarter has renovated more than 130,000m² in energy-efficient ways, deployed 72 sustainable vehicles, as well as been involved in initiating a host of other new ways to improve sustainability in its Lighthouse Cities. The project is set to present its results at a final conference in Stockholm early this month. 77

WATCH Highlights FROM THE Smart City Expo World Congress 2019


With over 20,000 participants from all around the world, the Smart City Expo World Congress is Europe’s largest Smart City conference, acting as a forum in which to exchange ideas about smart cities and innovations of the future. Since its first edition in 2011, it has succeeded in becoming a referential global event to support the development of our cities. The aim for the next Smart City Expo World Congress is to continue to

go in-depth into the debate about the challenges our cities face, as well as look at exciting new trends and developments, with an emphasis on the citizens of these cities. For further information, visit To find out more about the GrowSmarter project, visit




Europe has been trialling experimental Seabins for the last couple of years in a bid to save our oceans, with the first solar-powered version launched in Malta this year.




heir main purpose is to clean up the waste polluting oceans and fresh water sources, killing marine life and posing numerous health risks to the human population. Using technology to tackle the problem, Seabins have been designed to be used near ports, marinas and yacht clubs. Founded by Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinksi, the project aims to find a solution to reducing the plastics in our oceans that is practical, tangible and inexpensive. The Seabin is a small machine that can fit into any corner of a marina without taking up too much space. It traditionally runs on power coming from a shore-based water pump, which creates a flow of water into the bin, bringing rubbish and debris, which is caught in a natural fibre catchbag. The water is sucked up the water pump and then pumped back out into the sea. There is also an option of fitting an oil/water separator into the system, and it is worth noting that fish are safe from being sucked in. CEO Pete Ceglinski explained, “The Seabin is like a floating trash

can. We put it in the water at marinas and we pull water in from the top and pump it out the bottom. Then we filter the debris. The filters are fine mesh and polypropylene plastics, so we are essentially using (recycled) plastic to catch plastics. With the current filter we are using, we are catching micro-plastics up to 2mm in size. We have developed a filter using finer mesh to catch micro-fibres, so stuff you cannot see with the naked eye. You need a microscope. That’s something we have under development.” After years of testing, Europe’s first solar-powered Seabin was installed this summer in Malta’s Spinola Bay, St Julian’s, collecting micro-plastics and other rubbish from the shoreline 24 hours a day. The bin is estimated to



containers will not fit inside, but they are kept against the side of the Seabin due to the inflow of water



containers fit inside the Seabin catchbag


shopping bags is what the Seabin can catch per year



11,900 plastic bottle is what the Seabin can catch per year

600ml water bottles is what the Seabin can catch per year

35,700 OIL

Seabins are capable of skimming surface oil and pollutants

Disposable cups is what the Seabin can catch per year

PLASTIC PARTICLES are the second most caught item in the Seabin

117,647 plastic utensils is what the Seabin can catch per year CIGARETTE BUTTS are the most common caught items in the Seabins MICRO-PLASTICS 2mm in size are caught in the Seabin MIRCO-FIBRES are now being successfully trialled using 2 stage 1:5 filters 85

Statistics as of November 2019. Taken from


collect around 500kg of debris each year from this busy area. The Seabin Project first started in Malta on the initiative of local company, Strand Marine, and environmental non-governmental organisation, Żibel. Completely self-sufficient through the use of solar panels, which operate the pump, the bins form part of a larger plan to tackle ocean plastics for the company. Matthew Travers Tauss, Director at Strand Marine, said, “The great thing about Seabins is that they collect debris which is hard to collect – like cigarette butts, micro-plastics and small fibres that are otherwise difficult for

people to collect during regular clean-ups. The one we installed in St Julian’s is version two of the original Seabin that was designed for marinas. This is the first solar panel version installed. We are very excited since this is a pilot project.” The pilot was undertaken together with local company, Prohealth, who allowed Strand Marine and Żibel to use their Seabin as a test. John Jaccarini, Executive Director of Prohealth, said that the Seabin fits in with the company’s vision to help safeguard the environment. He said, “The sea is critical. We realised this from our personal experiences that there is a lot of rubbish in our seas. When we heard about the Seabin Project, we contacted Strand Marine. St Julian’s was chosen because it brings about lots of pollution.”


St Julian’s mayor, Albert Buttigieg, added that the large influx of people in St Julian’s generate a lot of rubbish and this is an example of how businesses could contribute to keeping the area clean. It is anticipated that further solarpowered Seabins will be installed in Europe, and that other companies will be inspired to take steps in order to protect the environment. The bin is cleaned every two days, and from the collection, data can be gathered on what can be found in our seas. The project has evolved over the years into a comprehensive research, technology and educational initiative with global interest and reach. The designers are currently working on tweaking the product to make it even more sustainable and to reduce its carbon footprint as much as possible. Pete Ceglinksi added, “The technology is quite simple and it is very adaptable. By 2027, we aim to be offshore.” It is hoped that sustainable Seabins will soon be widely accepted, leading to further innovations in making our planet a cleaner place. For more information, visit


Pete Ceglinski, CEO



Gartner’s top 10 str trends set to drive si and opportu


rategic technology ignificant disruption unity in 2020.



HYPER -AUTOMATION Automation uses technology to automate tasks that once required humans, while hyperautomation deals with the application of advanced technologies, including AI and ML, to increasingly automate processes and augment humans. Hyperautomation extends across a range of tools that can be automated, but also refers to the sophistication of the automation (i.e. discover, analyse, design, automate, measure, monitor, reassess). As no single tool can replace humans, hyperautomation today involves a combination of tools, including robotic process automation (RPA), intelligent business management software (iBPMS) and AI, with a goal of increasingly AI-driven decision making. Although not the main goal, hyperautomation often results in the creation of a digital twin of the organisation (DTO), allowing organisations to visualise how functions, processes and key performance indicators interact to drive value. The DTO then becomes an integral part of the hyperautomation process, providing real-time, continuous intelligence about the organisation and driving significant business opportunities.




MULTIEXPERIENCE Multiexperience replaces technology-literate people with people-literate technology. In this trend, the traditional idea of a computer evolves from a single point of interaction to include multisensory and multi-touchpoint interfaces like wearables and advanced computer sensors. For example, Domino’s Pizza created an experience beyond app-based ordering that includes autonomous vehicles, a pizza tracker and smart speaker communications. In the future, this trend will become what’s called an ambient experience, but currently multiexperience focuses on immersive experiences that use AR, VR, mixed reality, multichannel humanmachine interfaces and sensing technologies. The combination of these technologies can be used for a simple AR overlay or a fully immersive VR experience.



DEMOCRATISATION Democratisation of technology means providing people with easy access to technical or business expertise without extensive (and costly) training. It focuses on four key areas – application development, data and analytics, design and knowledge – and is often referred to as ‘citizen access’, which has led to the rise of citizen data scientists, citizen programmers and more. For example, democratisation would enable developers to generate data models without having the skills of a data scientist. They would instead rely on AI-driven development to generate code and automate testing.




OR 2020


HUMAN AUGMENTATION Human augmentation is the use of technology to enhance a person’s cognitive and physical experiences. Physical augmentation changes an inherent physical capability by implanting or hosting a technology within or on the body. For example, the automotive or mining industries use wearables to improve worker safety. In other industries, such as retail and travel, wearables are used to increase worker productivity. Physical augmentation falls into four main categories: sensory augmentation (hearing, vision, perception), appendage and biological function augmentation (exoskeletons, prosthetics), brain augmentation (implants to treat seizures), and genetic augmentation (somatic gene and cell therapy). AI and ML are increasingly used to make decisions in place of humans. Cognitive augmentation enhances a human’s ability to think and make better decisions, for example, exploiting information and applications to enhance learning or new experiences.



TRANSPARENCY AND TRACEABILITY The evolution of technology is creating a trust crisis. As consumers become more aware of how their data is being collected and used, organisations are also recognising the increasing liability of storing and gathering the data. Additionally, AI and ML are increasingly used to make decisions in place of humans, evolving the trust crisis and driving the need for ideas like explainable AI and AI governance. This trend requires a focus on six key elements of trust: ethics, integrity, openness, accountability, competence and consistency. Legislation, like the European Union’s GDPR, is being enacted around the world, driving evolution and laying the ground rules for organisations.




OR 2020


THE EMPOWERED EDGE Edge computing is a topology where information processing and content collection and delivery are placed closer to the sources of the information, with the idea that keeping traffic local and distributed will reduce latency. This includes all the technology on the IoT. Empowered edge looks at how these devices are increasing and forming the foundations for smart spaces, and moves key applications and services closer to the people and devices that use them. By 2023, there could be more than 20 times as many smart devices at the edge of the network as in conventional IT roles.



THE DISTRIBUTED CLOUD Distributed cloud refers to the distribution of public cloud services to locations outside the cloud provider’s physical data centres, but which are still controlled by the provider. In distributed cloud, the cloud provider is responsible for all aspects of cloud service architecture, delivery, operations, governance and updates. The evolution from centralised public cloud to distributed public cloud ushers in a new era of cloud computing. Distributed cloud allows data centres to be located anywhere. This solves both technical issues like latency and also regulatory challenges like data sovereignty. It also offers the benefits of a public cloud service alongside the benefits of a private, local cloud.




AUTONOMOUS THINGS Autonomous things, which include drones, robots, ships and appliances, exploit AI to perform tasks usually done by humans. This technology operates on a spectrum of intelligence, ranging from semiautonomous to fully autonomous, and across a variety of environments including air, sea and land. While currently autonomous things mainly exist in controlled environments, they will eventually evolve to include open public spaces. Autonomous things will also move from standalone to collaborative swarms, such as the drone swarms used during the Winter Olympic Games in 2018. However, autonomous things cannot replace the human brain, and operate most effectively with a narrowly defined, well-scoped purpose.



PRACTICAL BLOCKCHAIN Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger, an expanding chronologically ordered list of cryptographically signed, irrevocable transactional records shared by all participants in a network. Blockchain allows parties to trace assets back to their origin, which is beneficial for traditional assets, but also paves the way for other uses, such as tracing food-borne illnesses back to the original supplier. It also allows two or more parties who don’t know each other to safely interact in a digital environment and exchange value without the need for a centralised authority. In the future, true blockchain or ‘blockchain complete’ will have the potential to transform industries, and eventually the economy, as complementary technologies such as AI and the IoT begin to integrate alongside it. This expands the type of participants to include machines, which will be able to exchange a variety of assets, from money to real estate. For example, a car would be able to negotiate insurance prices directly with the insurance company based on data gathered by its sensors.

To access Gartner’s full report, visit 100


AI SECURITY Evolving technologies such as hyperautomation and autonomous things offer transformational opportunities in the business world. However, they also create security vulnerabilities in new potential points of attack. Security teams must therefore address these challenges and be aware of how AI will impact the security space. AI security has three key perspectives: 1. Protecting AI-powered systems (securing AI training data, training pipelines and ML models) 2. Leveraging AI to enhance security defence (using ML to understand patterns, uncover attacks and automate parts of the cybersecurity processes) 3. Anticipating nefarious use of AI by attackers (identifying attacks and defending against them). 101


START-UP OF THE MONTH Distributed P2P logistics network, MuleChain, is launching its MuleDelivery app, a decentralised peer-to-peer logistics platform.


uleChain enables the transportation of products and valuable items to their destinations with as close to zero risk as possible. The P2P delivery networks can help millions within the new sharing economy, especially by enabling the creation of postal services where there are none. The company intends to create a new gig-economy, run on robust blockchain technology, in the shipping, delivery and warehouse service industries. According to MuleChain, it will be the catalyst that allows:

• Millions of entrepreneurs to work for themselves on a decentralised P2P logistics network


• Postal delivery services to operate in places where they do not yet exist • The use of existing capacities to ensure the growth of a sustainable logistics industry • Public transport services to become job providers for the unemployed Johan Ström, Director EMEA MuleChain Inc, said, “Global ecommerce sales are set to grow at a fast pace over the next couple of years and that cross-border trade will grow twice as fast as domestic trade. Imagine the number of deliveries to highly-populated areas when urbanisation is going in the same direction. The most efficient way of finding capacity is using an underutilised, existing one.

MuleChain uses its own language to describe the various roles on the platform: • Requesters are individuals that

“With five million rides daily, the London underground reaches 270 stations. If you were to hand every passenger a 3lb package, you would be able to distribute a capacity equal to 265 40ft containers. This is one city, and only one mode of transport. If we add pedestrians, taxis, bicycle commuters etc, the potential is enormous.”

need to move an item from point A to point B. They are able to set the price they are willing to pay for the delivery service. • MulePals are the shipping and delivery service providers. MulePals can be travellers, commuters or professional logistics service providers. • PackStations serve as relay stations and warehouses for items en route to their destination. MuleChain gives independent individuals the opportunity to use their unused living space as such. • MuleRanchers are self-serving entrepreneurs that build the network and provide education to its ranch. PackStation owners and MulePals keep 95 per cent of the earnings and the usage fee is split between the MuleRanchers and MuleChain service bureau.

For further information on MuleChain, visit


Merry Christmas from the Digital Innovation team

Profile for Digital Innovation

Digital Innovation Magazine - December 2019  

Our all-singing-all-dancing December issue is packed full of intriguing features and news stories, from our lead interview with Asda Logisti...

Digital Innovation Magazine - December 2019  

Our all-singing-all-dancing December issue is packed full of intriguing features and news stories, from our lead interview with Asda Logisti...