Issue 6 | July ’19
DRIVING DIGITAL CHANGE
Andrew Falvey and the DVLA team on how the UK’s motoring authority is setting a new technology standard
The ongoing data privacy challenge
3D PRINTING Making its mark in enterprise
Facebook to launch Libra digital currency in 2020
Facebook has confirmed it will launch a cryptocurrency called Libra, which will be rolled out in 2020. The first product Calibra will introduce is a digital wallet for Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology. The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app. Facebook says it will allow users to send payments to each other at â€œlittle to no costâ€?. (18/06/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read.
A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals. DIGITAL BULLETIN
Andrew Falvey - our cover star this month - and his colleagues at the DVLA are on a mission. “We want to be seen as an innovative part of government, one of the places that is seen as responsive to change and moving with the times,” Falvey emphasises in Digital Bulletin’s newest case study. Public sector organisations are sometimes viewed as the opposite. But recognised as a digital leader within the UK government, the DVLA - the country’s motoring authority - is setting a new benchmark with its comprehensive technology transformation. By visiting its headquarters in Swansea, Wales, the Digital Bulletin team saw the activation of this ambitious strategy first-hand - and left in no doubt that it holds the sense of purpose and determination required to carry through with its plans. Read from page 8 to discover how Falvey and an army of in-house IT specialists are overhauling their systems and reskilling their workforce to meet the demands of the digital era, all with the aim of delivering an unrivalled service to its huge range of users. There is a diverse range of subjects covered throughout this month’s pages. For example, the Baker Hughes feature demonstrates why technology innovation is king and how one small idea can result in massive gains for multinationals. Its story of IoT discovery is a fascinating one. We are also delighted to revisit the topic of GDPR in this edition, just over a year since its well-publicised enforcement. Blancco’s Fredrik Forslund offers his views on the long road to data privacy while Neil Evans, CTO at Macro 4, discusses how blockchain use cases may need to be reimagined to comply with the legislation. Elsewhere, we have insights on AI’s role in site testing, the expert view on why 3D printing is emerging as an essential technique for manufacturers, plus much more. We hope you enjoy the read.
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TA L K T O U S
PU B LI S H I N G
M E D I A PRO D U CT I O N
D I G I TA L M A R K E T I N G
Digital Bulletin speaks to DVLA’s John Hewson about the organisation’s technology transformation
Technology driving excellence
32 Data & Security
The road to data privacy
Emanuele Angelidis Why CEOs must embrace change
Powering websites the world over
Scaling innovative IoT
An essential part of Industry 4.0?
72 Events The biggest and best technology events for your diary
Evolv Technologies AIâ€™s transformative role in testing
80 The Closing Bulletin
An exclusive column from Macro 4â€™s Neil Evans
DVLA T E C H N O LO GY
DRIVING E XCELLENCE A dynamic approach to technology and culture is seeing the DVLA set the benchmark for digital in the United Kingdomâ€™s public sector. Digital Bulletin visited its Swansea base to learn more about a transformation project with people at its heart
AUTHOR: BEN MOUNCER PRODUCED BY: RICHARD DURRANT VIDEOGRAPHY: MATTHEW TRETT PHOTOGRAPHY: DIMITRIS LEGAKIS DIGITAL BULLETIN
echnology might be held aloft as the great change enabler of the enterprise world, but business leaders also emphasise the crucial role of technologyâ€™s own enabler: people. In fact, the symbiosis of technology and people is commonly regarded as the catalyst for fulfilling an organisationâ€™s potential in this era of relentless change. In the future, one simply wonâ€™t thrive without the other. Strategy teams all over are working hard to extract the most from their technology and their people. Obstacles like a widening skills gap, the cost of technology investment and the sheer rate of change are testing those decision-makers intent on bringing structures and staff up to speed. The DVLA has faced each of these challenges and, as a public sector organisation in the United Kingdom, Issue 6
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plenty more to boot. But with clearlydefined pathways for both technology and people, it looks set to deliver a new standard for customers and employees. *** There’s no getting away from it - the civil service struggles with image. Viewed by some members of the public as slowpaced and overly bureaucratic, it is easy to make lazy assumptions about administrative bodies like the DVLA. A government arm responsible for managing the 38.2 million licenced vehicles on the UK’s roads, the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency is a critical function. And with around 90% of the country’s adult population interacting with the DVLA over matters of vehicle registration, driver licensing and taxation, it has a unique relationship with its customers. “Our feedback from customers basically says: ‘We don’t actually want to deal with the DVLA, we deal with them because we know we have to’,” admits John Hewson, Common Services Manager. The organisation, however, is on a mission to shatter any myths around its reputation and how it works. It is currently in the middle of a deep transformation programme centred on technology infrastructure and the skills of its workforce. Andrew Falvey, Commercial Director, is one of the drivers behind what is a forwardthinking, innovative operation. “I think that change is constant in
this place,” he tells Digital Bulletin from the DVLA’s Swansea headquarters. “The myth that we’re a fairly slowmoving, supertanker of a public sector organisation - anybody that works here will tell you that’s just not true. This place changes all the time; structures change, teams change on a regular basis and it’s very proactive.” *** In order to satisfy its enormous customer base - it processes over one billion interactions each year, 96.1% of them online - the DVLA relies on a workforce of 6,000 and an IT setup that must not only support internal demand but also underpin a growing number of digital services. From a front-end perspective, web users have access to a host of services that enable them to process transactions digitally, saving them time and money. However, while customer feedback on user experience has been extremely positive, the DVLA is having to refactor its back-end architecture to futureproof these services. “Whilst I think we get a fair bit of praise for our front-end services, the truth is that our back-end legacy systems are old,” explains Falvey. “Right now, change is difficult. It’s slow, it’s expensive. Your address, for example, is in multiple places on our system record. That can’t be right - your address should be in one place and you should be able to see that address to check or amend it online.”
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The transition to a more suitable infrastructure is part of its long-term ‘DVLA IT Strategy’. Over the course of a three-year period, it is aiming to move the majority of its workloads away from these legacy systems and onto a hybrid cloud-based, open standards-driven framework. “Our journey is to be taking these big monolithic systems and deconstruct them into open-source, looselycoupled, API and cloud-first solutions so that we can still deliver the same functionality but at significantly
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faster agility and lower cost to the organisation and ergo, the taxpayer,” outlines Dave Perry, who held the post of Chief Technology Officer until earlier this year. An important lead-in project for this technology change has been a lengthy piece of work that involved Perry and his team working alongside the Operational and Customer Services team to map the DVLA’s services and their subcomponents in painstaking detail. By bringing operational and IT colleagues together the teams were
Technology underpins a lot of what we do, but really what we’re thinking about is the skills we need for the people in the future” Andrew Falvey
able to forge a series of high level service maps describing the user needs as well as the technology choices required, aligned to the overall strategic vision. The maps included more than 720 features and in excess of 1,800 dependencies, figures that offer some context to the scale of transformation work undertaken. “We worked out there’s about 20,000 function points, or if you turn that into days of effort, roughly about 365 years of days of development that’s needed in order to refactor all of that code into the open source,”
says Perry. Falvey expands: “We’ve got a very clear picture of all our services in terms of what the component elements to them are and what their interactions are with our systems. It might sound simple but it’s been a huge piece of work and it will give us a blueprint to use in future transformations.” The end result of this technological journey looks set to be an unrivalled infrastructure when compared to other government bodies. Held up often as a public sector leader in the digital arena,
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We’re using new technologies, we’re doing cutting-edge proof-of-concept work, we’re giving particularly technical people and delivery people some of the most interesting and wide -ranging projects to work on ”
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the DVLA will be keen for this target architecture - which also incorporates advanced automation and a secureby-design security practice - to further boost that reputation. *** Nearly four years ago, the DVLA made a significant change to the way it did IT: it began the process of insourcing its talent after decades of operating with an outsourced model. Today it employs 700 specialist IT workers, over half of whom are technical engineers with hands-on roles that stretch right across the technology spectrum. Not only has the headcount increased exponentially, but also the DVLA’s approach to development and implementation is at the cuttingedge, incorporating the very latest agile methodology and innovative deployment of its skilled IT workers. “We’ve thought about how we shape our IT structures,” says Falvey. “We’ve worked in an agile development way for years; agile is almost getting old hat now, frankly, but the way we do development has changed. We’ve also looked at the way we marshal our resources; we have squads and we work in a squad structure. “The idea here is a build-and-run idea, so the teams that build a product will manage and run the product after. It’s not a case of build it and then throw it over the fence to somebody else. That is creative thinking about how we work and the way we’re structured.”
In partnership The DVLA is responsible for ensuring that each vehicle on the United Kingdom’s roads has Vehicle Excise Duty, commonly called road tax.
To limit duty evasion to under 1% the DVLA operates a nationwide enforcement
network and it partners with NSL, a specialist service provider, in this area. NSL won a new five-year contract in February.
“NSL has always met its targets and delivered what we’ve asked of them. But
beyond that, in terms of the relationship, we know we can pick the phone up and
sort any problems out,” says Ian Broom, Head of Case Work and Enforcement, DVLA. “It has been massively supportive if we want to do significant media campaigns, in particular UK Cities for example - we’ve just finished one programme of that. “The new contract with NSL has seen some major innovations in terms of its IT
offering, specifically relating to the accessibility of data in a timely manner. This will really help the DVLA move forward.”
The DVLA processes over one billion transactions every year 15 Issue 6
Empowering public policy NSL is part of Marston Holdings, provider of transportation and enforcement services to public sector bodies. Through our broad range of services, we are supporting local authorities in addressing their transportation challenges and supporting the exploration of Clean Air Zones, and we will continue to support all of our public sector clients in implementing public policy to the benefit of all. We provide frontline, back office and customer support services to design and manage places used by the public and provide national enforcement expertise at our borders and infrastructure. With over 4,200 colleagues in 200 locations across the UK we serve over 150 clients and 20 million citizens. In Local Government NSL helps clients deliver joined up front line and supporting back office services 16 to the community. DIGITAL BULLETIN
This is centred within highways and the transport related activities of enforcement and associated services. In Central Government we work in partnership with the DVLA to tackle Vehicle Tax Evasion across the UK. (See info graphic). We also work with Transport for London to help license and audit taxis across Greater London, and we also operate the Department for Transport Dartford Tolling processing. We work with Heathrow Airport to transport passengers, and our call centres handle over 750,000 calls a year, and process payments on behalf of our clients. NSL also provides comprehensive transport planning, development management, policy development and area strategies for local government, developers and transport service providers.
TAKE ENFORCEMENT ACTION AGAINST OVER
VEHICLES A YEAR WORKED WITH THE DVLA SINCE 2006
ENFORCE AGAINST MOTORCYCLES, CARS, AND COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
VISIT ALL UK POSTCODES ANNUALLY
WORK WITH THE POLICE AND OTHER ENFORCEMENT BODIES IN JOINT OPERATIONS TO IMPROVE ROAD SAFETY AND PROTECT THE COMMUNITY
UTILISE A FLEET OF 160 TRUCKS AND VEHICLES
TO IDENTIFY NONCOMPLIANT VEHICLES
EMPLOY COLLEAGUES ACROSS UK TO DELIVER SERVICE
www.nsl.co.uk Issue 6
Eliott Brown, Head of IT Strategy and Planning, is a leader of this technology function and believes that, while system availability of the DVLA’s critical national infrastructure remains paramount - it achieved 99.84% availability last year this fertile development environment is a standout strength for the organisation. “What we aim to do is give people interesting things to do,” he explains. “We’re using new technologies, we’re doing cutting-edge proof-of-concept work, we’re giving particularly technical people and delivery people some of the most interesting and wide-ranging projects to work on that pretty much touch every household in the UK. We’re unrivalled in terms of scale, we’re unrivalled in terms of reach and the opportunities we can give people are massive.” Attracting the right talent in an increasingly diverse technology jobs market remains a complex challenge for the DVLA. Staggering numbers related to the digital skills gap have made headlines in recent months; the European Commission predicts that 760,000 IT jobs in Europe will be unfilled in 2020, while the World Economic Forum says 133 million new roles will be generated globally by 2022 as a result of the division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms. This drastically changing workforce is evidently a problem on a macro level - and can be seen on a micro level
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at the DVLA. Add in factors such as its standing as a publically-funded body and the proximity of its headquarters in south Wales - 300km away from the technology hub of central London - and it’s easy to see why talent is a priority at board level. Consequently, special measures have been taken in this area. People attraction and retention is one of the key tenets of the DVLA’s overarching IT strategy, as well as the upskilling of current employees. It has built a catalogue of on-demand online training courses while strengthening its collaborations with education establishments around Swansea. This includes tie-ups with both Swansea University, where it has funded a Foundation Degree Programme in Computer Science, and the University of Wales Trinity St David. It also has relationships with local colleges and schools, including the recently launched ‘Code Club’ initiative that is encouraging school-age children to take an active interest in coding. This collective effort has the DVLA recognised as a government ‘Centre of Digital Excellence’. “We want to show students that actually, don’t get qualified in Swansea and shoot off to London to work - you can get a really good job in Swansea doing really interesting stuff,” Falvey states. “You can spend a couple of years working in the DVLA and then perhaps move on, or perhaps you’ll stay here?
Andrew Falvey on... DVLA and the future of mobility “We think about it a lot, as you can imagine. At the moment, principally, it’s around the vehicle side rather than the driver. The reason I say the vehicle side is because autonomous and connected vehicles are starting to become more prevalent. “The DVLA is fundamentally a register of vehicles, so the information we hold today doesn’t hold things like software versions of a vehicle. In the future, for example, we would need to hold the software version of a vehicle so that there’s a single repository in the event of an incident or an accident. “On the driver side, driver licensing as we know it today could fundamentally change, couldn’t it? Today, your license is a person. In the future, it might be that you simply need biometrics. If the vehicle recognises you, the vehicle will know whether you’re able to drive it or not. The vehicle is effectively recognising you as a driver. What we’re going to think about is how drivers will be licensed in the future and how set up we are for that.”
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We could be seen as an aid to the motorist, rather than an organisation that collects money from youâ€? John Hewson
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The digital skills academy that we’re working on, which is the brand that we’re using, is a very important part of what we’re doing to try and grow our own talent in digital skills.” Brown adds: “We see investing in people as absolutely at the heart of what we’re trying to achieve and it’s a long-term strategy. We’re not trying to throw money at problems in order to just get people through the door. By investing in the local community, we know that over two, three, five and ten years, we’ll create a sustainable pool of digital talent.” *** The entire DVLA transformation programme is clearly designed to empower both its employees and customers. “We fully recognise that this is not just about technology,” outlines Falvey. “Technology underpins a lot of what we do, but really what we’re thinking about is the skills we need for the people in the future. In the next five years, what is this business going to look like? What sort of skills are we going to need outside of IT? I think that’s a key thought provoker for us as an executive team. “There’s a great deal of facilities for staff to try and make this place a great place to work. We want DVLA to be seen as not just a stepping stone for careers but actually a great place to work, and we talk about that a lot.”
Customer centrality is being driven by the ultimate goal of offering a single point of access for the end user, to manage everything from licensing to taxation in one place. Falvey wants the DVLA to be defined as a ‘motoring hub’, which could, in the end, incorporate a far broader range of motoring services. “We can see the way motoring services are offered in the future changing substantially,” he admits. “If we can create an account where everything to do with the DVLA, and potentially even parking and other things, are paid for via that account, and actually helping the customer do things more easily, we could be seen as an aid to the motorist, rather than an organisation that collects money from you,” adds Hewson. From a holistic perspective, the DVLA - which marks its 50th birthday this year - wants to be defined by its work with technology and people. “We have a vision of where we want to get to, we have a clear transformation programme,” concludes Falvey. “We want to be seen as an innovative part of government, one of the places that is seen as responsive to change and moving with the times.”
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An IoT pilot that started Leicester, UK, is being r Hughes’ global infrastru the project tell Digita
n the world of enterprise technology, it can be easy to become blasé about big figures. Nobody bats an eyelid at billiondollar deals, even when they’re being made for companies that have never turned a profit. It can be a puzzling landscape, where only transactions of eight figures plus make people sit up and take notice. But behind the numbers, there is still
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d off in a squash club in rolled out across Baker ucture. The men behind al Bulletin their story...
ES HENDERSON room for marginal gains to be made, which rolled-out across an organisation can quickly add up. Around a year ago, Mihran Hovnanian, CIO of Baker Hughes’ Measurement & Control Solutions division, began to collate a list of what he calls ‘unreliabilities’ of assets, essentially measuring how many hours of downtime pieces of machinery register each year. The results were not
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particularly encouraging. “We found some assets with 4,000 hours downtime per year,” he says, “and before you try to start working it out, there are 9,000 hours in a year.” Hovnanian recounts that in this scenario machines are fixed, and the recommendation is that the machines are digitalised to provide live information, so that teams can react more quickly to faults. “But as a multi-national company, we have over 100 factories globally and thousands and thousands of machines – I can’t go around detailing all of them,” he says. “So, we started to think that there should be a method to digitalise
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in a self-service way. We need a level of simplicity where you don’t need a load of technical skills to do things. That’s where Nick came in and did something really beautiful.” Nick Clark is GE Measurement & Control Solutions’ Global Commercial SAP Implementation Leader. He is also a long-time user and committee member of a local squash club close to GE’s facility in Leicester, UK. Clark saw it as a perfect testing ground for a small pilot project, using a Raspberry Pi, circuit board and $1 thermostat to monitor the club’s commercial hot water system supplying approximately 50 shower
No digital team is going to get out of bed for $1,000 so this whole self-service digitalisation could really make a difference” Mihran Hovnanian uses per day. The overall cost of the unit was less than $50. The kit monitored four temperature sensors and one pressure sensor, and found cylinder temperatures fell considerably overnight, large pressure variations and that the boiler ran for five or six hours in the morning but never reached full output temperature. Information was transmitted over WiFi to a website every 10 minutes. Using the data, Clark was able to make a number of fixes meaning good overall pressure control, only a slight decrease in cylinder temperature overnight and the boiler running for just half an hour in the morning to reach full
output temperature. Since the changes, the club has seen its annual bill for the system fall $960 a year – a saving of 32%. “No digital team is going to get out of bed for $1,000 so this whole self-service digitalisation could really make a difference,” says Hovnanian. “Currently if you went off-the-shelf to buy this equipment you’d have to have programming skills and know what platform. “But our self-service systems allow our facilities managers to request these units and then monitor whatever they want. We send these boxes out and the supply chain teams monitor
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AT&T and HPE team up to accelerate edge computing
AT&T has teamed up with HPE to accelerate edge computing. AT&T and HPE are working with enterprises to deliver proofs-of-concept in a number of categories including IoT, machine learning and AR. â€œBringing compute power closer to our network helps businesses push the boundaries of what is possible and create innovative new solutions, said Mo Katibeh, CMO, AT&T Business. (21/06/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.
What we have demonstrated is that it is possible to make an open system at low cost which people can use” Nick Clark
temperatures, moisture and all sorts of things and they are able to get a lot of data back and improve their systems.” So far, Baker Hughes has been able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars using the equipment, with the figure soon to surpass the million-dollar mark. And this has all been achieved with minimal input from the company’s IT team. Over the next 12 months, the technology will be applied to another 20,000 assets across the Baker Hughes network. Clark says the drive to develop and implement the original pilot came from a belief that for a very minimal investment, companies can monitor “any number of variables”. “What we have demonstrated is that it
is possible to make an open system at low cost which people can use. With the planned development of the app to set up the devices, we want it to be accessible from both a financial and technology perspective,” he comments. “In the original project, we were able to highlight three or four significant improvements for a very small outlay, and the club’s reduction in gas use is positive from both a financial and environmental perspective. “The opportunity is there for companies; just building on this example, if you are responsible for the running of any sort of premise, be it a hotel, a shop or any facility, if someone said that for a few hundred dollars, you might be able to reduce your energy bill
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by a third then that would be a fairly big incentive.” The effort to produce accessible and affordable technologies comes from a desire to “democratise IoT”, a phrase that both Clark and Hovnanian mention more than once. “Over the next decade, IoT systems will sprout and people will make billions out of it, as opposed to currently where people are selling IoT equipment to geeks like me,” laughs Hovnanian. “In the future, you might have a greenhouse that you’d like to monitor for light levels, heat and moisture. “You can’t do that currently unless you have a lot of techy knowledge, but not too long from now you’ll be able to do that without any skills, and that’s at the heart of what we’re doing. This is something that the world is hungry for, cheap IoT for people with no technical skills is coming. I call this the ‘people’s IoT’.” Hovnanian takes his car to illustrate his point. “I drive a 1971 Lancia Stratos; I do about 6,000 miles a year in it and it would be handy for me to digitalise it so that the basic temperature, oil and tyre pressure can be put into an IoT system, which would allow me to optimise my car every now and again,” he says. “I could also share that data with other Lancia drivers, who would be happy to receive that information. At the moment, it would cost around £3-4k including resource and time to do this. If I could do it for less than £200 and it
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This is something that the world is hungry for, cheap IoT for people with no technical skills is coming” Mihran Hovnanian
would send the data straight through my phone onto a central platform, I would do it in a heartbeat.” He describes this idea as being like “social media for IoT” and points to fitness apps like Strava where runners or cyclists share their data with each other. “There needs to be a social media for machines out there, and one of the questions is whether one giant like a Facebook will come along and do that or if it will be more fragmented, with niche networks,” Hovnanian comments. “Some data you are very happy to
share – I’m sure Nick doesn’t mind if people look at the figures from his boiler, so therefore he might classify his information as public. The information that is being sent over the internet is not in any way of a sensitive nature, nobody is going to care about the temperature of the water heater. “People might then contact him to say they also have a boiler they’ve managed to optimise, and people will begin sharing their stories of how they maintained their machines. That is where a social media aspect becomes really interesting.”
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DATA & SECURITY
AND THE ROAD TO DATA PRIVACY More than a year since General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became enforceable, companies remain at the beginning of their data privacy journeys. That’s the view of Fredrik Forslund, VP at data erasure leader Blancco
AUTHOR: BEN MOUNCER
ts purpose was long debated. Its arrival was highly anticipated. GDPR’s true effectiveness, however, is still to become clear. May 25th, 2018 was a milestone date in the enterprise world as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation was finally implemented. A group of 99 articles welded together to deliver comprehensive data protection to EU individuals, GDPR’s resultant impact on the data management policies of businesses was inevitable. The legislation came under an DIGITAL BULLETIN
unprecedented amount of scrutiny from the point when root-and-branch overhaul of data protection rules was recommended by the European Commission in 2012. In the intervening six years, business leaders, EU officials and a broad spectrum of different voices argued and counter-argued about the virtues of this hugely significant regulatory step. Over the past 12 months, the noise has steadily receded. Technology leaders are adapting to the new frameworks around which they’ve had to build their data practices. But are industry
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DATA & SECURITY
and GDPR now happy bedfellows? Fredrik Forslund, VP of Enterprise & Cloud Erasure Solutions at Blancco, is adamant that the relationships between businesses and their datasets are far too complex for a line to be drawn under this subject any time soon. “We have just left the harbour! It’s a long journey,” Forslund tells Digital Bulletin. “I’d say that we are on one of those cruise ships that is never stopping; it is just going from port to port. It’s an ongoing journey that will be about increasing learnings and increasing guidance from the authorities on best practices. It has started yet it will remain with us.” Blancco, as a multinational with market leadership in data erasure, has been a first-hand witness to GDPR’s implementation and the subsequent shifts around enterprise data. Erasure is one of the key doctrines of GDPR - in fact, the ‘right to be forgotten’ has generated more public debate than most parts of the legislation. Businesses work with Blancco and its suite of services to guarantee the certified, secure and timely data erasure that GDPR demands. Referencing Blancco’s experiences with its own customers, Forslund believes that GDPR has helped to create more aligned data strategies that pinpoint to a brighter future. “I would say there is a more focused
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approach,” he says. “You might have had [data] knowledge within an organisation previously but it had not held the same priority. So I think, what we have seen very clearly, is more concise organisational structures and responsibilities. Not only do we have a new title in many organisations - Data Protection Officer - but also people have, in their formal job descriptions, responsibilities that might have been more informal recently. “I think we have also seen the enormous offerings of different courses, training and education. The whole industry has gone through an educational approach which has, of course, led to increased skill sets.” There’s no hiding from it - GDPR has been good for Blancco’s bottom line. Recent financial reports back up the business opportunities presented by its expertise in data management. One specific area of growth sprouting from GDPR has been data gap analyses. Gap analysis by this definition is about
The whole industry has gone through an educational approach which has, of course, led to increased skill sets” an organisation investigating its compliance with the updated rules. More and more companies have embarked on thorough gap analyses and the results have often led to the urgent need to cleanse their data. “Say that you are launching, as a multinational company, a GDPR project - in that project, the natural start is to do some kind of gap analysis. That will focus on your data lifecycle; how data is being managed, located, stored, backed up and who has access,”
explains Forslund. “We have seen a lot of these gap analyses finding data where it shouldn’t sit. There have been several copies and locations of sensitive information that should be managed in one place rather than in many places. Once that has been identified, you need processes and the ability to prove that you have taken the measures. Data erasure then comes in as a solution.” Similar examples have resulted in a proliferation of niche data companies able to offer a level of expertise that larger organisations simply can’t match. Big hitters now have no hesitation in collaborating with firms such as Blancco to ensure swift and continued compliance with legislation like GDPR. This is a market trend that Forslund - who previously launched his own startup in the shape of encryption specialist SafeIT Security, eventually incorporated by Blancco - has observed with interest and he is predicting there to be specific opportunities in the field of data policy. “There is a new breed of companies emerging that are focusing on providing the policy framework,” he says. “It could be the digital toolbox where you have, in a digital platform, templates or standard policies that are easy to roll out or organisational structures that make sure that you have
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AB InBev to open cybersecurity unit in Israel
A world-leading beer maker, AB InBev, is opening a cybersecurity unit in Israel to help protect itself from a growing number of attacks, according to Reuters. Speaking to the news agency, AB InBev’s Luis Veronesi said the industry was suffering from increased online attacks. “With increasing digitalisation, we have to be prepared to defend against anything coming,” he said. (17/06/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.
There is a new breed of companies emerging that are focusing on providing the policy framework”
a good chain of command. They are growing quite rapidly and getting good financing from venture capitalists. “We also see an uptick for encryption technologies; in fact, a general uptick for anyone that works in network protection. In the end, it’s the data breach on one end that we want to prevent and the other end is that we want to prevent misuse from the organisations themselves, having access to customer data. Anyone that has a value proposition that relates to one of those two basic aspects will see a surge in their business.” Forslund, closing in on 20 years at
Blancco, is recognised as an industry voice on GDPR and his viewpoints have been repeatedly published over the course of a career that has transitioned in parallel with the digital technologies creating a completely new environment dominated by data. Putting aside his interests with Blancco, Forslund has always tried to maintain a balanced opinion on the merits of GDPR. Its critics claim that the legislation has placed a harsh financial burden on companies and is unprepared for the scale of data that will be generated in a connected world. “If you take a big step back and look
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DATA & SECURITY
Data privacy is here to stay and trust is definitely a key aspect of doing long-term business in the digital economyâ€?
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at the process of how the legislation came into place, you will find several years of very strong debating, weighing up the pros and cons against each other, and very strong lobbying from industry against specific portions of GDPR. I’ve always tried to keep an objective mind and I could see both the pros and cons,” he comments. “It will increase costs for some organisations, significant costs. There are some business initiatives that might be located elsewhere because of that, because it’s considered a burden. But on the other hand, if we look at the positive side, GDPR also kicked off a global discussion and legislation trend.” Forslund expands on this point, highlighting other regions that have since followed the example set by the EU. Part of his role involves engaging with global clients and GDPR is more often than not on the agenda. “As soon as GDPR actually came into place, you have actually seen very similar initiatives taken by very important IT hubs and countries like India,” he adds. “We’ve had Thailand and the Philippines launch their own data privacy legislation and you’ve seen California take a big step forward as a state within the US framework, which is then setting the standard for the entire US market.
“GDPR created a global trend, so I think we will actually see a harmonisation around the world with more mature economies living up to similar standards or even developing it further. Data privacy is here to stay and trust is definitely a key aspect of doing long-term business in the digital economy.” In response to the doubts over the long-term adaptability of GDPR, Forslund believes that industry and government must work together to continually increase data expertise in a complex technology landscape. Blancco’s role will only grow in importance in this regard and in relation to its customers, with Forslund concluding: “If I just look at our different educational and awareness initiatives over the last few years, I think we as a company have been a lot more active in this arena. “It is of course something that relates to our normal business practices but also that there is a need. We’re moving towards a more complex environment; complex in technology and complex when it comes to compliance around rules and regulations. As complexity increases, you will see the end customers are leaning more heavily towards the suppliers and the partners that we use to get access to the market.”
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R E ADY
Excitement is building around the business possibilities offered by 3D printing. Paul Croft, Director at Ultimaker GB, tells Digital Bulletin how local manufacturing solutions are now more accessible than ever AUTHOR: BEN MOUNCER
iscourse on the future of manufacturing is dominated by technologies like advanced artificial intelligence, the
Internet of Things and robotics. The concept of 3D printing has been around far longer yet has remained in the background, sometimes perceived as a niche requirement for a small segment of industry. A technique first
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developed in the 1980s, it has operated steadily at the edge of the enterprise market for the last 30 years. Hardware and software developments in more recent times, however, mean that industrial 3D printing - or additive manufacturing - is appearing in many more use cases. Since 2013, corporate investment in 3D printing has increased each year, with the likes of GE and Siemens making their own financial bets on the technology. Paul Croft, as a Director for the UK arm of leading 3D printing hardware and software builder Ultimaker, has witnessed this upturn and believes we are now finally ready to realise 3D printing’s enterprise potential. “People who have been in the industry
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are starting to see where the value opportunities are,” he explains. “It’s no longer about prototyping. We’re now talking abundantly about tooling and manufacturing aids, and as a market profile that moves from billions to trillions. “You don’t have to go out and spend half a million quid on a big, metal 3D printer to say you’ve got a presence in 3D printing - actually you can invest £5k in a reliable piece of kit which allows you to develop an understanding of the benefits of additive manufacturing across your business-specific value chain. “People are seeing an ROI. It’s no longer research projects and speculations; it’s starting to have an impact in the design rooms, on the
We’re now talking abundantly about tooling and manufacturing aids, and as a market profile that moves from billions to trillions” conference floor and also importantly in the boardrooms, where people can see the impacts on profit and loss. That’s what is really driving the adoption.” Industries at the forefront of this adoption include automotive and aerospace, outlines Croft. Forbes, in a recent review from its Technology Council, pinpointed these two sectors along with a number of other areas ripe for 3D printing disruption, including construction, bioengineering and clothing and textiles. Croft speaks of a particular Ultimaker case study with Volkswagen to demonstrate his point; the largest automaker in the world has been exploring how 3D printing can drive efficiencies in its manufacturing plants.
“It started a pilot scheme looking at where it could reduce its tooling costs, or manufacturing aid costs, across the production line,” he reveals. “But from what started out as an initial research project, it went on to save 91% on tooling costs and 95% on its tool development time. “If you start applying those numbers to the numbers that Volkswagen is talking about, and it very quickly multiplies up to hundreds of thousands in savings. Then, if you then multiply that by the number of sites Volkswagen has globally for all of their different brands, then you’re talking millions and millions worth of savings with very little capital outlay.” On a similar scale in the aerospace industry, Ultimaker is now working with Airbus on manufacturing use cases across a number of its sites. But what are the solutions making \ such a difference for these wellestablished companies? Take the Ultimaker example; a company with resellers in over 50 countries and an open source community boasting more than 50,000 members, its range of hardware delivers 3D printing for the industrygrade materials required by the likes of Volkswagen and Airbus. It is through its Cura software, however, that Ultimaker is able to deliver such a compelling pitch to clients interested in incorporating additive manufacturing at scale. Once
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Samsung seeks collaborations on blockchain, AI and 6G
Jay Y. Lee, Samsungâ€™s vice chairman, has said that the company is seeking platform companies to collaborate with on blockchain, AI and 6G. Its future plans were discussed at an executive meeting last week, according to Bloomberg. The company is seeking new growth opportunities in an increasingly competitive marketplace. (17/06/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.
Do I think the skills are there? Yes I do. Do I think that those skills need tweaking and highlighting and aligning to the opportunities that are obvious to people who have been in this industry? Yes, 100%” the digital model for a product is drawn up, Cura translates that model into instructions for whichever 3D printer is being deployed. This capability opens up a broad market for Cura and Ultimaker. “In layman’s terms, Cura is effectively a set of coordinates with instructions accompanying it which instruct the printer where to deposit the material layer by layer, to build up the model that has been originally designed or scanned,” expands Croft. “It’s still, to this day, used by many of Ultimaker’s hardware competitors, which is a fantastic testimony to the power of the software. Last year, we were celebrating over one million unique users of Cura worldwide.” Leading hardware and software can only go so far in the hands of untrained workers, however. That is why Croft has been the driving force behind the ‘CREATE Education Project’, with Ultimaker building a collaborative
platform that provides resources and support to introduce 3D printing into classrooms. Aligned with the extensive support services offered to professionals out in the field - Ultimaker’s products come with lifetime technical support and customer service - and it’s clear that skilling today’s and tomorrow’s workforces in 3D printing is vital to its sustained adoption. “Do I think the skills are there? Yes I do. Do I think that those skills need tweaking and highlighting and aligning to the opportunities that are obvious to people who have been in this industry? Yes, 100%,” admits Croft. “3D printing can go straight into virtually any organisation that has engineering or manufacturing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they know how to get the optimum settings for the printer, for example. There are new sets of skills that a re developing on top of the ones
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PAUL CROFT ON … THE FOUR PILLARS OF 3D PRINTING ADOPTION “In terms of the strategy we would talk about four pillars being fundamental to the adoption of 3D printing. Obviously there’s the printers themselves; the hardware and what they’re capable of and how well they’re built and what tolerances they have are all absolutely critical to the final part. “The software is essential because you can have the greatest design in the world but if that can’t be converted into machine code effectively for the machine to read the deposit, then the design is never going to realise its full potential. “Equally so, following on the back of that is materials. As we’ve moved from proof-of-concept, prototyping right from the start of the life cycle when any material would do as long
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as it provided the surface finish and was accurate to the original design requirements - there’s increasing requirements for engineering-grade materials. “The fourth pillar would be support. If you think about your dishwasher or your television, or whatever it may be, whenever something goes wrong, even with established, well-adopted technologies like that, you tend to want to reach out to an expert and get that peace of mind. If you think about 3D printing, while the technology has been around for 30 years, actually it’s only now just starting to get any real market penetration, so the support and also the availability - to keep these tools with maximum uptime is essential.”
that already exist.” Adopters will also have to keep pace with the technological developments of the products themselves. Machine learning algorithms are increasingly common in generative design processes for 3D printing, helping to explore all possible permutations of a proposed model and suggesting the optimal design pathway. This increases efficiency and reduces costs for the customer, two key factors for widespread uptake. Croft likens this process to evolution in the natural world. “When I’m explaining it to a larger audience, I would talk about how nature has had billions of years to evolve the best solutions for stuff,” he says. “For however long it has been, we’ve not had the tools or the manufacturing techniques to be able to realise these efficiencies. “That has changed over the last few years. Now, thanks to AI algorithms, machine learning and software solutions like Autodesk Fusion 360, you can now set certain parameters around mechanical properties and then allow the algorithms to effectively propose, based on your instructions, a more optimised model. “It’s a really exciting time. Organisations that have made the initial step into additive manufacturing are looking now into how to optimise that.” Croft takes it one step further, emphasising his belief that 3D printing will be fundamental to the factories
A truly connected factory of the future that achieves anything will have to rely on 3D printing and additive manufacturing” of the future. “Industry 4.0 is my third slide in the presentations that we do,” he concludes. “Once the value saving and opportunities really start to be in the market, I think there will be an awful lot of top-down decision making which will increase the rate of adoption even faster than it is today. “A truly connected factory of the future that achieves anything will have to rely on 3D printing and additive manufacturing.”
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CHANGING THE FACE OF TESTING Artificial Intelligence is shaking up the enterprise technology game, not least when it comes to site testing
AUTHOR: JAMES HENDERSON
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he process of web testing has long been established; A/B testing (also known as split testing or bucket testing) is a method of comparing two versions of a webpage or app against each other to determine
which one performs better. It is an effective but sometimes limited method, and means that users looking for in-depth results and intelligence often have to run myriad A/B tests. But the emergence of AI and future technologies could be about to change the game, as is proving the case
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throughout the enterprise technology world. AI is helping companies test a number of variables across far broader user journeys, resulting in significantly deeper and more valuable insights in a far speedier fashion that offered by A/B testing. One of the companies trying to pioneer Software-as-a-Service AI as the new standard in marketing and testing technology is Evolv Technologies, which says its platform gives marketers the power to simultaneously test multiple potential improvements to their websites and apps, allowing for experimentation to be carried out at “a scale never before achieved”. The company is a new one, but one with a wealth of experience having been spun out of Sentient Technologies to become a standalone company
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in late 2018. Michael Scharff was a key factor in the move, having joined Sentient in August last year, first to advise its board on driving revenues and scale its Ascend platform, and then joining as COO and CEO. “It took me about 24 hours to decide I really liked the Ascend product and as a consumer of products like that it was really unique and offered a different value proposition. I quickly realised that it solved a number of problems I’ve had in my past life with testing and optimisation,” he tells Digital Bulletin. The past life Scharff speaks of saw
THE ASCEND TESTING PLATFORM
him help launch Best Buy’s first website in 2000, then spend seven years working for Toys R Us’ digital business, driving an international expansion. It means he speaks from a place of authority on testing and mapping optimum user journeys. He found a business that was spread too thin across a number of business areas, taking in broad-based AI research and development, an equity stake in a hedge fund and the Ascend platform. “The company had too many things going on to be really effective
in building the Ascend business at scale the way it needed to, so I worked with the board to spin off the Ascend business into a standalone company,” he comments. Free from the shackles of a previously convoluted structured and muddled product focus, Evolv has been able to focus its energies on the Ascend platform. It has been boosted in recent months by a $10 million series A funding round led by Horizons Ventures, and a number of significant new clients, including Verizon and energy multinational Innogy.
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Volvo and NVIDIA to develop AI platform for autonomous vehicles
Volvo has signed an agreement with NVIDIA to jointly develop the decision making system of autonomous commercial vehicles and machines. Utilising NVIDIAâ€™s end-to-end AI platform for training, simulation and in-vehicle computing, the resulting system is designed to safely handle fully autonomous driving on public roads and highways. The solution will be built on NVIDIAâ€™s full software stack. (18/06/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.
Whereas in the A/B environment the goal is to find an answer to a hypothesis – is blue or red better? – our system is designed around KPIs” Scharff says that the platform is perfect for large-scale enterprise: “Most big companies have really large backlogs of ideas they want to test, and from my experience it is not uncommon for that backlog to be around two years long. You’ll have a variety of teams – marketing, merchandising, logistics – wanting to test on the platform. “You need a lot of traffic to do testing and you need a lot of resources to build the creative and the various elements behind each test as well as the analytics. What Ascend does is really use AI to break down the limitations and allow users to not test just one idea at a time. “Users can test 15,20 or 30 ideas rapidly across multiple-page funnels and automatically evolve those into new tests. It significantly increases the speed that each test takes and decreases the effort it takes to test.” It is a little bit more work up front to set up a large-scale test, but users are able to set up the equivalent of hundreds of
A/B tests in the Evolv environment that can happen all at once. Scharff says that it is allowing customers to test millions of scenarios and combinations that would be prohibitive under A/B testing, and allowing business objectives to be achieved faster. “Whereas in the A/B environment the goal is to find an answer to a hypothesis – is blue or red better? – our system is designed around KPIs. So, you put in your business objectives, whether its email sign ups, transactions, a click through to a page, a dwell time or average order value, and the system will optimise a design based on your KPI,” he comments. “It is constantly improving performance; almost all of our experiments yield a positive ROI during the actual test, which is really unique. In the A/B environment, usually one out of five or six tests yields a positive result, where the outcome is better than control. “The other results are either flat or worse. Our platform is the inverse, so you can improve ROI in the process of testing.” The Ascend platform can be implemented into users’ sites using just a single line of Java code, either directly into a header or through a tag manager, allowing businesses to quickly get on with testing. But increasingly, enterprise customers are utilising Evolv’s full stack on their server
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AI has a huge amount of buzz around it, and we’ll see more companies experimenting with the technology to solve problems”
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The Ascend platform is another example of how AI is shaking up the world of enterprise, and Scharff believes that the speed of progress will only accelerate over the next five years. Every business process within large-scale enterprise will have some element of AI built into it, he believes, and how companies adapt their systems and structures to integrate future technologies will be one of the defining challenges businesses face. “AI has a huge amount of buzz around it, and we’ll see more companies experimenting with the technology to solve problems,” he says. “AI systems rely heavily on data quality, so companies face the challenge of standardising and creating data protocols. For AI to be used effectively, companies are going to have to improve their management of data. “I also think we’re going to see some surprises, both on the upside of the downside where people will experiment, things will either work better than expected, or probably have outcomes we didn’t expect it. “I think the best enterprises are going to be the ones that really look to find ways to automate tasks that can’t currently be carried out by humans, and free them up to really drive creative and strategic decision making. AI is going to have a pretty significant impact on everything enterprises do. It’s an exciting time to be in that space, for sure.”
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INNOVATE TO SURVIVE Business leaders can no longer ignore the pull of advanced technologies. As adoption becomes mission critical across the enterprise, Emanuele Angelidis - co-founder of Breed Reply and a veteran of the tech industry - says CEOs must take innovative steps to remain relevant
AUTHOR: BEN MOUNCER T and technology are now hot topics in the boardrooms of most forward-thinking organisations. According to a recent study from Gartner, only growth is above IT in its rank of strategic priorities for CEOs. The likes of corporate
structure, finance and people - both the workforce and customers - fell below technology in the eyes of business leaders. Four hundred and seventy-three CEOs, from leading organisations in a multitude of industries, were involved in â€˜The 2019 CEO and Senior Business
Executive Surveyâ€™. Eighty-two percent of respondents revealed that they had a management initiative or transformation programme underway to make their companies more digital. This sharp rise in CEOs grabbing the initiative is just another sign of the fastgrowing trend for technology among
the corporate elite. But how do CEOs ensure that the digital strategies they ultimately sanction are setting their companies on the right path? Emanuele Angelidis is a prolific investor in technology companies across Europe and was the co-founder of FastWeb, an Italian
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telecommunications startup eventually sold to Swisscom for €4 billion in 2010. Angelidis regularly offers advice on digital adoption to CEOs and he emphasises the importance of an ambitious mindset. You can either have an offensive strategy or a defensive one,” he tells Digital Bulletin. “You can defend the current business you have, or you can have a more offensive approach by saying that you have a business now but what is happening in five years time? The right approach is the second one because it’s inevitable that technologies are going to have an impact on businesses, internally and externally.” The essential thread of an offensive digital strategy is innovation. At FastWeb, Angelidis and his colleagues disrupted the crowded telecoms market by offering cutting-edge services - including 10MB broadband and a video-on-demand capability before its more established industry rivals. Decision-makers in every sector, not just telecoms, must take a similarly dynamic approach to technology according to Angelidis. He believes the ability to approach a subject or problem from a fresh angle can keep you ahead of the curve. “I’ve learned a lot of things but I would say one of the most important is, when you approach a problem, you have to try and think in a different way,” he says.
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“If you want to compete in the technology market and be a winner, you have to address the issues in a different way. You have to think creatively and outside of the box, that’s something very important. “Many people are scared of things that are changing because people are used to things, so every time there is something new that is disrupting their day-to-day lives, they are scared about it. In my opinion, we have to do exactly the opposite. We have to follow - or even change again.” At a surface level, coverage of enterprise technology might be daunting to a CEO accustomed to dealing with more conventional
I’ve learned a lot of things but I would say one of the most important is, when you approach a problem, you have to try and think in a different way”
matters like organisational structure and long-term goals. Introducing complex proposals that involve artificial intelligence (AI) or advanced data analytics, for example, could be off-putting to the curious yet traditionally-minded business leader. Today, there is still disparity between headline-dominating projections built around the likes of blockchain and the technology use cases actually driving positive change within companies. Making this distinction is absolutely critical for success, says Angelidis. “I think what really makes the difference is immediately understanding what the real impact is of the technology that you are
considering every time,” he explains. “If the technology, and most importantly the application of that technology, is going to provide a real benefit to the consumers or business, this is what really makes the difference. This is what really separates what is an important technology and what is not. “A second element is the size of the market that they are investing in. Obviously it’s very important that those markets are big and growing fast.” Customer satisfaction should always be the overriding motivation for adoption, Angelidis adds: “In the end, you control a lot with the technology but if the outcome in terms of service providing to the consumers is not good
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AWS partners with academia to offer cloud computing degrees
George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College have teamed up with AWS Educate, announced a bachelor’s degree in cloud computing. AWS said it offered students a transfer pathway from a two-year associate’s degree to a four-year bachelor’s degree in the cloud, providing a path to in-demand careers in cloud computing with AWS partners and customers. (13/06/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.
Every time you have a technological revolution, the following one is bigger” EMANUELE ANGELIDIS
in terms of the quality of the experience, then in the end you will fail. “What is important is to not only focus on the technology but also really understand what is the implication of leveraging technology when it comes to the service that you deliver to consumers and business customers. The effectiveness and the efficiency of the service has to be the key priority for CEOs thinking about new technologies.” Angelidis is currently applying his knowledge and experience in the Internet of Things (IoT) space with Breed
Reply, an offshoot of the digital services provider Reply. Founded in 2014, Breed Reply invests in IoT startups and currently works with 22 portfolio companies in Europe and the United States. IoT is yet another umbrella technology at the forefront of CEOs’ thoughts, with leaders drawn in by the lure of new data insights and groundbreaking efficiency gains. The global IoT market was worth $130 billion in 2018 but that figure is set to accelerate rapidly over the next decade. Angelidis concurs that the
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enterprise world is only now at the beginning of its journey with IoT. “Every time you have a technological revolution, the following one is bigger,” he says. “We’ve gone from computers to mobile with the Internet, and now to IoT. Just to give you an idea, mobile is something that you can think about in terms of billions of units, but when you think about IoT, you can think about tens of billions of units. “I spent a lot of time in my career in the telecoms space. We all know how mobile has been disrupting in our lives, and IoT is clearly the new, big opportunity, and that is why we’ve focused on IoT.” Breed Reply doesn’t just deliver funding to early-stage IoT companies - it also provides bespoke operational support services for 12 months to help those organisations scale. Venture capitalists and strategic investors have also supported Breed Reply, with a total of 35 co-investors across its key projects. Sectors where Breed Reply has focused its investment include healthcare, smart cities, industry and cybersecurity. “Right now, we are really seeing the impact of IoT in three main sectors,” he expands. “One is manufacturing, because with IoT, manufacturing costs improve and the quality of the final solution is improved. The second one is smart energy; you can see a lot of benefits coming from IoT solutions in
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Right now, for example, in IoT, you need new business models. If CEOs are not looking at that and not seeking these opportunities, then in three to five years time they might find out that they are out of the game”
the energy space. Companies can be much more efficient and they can use part of this efficiency to either improve their solutions or increase their profits. Then the third one cybersecurity. “Over the next couple of years, we’ll mainly see applications in the healthcare industry and the smart cities area grow. As a result of these applications, most consumers and individuals will be aware of what IoT is as they will have seen the benefits of IoT.” Angelidis foresees a very different business landscape in the future, where hitherto blue-sky technologies like IoT will combine with further advances around AI and data to create wholly different practices that will impact
every employee and customer. “Technology now is very pervasive and, most importantly, we see that technology is growing very fast,” he concludes. “Right now, for example, in IoT, you need new business models. If CEOs are not looking at that and not seeking these opportunities, then in three to five years time they might find out that they are out of the game because their business model is no longer viable, or at least their business model will be behind in a very competitive arena. “I think it’s very important that CEOs can see the new technology opportunities and seek to learn as much as possible about the impact of technology on their industries.”
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ACQUIRING EXCELLENCE NGINX’S Senior Director of Product Management, Owen Garrett, speaks to Digital Bulletin about powering the world’s busiest sites, the importance of open source and its recent $560 million acquisition by F5
Could you start by giving us an overview of NGINX? NGINX is a piece of opensource software that is used by the majority of the world’s busiest websites to improve performance of the websites, to absorb large volumes of traffic, and to protect the websites from whatever the internet throws at them. It is very well established and respected, and has been used by some of the largest and busiest sites in the world for the last 15 years.
What are your core products and services? Like many software companies, NGINX began as a single product company, the eponymous NGINX web server and reverse proxy. From that open-source beginning, we created a commercial variance called NGINX Plus. We needed to find ways in which we can monetize that open-source foundation. We developed an open-source project, and then for a small minority of users we would
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provide an extended version with support and professional services on a subscription basis, so the core of the product was open. In the case of NGINX, there are some small extensions, which are commercial. Customers come to us not just for the commercial features, but also for the services that we’re able to offer around our products. This enabled us to grow very, very steadily, almost doubling revenues year on year since we released NGINX Plus. Last year we announced an evolution of our products, which centres around a new product called NGINX
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Customers come to us not just for the commercial features, but also for the services that we’re able to offer around our products”
Owen Garrett, Senior Director of Product Management
Controller. It is able to generate specific configurations, to pull metrics back, so you can monitor those instances, and to audit the health of those instances to make sure theyâ€™re running the most up-to-date software. They are protected from known vulnerabilities, but the configuration that is running in those instances meets our best practice. It focuses the load-balancing user case. It generates configuration for NGINX, operates a load balancer. We recently announced a release, a new module for controller that focuses on an API-used space. It configures
NGINX optics as an API gateway. We are currently developing a servicemesh module, so a controller can configure NGINX to operate in a new mode of operation described as a service mesh, which is used for internal communication in microservices and distributive applications. That has taken NGINX to where we are now. Could you tell us a bit about the recent acquisition by F5, and how the two companies will work together? There are very strong synergies between the two organisations. Although we sell into similar use cases,
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Salesforce to acquire Tableau Software for $15.7 billion
Salesforce is uniting CRM and analytics in a big way with its planned $15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau Software. The deal is to be an all-stock purchase. “We are bringing together the world’s #1 CRM with the #1 analytics platform,” said CEO Marc Benioff, pictured. Tableau’s groundbreaking platform is used by 86,000 organisations worldwide. (10/06/19) MORE ON THIS STORY The Bulletin is our stream of the most relevant enterprise technology news, aggregated from highly-respected sources and packaged in a short, digestible format, delivering a simple yet indispensable read. A one-stop shop for all of the newest major developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, The Bulletin, available at digitalbullet.in, is a vital and dependable resource for technology professionals.
F5 is a very well respected, established vendor of load balancing and security solutions with a strong footprint in enterprise and FTSE 500 organisations”
we sell to very different audiences within those use cases. With the two products together, we have a very rich range of solutions that we can sift out for custom organisation. F5 is a very well respected, established vendor of load balancing and security solutions with a strong footprint in enterprise and FTSE 500 organisations. They have over 25,000 customers, which are typically large enterprises running machine-critical services.
NGINIX, on the other hand, has an open-source technology stack that moves very, very deeply into an organisation’s software delivery processes. It’s used by front end, by developers, and by DevOps. By combining those two things, you can see how they complement each other. F5 gives NGINX the broad access to the enterprise market, while NGINX brings to F5 a set of tools, processes, knowledge and expertise that allows them to reach
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deeper into each of their customers or subscribers. The goal of the combined organisation is to deliver solutions that help businesses develop and deliver applications effectively, whether they’re doing it from a physical, traditional data centre, from a cloud environment, or from service environments. By bringing all that technology together, we create a very compelling set of solutions to help businesses operate more efficiently, adopt Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment, and adopt more rapid DevOps processes. What should enterprises consider when thinking about implementing a DevOps culture? It starts, first of all, from understanding what you want to achieve by DevOps. There’s no point bringing in a DevOps culture if you haven’t got a measurable goal that you’re working towards. That goal varies depending on the nature of the business, and the nature of the products and services that you’re building. Typically, businesses want to be able to iterate, and improve, and develop new services more quickly, and more reliably. They want to operate in a more agile fashion. You can start with home services and products used to be delivered. Organisations would have what is often described as a silent model, or different teams responsible for different parts of
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development of the process of building an application. An architecture team might lay down the design, and a development team would then build to the architect’s design. Then the code would be given to the test team, and then it would be given to the operations team. It goes through a series of stages, but that lends itself to a process that is very difficult to change in the middle. The fact of the world is that requirements do change often without notice. It is not well suited if requirements are constantly changing, because a business sees new opportunities or saw new competitive threats. That often becomes the core of why a business wants to become more
There’s no point bringing in a DevOps culture if you haven’t got a measurable goal that you’re working towards”
agile. They need to be able to turn on a dime, to change their features they’re developing, to reprioritise those features at a moment’s notice. How you believe that APIs can help companies to drive innovation, unlock data, and modernise their applications? API is absolutely key to all of this. APIs mean that you can decouple the data on the business processes from the person or the organisation that is consuming it. Again, we could look at a before and after: without an API, you would build a single, large application that contained the data, the business processes, and the user interface to interface with that. If you wanted to extend that, or you wanted to add a new business process, or add a new consumer, you’d have to rewrite large parts of the application. The alternative is to separate the consumer of the processes and the data from the provider, and provide an API between the two. In that case, let’s say, you have a business that is providing a service, you could have multiple different interfaces, which consume that service. They all go through a common API, so if I want to change the way the service implements it, I can do that as long as I don’t change the API – I’m free to make those changes. Maybe I want to make changes for performance reasons, I want to add some monetisation methods, or I want
to add more data on my business processes. I can do all of those things as long as the API stays the same, then the consumers aren’t affected. At the same time, if I decide I want to provide the service to a different organisation, a different consumer, we just need to create a new client for that consumer that talks to the API. APIs separate the consumer of a service from a provider of the service to allow the two to operate and scale independently. What are some of NGINX’s goals for the next three to five years? We started NGINX with the goal of building a successful software company with a rich open-source foundation that would help the world experience better internet and connected services. With F5, we can continue towards that goal. F5 is committed to continuing to invest in NGINX open source, and that will drive innovation and our products. Our community has been hugely influential on the success of NGINX and we intend to continue to support and give back to that community when we’re living under the F5 umbrella. I’m looking forward to opportunities to leverage some of F5’s technology and bring it towards the NGINX user base. DevOps, microservices, and distributive applications will shape the way that applications will be built in the next five years, and I’m looking forward to NGINX being at the forefront of a lot of that.
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DIGITAL BULLETIN ROUNDS UP THE INDUSTRY EVENTS THAT ARE WORTH CLEARING YOUR DIARY FORâ€¦
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SECURITY OF THINGS WORLD 30 JUNE-02 JULY, 2019 BERLIN, GERMANY Security of Things World is a leading business event platform on IoT and cybersecurity. It discusses technological and legal aspects of IoT security as well as precise roadmaps towards secure connections. 35+ pioneering experts and industry leaders share experiences, forecast trends in the cyber security revolution, present their best practices, evaluate best-in-class projects and explain development in recent projects, while 150+ senior level executives and leading professionals discuss the most pressing challenges and solutions, technologies, trends and best practice innovations in the field of IoT security. HTTPS://WWW.SECURITYOFTHINGSWORLD.COM/
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08-11 JUL RISE 08-11 JULY, 2019 HONG KONG EXHIBITION CENTRE RISE is produced by the team behind Web Summit and Collision – two of the largest and fastest-growing tech conferences on the planet. This July, leaders from the world’s biggest companies and most exciting startups will flock to Hong Kong to share their stories. They’ll be joined by journalists from major global media outlets, hundreds of influential investors, and thousands of attendees for three days of unparalleled networking potential. Speakers from the likes of Uber, Twitch, Lenovo, Cisco and JP Morgan have all been confirmed.
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14-18 JUL MICROSOFT INSPIRE 14-18 JULY, 2019 LAS VEGAS, NEVADA Microsoft Inspire is where the company’s partners meet to connect, collaborate and celebrate as one community. Joining together with thousands of Microsoft partners from over 130 countries, you’ll find inspiration from shared experiences and insights. Get insights from other partners, make connections that lead to new business, and create relationships with Microsoft field team members. Learn how to accelerate the digital transformation of your customers, foster diversity and inclusion, and extend sales and leadership knowledge.
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16-18 JUL RSA CONFERENCE - ASIA PACIFIC 16-18 JULY, 2019 MARINA BAY SANDS, SINGAPORE RSA Conference conducts information security events around the globe that connect you to industry leaders and highly relevant information. The conferences draw over 50,000 attendees per year, more than any other conference in the industry. They boast valuable content presented by some of the industryâ€™s most forward-thinking leaders and they offer you the chance to network with thousands of peers. Learn about the latest cybersecurity developments in expert-led sessions, inspiring keynotes and in-depth seminars. Demo innovative products and solutions and help move the industry forward as part of an engaged and empowered global community.
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16-19 JUL ÜBERCONF 16-19 JULY, 2019 DENVER, COLORADO ÜberConf is the only advanced Java/ JVM conference offering 90-minute in-depth sessions. This offers you the opportunity to go beyond the basics. ÜberConf is about mastering JVM technologies, making it the ultimate conference for software developers and architects. Speakers at ÜberConf emphasise and present on topics such as test-driven development, continuous integration, code quality measurements, code smells, team building and customer collaboration. This brings together many of the industry’s best project leaders, developers, authors, and trainers.
18 JUL FUTUREIT 18 JULY, 2019 DALLAS, TEXAS FutureIT is a one-day regional event series that delivers an in-depth look at today’s evolving digital enterprise — and reveals fresh strategies and technologies that drive today’s business results. Leading industry analysts, experienced IT practitioners and innovative solution providers present technologies and strategies to help organisations accelerate their digital business journey. Key themes of the event will include: AI, Machine Learning and Intelligent Enterprise; Digital Transformation of the Customer and Employee Experience IoT; Data and Analytics for Business Results; and Infrastructure for the Multicloud and On-Prem Enterprise WWW.FUTUREITIDG.COM/EHOME/ INDEX.PHP?EVENTID=411119&
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03-08 AUG 22-25 JUL VOICE SUMMIT 22-25 JULY, 2019 NEWARK, NEW JERSEY VOICE Summit sponsored by Amazon Alexa is the worldâ€™s largest voicetech conference attracting 5,000+ developers, conversational designers, startups, brands, agencies and executives at the forefront of the voice-first era. Organised by Modev, the multi-day conference will feature 17 tracks with keynotes, panels, workshops and an expo of more than 150 companies from around the world. Vertical industries covered include healthcare, fintech, transportation, entertainment, gaming, media, search, retail, enterprise, smart home, smart cities and hospitality.
BLACK HAT USA 2019 03-08 AUGUST, 2019 MANDALAY BAY, LAS VEGAS Now in its 22nd year, Black Hat USA is the worldâ€™s leading information security event, providing attendees with the very latest in research, development and trends. Black Hat USA 2019 opens with four days of technical Trainings (August 3-6). The training provides hands-on offensive and defensive skill-building opportunities. It is followed by the twoday main conference (August 7-8). The final two days will include Black Hat Briefings, presenting cutting-edge research on information security risks & trends. Security experts from around the world will share their latest findings, open-source tools, zero day exploits, and more.
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21-23 AUG OPEN SOURCE SUMMIT 21-23 AUGUST, 2019 HILTON SAN DIEGO BAYFRONT LinuxCon, ContainerCon, and CloudOpen have combined under one umbrella Open Source Summit. Three events in one, Open Source Summit is a technical conference where 2,000+ developers, operators, and community leadership professionals convene to collaborate, share information and learn about the latest in open technologies, including Linux, containers, cloud computing and more. The event will delve into the newest technologies and latest trends touching open source, including networking, cloud-native, edge computing, AI and much more. EVENTS.LINUXFOUNDATION.ORG/EVENTS/OPEN-SOURCE-SUMMIT-NORTH-AMERICA-2019
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25-29 AUG VMWORLD 25-29 AUGUST, 2019 SAN FRANCISCO VMworld 2019 captures the momentum of today’s rapidly changing IT environment and puts it within attendees grasp so they can accelerate cloud journeys to support their business. VMworld breakout sessions, hands-on labs, workshops, theatre sessions and many more learning opportunities are organised into specific tracks spanning a range of timely topics. They include: hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, modern apps, networking and security, digital workspaces and emerging trends. VMworld says its event is just another IT events, but rather a “discovery powerhouse”.
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THE CLOSING BULLETIN
THE CLOSING BULLETIN In an exclusive column for Digital Bulletin, Neil Evans, EMEA CTO for Macro 4, explains the need to rethink blockchain for GDPR
trangely enough, one of the main reasons why many experts suggest blockchain can’t be used to support GDPR compliance is closely connected to a fundamental strength of the technology: data immutability. Once information is recorded on a blockchain network, it should be practically impossible to change or delete. Immutability is a powerful weapon for tackling compliance challenges.
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However, it directly conflicts with the GDPR principle of the ‘right to be forgotten’. This gives you or me the right to ask any organisation that holds our personal information to destroy it. The problem is this: if blockchain data is immutable, it’s there for as long as the blockchain network exists.
ARE WE THINKING ABOUT BLOCKCHAIN IN THE WRONG WAY? Perhaps, though, people are looking at blockchain’s role in supporting GDPR
– and many other regulations – in the wrong way. What if the key is actually not to put the personal information (or whatever data is governed by the regulation you’re complying with) onto the blockchain system at all? To understand why an organisation would want to do this, you need to remember that with GDPR and other regulations that revolve around protecting and managing data, one key requirement is being able to prove, without any doubt, what has happened to the data throughout its lifetime. How has it been updated, added to or manipulated, for example? Has it been moved or passed on to another system or organisation?
CREATING A TAMPER-EVIDENT DIGITAL AUDIT TRAIL
To answer those questions you need a tamper-evident digital ‘paper trail’ of all the events that surround the data. Crucially, that trail must be recorded with the same degree of integrity as the data itself. And that is where blockchain really comes into its own. Because it’s the ideal place to hold this trail in a way that is immutable. So, in the case of GDPR, any personal information about individual
customers would go into whatever secure repository the organisation has chosen to store it: an enterprise content management system or CRM system, for instance. Importantly, this system must incorporate high levels of security to maintain privacy as required by GDPR rules. Meanwhile, the event log or digital audit trail gets written to a blockchain – to provide concrete evidence of everything that happened to the customer’s personal information.
WHY BLOCKCHAIN DATA IS IMMUTABLE
It’s worth reminding ourselves just why data placed in a blockchain system is immutable. This is something that goes back to the underlying design of the technology. Firstly, blockchain information is protected by cryptographic hashes in individual blocks, with each hash containing a link to the one created before it. If anyone wants to change or tamper with information in any single block in the chain, they would have to crack the encryption protecting the chain, and recalculate the hash not just for that specific block, but all existing blocks that came after it. Otherwise alarm bells would start ringing.
Immutability is a powerful weapon for tackling compliance challenges. However, it directly conflicts with the GDPR principle of the ‘right to be forgotten” 81 Issue 6
THE CLOSING BULLETIN
Blockchain’s power of data immutability gives it a strong advantage when it comes to supporting data compliance initiatives” Next, because copies of data in a blockchain are distributed across multiple participating nodes on a peerto-peer network, any unauthorised changes to the data held in one node would not be accepted. Those changes would not match with what is recorded everywhere else. So a hacker – even if they were smart enough to bypass the security of one participant – would not have the power to record any changes. Similarly, the consensus mechanism operated on blockchain systems requires the majority of participants (nodes) to validate any new data before it can be added to the chain. So if a hacker wanted to make a falsified new entry for their own gains, they would need to be able to take control of the required majority of participants in order to get away with it – which
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is much harder than hacking into a traditional database.
PERFECT FOR GDPR COMPLIANCE AND MORE
These capabilities make blockchain the perfect technology to underpin compliance initiatives relating to a wide range of regulations, whether they govern personal information as with GDPR, or other data such as financial transactions or medical or other records.
BLOCKCHAIN NETWORKS NOT ALWAYS NEEDED
Importantly, you can enjoy some of the same security advantages without actually placing the audit trail data onto a blockchain. It’s possible to use the same cryptographic hashing
techniques used within blockchains to create connected blocks of data – but to store this data in a local IT system rather than out on the blockchain itself. Any ‘bad actors’ who attempted to tamper with the data would still be faced with having to decrypt the required block, modify the hash and recalculate every subsequent hash in the chain. To mitigate this risk, you could choose to store the “root hashes” for the local data on a blockchain system (or an alternative third party notary service), allowing the entire contents of the local event store to be validated
BREAKING THE ‘RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN’ PARADOX
Even if we assume that no personal information is going to be stored on a blockchain, we’re still left with one problem, one that has been puzzling compliance specialists: how do you prove that a customer’s data has been deleted, without leaving some record that can be tied back to the customer in some way? Let’s say you have raised a right to be forgotten request (RTBF) with your bank. Here’s one possible scenario of how blockchain could provide evidence of compliance with your request, without leaving any traces of your personal data behind. First, the bank creates a case ID about RTBF request on its internal case management (or other IT) system - and also uses it to log (on a blockchain)
an audit trail of all the steps it takes to |purge your data from its systems. When that’s all done, the bank notifies you that the case is closed and all remaining records of the case (including the case ID) are destroyed. Only you – the customer - would then have any record of the case ID. At a later date you (or an auditor or regulator) could in theory use the case ID to query the blockchain system and view an audit trail of the RTBF.
USING THE POWER OF IMMUTABILITY TO BEST EFFECT
Blockchain’s power of data immutability gives it a strong advantage when it comes to supporting data compliance initiatives. Not only does it provide the keys to creating the essential tamperevident event history surrounding important data - a significant part of countless regulations - but for GDPR it could also pave the way to solving the puzzle of proving that RTBF requests have been complied with.
Neil Evans is CTO for EMEA at Macro 4, a software division of UNICOM Global which specialises in creating secure information systems for customers in heavily regulated industries such as banking and finance
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Andrew Falvey - our cover star this month - and his colleagues at the DVLA are on a mission. “We want to be seen as an innovative part of g...
Published on Jun 26, 2019
Andrew Falvey - our cover star this month - and his colleagues at the DVLA are on a mission. “We want to be seen as an innovative part of g...