TBtech December Edition

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Looking ahead.

FOCUSING ON TECH ADVANCES FOR 2023 AND BEYOND. tbtech publication £9.99 tbtech.co STORIES INSPIRED BY MODERN LIVING. DECEMBER 2022

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Editorial

A new surge of innovation and technology.

We are having to manage and adapt to many changes in todays current world, technology is constantly moving forward to find ways to hopefully help. We have access to data and are more connected to devices, adding that to the exploration in machine learning, and simulation, we are starting to get a glimpse of where we are heading in 2023 and beyond.

For many business navigating the current landscape has been very challenging. Fortunately, in tandem with these new challenges, we’re seeing new technology solutions helping organizations and their customers to thrive in the year ahead.

Forum’s predict by 2025, machines will displace millions of jobs but this also applies that millions of jobs will be created in the tech industry. Therefore, businesses and consumers need to keep moving with industry requirements and expectations.

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The advances in tech that will be reached in the coming years will transform our lives and redefine what it means to interact across all sectors of modern living.

9 December 2022

Meet your tbtech team.

Joe has vast experience and knowledge accumulated and honed as a New Business Development Manager and Relationship Manager. Responsible for generating new business opportunities, looking after the growth of the company and strategy, sourcing new ventures and managing the company.

Luke is Digital Editor at TBTech and has history working closely with the worlds biggest tech brands to deliver campaigns. Luke is an advocate of tech across business and commercial applications.

Paul stops at nothing to innovate and create value for our customers. His mission is help those we work with to win in their markets. Passionate about delivering customer success and have had the pleasure of supporting many of the world’s leading technology brands for over 15 years.

10 December 2022

We have been working behind-the-scenes to elevate the readers experience.

Erin’s love for advertising and design has led her to Tbtech as a Media Marketing Apprentice. As a new member of the team, she is looking forward to exploring new skills and learning more about the tech sector .

JESSIE PETHRUS

Driven by storytelling, Jessie’s writer-designer duo allows her to combine the power of synergy across different mediums. She believes a strong marketing strategy begins with understanding the brands mission and audience, together with the market, in order to position yourself as a leading brand, speaking directly to your clients and customers desires.

WILLIAM MOORE

William’s passion starts and ends with design, timeless aesthetic and creative solutions. Having worked on numerous creative campaigns ranging from car manufacturers, leading tech companies, property investors as well as local artisans, the goal is to create the ultimate brand experience between the client and the consumer.

MATT ROBERTS

Matt is Operations Manager at TBTech, he has spent the last 15 years working with multinational IT companies building campaigns, GTM strategies, leading both Sales and Marketing teams to achieve organisational goals. With a love of computer science, history, and psychology he is an advocate for change, operational efficiency and automation. Value across the business for all our customers.

11 December 2022
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Top intelligent automation trends to watch in 2023.

With 2023 just around the corner, it is time to look at what the next 12 months might hold. It seems clear that some of the trends that emerged during the pandemic will continue to manifest. For example, hybrid working models have become deeply ingrained throughout society and the staffing challenges of recruiting and retaining the right people are unlikely to go away.

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Top intelligent automation trends to watch in 2023.

However, there are other factors that will likely come to the fore in 2023 that may need automation technology investment to fix. These include:

A GREATER NEED TO MANAGE VOLATILITY

No one likes surprises. Whilst Ben Franklin suggested nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes, businesses will want to automate as many of their processes as possible to help manage volatility in 2023. Automation has already revolutionised almost every industry and has been the catalyst to much of the digital transformation that has occurred over the past decade, providing flexibility, efficiency, and insights.

Data breeds intelligence, and intelligence breeds insight. Managers can use the data available from workforce automation tools to help them manage peaks and troughs better to avoid unexpected resource bottlenecks. Not only that, but workforce automation can help managers spot issues before they

even come up by providing insight into who on the team is performing well and who may need some extra coaching or training.

Workforce automation is a key component of the global human resource technology market that Fortune Business Insights projects will reach $39.90 billion by 2029, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5 percent. Compared to legacy manual processes, it is a powerful way to transform the processes of employee scheduling and forecasting, using real time data with little to no human intervention required.

MORE CHANNELS THAN EVER

Whilst businesses are somewhat adept in dealing with customers via traditional channels such as phone, email and text, other channels will become more prevalent in 2023. Communications via video apps or through connected devices such as Alexa will become increasingly normalised next year. Businesses will, therefore, need

to rely on technology to monitor and react to volume fluctuations on each channel in real time, balancing targeted resources across call, web, chat, and other channels, some of which need differing response times and skill levels. Expecting humans alone to manage this without intelligent automation technology is a recipe for failure. The alternative provides a better result in which employees are empowered and customers can use their preferred channel of communication and receive reliable responses from agents.

MORE FOCUS ON WELLBEING

Taking care of your staff is even more important during this skill shortage. A culture of inflexibility and a strict focus on internal metrics has all too often come at the expense of workers’ needs. There is, finally, a well overdue shift happening where employee wellbeing is being placed at the heart of a business’s operations. There are good reasons for this. When workers are heard and their needs are accommodated, the company can reap the rewards

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in retention, performance, and brand perception. Automation technology will be key in automating previously inflexible processes whilst providing intelligent data led nudges that help agents work efficiently in a complex operating environment. This means that companies can offer an unprecedented level of flexibility and support to their staff, while making significant improvements to engagement and wellbeing. By improving engagement between employees and employers – and fostering a culture of support and encouragement –everyone benefits.

A GREATER NEED TO DRIVE EFFICIENCIES

A key automation technology is, of course, artificial intelligence (AI). Through its unique ability to process the massive quantities of time-sensitive data generated by a modern business, AI can translate the data into immediate actionable intelligence. This leads to efficiency and engagement skyrocketing without compromising on the customer experience. In turn,

this reinforces an organisation’s reputation from the outside.

Efficiency and productivity gains are two of the most-often cited benefits of implementing AI. The technology enables businesses to automate their routine operations and free up the workforce for more critical tasks. This particularly applies to customer support departments where the use of AI to predict outcomes, enable more informed scenario planning and risk assessment, and ensure better targeting, will shift the dial from a one size fits all approach to a much more segmented and tailored experience for both customers and employees.

Earlier this year, research from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) found that 15 percent of UK businesses have already adopted the technology. This is set to rise to 22.7 percent by 2025 and 34.8 percent by 2040. Expenditure on AI is expecting to rise at a CAGR of 12.6 percent during this period, reaching £83.5 billion by 2040.

Currently, just over two-in-three (68 percent) of large companies and a third (34 percent) of medium sized companies have adopted intelligent technologies. Whilst larger companies have been the most likely to adopt the technology, this is likely to change in 2023.

AN INCREASED RELIANCE ON MACHINES

Since machine learning (ML) rose to significance a decade or so ago, it has rapidly transformed nearly every industry. Businesses would be wise to sharpen their skills and learn what ML has to offer. Whilst technologies in the past only processed static, historical data, ML provides a real-time capability that transforms the gap. It can help organisations become better at predicting flows and responding to them proactively rather than reactively.

The potential improvement to areas such as customer service is enormous. Solutions can leverage “productionising” ML models – by which a model is transformed to a scalable, observable, mission critical, production-ready software solution – at their core.

Whilst it is difficult to predict what areas of intelligent automation technology will prove most popular in 2023, there is no doubt that it will be used to reduce human intervention where relevant, and augment human capability where needed. Whether it is used for automating contact centres operations or self-driving cars, automation technology will continue to reduce waste, save electricity, empower workers, and improve quality, accuracy, and precision whilst making life that little bit easier for all of us.

Roll on 2023!

17 December 2022

How artificial intelligence can help fix stagnant UK productivity.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the UK economy has suffered from a skills shortage. While there may have been plenty of debate surrounding the topic, politicians should be able to agree on the simple fact that very few practical solutions have been offered.

Many sectors ranging from healthcare to hospitality and education have hundreds of thousands of unfilled vacancies. They are not alone. In offices up and down the country, knowledge workers, once the ‘jobs of the future’ are in short supply. In truth, many of these jobs are not career-

defining roles which will attract the latest generation of job seekers. Instead many end up being little more than form-filling or form-checking to process literally thousands of documents.

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How artificial intelligence can help fix stagnant UK productivity.

These are no jobs for the intelligent and ambitious. For a while, they were helped by what was arguably one of the biggest workrelated inventions of the previous century, the computer. Yet in the 21st century, to allow workers to shed these repetitive and boring tasks off of their daily to-do lists, not the humble PC, not even the mighty smartphone is enough. It requires a technology that will define the next 50 years in office work; Artificial Intelligence.

WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG?

Before laying out how Artificial Intelligence can help us build a new way of working, it is perhaps best to go back and understand what is going wrong with office work today. As organisations digitised their processes from the supply chain to manufacturing plant, from e-commerce shopfront to web screen, they missed out on a large tranche of ‘back office’ tasks. Behind much of the seemingly smooth delivery of today’s web-enabled health and legal advice, insurance quotes, goods returns and customer

service provision, an army of humans provided the glue, using their analytical skills and judgement.

This forgotten army of whitecollar workers is demonstrably unhappy. Many are considering leaving their current jobs: A recent study found that 41% are looking to move laterally within their organisation and, alarmingly, 54% are on the job search outside it. Retraining their replacements is seen by many executives as just a ‘cost of doing business. In reality, it is a heavyweight price to pay, a drag on profits and a depressing reality for talent which could have been redeployed and added value elsewhere in the organisation.

THE WAY FORWARD

The great news is that repetitive analytic work is exactly what Artificial Intelligence loves. If one can combine the best of the indefatigable computing power of today’s cloud computing with smart and motivated humans, in a single Work Execution System, businesses will get the best of both

worlds. Businesses will see higher volumes of task-completed and higher quality due to the lack of human error. And that’s not all: by redeploying humans to make judgement calls on the inevitable exceptions and variations in a large process volume, they keep the innovation and creativity unique to people, without killing their spirit.

Embracing the Work Execution System; a combination of Artificial Intelligence and automation products will modernise the back office. By providing a single platform, it augments the experience of the workforce by providing ‘Digital Assistants’ to each employee. These bots are programmed by each worker, helping them to improve their own job. The result is they gain new skills while removing the tedious parts of their job that nobody wants to actually do.

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This digital/human hybrid workforce, though, does come with some management challenges. Firstly putting in place the technology requires a strong vision which sees where Work Execution Gaps exist. Nowadays, optical character recognition (OCR), Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) and advanced chatbots, also referred to as Intelligent Automation, are common. To truly gain business benefits from WES, it will require the long-term vision to join these islands of automation into one seamless process.

Such digital transformation may seem daunting. This is where existing team members can help create new workflows and upskill their roles, becoming low-code authors of modernised work processes. Once skilled in the WES, workers who were once mere operators become empowered to redesign whole processes, adding to their employability and becoming more valuable to their employers, thanks to their new skill sets.

LESS TALK MORE ACTION ON EMPLOYMENT

While many have discussed upskilling workers by handing them better and more evolved tools, there has been little action from politicians and large-scale businesses. This issue has been decades in the making and is clear to see from recent UK productivity figures. Initially, this problem was masked by cheaper imported labour, relatively expensive technology and comparatively fewer job vacancies. However, with lower unemployment levels and coming off the back of a pandemic, workers are now empowered with their skills. They have more choices for work which therefore creates a desire to complete meaningful work. We have arrived at a point where UK workers will never go back to low-skill, low-reward work that focuses entirely on tedious administrative tasks.

Crucially, this comes at the perfect time. Decades of Artificial Intelligence expertise have matured to the point where it can offer a clear path forward. Proposing any growth strategy that is focused more on actions, rather than words, will require a new approach to how people work. The Work Execution System, employed by leading companies in Europe like Porsche, AstraZeneca and Nike is an exemplary solution to this. That is why one can safely predict that in 10 years, having a personal digital assistant will be as natural as having your own computer.

21 December 2022

How to mitigate the risks of privileged access with Zero Standing Privilege.

Ransomware and other forms of devastating cyber-attacks against public and private sector organisations have become depressingly familiar headlines in recent years. While this might give the impression that organisations are most at risk from external threats, the fact is that the biggest security risk often comes from inside the business, specifically through users entrusted with privileged access. Indeed, 42 per cent of breaches originate through credential abuse, whether by accidental or deliberate misuse.

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How to mitigate the risks of privileged access.

Of course, unrestricted privileged access is not necessary for undertaking the majority of administrative tasks. Nevertheless, administrators often issue wideranging access as standard, which increases the risk of both internal and external breaches occurring. Despite this, identity and access management (IAM) leaders often struggle to restrict the level of privileged access on offer because administrators and IT operations staff have become accustomed to using these accounts on-demand.

One of the most effective ways to reduce the associated risks is by implementing a privileged access management (PAM) solution, since it significantly reduces an organisation’s attack surface area. However, traditional PAM approaches are complex and costly to implement, and their vault-centric idea does nothing to remove or limit the attack surface area. On the contrary, a modern PAM strategy, known as zero standing privilege (ZSP), decreases the chances of a successful malicious infiltration without adversely affecting business efficiency. With ZSP,

administrators are granted just enough privilege to complete a specific task, and only for as long as needed to complete it. This ‘justin-time’ (JIT) approach significantly reduces the risk of ‘super-user’ accounts being exploited by internal or external threats.

This article will explain how organisations can effectively implement the principle of ‘least privilege’ and mitigate the risk of privileged access. It will outline why IAM-focused security and risk management leaders should prioritise reducing excessive privilege, and thereby bolster their overall security posture, in the following ways:

RESTRICT THE SCOPE OF ACCOUNTS AVAILABLE TO USERS

Organisations have traditionally addressed the risk posed by privileged accounts by taking a vault-centric approach. While this provides better protection than nothing, significant risk remains given that most privileged accounts are always available for use, with more access than is

strictly necessary. IT teams must therefore go further to reduce the spread of privileged access in their environment. As a first step, they should first assess the extent of privileged permissions that have been allocated and on what basis – in other words, when and for how long is each permission valid for.

A JIT approach can help organsiations to limit the amount of time in which privileged access is available to users. This will not remove privileged accounts from the environment entirely, but crucially, they will only be available at the moment they are needed (and for no longer), which limits the risk of legitimate credentials being abused or misused.

TAKING A BALANCED APPROACH TO ACHIEVING ZSP

To achieve true ZSP without compromising business operations, most organisations will need to carefully select the most appropriate JIT PAM controls. For instance, IAM leaders may

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opt for a blended approach which incorporates JIT, session management and the more traditional vaulting approach. At this stage in the process, it is important to assess the legitimate uses of privilege and the current workflows associated with those uses. These are key questions a security team should answer before making IAM decisions:

- How will changes to privileged access impact present-day workloads?

- What resources are required to implement a given approach for the privileged access in question?

- Will additional tools be needed to enable this approach?

Once these considerations have been made, there are a number of different options for implementing JIT. To name a few, personal privileged accounts may be placed under the control of a PAM tool, or shared accounts under the control of a vaulting and session management tool. ZSP privilege escalation is another option, which grants temporary

“one-time” privileged access for a defined set of tasks over a defined period of time. Whichever approach (or combination) the security team chooses, it is vital to have discussions with business and other IT leaders about which mechanisms will best suit the environment. Once everyone agrees on JIT approaches to implement that are suitable for the privilege workflows in the environment, then work can begin on implementation.

During this stage of JIT deployment, setting priorities and determining gaps in the organisation’s existing cybersecurity set-up is key. This will necessitate an assessment of current technical capabilities, along with updates to policy documents to reflect JIT/ZSP methods as the default for privileged access. It will also require standard operating procedures to reflect the methods selected for current workflows.

Ultimately, organisations that take a considered and iterative approach to their JIT/ZSP initiatives will stand to reap the benefits of reducing the risks associated with standing privilege, while minimising the impact on business operations and maximising return on investment in PAM technologies.

25 December 2022

Why 2023 is all about customer experience technology.

2022 has taken the customer experience journey on quite the expedition. As the world attempts to deal with numerous climate disasters, war, a cost of living crisis and a soon-to-come recession, customer satisfaction has reached a fragile point in the customer service sphere.

A new study has shown 60% of customer service managers say this will be the “toughest winter yet” as fears of losing customers grow in the run up to the holidays. Yet the same data has revealed

that two-thirds of customer service managers report that customers are becoming more difficult to deal with and that customer expectations are higher than ever.

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Why 2023 is all about customer experience technology.

Crumbling customer satisfaction is being met with rising customer expectations. For brands, it appears like a huge mountain to conquer as we venture into 2023. How do you retain customers at a time when it’s most fragile and also monitor changing volumes of demand and costs?

PRIORITISING THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE, WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM AI

When times are uncertain, customers crave honest, genuine and human communication. It’s imperative for maintaining the consumer lifecycle, helping to build brand loyalty, advocacy and customer retention. In the modern landscape, however, it’s incredibly hard to create personal experiences for every customer without having the helping hand of tech.

Of course AI chatbots have become integral to customer service operations and maintain a key role in solving a range of CX challenges. Through 24/7 real-time support and answers to a range of go-to questions and queries, they are a highly effective mechanism of giving customers that on-demand support.

But they can’t replace the human to human connection and communication that forms a vital part of the experience. To get the most value out of AI while still delivering an experience that builds a customer relationship, AI should be used to augment communication.

Companies can now harness the latest CX platforms that use advanced AI and customer intent to direct queries to the best possible person, while automation is able to answer straightforward enquiries. Communication with human relevance is achieved while simultaneously delivering efficiency and optimising resources. But how does this approach work when having to deal with an economic climate that will bring ebbs and flows in demand?

MANAGING THE EBBS AND FLOWS

It’s inevitable that with a recession and surging inflationary costs comes fluctuating levels of both customers and staff. So customer service volume and staff availability is significantly impacted. Understanding demand can be a tricky endeavour, with the IES citing that common problems include “assuming the future will be the same as the past; failing to think through the implications of change, both internal and in the external environment; and not factoring

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in productivity improvement”. Of course in such an uncertain economic environment, these problems are heightened further - the future is very much not considered the same as the past. This combination of elements means it becomes incredibly tricky to manage these demand levels without the right technology.

Businesses already depend on contact center software that acts as a CX platform to manage tasks and distribute them to the right resources, whether they be AI, CX experts or contact center agents. Automation not only helps the customer with initial enquiries but is able to provide suggested answers to these experts and agents when responding to a query.

This allows for efficient and effective processes that work in accordance with service needs and allow the right people to be used at the right time. But even with the right technology, it requires diligence, skilled talent and a lot of luck to keep from under-serving customers or burning through budget due to overstaffing.

To safeguard against fluctuating demands, and avoid paying more than you need to due to overstaffing, this technology needs to be embedded within the GigCX model. What exactly is this? And why is it so important?

THE GROWING GIG WORKER COHORT

GigCX (Gig Customer Service) is a flexible-by-design model that is making a rapid rise worldwide. It revolves around gig workers who, essentially, get paid for the ‘gigs’ they work. By next year it has been predicted we will see nearly 10% of the freelance population worldwide comprising gig workers - that forecast put this at 78 million people with global wage disbursements of $298B.

Companies can build up this hub of flexible workers through a GigCX platform, enabling them access to this talent pool as and when necessary. Task distribution - as outlined above - can be split up accordingly and users in the crowd have the autonomy to ‘work when and where they want’. It’s a mutually beneficial setup.

But what about truly meeting sky high customer expectations? How about using your most loyal customers to be brand advocates, creating a pool of ‘super users’. With an unmatched passion for the brand and knowledge of the product, these are the users who are expert customers themselves and can offer an unparalleled service. Having the means to unleash this communication can be a key differentiator in standing out from the crowd and ensuring customer retention rates.

This isn’t simply an online messaging group - it’s a pioneering process to engage customers in one-to-one contact with super users. It contains a host of benefits revolving around CX agility, less training, high customer satisfaction and reduced costs.

THE CONTINUED SURGE OF GIGCX FOR 2023

The demand for AI-powered CX technology is being driven by global events, falling customer satisfaction and rising expectations. The task ahead requires innovation, scalability and flexibility to be able to maintain budgets, manage ebbs and flows in demand and meet customer expectations. As is often the case in a digitising world, technology has the power to propel this change - but as part of human-centred strategies.

It’s why many brands are turning to GigCX to deliver better, more flexible and agile customer service. With more brands taking on this approach, 2023 could hold in store a whole new experience for many businesses, employees and customers alike. To thrive, what it requires is an openness and bravery to take on new approaches and, ultimately, reverse the downward customer satisfaction trend.

29 December 2022

The metaverse in 2023 and beyond: a privacy nightmare?

From popping on a headset to get transported to your favorite concert to daily chats at the virtual watercooler, Metaverse workplaces and events are becoming more common.

In fact, our research shows 77% of US employers expressed an interest in immersive workplaces.

With the UK sure to follow behind, the metaverse may become a daily reality for this generation of workers in 2023 and beyond.

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The metaverse in 2023 and beyond: a privacy nightmare?

We can expect to see a shift in not only the way we work and do business but also the way we shop. We are already used to purchasing items at the click of a button, and expect to receive our parcels in days, if not hours.

The metaverse will be able to take away more friction for online shopping, so it could have upsides for both sellers and shoppers.

The fundamental promise of the metaverse is a fully immersive experience. There are virtual worlds where users can try out and purchase items through in-game shops, and with the metaverse predicted to become an 800 billion USD platform, it seems likely that this concept will become more and more common.

The real downside is the risk posed to your online safety—less friction during the shopping experience can equal greater risk. How much information does your username give away? Are you sure the person you are speaking to is who they say they are? Can your location be tracked by the platform or even other users? Are your transactions all tracked and linked to you? These are very real risks to consider when using the metaverse, which could be made even worse when introducing payments and shopping.

When looking forward to 2023 and beyond, these risks must be considered by consumers and businesses looking to adopt and engage with digital twins. As with any developing technology the future will tell us the real risks, but it is vital to prepared now by looking ahead at the possible challenges.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO COME IN THE FUTURE?

The metaverse as it stands is still at an early stage. As technology improves, we will begin to see uses that we could not even imagine today. Businesses could have fully immersive stores within the metaverse, fit with staff to guide you through the process. Meetings, interviews and training could move to the metaverse –letting you work from literally anywhere.

The world of retail is highly competitive and the best companies out there are always looking for the latest trend and technology to stay one step ahead. Major fashion brands are embracing NFTs and many are already familiar with VR, with Prada for example, utilizing the tech in their shows to give their viewers a more immersive experience.

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With Virtual Real-Estate marketplace Decentraland firing the starting pistol on VR fashion weeks with an immersive metaverse experience allowing users to purchase their favorite outfits straight off of the catwalk— it won’t be long before front-row attendees can be watching from their living rooms!

Along with these developments, there also comes important questions about data, privacy and protecting the consumer. Businesses will have to open their metaverses to the right users but at the same not overstep the privacy mark. For employers looking to adopt immersive workplaces this is key, with 63% of employees concerned about their employer collecting their data in the metaverse. Similarly, governments must legislate in a way that protects the user whilst also ensuring they are not impeding on their privacy.

CAN WE TRUST BUSINESSES INCORPORATING THE METAVERSE?

Choosing to trust a business offering products and services via the metaverse is something to be done cautiously. It’s good practice to read online reviews on the security and reputation of the company and be extra careful about what information you provide, especially in a shared space.

To take an extra step to ensure safety, people should always use secure payment gateways to protect their financial information and a VPN to encrypt their connection to help prevent malicious actors.

Heading into 2023, online safety precautions both within the metaverse and outside it rely on consumers taking a cautious approach, ensuring that they have control over what data they are sharing and with who.

KEEPING A CAUTIOUS APPROACH

The most exciting thing about the metaverse is its virtually untapped potential to connect people together no matter where they are, tearing down barriers that usually divide us or

restrict connection. My idealist self hopes for a freer, more authentic online experience for everyone, but I might be being too optimistic.

Unfortunately, as with many new online social spaces, there is potential for those with malicious intent to leverage it for their own gain. If the metaverse truly is the future, then everyone needs to take the time to educate themselves on best practice for digital privacy and security. Doing this can help protect you protect yourself and your family in shared digital spaces, whilst still allowing you to explore this new world with confidence. Ultimately, people can be excited or curious or cynical, but should always take caution.

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How the metaverse will support in reducing global emissions.

Global emissions are a major topic in today’s world since they are responsible for a great deal of pollution and the acceleration of climate change. It is interesting, however, that global CO2 emissions slowly declined in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as lockdowns went into place all over the world and people drastically reduced their travel.

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Peter Gould, CEO and Founder of RendezVerse.

How the metaverse will support in reducing global emissions.

Of course, the drop was not solely down to reduction in travel, or, at least, passenger travel, with less demand for coal, oil, and gas playing a big part. That being said, aviation travel alone is reported as contributing to 2.5% of the global annual CO2 emissions.

Whilst travelling by plane or car are not likely to completely stop, there are ways to reduce the number of times one uses these methods of transportation. If we were all to make little changes that reduced our travel, we’d collectively make a positive contribution to the environment.

Travelling, however, is part of life. It’s good to get out and to see people and places in person. But I believe there is a way to continue to do this without having to really travel at all. It’s called the metaverse.

The metaverse allows for ‘travel’ to take place from the luxury of your own home whilst presenting the opportunity to travel, well, anywhere in the world (or out of the world) you want.

For real world places, the challenge will be creating digital twins, so it feels just like the physical place in real life. Considering the entire country of Tuvalu is uploading itself to the metaverse, this isn’t as farfetched as it seems.

The truth is that the metaverse will not replace a holiday; but it can replace a business meeting. Furthermore, in the world of events which I’ve worked in for the past 20+ years, there is one key aspect responsible for a great deal of travel that can be eradicated entirely: site inspections.

To organise an event or a conference, first, it is necessary to find the right place with the capacity that you need and in a location with facilities such as bedrooms, bars, and ballrooms. For this, typically, one or multiple events planners will travel to different venues, wherever they may be in the world, to see the space that might be used.

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Now, if the venues were all on the metaverse, there would no longer be a need to visit the space until nearer the final decision. The vast majority of visits could be eradicated entirely, not only saving CO2 emissions but giving all parties involved their time and money back.

In RendezVerse, you have the chance to meet with the hotel staff in a futuristic pod, and from there, you can travel to various hotels to explore their spaces in detail, but all from the comfort of your home or workspace. Likewise, the hotel representative can showcase rooms and events spaces without having to check with housekeeping or consider existing events. This is a major win-win situation for all the involved parties, and a win, too, for the environment.

In fact, our recent analysis of CO2 emissions from site inspections found that there to be at least 95 million venue inspections yearly, resulting in half a billion kilograms of CO2 from car emissions alone.

The future needs to be more sustainable, with a focus on reducing CO2 emissions as much as possible. The metaverse can play a big part in reducing emissions for the event and remote selling business.

The travel industry should embrace the new technology and reap the benefits of increased productivity and revenue whilst saving half a billion kilograms of CO2 in the process.

37 December 2022

How AI could be a game-changer for data privacy.

Over the past decade, there’s been a lot of interest in the idealised version of what “artificial intelligence” (AI) could be – a thinking/ feeling machine that behaves like humans –which is described in the industry as “artificial general intelligence”. At what point does AI interact with privacy? To answer that, we’d need to understand how AI works.

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How AI could be a game-changer for data privacy.

What we often have these days are narrow forms of intelligence, such as self-driving systems that are learning to drive, AI to create/ edit pictures and text and AI to analyse large quantities of CCTV footage to identify suspects.

To train this kind of narrow artificial intelligence requires vast quantities of data on what “correct” and “incorrect” answers are. For example, when you’re asked to click on the “I’m not a robot” spam checks online and asked to identify traffic lights: that is being used by Google to train its self-driving cars and maps app on what a “traffic light” looks like. That’s where AI meets privacy. This has implications for privacy because it creates an incentive for tech companies to grab as much data as possible. Sometimes, this can be incredibly personal and sensitive data, such as AI companies working on AI for healthcare or policing. Individuals don’t understand when solving these spam challenges or if they allow their doctor to use their healthcare records for “research” on whether these end up being used to train a company’s AI and what the implications might

have. An interesting societal angle here is that with the Great Resignation and current global workforce crises, companies might feel compelled to try and replace workforce shortages with further automation and AIenhanced capabilities. In doing so, they might focus on meeting immediate needs/demands rather than looking long-term at the technology ethics behind their decisions.

CAN AI HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON PRIVACY?

In the same way, narrow AI can be trained to identify cars or cancer cells, they can also be trained to sift through vast quantities of financial data to detect fraud or never-seen-before child sexual abuse material (CSAM). This latter example can be seen in action with how Apple and Google both have AI systems to detect “new” samples of child porn for any images uploaded to their cloud backups. Or it could be used to detect violent content, for example, when terrorists have livestreamed their acts on platforms, such as Facebook or Twitch. The

privacy angle is that these checks can be done in “good for privacy” and “bad for privacy” ways. Some algorithms are designed to carry out these checks only on your phone and could be argued to be more private since the results of these can’t be hoovered up by law enforcement agencies. Other examples happen centrally, and therein lies the risk of whether these AI companies could be compelled by law enforcement or through data breaches to reveal personal and sensitive data. For example, Moscow Metro introduced AIbased face recognition to make paying for fares easier. However, this could also easily be repurposed to identify dissidents at protests.

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Another risk could be how easy these algorithms make it to apply bad decisions at an unprecedented scale since they can process vast quantities of data. Some police forces use AI called “predictive policing” to identify crime hotspots, and how Amazon tried to create an AI model for recruitment. The trouble is that these AI are often trained on demographically-biased data, such as against people of colour and different genders. This reinforces existing inequalities –without giving the people affected a mechanism to figure out why they were selected.

REGULATING PRIVACY IN AI

As with any fast-growing tech solution, regulation is challenging. The OECD AI Policy Observatory dashboard has an excellent overview of the policy areas and regulations for AI. This tends to fall often on the side of encouraging AI start-ups and uses or providing increased funding rather than regulating usage. Tech companies themselves have voluntarily introduced restrictions on usage,

such as Microsoft restricting access to face recognition to law enforcement. I believe tech companies are realising that they are likely to be the next industry group, after tobacco, oil and gas, to be heavily regulated by governments. To pre-empt that, they are voluntarily introducing such restrictions. A challenge in AI discourse is that most advocacy groups often take the position of what the worst-case scenario for applications of AI is. Law enforcement usage is often used by governments to get regulations in this space through broader geopolitical concerns along the lines of “if we don’t do it, China will, so let’s encourage AI and regulate later”. It can be challenging to push back against these use cases for AI advocacy groups because many people in the general public feel “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”.

Thinking ahead, the biggest thing to bear in mind is that AI, in its narrow forms, can only be used as an aid, but it isn’t smart enough to replace people completely. What an algorithm is telling companies is not necessarily true; we must remember it is an educated guess.

41 December 2022

Pure, upstream Kubernetes is the best Kubernetes.

The open-source ecosystem has evolved quickly from niche projects with limited corporate backing into the default way to develop software. Both small and large organisations are using open-source software to speed up innovation and product development.

A state of enterprise open source survey found 95% of enterprises are taking open-source seriously; 75% report open-source software is extremely important to IT strategy; 77% of respondents plan to ramp up open-source use in the next year.

Meanwhile, 71% of the UK government’s tech workers report they use more open source than five years ago. The U.S. Department of Defense even issued a memorandum on open source software being its preference, not proprietary software.

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Tobi Knaup, CEO of D2iQ.

Pure, upstream Kubernetes is the best Kubernetes.

The market has consolidated following Kubernetes’ maturation, with many Kubernetes offerings of different architectures, features, and interfaces – some less open and flexible than others, containing different restrictions, dependencies, and licensing terms.

Deviating from an open Kubernetes standard can cause issues. As The Journal of Cloud Computing notes, “without an appropriate standardized format, ensuring interoperability, portability, compliance, trust, and security is difficult.”

WHAT IS PURE UPSTREAM OPEN-SOURCE KUBERNETES?

Upstream Kubernetes is an opensource version of Kubernetes hosted and maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation where code and documentation is developed and contributions are made. It consists of core ‘plain vanilla’ Kubernetes for orchestrating containers without add-on applications – all publicly accessible for inspection, modification, and redistribution.

Free and open-source software projects have good intentions –making tech that helps the whole community. Anyone can access the code and collaborate to fix bugs, add patches, and optimise performance quickly. But project growth can lead to diverging goals and perspectives – or ‘forks’ in the code.

WHAT IS A FORK OF KUBERNETES?

A fork of Kubernetes is a version of the open-source project developed separately from the main workstream. Forking happens when part of the development community or a third-party vendor makes a copy of the upstream project with modifications to start a completely independent line of development. You might fork Kubernetes because of a difference in opinion (technical or personal), or because development of the upstream project stalled, or a desire for different functionality. That can happen in open-source or proprietary environments. When an open source Kubernetes fork improves the original code, other

forks can utilise it, combining the code with their fork to better meet the needs of developers and end users. But for Kubernetes forks in proprietary environments, vendors or cloud companies will change the source code to meet their own needs, repackage software, and offer it to customers as a proprietary distribution. They may alter the add-ons needed to run Kubernetes in production. This complicates management of the solution, but also risks vendor lock-in.

THE PROBLEM WITH FORKING KUBERNETES?

It’s hard to deploy and manage Kubernetes at scale. Many organisations use proprietary distributions to obtain enterprise support for their container platform but this has led to significantly forked versions of Kubernetes.

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Some challenges include:

Complications with Patches, Bug Fixes, Upgrades, and New Features.

Every new update makes it harder to make changes work with a custom distribution. It’s a slow, and costly process. Vendors who fork Kubernetes often have an older version of the cluster API because it takes them six months or more to get improvements and bug fixes from the upstream.

Vendor Lock-in.

Forks in Kubernetes create lock-in, i.e. a customer cannot easily replace or migrate the solution. It removes the flexibility to move your applications and data seamlessly between public, private, and on-premise services. It also doesn’t provide you with multiple options as your company grows. Even if the source code is open-source, vendors can wrap Kubernetes in features that prevent migration to other platforms without extra cost and excess resource allocation.

Lack of Functionality

A forked version of Kubernetes can break application functionality. Some custom distributions rely on proprietary APIs and CLIs to get full functionality, which creates lock-in. If the custom distribution only runs on the vendor’s custom Linux kernel, it also creates lock-in. Eventually, it gets harder to maintain this fork, preventing merging the latest upstream patches into the fork without major work on patch and feature compatibility. If a product is discontinued, you may be out of luck.

Less Secure.

A fork in Kubernetes could potentially run less secure code. If a vulnerability is found in opensource code and fixed by the community in the upstream, a forked version of code may not benefit since it differs from the upstream.

Lack of Interoperability. Vendors can modify code for their custom distributions or the supporting applications you need to make Kubernetes run in production. While an

altered version of Kubernetes will work with a particular vendor’s application stack and management tools, these proprietary modifications lock you into customized component builds, stopping you from integrating with other upstream open-source projects. If their stack comprises multiple products, it’s very hard to achieve interoperability, which can cause lots of downstream issues as you scale.

Technical Debt

It’s hard to merge back a fork that has changed drastically over from the upstream. We call this technical debt – the cost of maintaining source code caused by straying from the main branch of joint development. More changes to forked code means more money and time to rebase the fork to the upstream project.

PURE UPSTREAM KUBERNETES IS THE WAY FORWARD

Pure upstream open-source Kubernetes is the focal point where decisions are made, where contributions happen, and comes with a built-in community that

continuously improves the source code. A pure, upstream solution allows sharing ideas with the larger community and getting new features and releases accepted upstream. Every project and product based on the upstream can benefit from previous work when they pick up the future release or merge recent (or all) upstream patches. While anyone can copy, install, or distribute Kubernetes from the upstream repository, larger companies and organizations need certified products, tested and hardened for enterprise use. As such, organisations rely on vendors to turn upstream Kubernetes into downstream products that meet their business needs.

45 December 2022

How IoT tech is being reimagined to combat climate change.

Wildfires cause up to 20% of global CO2 emissions, which is the same as all cars, planes, trains, and ships combined. These emissions accelerate global warming, which subsequently causes droughts and drier conditions that fuel further wildfires. Even worse, wildfires also decimate the world’s largest carbon sink and have a negative impact on biodiversity with more than 3 billion animals lost to wildfires annually.

Unfortunately, a little-known fact is that nearly 85% of wildfires are caused by humans. Arson, campfires, discarding lit cigarettes, and playing with matches or fireworks are typical ways in

which humans start wildfires, either intentionally or through negligence. Utility and rail companies’ infrastructure is also a significant cause of wildfire occurrences.

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Dryad Networks.

How IoT tech is being reimagined to combat climate change.

Wildfires are a huge environmental, societal, and economic problem that is getting worse. Even so, the challenges in detecting and mitigating them quickly enough to stop their damage and effects on climate change remain, primarily due to a lack of modernization and proper investment in advanced detection methods.

THE CHALLENGES OF DETECTING WILDFIRES

Detecting wildfires in their early stages can reduce reaction time and the magnitude of damage they cause. But this is easier said than done. Until now, traditional fire monitoring systems have relied on visually spotting wildfires, either through satellite technology, using cameras placed in a forest, or human spotters perched on towers.

Existing systems can take several hours to detect a wildfire, at which point the fire has often already become difficult to contain. This is because most wildfires start beneath the forest canopy. By the time they are visible, the firefighting resources needed to extinguish them are costly –estimated to be up to 600 USD per acre in the US. Once a wildfire has spread out of control, costs for containing the fire can easily spiral to millions. Due to dense forest canopies, visual detection methods have also proven unreliable in providing precise locational data, thereby slowing detection time further.

Using IoT sensors placed into the forest could provide faster detection time. However, while IoT has made substantial inroads in urban areas, it has faced challenges in the forest. Existing sensor technologies, which can cost over 1000 USD per device, also mostly rely on 4G/LTE mobile network coverage. Such sensor networks may be too expensive and cannot penetrate dense forests and therefore have limited use in fire detection. The challenges

therefore remain to create a lowcost, low-power, and long-range ‘ultra-early’ wildfire monitoring system that can penetrate forest canopies and alert of a wildfire, and its precise location, before it’s out of control and generating huge amounts of CO2.

IOT IS UNLOCKING NEW OPPORTUNITIES

IoT has emerged as a prominent tool across industries like healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, retail, and more, helping to connect devices and applications to streamline processes that help large groups of people. Now, with more widely available, cheaper, and advanced sensor technology, IoT is crossing over into mainstream wildfire detection uses, enabling wildfires to be detected within 0-60 minutes.

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IoT-enabled, solar-powered gas sensors, developed and manufactured in Germany, are now being rolled out across North America, Europe, and Asia to specifically mitigate wildfires and limit CO2 emissions. These sensors have been finely tuned by onboard AI to “smell” the air quality around them, detecting hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and other gasses to identify the typical smell of a wildfire.

Gas sensors, costing as little as 50 USD per device, form one part of a three-component wireless IoT ‘architecture’ that can perform in areas without existing network coverage. Data collected in the network is processed using cloudbased, big data tools for analytics, monitoring and alerting, which unlocks the ability to detect (and be alerted to) a wildfire during its smoldering stage.

IOT-ENABLED SENSORS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL GOOD

Businesses and individuals can also harness the power of IoT to not only prevent destruction caused by wildfires but also for environmental good. Environmental data sensors measuring soil moisture, ozone concentration, tree growth, and sap flow can be measured to provide key data on health and growth monitoring of trees, supporting the forestry industry.

Like nearly all other industries, forestry is benefiting from the digitization of its tools and operations. Previously, the industry was behind due to a lack of network coverage in remote areas. Now, with new IoT ‘architectures’, network coverage is available in even the most remote areas of forests around the world.

Combating the effects of climate change, including the increase in wildfires, is extremely important to protecting our planet. IoT technologies can help slow future destruction with easy to deploy and operate smart solutions that protect our environment.

THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT

Today’s fight against climate change is driving the application and deployment of new IoT devices. Companies are now reimagining how we use technology to connect nature, mitigate CO2 emissions, and protect businesses and communities around the world.

As we continue to wait for stronger action on climate change from governments, the increasing rollout of new, ‘ultra-early’ wildfire detection technology should be cause for optimism.

49 December 2022

Android digital signage MDM software in 2023.

While signs have been around for as long as we have, they didn’t evolve alongside us. In fact, their first significant upgrade didn’t occur until the commercialization of the light bulb in 1879. Still, this illuminated era would bring signage to life. Over a hundred years later, android digital signage further cements its ubiquity. Television displays powered by Android TV can now play images and videos virtually anywhere in the world—from airport terminals to desert highways.

Needless to say, signs have come a long way since early man scratched symbols into rock surfaces. Today’s innovations only continue to improve signage technology. Here are some of the recent developments elevating android digital signage displays as we speak.

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Radix Technologies.

Android digital signage MDM software in 2023.

THE RISE OF INTERACTIVE SIGNAGES IN RESTAURANTS

The onset of the pandemic disrupted, well, everything. It left us to adjust in a million different ways just to keep our heads above water. This included the prevalence of no-contact digital signage inside fast-food restaurants.

Instead of only displaying menus and promo offers, android digital signage devices meant that customers could now place their own orders via touchscreen technology. While the initial investment might seem top-heavy, the benefits likely outweigh the risks.

Telemetry TV reported that ROI for interactive signages could happen as fast as one year.

That’s because when met with eye-catching self-service displays, people tend to order more. They also tend to accept upsell and cross-sell offers more often.

Not to mention, outlets with android digital signage tend to cut down on staff—narrowing expenditures and increasing the bottom line.

THE RETURN OF QR CODES

Once written off as smart but unnecessary technology, QR codes are back to reclaim their space. And this time around, they’ve earned themselves a starring role in android digital signage devices.

With the proliferation of contactless services, digital signage became the perfect medium to display QR codes. Consumers then use these codes to view a digital menu, go to the online store, claim discount vouchers, and engage with the brand. Using digital billboards to display QR codes helped outlets save on space and printing. This is especially true for time-sensitive promos that stores couldn’t afford to change signage for constantly.

3D ANIMATION THAT GOES BEYOND THE BOX

3D animation in LED billboards that appear to jump out of the screen became all the rage in 2021. Tokyo’s billboards became the staging ground of some of the world’s most amazing advertisements. From the Final Fantasy VII remake intergrade promotion to the Nike Air Max Day to the Nya the Cat series, onlookers across the globe just can’t get enough.

Furthermore, 3D Out-of-Home billboards quickly become the top attention-grabber in digital billboard advertising. People love the illusion of 3D characters coming to life right before their eyes. Brands also benefit from the viral social posts these ads spawn, as those who view the animation live are quick to whip out their phones and hit record. Breaking down the technology, however, we find that these hyper-realistic videos combine angled or curved LED screen capabilities and very talented animators.

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THE SHIFT TO CLOUD CONTENT DEPLOYMENT

Believe it or not, most modern digital signage relies on the humble USB stick to upload content. Before turning on the digital billboard, operators insert the USB stick, load the image or video, and leave it on. No mess, no fuss, right? At least until something goes wrong, that is. Then the system crashes and shows the dreaded blue screen for all to see. Even worse, losing the memory stick or accidentally erasing its contents means a whole day of nothing to show on the screen. Nothing to show equals no way to boost sales.

Digital advertisers realize this and are actively shifting to cloud deployment instead. Cloud deployment enables IT administrators to turn android digital signage on and off remotely. This is a game changer for billboards located in remote areas or high above towers. Operators will no longer need to risk contractors climbing dangerously high or having to travel far just to change content.

Instead, admins can upload content over the cloud, specify display schedules, and remotely manage the device.

FOR ANDROID DIGITAL SIGNAGE, MDM SOFTWARE RUNS THE SHOW

Managing and maintaining android digital signage is easier with cloud-based mobile device management software. Not only does remote management offer an easier way to manage device fleets, but it’s also more cost-effective. Rather than having your IT teams make the trek to visit, inspect, and repair devices, MDM software can do it all remotely. It can remotely monitor and diagnose device health, upload content, and even update firmware, OS, and applications. Remote administrators can now choose which content to display, set the desired duration, and turn devices on or off from the comfort of their homes. Using secure cloud connections, such as Amazon Web Services, ensures that communication between devices and the IT team remains secure, encrypted, and private.

MDM SOFTWARE PROVIDES ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT AND SECURITY SERVICES FOR ANDROID DIGITAL SIGNAGE

MDM software should also have no problem assigning access levels to users based on their jobs. On-site administrators should be able to log into devices, upload content, and operate the displays. However, they shouldn’t be able to use the device for other things like surfing the web, copying files, installing apps, or tweaking the system settings.

Meanwhile, sales and marketing executives can access user data and collect information from the fleet. This allows them to generate insights on how to improve the business further.

Finally, with MDM software, you can even secure your devices remotely. In case of theft, administrators can shut down the device, lock the controls, or freeze the unit to prevent further use. They can also wipe all data and content from the device to prevent it from being harvested.

When devices are moved from their authorized location, admins can use geolocation to trace their whereabouts in real time. Alternatively, admins can apply geo-locking to render the device useless outside its intended area.

With the future of android digital signage only gaining steam, it’s a good time to look into improving the management of your display devices. Consider investing in cloud-based MDM software to reduce operating costs while improving device management.

53 December 2022

EV charging brings fuelling into the modern era.

We’re living in a time of astonishing technological innovations. That single device in your pocket has hundreds of thousands of times more processing power than all of NASA had when it last put human beings on the moon a half-century ago. Only decades old, the internet allows billions of people and millions of businesses around the globe to effortlessly communicate regardless of time zones and to synchronise work across multiple geographies.

A few years ago, there were just a handful of broadcast and cable networks that determined what we watched and when. Today, there are endless entertainment choices available at our fingertips and on our schedules. One thing that hasn’t kept pace with all that innovation, however, is automobile fuelling.

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EV charging brings fuelling into the modern era.

Fuelling technology has remained largely static in the century and a half since the invention of the internal combustion engine (ICE). Compared to other technologies we rely on and enjoy every day, advancements in fuelling technology barely register when you look back over the decades. While vehicle safety and comfort have improved, gassing up is basically the same as it’s always been; you watch your gauge drop and then take timeout of your routine to scan the roadways and exits for somewhere to fill up.

Fossil fuels are a limited resource and, as we’re all painfully aware, subject to price instability. They’re also toxic and polluting, as well as responsible for much of the greenhouse gases (GHGs) causing climate change.

THE ELECTRIFICATION OF MOBILITY CHANGES EVERYTHING

Now, with renewables less expensive to produce than fossil fuels, a new age of mobility is finally dawning. The mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) will be bigger than the switch

from print to broadcast media. The hypergrowth of electric mobility (e-mobility) frees the industry to take advantage of the technological innovations other industries have long experienced. The company I work for, ChargePoint, as well as other EV charging networks and auto OEMs old and new are at the forefront of the coming era of e-mobility — one in which exceptional driver experience will be the norm. Businesses and fleets, long subject to energy price fluctuations and supply chain disruptions, will spend more time focusing on their core operations than natural disasters and bad actors a half a world away.

EV CHARGING IS EVERYWHERE

There have been far too many assumptions made in the media and elsewhere about EVs; that, somehow, they’re simply ICE vehicles with batteries. That’s a myth that needs to finally be put to rest. Unlike with traditional cars, EV drivers rely on technology rather than their eyes to locate fuelling. They rarely need it though.

As any current EV driver already knows, it’s far more convenient and cost effective to charge wherever you happen to be (a car is parked 95% of the time) than to drive to some out-of-theway location to power up. That’s why more than 80% of charging worldwide occurs either at home or in the workplace.

WHAT RANGE ANXIETY?

ChargePoint has been pioneering electric fuelling since 2007. That was before there was even a single mass-market EV on the road. One thing we’ve discovered over that time is that the charging infrastructure has scaled right along with EV adoption. That means, if a driver does need onthe-road charging — for instance on a long trip or if they forgot to plug in at home — they’ll be able to easily find it. One big reason people don’t think there are enough chargers is because they don’t see them where they expect them to be. Instead, the chargers are located where people live, work and spend their leisure time.

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Between existing infrastructure, generous industry roaming agreements and larger, more efficient batteries, “range anxiety” (the fear of running out of juice and becoming stranded) is something actual EV drivers rarely, if ever, experience. Range anxiety an idea born of the arcane petrol station fill-up model. EV drivers rely on a top-up model instead — much like they do with all their devices. In fact, as our CEO Pasquale Romano is fond of saying, in a decade and a half, gas anxiety will become a real issue for those still driving ICE vehicles.

Grid anxiety is something that many people now worry about. Will the rise of electric transportation over stretch our power grid? Smart charging helps drivers and charging operators to charge when necessary and most cost effective, such as overnight. Ensuring that the grid is managed in an optimum way to avoid overloading as more EVs come into operation is something that is already taking place, helping ensure the reliability of the power grid moving forward.

EV CHARGING OPENS UP NEW OPPORTUNITIES AND POSSIBILITIES FOR BUSINESSES AND FLEETS

Another benefit of e-mobility for both drivers and businesses is that charging can happen wherever people are, whether out dining, shopping or attending a concert and sporting event. That opens up new income opportunities for parking operators, fuelling and convenience stops and companies of all sizes and in all industries. Workplaces can implement charging into their benefit schemes, offering employees perks they’ll rely on every day, which also helps attract talent and prevent attrition. Today, electric take-home fleets are taking off too, revolutionising the ways in which people work.

Fleets of all sizes — including delivery, logistics and municipal — are discovering that electrification means more seamless integrations with their current systems and less downtime for vehicles. Technology-driven controls over operations and fuelling result in an overall lower total cost of ownership as well. Charging solutions like our own CP6000 series provide end-to-end visibility so operators always have insight into their electric transition. The world will need a lot more chargers over the next 10 years, so we’re building charging solutions that are scalable, modular and easily serviceable and, with secure boot and deep diagnostics, safer and more reliable, too.

As vehicle electrification moves from an early adopter market to an early majority market, it’s up to us as industry leaders to do everything we can to make charging as easy and as safe as possible. People need to feel comfortable moving away from something they’ve known their entire lives. It can’t just be good — it must be better. And it is. Features like Tap to Charge and integrations with Alexa, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and many vehicles’ in-dash infotainment systems allow drivers to experience fuelling in the same way they interact with every other technology they use every day. With zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) accounting for 13% of new car sales in the first half of 2022 and predicted to rise to more than half in Europe and North America within a decade, one thing is certain — transportation will look far different in the near future than it does today. Different and better.

57 December 2022

How to extract intelligence from data in 2023.

Technological advancements have skyrocketed in recent years, which has resulted in an explosion of available data. This growing amount of information is now leaving humans overwhelmed, as the technology they have access to is not always capable of efficiently processing this amount of information in the required timeframe. With the rise of connected devices, Internet of Things (IoT), sensors, and everything we digitally touch generating data, the amount of information will only increase in the future.

In fact, the number of IoT devices in the UK alone is due to reach over 150 million by 2024, so it is important that organizations enhance their data management strategies and invest in the right technologies now if they are to make the most of their data going forward.

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How to extract intelligence from data in 2023.

CHALLENGES OF DATA EXTRACTION

One of the biggest challenges organizations are currently facing is extracting intelligence from data before it becomes redundant.

Given today’s fast-paced digital economy, it doesn’t take very long for data to become outdated and, therefore, less relevant. Whilst analyzing data after the fact can be useful, utilizing information as soon as it becomes available is more advantageous for the overall efficiency of teams, regardless of the sector in which they operate.

For organizations collaborating across locales or with external partners, their disconnected systems often produce and interpret data in conflicting formats and have information in multiple databases. This means it can take even longer to obtain data that is in an actionable format and to gain insights for decision making, which then inhibits other business operations. Organizations facing issues like these need to overcome these data management hurdles to extract intelligence in a more efficient way.

Through implementing innovative solutions that leverage huge amounts of data behind the scenes, no matter the format or location, organizations are now able to interpret their data more effectively and efficiently. Organizations can also allow connected devices and machines to understand what is happening and why, which provides true meaning behind the data.

TURNING DATA INTO REAL INTELLIGENCE IN 2023

One of the innovative solutions that can help businesses and government agencies take complete advantage of real-time data – before the information becomes obsolete – is assistive artificial intelligence (AI). Assistive AI makes use of advanced statistics and machine learning (ML) to extract an organization’s operational data to detect patterns and anomalies that require immediate action. With the amount of data available only growing, the trend towards data overload has resulted in organizations needing assistive AI to interpret their data more effectively.

For example, within public safety, assistive AI can help fire, police, and emergency medical services to detect and respond to complicated emergencies sooner. It can allow emergency

dispatchers to visualize patterns and determine if any public safety events are connected. Because of its assistive nature, it will only alert dispatchers of any anomalies, leaving the decision-making about resource deployment up to humans. This autonomous initial assessment is much more efficient, effective, and scalable than the manual monitoring of videos, alarms, and common operating pictures alone. When a potential event is detected, the system immediately notifies users who then decide whether to act on, share or dismiss the report. The user is always in control – no decision or response is automated. By detecting more crucial connections sooner, public safety agencies are better equipped to create safer, more resilient communities for citizens.

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Whilst assistive AI has made its way into many sectors, many cities are now also starting to understand the benefits that the technology can provide. Cities have a constant flow of data from both businesses and government agencies. By leveraging their sensors, applications, devices, and other connected technologies, both public and private organizations are now able to benefit from assistive AI across a city. For example, when emergency services receive a notification that a complex situation has occurred, they can cooperate with utilities companies, hospitals, and other relevant agencies to handle the situation in the most efficient way possible. Not only will this collaboration help organizations respond to urgent events as soon as possible, but it will also minimize the impact on resources.

Having intelligence on information in real-time is crucial, but being able to share that information, regardless of the format or location, with relevant parties is also vital. Receiving real-time insights through assistive AI and sharing that information with other parties is the ultimate way to extract and leverage intelligence from the explosion of data we are facing.

THE FUTURE OF DATA?

It’s clear that, in the past few years, data has grown at an exponential rate, leaving businesses and government agencies grappling with how to simultaneously sort through and utilize data. In 2023, assistive AI will only grow in significance with automation being at the forefront. The combination of collaboration, connectivity, and data sharing will be the driver for seamless data access. With data now becoming an organization’s most valuable resource, tackling the data deluge and extracting intelligence is of utmost importance.

With the automatic push of a button, it will become easy to access and share information based on business rules, where only the appropriate parties can access certain information. As we approach a new normal with assistive AI at the frontier, the days where we are dependent on humans to review and analyze huge quantities of data, for effective sharing, will be firmly in the past.

Data is only going to grow in size and scope and become even more foundational for businesses and government agencies, across the globe. The next few years will be integral for global organizations to harness, share, and act upon data if they want to ensure success.

61 December 2022

Can retailers manage the inflation burden whilst maintaining customer loyalty?

At a glance, the news makes for a depressing reading for British consumers. The cost-of-living crisis rages on and tax burdens have grown as inflation is expected to average 8.9% across 2022 in Britain, according to the OECD. This is forecast to be the highest rate amongst all the world’s richest advanced seven countries, the G7. With rising energy bills and increasing costs of day-to-day goods, consumer confidence is at its lowest since 2011.

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By Goutam Dev, VP, Head of Strategic Customer Program and Consumer Industries at SAP UKI.

Can retailers manage the inflation burden whilst maintaining customer loyalty?

NAVIGATING ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY

Consumers are having to make difficult choices about how they spend their money – and the businesses they choose to spend it with. For retailers, this presents a challenge – how do you maintain customer loyalty, whilst also managing increasing costs?

The impact of price rises across the economy have caused reduced spending and personal hardship, impacting retailers in turn. Retailers themselves are experiencing rising costs in their supply chains and are forced to opt for one of three options to bridge the financial gap. These are firstly passing additional costs onto the consumer to lessen their own inflationary burden; secondly take the hit themselves by either absorbing some of those input costs, reducing margins to keep customers coming back and stay competitive against their peers; or third, streamlining the products and services that they offer, damaging the customer experience and risking consumers going elsewhere. Neither solution is realistic or beneficial to future prosperity. So, what if there was a fourth option?

While businesses are managing their own rising costs, they’re additionally seeing a hit to profits as consumers look to cut back on spending and maximise their savings. This means retailers need to get better at demand planning, forecasting, and sensing consumer behaviour, which in turn drives manufacturing, transportation, inventory management, and sourcing of raw materials. Through the help of enterprise resource planning, retailers need to include leading market indicators, realtime consumer trends, and other external data signals into demand forecasting to better predict forward-looking product mixes and volumes.

To navigate today’s inflationary environment, retailers need to go beyond traditional financial planning and analysis. They need to account for variability ahead of time and have scenarios prepared to balance cost with service and alternate use of resources so they can respond swiftly as trends solidify. Dairy company, Arla has

implemented Integrated Business Planning for its supply chain and its demand sensing component has enabled it to improve short term planning based on daily sensed demand forecasts that are aligned with real demand patterns to optimise replenishment, deployment planning, and production planning, as well as sales forecasts.

By replacing manual, repetitive planning tasks with an automated demand sensing solution for around 70% of all forecasted products, it has freed up planners’ time to focus on higher value tasks. Arla has increased overall forecast accuracy for its UK market from 82.43% to 84.85% (a 2.42% increase). With governments globally increasing interest rates, cheap money is a thing of the past. As a result, retailers must closely monitor and optimise management of working capital and inventory buffers. This is key because if a business suddenly needs cash injection, the last thing they’ll want to do is borrow at high rates while capital is tied up in unused inventory.

BUILDING SUPPLY CHAIN RESILIENCE

Just the process of moving things along the supply chain has become expensive. Producers need to plan better across their supply chain. The ability to quickly switch suppliers, order, and delivery times and have data that can be converted into insights is crucial to building supply chain resilience. Effectively managing inflationary risks requires businesses to have access to the right data to make decisions and move their supply chains forward.

Organisations can get ahead of supply chain delays and downtimes to prevent revenue loss and avoid unforeseen costs with visibility into inventory and production capacity, asset maintenance, and logistics processes. Through pointof-sale data management software, brands can improve their understanding of customer behaviours, whilst also receiving real-time stock updates. Making use of these insights, retailers can identify shopping habits and build customers, helping them deliver

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services in line with this. They can take this one step further by adopting emerging technology like AI and ML allows them to identify the most effective volumes, product types and store locations, improving the forecasting and replenishment process and how customer needs are met more accurately. Brakes, a leading wholesale foodservice supplier in the UK, needed to be more flexible to adapt their business to changing market conditions. Brakes faced the challenge of a big margin crisis triggered by food inflation. The solution proposed was a new, more structured way to maintain the margin. Brakes needed to build forecasting logic by including their customers to help predict future price changes. At the beginning of the journey, Brakes could predict what the product price would be for the next 12 months with a comprehensive spreadsheet, logic and data for more than 400 customers. But this effort was manual and prone to errors and didn’t take into account the volatile inflation that we have witnessed this year. Brakes needed a pricing solution that could take care of

automation and forecasting right within in their SAP environment. With increased pricing visibility and control, Brakes is able to better manage its complex pricing scenarios and incentives it offers to customers, distributors, and channel partners in the supply chain.

ADAPTING TO FLUCTUATING DEMAND

With consumers switching to budget ranges, brands are investing more in own-branded goods, such as Asda and their ‘Just Essentials’ range. In fact, purchasing of these ranges amongst consumers has risen by 42%. While not only offering a more affordable option to consumers, for retailers they’re a low cost product that can be tailored in line with demand.

In other instances, fashion retailers are making use of renting and subscription models, which allow consumers a more economical, and sustainable, way of shopping. For example, M&S has launched a renting service that allows shoppers to hire out outfits for 5

days up to a month. Through this, consumers can save themselves the cost of purchasing a full outfit that may only be worn on special occasions, whilst also offering retailers a new revenue stream.

A SMARTER APPROACH

The cost-of-living crisis is affecting everyone in one way or another. Consumers are having to navigate rising costs, resulting in a more considered approach to spending as they look to make savings where possible. For businesses, this means they’re having to adapt to increasingly volatile and unpredictable consumer demand.

To navigate this challenging time, retailers need to be listening to consumers and adapting their business models to build resilience for the future. Increasing prices can’t continue and retailers cannot diminish the products and services that they offer if they want to prosper. The fourth option is to collaborate with the right partner and adopt technology that provides insight into consumer behaviours, and provides supply chain visibility and resilience so brands can stay on top of demand, whilst also giving them the ability to monitor stock in line with this. There are retailers are already doing this, putting the consumer first in everything they do. The brands that realise the value in this, taking a smarter approach, will be the ones to enjoy customer loyalty and be agile to change in future.

65 December 2022

Satellite and AI technology will help businesses reach biodiversity targets.

Meeting biodiversity targets is no longer a choice for businesses. A host of new government regulations are coming into force across the world and, as a result, it’s an issue that is playing an increasingly important part in business objectives.

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Technology will help businesses reach biodiversity targets.

The challenge of meeting biodiversity targets is made even harder as traditional methods for measuring progress are highly complex, costly, and inherently incomplete. As a result, these methods are impractical for biodiversity planning to meet regulatory deadlines.

Advances in satellite technology and artificial intelligence (AI) provide potential solutions. From tracking tree cover to calculating carbon emissions and offsets, AI combined with satellite imagery has the potential to revolutionize the way in which businesses monitor, manage, and build plans to improve the environmental value of their land.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY TO THE PLANET AND THE ECONOMY.

Despite historically receiving less attention than climate-based targets, maintaining biodiversity is recognised as one of the most pressing global issues.

Biodiversity mitigates the effects of climate change, means livelihoods are sustained, nutritious foods are available, clean air and water are supplied and protection against extreme weather events is provided. According to the World Bank, more than 50% of global GDP ($44 trillion) is highly or moderately dependent on biodiversity. However, biodiversity is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history, predicted to worsen in businessas-usual scenarios, according to the UN. In short, a biodiverse planet is essential for both human society and the economy.

HOW EMERGING REGULATION SHINES THE SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESSES.

In order to have a more liveable future, governments across the globe have responded to this challenge by passing legislation, and setting standards, goals, and deadlines for organizations to adhere to them.

In the U.S, several bills are in development or already in effect, including Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2022 for the conservation or restoration of wildlife and plant species, and the Safeguarding America’s Future and Environment Act (SAFE Act, 2021), which responds to the effects of extreme weather and climate change on fish, wildlife, and plants.

And in Europe, The European Commission has proposed a new Nature Restoration Law with an overarching target to restore 20% of the EU’s land and sea area by 2030 and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. While the Environment Act 2021 in the UK establishes biodiversity as one of four targets for the recovery of the natural world. It requires a 10% biodiversity net gain (BNG) in new developments and will be enforced from the end of 2023.

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THE CHALLENGES OF CURRENT MEASUREMENT METHODS.

Businesses must start preparing now to meet new and future regulation and the first fundamental step is to gather baseline data and be in a position to track progress. Currently, one method to achieve this involves sending ecologists to key areas to collect data and extrapolate findings for the entire site. But this method is prone to unconscious bias and is very expensive and time consuming for large areas of distributed land and therefore not possible to roll out at thescale required.

Measuring biodiversity is also not a one metric calculation, it needs to cover a whole host of factors including air pollution and natural capital metrics such as pollination, recreational benefits, and the value of food production. While there have been attempts in the UK to define biodiversity metrics, the calculation makes broad assumptions, and is being constantly updated making it very hard to track and measure progress.

WHAT CAN TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES IN SATELLITE AND AI DO TO HELP?

This is where a modern technology-based approach to biodiversity management presents a major opportunity. AI-powered technology and satellite imagery can scan and assess 100% of land assets - wherever they are in the world - without any guesswork, estimates or having to hire a whole team of ecologists.

By automating a habitat survey from space, businesses can now quantify all of these measurements at site and portfolio level and automate reporting within a week - an undertaking that has historically taken up to 6 months. This quickly establishes a detailed baseline from which to measure sustainability targets. It also greatly improves the accuracy of the calculations and enables businesses to track progress effectively, and affordably with operational costs up to 75% less than traditional methods.

Beyond the ability to create an accurate picture, this technology also allows data-driven strategy and action plans to be developed, precisely identifying where the biggest opportunities are and what actions should be started when.

WHERE WILL THIS TAKE US?

This application of AI and satellite imagery for measuring biodiversity sits among many other advances and applications that enable businesses to understand their impact, plan and meet environmental targets. This includes measuring carbon emissions and offsets, vegetation management, and disaster and disruption management. The potential of this technology, which combines clean tech innovation and the adoption of data-driven decisions, will play a significant role in helping businesses to meet ever-pressing environmental targets.

69 December 2022

Do we still need to care about the metaverse?

In between the chaos at Twitter and the meltdown in the crypto market, you may have missed news of layoffs at Meta. 11,000 staff or 13% of Meta’s workforce will be let go. This downturn comes just over a year since Facebook rebranded and announced that it was committing its future to the ‘metaverse’. The question on many people’s lips is whether the trouble at Meta stems from wider challenges in the tech industryAmazon, Stripe and many other big players have announced similar redundancies - or is it a symptom of Zuckerberg gambling on the metaverse and losing? His statement on the matter provides plenty of insight - blaming overly optimistic projections for consumer spending for the layoffs and doubles down on metaverse R&D spending.

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Do we still need to care about the metaverse?

So, should businesses have faith in Meta that they will be successful and usher in a new era for consumer content and engagement or should they consider the metaverse nothing more than a pipe dream?

This is of course, not an academic question. The answer to it has real implications on business strategy and investment over the next few years. Making the correct move now could enable a new generation of marketing.

The first thing we need to understand is that the metaverse does not live or die by what Zuckerberg does. In fact, the metaverse is better defined as the ultimate goal of a whole suite of virtual and augmented reality propositions that will change how we interact online. In fact, if Meta’s metaverse comes into fruition, it is highly unlikely to be the only one. So rather than simply thinking about the metaverse as lifelike avatars chatting to each other in virtual worlds - we should instead consider use cases such as fully immersive online stores.

From that perspective, the metaverse is all about the whole host of new channels businesses can develop VR and AR content to engage and convert consumers. In that case, the direction of travel is much clearer. The sheer investment and number of companies committed to developing the technology that underpins these experiences means that AR and VR is going to become a major channel going forward. Whether it is in the form of a ‘metaverse’ as we think of it now is essentially irrelevant because

the approach businesses need to take will be the same. The key is to start considering what tech infrastructure your company will need to create, deliver, manage and analyze content on virtual platforms.

CMS technology is currently geared towards a 2D world of emails, websites, apps and electronic billboards. The best new tech enables marketers to create, manage and update campaigns on multiple channels with minimal interaction from developers or IT departments. In recent years, these solutions have been expanded to take into account data-driven personalisation and more exotic channels such as IoT devices.

However, no matter the channel, the core concepts of delivering copy and imagery remain essentially the same.

The metaverse is a whole new challenge. It will require the creation of a new generation of martech solutions that enable completely different ways for brands to interact with consumers.

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The goal of these martech solutions will be to enable the creation, maintenance and modification of virtual, augmented and other immersive content. Marketers will be able to make instant changes on any channel – IoT, social, email, virtual store –without the need for longtail development projects. In essence, it will make virtual as adaptable and manageable as any other communication output.

According to our own survey of more than 200 retail and ecommerce professionals who manage CMS systems, 20% are already extending their CMS to display content into metaverse environments to showcase their brand. This early experimentation is crucial - because it will provide important insights into the limitations of existing systems and provide a roadmap of where to invest.

In the current economic climate it can be difficult to look too far ahead and even consider how your business can make investments. However, the prudent and cost-effective option is to look at how your CMS and marketing infrastructure functions. If it is already outdated or cumbersome, the reality is that your business will quickly fall further behind with the advent of AR and VR and the cost of catching up will grow considerably. Making an investment today will increase your marketing efficiency and also enable your business to begin experimenting with new cuttingedge engagement techniques. When we get through this recession you will be in a much better place to enter the metaverse.

73 December 2022

Unlocking the full marketing potential of AI.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has come a long way since the term was first coined back in the 1950s - arguably its first notable, public breakthrough occurred in 1997, when IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer defeated chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in a six-game chess match.

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Unlocking the full marketing potential of AI.

In the 25 years since the supercomputer’s success over Kasparov, AI now features prominently within many of the devices and digital platforms used today. In part thanks to the growth in recent years of cloud computing capabilities, coupled with increasing availability of powerful, open source libraries like PyTorch or TensorFlow, these resources have brought AI within reach of any organization willing to invest in it as a marketing or business strategy.

For many organizations this is already happening and their ongoing commitment to the use of AI in all its forms is evident.

Indeed, there are lots of sectors today where there is simply too much transactional, high frequency data to not apply some form of AI. And even in heavily regulated industries, they may apply some form of AI in a small, but contained part of the customer journey. In this respect, there is a degree of inevitability to the wholesale adoption of AI to the majority of business practices.

Digital advertising is one such industry reaping the benefits of this technology. However, some marketing professionals remain reluctant about embracing AI technology and, as a result, are failing to capitalize on the significant benefits that can be achieved in campaign effectiveness and consumer attention.

OVERCOMING THE BARRIERS

For many marketers, the prospect of utilizing AI as a core part of a marketing strategy can seem daunting. For example, there may be fears that the adoption of AI will lead to automation, which in turn could lead to job losses. Others may think that AI is inherently “black box” in nature, and that to fully understand the insights of these technologies, the expertise needs to be inhouse or outsourced to a large platform, which can present economic barriers. To an extent the availability of skilled Data Scientists and Data Engineers that can understand the commercial implications of their work has been

an issue for more widespread inhousing. Nevertheless, it would be fair to say that there is still a level of responsibility on technology vendors to assist in removing some of these educational barriers to entry. In the case of some open source technologies, that has happened. But for the most part there is a lot to do to inform digital advertisers about the techniques, the outputs and the business benefits of AI in a more userfriendly manner.

DIFFERENT APPLICATIONS OF AI

It is arguably the case that the uptake of AI has been hindered by the belief that it is a blanket term. But just like any other branches of technology or computer science, it takes many forms. For example, it is well established that machine learning algorithms have been used in bidding platforms where the speed of the decision that has to be made, coupled with sheer volume of data that needs to be processed, makes it a powerful tool for the digital ad industry. Other technologies are available such as computer vision, which

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processes information about digital images, objects, text, and also human faces, to enhance how campaigns are presented to consumers. Likewise, the availability of algorithms for deep learning has seen their application grow exponentially within largeor semi-structured advertising data applications.

As these techniques continue to evolve, many will be integrated into more complex decision processes, and will be more widely applied to different data and business outcomes. This is certainly the case in the area of creativity, which now includes everything from original art to advertising, and where there continues to be tremendous scope for innovation and product development.

UNLOCKING THE POWER OF CREATIVE AI

Indeed, by combining different AI technologies to analyze ad components, including creative, inventory, historic data on audience interaction, and previous campaign performance, linking that data into the bidding process, marketers increasingly have the power to optimize ad creative and placement at the point of delivery. Achieving the greatest attention or engagement in as close to realtime as possible is the aim. This AIdriven approach can also be used in a privacy-compliant manner as personally identifiable data does not have to be used. This is because the modeling focuses on aggregate behavior as opposed to a unique user. Moreover, the resulting uplift in performance provided by these technologies can be described and visualized in detail, and so can be easily interpreted by marketers. It would, however, be fair to say that more attention needs to be given to the presentation of the resulting insight as much as the modeling technique itself.

Looking forward, there is now little doubt that many AI techniques can help deliver for marketers, in producing better online experiences for consumers. This is particularly the case in mobile, which continues to be the device of choice for consumers, and where the balance between privacy and intrusion, engagement and relevance, needs to be carefully managed. If open source access to advanced methods becomes increasingly available, the skills shortage becomes less of a barrier, and computing horsepower continues to develop at its current pace, then there is no doubt of AI’s exponential application in digital marketing processes.

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Are you talking to the right employees?

Businesses are constantly at risk, and traditionally certain employees have been earmarked as having the potential for greater exposure to cybersecurity threats than others. But the lines are blurring. Today, thanks to fastpaced changes in business practices, those people brought in as application owners are often the unwitting conduits of cyber breaches.

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By Ben Watson, Co-owner and Director at internal communications agency Blue Goose.

Are you talking to the right employees?

As a company that specialises in talking to businesses about how to reduce information security gaps, as well as supporting their efforts towards ISO accreditation and GDPR compliance, we recently started to wonder whether we were targeting everyone we should, or whether there were new weak spots emerging. It’s a question that needs to be asked continually as cyber threats evolve.

MOVING GOALPOSTS AND ASKING NEW QUESTIONS

When establishing the key cyber risks that any given organisation faces, the same issues usually float to the surface. Malware infections, phishing and broader social attacks, an inadequate bring-your-own-device policy, website weaknesses, insider threats, denial-of-service attacks, or a general lack of cybersecurity knowledge among staff. All important issues to address.

Then the security expert will move onto people profiles – those that typically present the most risk to a business. Graduate starters, for instance, who’ve never had to think about how their actions can impact a whole company. Those in client-facing roles, human resources and finance, all of whom have access to sensitive information. The C-suite. Again, all important stuff.

But what we’re finding now is that, as well as all of the above, the focus of attention should be on those people who are directly responsible for owning and controlling the software applications that gather, manage and disperse information throughout the company and beyond.

Application ownership is a relatively new role in the business world. It’s the person (or team) with responsibility to ensure that a program accomplishes a set objective or series of user requirements for that software application. For a small company, that might be the CEO. For a Fortune 500 company, there could be dozens of applications, each with a different owner.

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Often app owners are relatively junior or mid-ranking, however, and don’t fall into any of the traditional people profiles outlined above. As the software they control gathers momentum and importance, so does the level of seniority they hold. The problem is the training doesn’t always keep up as they ascend the ranks.

THE NEED FOR COMMUNICATION AND CONSTANT UPSKILLING

Without the right upskilling and management, left unattended our rising staff member may be left to create a domino effect throughout the entire organisation. But we shouldn’t come down too heavily on them – being really highly skilled in cybersecurity has never been part of the remit for an application owner. But perhaps it should be now.

It’s important to create a communication strategy that everyone at every level can see –and then you can add and tailor for specific profiles on top of the one-size-fits-all version.

And it’s also important to keep it fluid. You can’t sit still with cybersecurity training because the criminals aren’t sitting still. And that means increased personal profiling and understanding how things are evolving in the work environment.

For most employees, though, information security is typically a dry and relatively uninspiring topic. That means our communications need to work hard to stand out and engage employees against the background noise of the other communications and the day-today activity they are exposed to.

To address these issues requires the development of a simple and flexible creative platform to provide the visual and intellectual glue that helps position security appropriately in employees’ minds. And it needs to be flexible enough to allow a wide range of messages to be delivered across the security programme to different employee audiences.

By creating what we call a ‘burning platform’, and being vigilant about changing working practices and roles, we develop a ‘live’ body of knowledge that reinforces the essential security mindset – for everyone.

Large organisations are now managed by applications, so it makes sense that we focus on the people who are assigned them. You could say, if you don’t get cybersecurity training right for these app owners, you’re not simply letting down an area of the business, you’re failing the whole organisation.

81 December 2022

Ensuring redundant power at your edge sites.

It took a pandemic to unleash business appetite for edge computing, but now there’s no going back. Retailers adapted fast to changing consumer habits, including online ordering and flexible delivery, and, organisations are embracing flexible hybrid work models. It’s not an overstatement to say that edge computing’s moment has arrived.

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By Christopher Parker, EMEA Offering Manager for Integrated Rack Solutions at Vertiv.

Ensuring redundant power at your edge sites.

Fast growth in edge computing is challenging data centre and IT teams’ ability to manage local power operations effectively. Despite the criticality of edge sites to the customer experience, the reality is that these sites experience significant outages.

One of the leading causes of unplanned downtime, of course, is power loss. Data centres have big budgets for power redundancy, which involves main switchboards, backup generators, uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) and power distribution units (PDUs) to achieve N+1, 2N, 2N+1 or even 2N+2 status. However, edge computing sites are typically run as leaner operations, mostly because of budget constraints and organisations underestimating their criticality. Many of these sites are small and scrappy, operating as mini or modular data centres; server rooms or network closets; or freestanding, secured racks of equipment.

As a result, data centre and IT teams need a fit-for-purpose approach that provides desired power redundancy and intelligence, while increasing business flexibility and stretching limited IT budgets.

RACK POWER DISTRIBUTION

Rack transfer switches (RTS, also called auto transfer switches or ATSs) provide ultra-fast, automatic power switching to a secondary source when the primary one fails. They then ensure that singlecorded IT equipment remains powered until the primary source is restored, at which point the power is switched back. Fail-safe fused thermistors prevent power surges during transfers, protecting critical IT equipment from harm during failovers. All of these capabilities protect valuable business operations, while ensuring that power issues are invisible to users and customers.

When a data centre or edge site loses primary power, an RTS will switch seamlessly over to the new power source in as few as four to eight milliseconds. As a result, there will be no impact to business users, applications or technology. And with high-retention outlets, you can avoid the risk of accidental disconnections, due to onsite technician mishaps or errors, that could cause unwanted downtime.

Latest models also allow greater operational flexibility, as it’s now possible to buy RTSs with a Combination Outlet C13/ C19, eliminating the need to buy separate outlets or adapters. With a two-in-one outlet, it’s easier to buy, store, use and manage RTS devices. In addition, RTS with intelligence can provide IP aggregation, enabling to aggregate up to 50 single-corded devices on a single IP address. You can conserve IP addresses, while also ensuring that you get power information in any condition due to built-in fault tolerance.

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RTS devices are increasingly upgradeable, meaning that you can add the capabilities you need, when you need them, while reducing the total cost of ownership. Similarly, intelligent models are constantly evolving to add more data. As a result, the interchangeable monitoring device is hot-swappable, enabling you to update intelligence without removing power from critical technology.

RTSs excel at providing critical information that data centre and IT teams can use to optimise conditions and power load levels. An RTS will enable power consumption measurement within 1% accuracy, as tested to ANSI and IEC standards. Simply add external sensors to proactively monitor temperature, humidity, airflow, door position, flood detection and more. Automatic alerts provide instant warning of any anomalies, enabling operators to act before power issues harm data centres or edge sites.

UPS WITH LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES

Another key element for protecting critical infrastructure at the edge is relying on high-efficiency UPS systems with lithium-ion batteries. Well known for powering laptops and mobile phones, lithium-ion batteries are now changing the IT industry for the better.

Lithium-ion batteries are more compact and lightweight, which translates into a remarkable power density level, where less space is needed to deliver the same amount of power.

Lithium-ion batteries also have a significantly longer lifespan – 2 or 3 times more than VRLA batteries on average. Compared to a traditional VRLA battery that typically lasts 3 to 5 years, lithiumion technology can provide a battery service life of 8 to 10 years (or longer), often outlasting the UPS itself. This essentially makes the UPS almost maintenancefree with fewer or possibly no battery replacements throughout its lifespan. Unlike VRLA batteries, lithium-ion batteries offer a high life cycle, making them suitable for

many applications where frequent charge and discharge cycles are expected. While VRLA batteries can take over 6 hours to charge from 0% to 90% of full runtime capacity, lithium-ion batteries take only around 2 hours to recharge. That reduces the overall risk of experiencing an outage before UPS batteries have been fully charged. Since lithium-ion batteries have a wide operating temperature range, they become applicable for more extreme, nontraditional settings and facilities that don’t have sufficient cooling capabilities. Moreover, lithium-ion batteries come with an advanced integrated battery management system (BMS). This provides an accurate picture of the battery’s health and runtime and protects the battery cells against current, temperature, and over- or undercharging. The BMS continuously adjusts battery charging to make the most out of performance and battery life.

Although VRLA batteries can surely save money upfront, lithium-ion boasts a longer lifespan, hightemperature resilience, reduced maintenance expenses (with fewer or no battery replacements), and reduced installation expenses, providing up to 50% savings in total cost of ownership (TCO) over their life expectancy.

85 December 2022

2023 trends that will shape the future of work.

Every aspect of businesses is prone to change, and the workplace is no exception. Over the past few years, COVID-19, the Great Resignation and continued economic uncertainty have created a new world of work. Now, as technology becomes more innovative and societal needs evolve, it’s time to look ahead to 2023 and the workplace trends that we can expect to see.

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Karl Breeze, CEO at Matrix Booking.

2023 trends that will shape the future of work.

HERE ARE FOUR PREDICTIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF WORK NEXT YEAR:

HYBRID AND REMOTE WORKING AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE

Despite many organisations encouraging a return to the office, employees aren’t letting go of hybrid and remote work. There is an active tug of war happening between what employers want, relative to returning to the office versus employees, who want the flexibility to decide where they work on any given day.

Many organisations are still struggling with getting the balance right and this period of experimentation will continue well into 2023 as organisations establish and adapt their hybrid working strategies. In fact, 79% of leaders are actively re-evaluating their hybrid workplace structures to ensure they line up with what workers want.i This includes surveying and polling workers to assess what is working with the hybrid policy, what workers need and adjusting the workplace accordingly.

MORE ORGANISATIONS WILL CONSOLIDATE OFFICE SPACE

Covid-19 caused a great deal of disruption for many organisations in the UK. This in turn caused a knock-on effect whereby office space requirements have significantly reduced and businesses are looking to consolidate their work environments. In fact, recent research has revealed that around 1.8 million square metres of UK office workspace was no longer being utilised in the year ending March 2022.ii

Due to long term leases and building ownership, organisations won’t be able to downsize their office space overnight, but we can expect to see consolidation efforts accelerate in 2023 as organisations reap the benefits of bringing together multiple offices into one place. Not only are the financial savings significant, but using the office space in this way gives employees more flexibility and encourages teams to come to the workspace to collaborate.

Perhaps 2023 will be the year when we see the first real attempts at creating a crossorganisational desk-sharing network that would create a more inspiring atmosphere for approaching our work creatively and collaboratively. A casual conversation in the communal café could solve a problem that someone has been stuck on all morning, or a passing greeting in a corridor might help form connections that could assist with future project opportunities.

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Taking this approach would create a dynamic culture that attracts people in from the home offices and could aid recruitment – something many businesses struggle to achieve.

TECHNOLOGY WILL ENABLE EMPLOYEES TO USE THE OFFICE WITH PURPOSE AND FLEXIBILITY

Flexibility 2.0 is to give each individual worker personal choice. Being told they can work from home for three days, and in the office the other two isn’t really freedom if it’s being commanded. Some want more office time. Some, less. Some need flexibility over which days they are, and some would like to make spontaneous decisions in real time.

As we’ve only just navigated ‘flexible working 1.0’, this requires another mindset shift for organisations. But, to offer true flexible working, and to bridge the disconnect, also requires a technical shift.

If workers are to be given individual input and freedom around where they work, in an instant, they need to know what is possible in terms of office capacity and wider workplace usage. There needs to be mutual visibility and transparency around office demand at all times.

Next year, we can expect to see developments in workplace management technology which enables employees to use the office with purpose and flexibility. For example, team leaders will be able to book desks for the whole team and there will be visibility as to which teams are in the office on certain dates and times. These curated events should enable a “pull effect” to entice people back in, creating a regular rota where teams can have critical mass in the office to effectively collaborate in person.

COLLABORATIVE SPACES WILL BE KEY

The workplace is now a broad and integrated conversation, that is more than just a simple desk. There has been a significant shift towards

more project based spaces, collaborative settings, and larger areas for teams and departments to come together, that have a greater event based focus than standard meeting rooms.

Since an integral part of business is collaborating with colleagues, having spaces that make it easier for teams to meet both formally and informally is essential. In fact, organisations could gain $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value from helping employees improve their teamwork, according to a McKinsey studyiii. And the benefits are not just financial. Collaboration leads to happier, more satisfied employees. In a virtuous cycle, employees who are more comfortable in their environments are better poised to do their best work, raising overall productivity.

As we move into 2023, organisations need to re-imagine what kind of space and dynamic they now need that caters for collaboration and the future of work.

89 December 2022

Open source projects must have sustainability at their heart.

When David Braben and Ian Bell designed the space trading game Elite for the BBC Model B in 1984, they had to fit eight galaxies into just 32 kilobytes of memory. In a Venturebeat article written thirty years later, comparing the old and new versions of the game, each image alone was five times as big as the original game.

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Open Source projects must have sustainability at their heart.

As memory, storage and computing power have all become more available and far cheaper, not only have developers been able to do much more, but the pressure to use them so efficiently has also reduced. This can be seen as a good thing—developers can focus on solving problems first and worry about efficient code later. But a lack of efficiency has consequences beyond cost.

EXTRA LESSONS FROM LOG4J

The focus following the uncovering of vulnerabilities in Log4j has understandably been on the security implications: who is vulnerable, how to patch it and so on. But it also revealed something about the nature of the most successful open source projects. Often they are utilities useful in many scenarios, doing a specialist job very well. Log4j was everywhere, creating logs on every event on many websites and online games. There was no point in developers creating a new tool when one that worked very well was already available and was open source, and so it was used

again and again. Open source excels at creating these sorts of building blocks for development.

But just as this success is a problem for security if something goes wrong, it also has implications for sustainability. People generally don’t think of IT as an environmentally problematic sector, especially when compared to say, mining, heavy industry or transport. But the success of IT, touching every other sector and part of everything we do, means that it is responsible for 4% of carbon emissions—bigger than the entire airline industry and growing. But the IT industry is also in a good position to limit its carbon emissions. Firstly, it is relatively young and already a place where innovation is common, and so changing how things work is not as difficult as it may be elsewhere. Also, its sheer scale means that small changes can make a big difference.

The nature of open source is collaborative, so while certain contributors may be key, driving a project forward, giving it direction, and accepting changes, anyone can take on a particular bug or feature request and create code that solves that particular problem. It’s a very efficient and effective way to work in collaboration, but does not necessarily create code that is slick and efficient.

It’s no surprise that “refactoring” in open source is so common, taking the code created through collaboration and reworking it so that it is more efficient, but leaving its features unchanged.

BUILDING IN SUSTAINABILITY

As businesses increasingly use cloud, it can seem like their options for ensuring they are working in more sustainable ways are limited—after all, they are no longer directly in control. This is a mistake. There are many ways that businesses can reduce their IT carbon footprint, and all can make a difference. They can, for instance, ensure that their cloud supplier is using renewable

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energy. They can audit the cloud resources they are using, and increase server density—when servers are run at near-capacity they work more efficiently.

But a vital way is to optimise the code itself. It’s important to keep in mind that optimizing individual lines of code may seem as though any effect would be limited, the overall effect can be very worthwhile. Think of how many servers were and are using Log4j—if every server had just a small tweak that increased efficiency, then that has a massive cumulative effect overall. The key is the scale and repetition, and tiny changes in repeated code can reap big rewards.

At the moment, open source projects focus on features and bugs, and efficiency is an afterthought. This is common practice, and makes some degree of sense. When the scope of a project can evolve or even change radically, it doesn’t make sense to worry about efficiency throughout. That’s why refactoring is so common—it’s something to worry about later. But often it’s something not to worry about at all. Refactoring is often a big project and as developer time is increasingly precious it doesn’t always make sense to invest in something that doesn’t smooth out bugs or add features.

Nevertheless, with environmental goals being taken on by businesses, it makes sense to make efficiency an ongoing part of open source development, taking a happy medium between sweating over every line of code added and leaving all of the work until the end (or ignored completely).

Open source is already an efficient tool for the developer community. It encourages collaboration and saves so much time by sharing work that doesn’t have to be repeated time and again. But it needs to embrace a new kind of efficiency alongside this, and in doing so help every business that uses open source, and therefore the entire IT sector, to cut emissions. Sustainability needs to be a key value alongside collaboration and transparency.

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2023: Growth of time series data.

The world of data is evolving and advancing, and we are moving into a new era of utilizing smaller inputs of data. For the last decade we’ve been obsessed with Big Data which, in turn, has created more and more tools to process it. These tools help us collect more data, process more data and save on our processing costs.

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2023: Growth of time series data.

There are many different types of data collection but a growing trend which will continue to expand in value in 2023 is time-series data. Time-series data is data that is collected continuously over time. Time-series data is useful in making realtime projections, understanding trends over time in order to get a complete picture of the data event, or to assist in collecting enough data for predictive purposes.

A free flow of data is always arriving. However it can take up to 72 hours for a data stream to become a complete dataset. This often means the incomplete data set is viewed as not bringing enough value.

The next trend I expect to see in 2023, is the growing demand from companies to be able to use their smaller complete and incomplete data sources. But big data is tricky and only machines are capable of truly processing the sheer volume of data which has been needed for decision making. The complications with big data can be plentiful. And there are several reasons why a company might find small data even if they’ve been collecting for a while.

THESE INCLUDE:

1. The real time time series data is slow to arrive

2. A company could change the way they are collecting data over time creating pockets of small data supplies,

3. the data could be incomplete due to gaps in how the data is collected

4. it could just be looking at a hyper local area in which the dataset is too small (for example, the amount of data a high street store or chicken shop would generate)

OTHER TRENDS I EXPECT TO SEE IN 2023 INCLUDE

Computing Power

From data science to robotics and IT management, this field will power the largest percentage of employment in every country. The more computing our devices will need, the more technicians,

Smarter Devices

Artificial intelligence has played an essential role in making our world smarter and smoother. It is not just simulating humans but going the extra mile to make our life hassle-free and simpler. These smarter devices are here to stay in 2023 and even further, as data scientists are working on AI home robots, appliances, work devices, wearables, and so much more. Almost every job needs smart software applications to make our work life more manageable.

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Datafication

Datafication is transforming everything in our life into devices or software powered by data. Datafication leads to a higher need for IT professionals, data scientists, engineers, technicians, managers, and so much more.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) AND MACHINE LEARNING

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has already received a lot of buzz in the past decade, but it continues to be one of the new technology trends because of its notable effects on how we live, work and play are only in the early stages. AI is already known for its superiority in image and speech recognition, navigation apps, smartphone personal assistants, ride-sharing apps and so much more.

Extended Reality

Extended reality comprises all the technologies that simulate reality, from Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality to Mixed Reality and everything else in-between. It is a significant technology trend right now as all of us are craving to break away from the so-called real boundaries of the world.

Edge Computing

Formerly a new technology trend to watch, cloud computing has become mainstream, with major players AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform dominating the market. The adoption of cloud computing is still growing, as more and more businesses migrate to a cloud solution.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

The next exceptional technology trend - Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), and Extended Reality (ER). VR immerses the user in an environment while AR enhances their environment.

5G

The next technology trend that follows the IoT is 5G. Where 3G and 4G technologies have enabled us to browse the internet, use data driven services, increased bandwidths for streaming on Spotify or YouTube and so much more, 5G services are expected to revolutionize our lives.

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Driving sustainability with IoT and telematics.

ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and sustainability is now firmly on the agenda of every company across the globe and while once considered a ‘tick-box’ exercise, it is now increasingly being seen as an effective way to increase profitability. A recent survey of global CEOs showed 45 percent of CEO’s agree ESG programs improve financial performance and they also recognise its role in securing talent, attracting loyal customers and raising capital. In addition, 72 percent believe stakeholder scrutiny on ESG will continue to accelerate, so it’s true to say that ESG is now integral to long-term success.

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Driving sustainability with IoT and telematics.

However, it is also important to recognise the impact the current economic situation is having, with 50 percent of CEOs planning to pause or revaluate ESG efforts and 34 percent having already done so. Businesses are now looking for efficiencies in all areas of business and in these times, it is important to look for solutions that reduce costs while improving operational performance.

“IoT, in general, and fleet telematics, in particular, are examples of solutions where this is the case. Telematics refers to using a combination of telecommunications and information processing technologies to control and monitor vehicles and other remote objects using data collected from onboard devices. It allows organizations to track the location and performance of their assets in real-time and lends itself perfectly to improving sustainability by enhancing the efficiency of specific business processes. And when IoT and telematics are used in corporate transport fleets, they help reduce fuel consumption; optimise routes and improve fleet

maintenance”, says Aliaksandr Kuushynau, Head of Wialon at Gurtam. Telematics is now a vital business tool providing visibility and detailed insights into every aspect of fleet operations, and next generation IoT technology, linked to 5G networks, improves efficiency even further with devices having the ability to automatically power up and down.

DRIVING FOR SUSTAINABILITY

Drivers who use the roads erratically by accelerating and braking too quickly, exceeding the speed limit and taking corners too sharply will all use more fuel than drivers who operate their vehicle in a more uniform manner. Equally, drivers who leave their engines running when stationary waste fuel and unnecessary idling can also contribute significantly to the volume of fuel used and CO2 emissions. Telematics can be used to monitor all these situations and ensure fleet managers have the data to implement effective remedial actions. The IoT project of the year award, which is now in its third year, recognizes innovative IoT solutions and the tangible

benefits they deliver for businesses. Along with fuel cost optimization applications, there was also a clear trend this year for projects that monitored driver behavior, and one winner, an international energy company, implemented a telematics solution that reduced harsh driving incidents by 85% and decreased speeding violation cases by 90%.

PREVENTING FUEL THEFTS

Controlling fuel costs and reducing fuel consumption can often be as simple as preventing fuel theft. Without fuel monitoring technology, unscrupulous drivers would find it easy to steal fuel –especially when they are working in remote areas.

IoT technology can identify drivers who are physically taking fuel for personal use but they will also identify drivers who are overestimating fuel consumption. One of Wialon customers, a national leader in the timber industry, identified fuel savings of around 40% And on the first day they implemented a telematics solution, the company detected a

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50% discrepancy between actual and declared fuel consumption quantities.

ROUTE OPTIMIZATION

While GPS tracking has developed significantly from simply identifying vehicle location, knowing where vehicles are, and the routes they have taken is still vitally important. And when used with route planning applications, this tracking data means routes can be optimized for all necessary criteria such as distance or expected arrival time. It ultimately speeds up deliveries and one winner in the IoT project of the year, a leading provider of cold chain IoT solutions, was able to achieve a 4% reduction in delivery times using route management tools.

FLEET MAINTENANCE

Implementing a telematics solution for fleet maintenance enables companies to reduce vehicle downtime by taking a more strategic and planned approach to maintenance. The data provided can be analyzed at a granular level so, for example, fleet managers can objectively assess the performance of replacement parts down to a particular model or brand. In addition, many maintenance activities can be automated and it is possible to accurately track costs so any vehicles unexpectedly draining maintenance budgets can be identified and remedies implemented. Telematics can also help fleet managers recognize when engine and vehicle performance is affecting fuel economy. For example, tire maintenance is a common culprit of fuel waste.

Every one PSI below a tire’s recommended pressure drops fuel efficiency by 0.2 percent. Sensors can alert businesses if a vehicle’s tires are not at optimal pressures to ensure they are correctly inflated and ensure vehicles are operating as efficiently as possible.

“IoT will help many industries improve efficiencies, and in the case of transport and logistics –5G linked with IoT will cut energy use. Devices will have the ability to power up and shut down on their own, and sensors in transportation networks and beyond, will monitor and analyze their energy needs and consumption in real time and automatically optimize energy use. Access to advanced tracking solutions, improved data speed and lower energy usage, are important factors when logistics and fleet managers are considering an upgrade of legacy GPS equipment. There are also benefits for the workforce and telematics can monitor driver behavior and improve their wellbeing by ensuring they take proper rests”, says Aliaksandr Kuushynau, Head of Wialon at Gurtam.

CONCLUSION

Telematics can provide the solution for making fleets as efficient as possible by reducing fuel consumption; optimizing routes and improving fleet maintenance. And companies who deploy IoT are set to be even more efficient while improving driver well-being. It shows once again the role of technology in solving the most pressing issues we face, and how implementing an IoT and telematics solution can be good for people, the planet and profitability.

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Why credible ESG reporting relies on trusted data.

It is expected that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives will only become more prevalent in the coming years. With climate change and events such as COP27 regularly leading the news, and more aggressive targets being outlined in regulations such as the European Climate Law, it is clear that pressure is building on businesses to be able to demonstrate their sustainability credentials.

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Why credible ESG reporting relies on trusted data.

This shift is being seen worldwide, and many organizations are adjusting internal business processes to better align with ESG goals. In fact, according to a survey from Alcumus, nine in 10 companies across the UK, US and Canada already adopt ESG considerations into their corporate strategy – and those that do not, plan to.

With increasing expectations from customers, employees and investors alike, it’s not enough for organizations to simply ‘tick a box’ with their ESG initiatives. Research from EY showed that 84 percent of business leaders believe the COVID-19 pandemic increased expectations from consumers, employees, governments and broader society that companies will drive societal impact, environmental sustainability, and inclusive growth. It further revealed that 43 percent of business leaders identify a lack of commitment from the board to make decisions that fully integrate ESG factors for long-term value.

As a result, it’s fast becoming an imperative for organizations to be able to accurately quantify their sustainability efforts. Moving forwards, businesses will need to be able to seamlessly and efficiently identify, extract and aggregate the granular data needed in order to produce impactful ESG reports.

OPTIMIZED ESG REPORTING BASED ON TRUSTED DATA

An organization’s ability to accurately track ESG-related goals greatly depends on having access to the right business intelligence – and this in itself can be a great challenge. A recent survey conducted by Dun & Bradstreet showed that 47 percent of respondents cited they do not have enough ESG data, with a further 46 percent unable to validate and trust that data.

The reality is that many businesses are attempting to create and assess ESG initiatives through their existing data infrastructure, but are finding that the data they have access to is incomplete, unstandardized or lacking

sufficient levels of insight for the deep-level of reporting required. To move faster, remain compliant, and accurately demonstrate and quantify commitment to ESG initiatives, an organization’s data strategy needs to prioritize data integrity – data that is accurate, consistent, and contextualised.

INTEGRATING ESG DATA FOR A CONNECTED VIEW

Many organizations host a large number of internal functions on multiple operating platforms, so it’s crucial that the infrastructure is able to integrate data from diverse formats and disparate sources to have a comprehensive view of all ESG data. In today’s digital world, collecting a significant amount of data might not seem that challenging, but properly integrating it can be. Integrating all ESG data enables businesses to more readily spot trends that would not have been otherwise visible, and facilitate more efficient and timely reporting.

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REAL-TIME DATA FOR AGILE DECISION-MAKING

Organizations need a flexible framework to efficiently identify, understand, and link the underlying data elements required for ESG reporting, but visibility that does not include data quality scores and metrics, including realtime data observability, leaves you at risk of reporting and data insights that are not accurate. This leads to lack of trust in your ESG metrics that will impact not only the decision-makers within your organization, but any investors or customers that are tracking your ESG analytics.

Data governance is another key aspect for organizations to address. In its simplest form, data governance provides the structure to manage data policy and processes with insight into data’s meaning, lineage, and impact. This can be a very manual process, which is often led by IT programs. Instead, companies should implement a board-level mandate on data, as well as business-led tools to automate the process. Not only will this save time, but it

also enables real-time analytics to support agile decision-making. As organizations pivot to align with changing ESG initiatives, a flexible and business-friendly data governance framework will be essential.

ENHANCING ESG ANALYTICS WITH DATA ENRICHMENT

Along with enhanced reporting and real-time insights, it can also be helpful to enrich business data with third-party datasets in order to unlock greater context. New ESG legislative requirements and disclosure frameworks require organizations to be able to report on the potential impacts of climate change on their own business. Without enrichment, organizations often have limited insight into environmental factors, but by supplementing internal data with dynamic risk datasets they can reveal greater insight into the likelihood of wildfires, flooding, earthquakes, and other impactful weather events.

Data enrichment can help support social initiatives too, providing a more thorough understanding of demographic trends and historical patterns. Demographic datasets allow businesses to better understand the places where people live, work, and spend their leisure time – but also where there are opportunities to support underserved communities and populations.

As more organizations move towards embracing ESG on a global scale, it is essential that robust data foundations are implemented to support the initiatives. Organizations that are not already investing in the integrity of their data will find themselves behind the curve, and this gap is only expected to widen; especially if policies such as Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDRs) are introduced, which will further formalize ESG reporting in the UK. SDRs provide a framework for corporates to manage sustainability-related risks, opportunities, and impacts, as well as set relevant metrics and targets. By building a meaningful strategy based upon trusted data, organizations can make confident ESG-related decisions for their business

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