The UK-based IoT Security Foundation has partnered with the IAMSE Consortium to develop a certification scheme for IoT products ahead of potential legislation.
A set of 30 checks have been drawn up to provide manufacturers with a simple and cost-effective way to adhere to cyber-security standards, with a national network of bodies authorised to certify the various checks. The scheme is designed to increase IoT cyber-security, as well as enable IoT manufacturers to take advantage of the so-called “trust opportunity”, by differentiating their products over those of rivals and showing that they’ve taken steps to ensure high security standards.
The UK government announced plans to introduce new IoT security laws for manufacturers of connected devices, which will be developed from Secure by Design, the Code of Practice for Consumer IoT Security it published in October 2018.
The UK lags behind many European countries in terms of robot automation, according to the latest statistics from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), with a robot density of 91 per 10,000 workers placing it behind the Czech Republic and Finland. “Over many years, the UK has attracted workers from other countries, with businesses preferring to hire people rather than invest in automation equipment,” said Chairman Mike Wilson. The UK’s proposed new immigration system may result in skills shortages, however, which could force companies to invest more heavily in AI and automation.
Customer use of open banking in the UK has surpassed the one-million mark for the first time. The number of customers already connecting their bank accounts with trusted third parties has grown strongly, doubling in six months. Open banking was launched two years ago, with the aim of levelling the playing field in retail banking between incumbents and fintechs and thus extending the choice of financial services available for the sector’s clients.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) platforms will need to carry out an appropriateness assessment that considers a client’s knowledge and experience of the P2P investment before the platform can accept a subsequent instruction to invest. Included in the new regulations is the need for lending platforms to be transparent, such as by sharing important information with investors and enforcing stricter governance of risk management.
ISPreview, a portal for digital content related to internet service providers, reports that a new broadband operator called Optifi Limited is looking to build an open access Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to “serve primarily residential” homes, as well as some commercial properties and related communal facilities. This comes in the wake of UK regulatory and competition authority OFCOM’s statement earlier last year that only 7 per cent of UK homes and businesses are connected to full-fibre broadband.
EY estimates that benefits worth £9.6billion per year could be unlocked from the use of patient data in years to come if the UK’s unique health datasets are cleaned up, linked and expertly annotated.
Private companies are expected to work in partnership with the NHS to develop new diagnostic tools, treatments and apps. Despite landmark investments in the field of health data, exemplified by the Genomics England and UK Biobank projects, the UK has yet to realise the full potential that a wealth of medical data presents.
by Zita Goldman, Business Reporter
In this fast-changing retail age, experience now ranks higher than product or price. Research shows that over half of customers won’t return to a store after just one unresolved negative experience. So understanding customers and what they think and feel has never been more important.
Yet it’s becoming increasingly difficult to gather customer feedback, and to tap into its true business value. Today’s customers are overrun with surveys, emails and special offers tempting them to share their views. Low engagement and dropout rates are a growing challenge. There is also a huge risk that the data customers share across the many channels now available to them gets stuck in disparate silos and spreadsheets, where it delivers zero benefit to the business.
So how can companies successfully get the insight they need and use it to drive their business forward? It all comes down to learning how to listen to customers – and how to effectively take action as a result.
Securing the voice of the customer and deploying the resulting insights can have a transformative effect on performance, profit and customer experience. But only if it’s collected and used in the right way.
For Critizr, that means a whole company approach. We view customer feedback as a driving force at every business level – from HQ to shop floor, not just in the marketing department. Our approach hands the keys to customer-centricity to front-line teams, making them more agile and effective. This local empowerment is the core factor in the success of our platform
. So, while Critizr generates feedback and insight for senior management to plan for the long term, staff in the field can quickly and efficiently take action at local level – doing what it takes to solve problems, win back dissatisfied shoppers and drive loyalty and revenue.
The money story behind local empowerment is compelling. A recent study conducted by Critizr in conjunction with the CX Institute assessed the value of improving customer experience. Our study showed that 53 per cent of customers who’ve had a bad experience can be turned into promoters if their issue is addressed within 48 hours. Promoters spend more, are more loyal and will actively advocate on a brand’s behalf.
Critizr’s experience with leading brands across Europe proves the positive results of transforming all employees into powerful customer champions in their own outlet. On average our clients see a 10-point increase in NPS (the Net Promoter Score, one of the most effective customer satisfaction metrics for modern businesses) in their first year of working with Critizr.
The future of retail relies on businesses and brands using customer experience and feedback to differentiate themselves, drive value from their retained customers and ultimately increasing the bottom line. What better approach could there be than to empower the entire organisation to truly understand what customers want – and then to take action to provide it.
By Douglas Mancini, VP Sales EMEA, Critizr
To understand how to empower your whole organisation using customer feedback with Critizr click here.
We need to include compostable packaging in the definition of biowaste
Consumer awareness and concern about mounting waste and its detrimental impact on the planet has never been higher. But with education comes action, and the global rejection of plastic on both consumer and corporate levels has enabled innovation to find an alternative to plastic that’s performs the same functions but is less environmentally damaging.
As is often the way with complex problems, the solutions have been around, albeit relatively unnoticed, for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence on the British Isles found that the inhabitants of prehistoric Scotland used compost to enrich soil with nutrients as far back as 12,000 years ago. Composting has today developed on an industrial scale, with the UK hosting 53 compost plants and 170 anaerobic digester plants that can treat over five million tonnes of green and food waste annually. But what if we could compost the packaging that contains our food in the same manner?
Plastic not fantastic
According to a recent study published by the WEF, the world has produced an estimated 8.3 billon megatons of plastic since 1950, a very small amount of which has been successfully recycled. Flexible packaging made from plastic films – for example, those used for snacks, granola bars and meat – often contain several raw materials that makes them impossible to recycle. Today, only 9 per cent of all manufactured plastic actually gets recycled, with the majority incinerated, sent to a landfill or dumped into natural environments. It is also important to highlight that recycling is not an endless process – recyclable packaging can be recycled only once or twice, which means recycling only delays eventual disposal or incineration. When a mere percentage of plastic is recycled, virgin plastics are still required to create new products with the recycled material.
A rethink of epic proportions has begun in the face of this depressing picture, with manufacturers and retailers alike desperately seeking plastic alternatives. Failing to respond to this primary consumer demand could spell a loss of customers on a grand scale – the issue has become that important in influencing buying decisions.
Is eradication the answer?
There have been a number of attempts to eradicate plastic, but alternative solutions have proved relatively problematic. Earlier this year, Iceland trialled packaging bananas in paper bags, which failed due to the packaging leading to a 20 per cent shrinkage in the size of the fruit, faster decomposition, and other complications. Generally, non-plastic packaging cannot compete with plastic when it comes to protecting food from damage during its journey from farm to aisle and aisle to home. Plastic also offers manufacturers unrivalled flexibility when printing, cutting and assembling packaging for products where a significant shelf-life is necessary.
In circumstances where glass, paper or aluminium are not a viable packaging alternative, what then is the answer? Compostable packaging is gaining momentum as a solution to this conundrum.
Modern compostable packaging is made up of polymers that can be bio-based and/or fossil-fuel based to varying degrees. This is the basis of our innovation at TIPA. We have created packaging solutions based on our innovative films that safely compost in 180 days in home or industrial composters – just like an orange peel. The result is new packaging solutions with a healthy end-of-life cycle made from viable materials that, when returned to the earth, will not damage ecosystems, but benefit them. TIPA is already providing worldwide solutions for the food and fashion industries aligned to this vision.
Scaling the solution
There is currently confusion among consumers about compostable packaging. For clarity, compostable products break down into organic materials in a home or community compost heap or industrial composter via a food waste collection bin.
Complementary to DEFRA’s plans to create an organic waste collection system across the UK, there is an opportunity to develop a biowaste definition that will include compostable packaging. This will allow for an effective collection system and processing of the packaging together with the organic waste. It will also help to capture more organic material and ensure a cleaner biowaste stream away from conventional plastic packaging contaminants.
With the right infrastructure, either at home or via industrial recycling, compostable materials have the potential to replace the recyclable and non-recycled conventional flexible plastic while possessing the same benefits. By transforming waste into compost, as those ancient Scots did 12,000 years ago, we can make a real difference in reducing the amount of plastic packaging lingering in landfills and improve the capture and value derived from organic waste.
By Daphna Nissenbaum, CEO and Co-Founder, TIPA
Visit www.tipa-corp.com for more information about its compostable packaging solutions.
Your guide to the latest research and whitepapers
The Confederation of British industry has published a list of recommendations to meet the net-zero carbon target by 2050. Smarter regulation, more clarity on climate change related disclosure, a usable taxonomy, incentives towards green finance and clarification on institutional investors’ fiduciary duties are just some of the things the CBI says are essential to bringing about change.
But despite being the second-biggest global financial centre and the largest in Europe, the UK is not among the top 15 sovereign green bond issuers. The transition to a low-carbon economy is estimated to require around £3 trillion annually on average in energy sector investments for the foreseeable future, which could generate huge investment opportunities for energy firms. But unless the UK government seizes this opportunity, says the report, businesses may move to countries where the support mechanisms are more mature.
The report also identifies a gap in green investment, which is currently considerably lower than what is needed to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. Another problem it deals with is the risk of stranded assets – overwhelmingly fossil fuel supply and generation resources which “at some time prior to the end of their economic life are no longer able to earn an economic return.”
To read in more detail about the challenges of green investment alongside the case study on the leading French green bond market, click here. For an interview with Rhian-Marie Thomas, CEO of the Green Finance Institute, click here.
Scepticism towards technological development can only be tackled by making technological development and deployment meaningful, says a new report from the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GESI).
One method is to harness the eight digital technologies listed in the report, which range from connectivity to AI to blockchain, in order to accelerate the process of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. One of the report’s findings is that 103 of the 169 SDG targets are directly influenced by these technologies, which have the potential to accelerate progress by 22 per cent on average.
The report groups SDGs into three areas: biosphere, society and economy. As far as economy is concerned, inclusive growth and sustainable industry are the two most relevant goals. So far, five impacts have been modelled to 2030, covering financial inclusion, remittance costs, manufacturing value add, domestic material consumption and food loss in the supply chain. The report identifies ICT as the key player in channelling technological advancement to address sustainability issues and provides in-depth case studies as guidance to how individual companies can contribute to these positive changes.
Infrastructure has a major influence on whether resources can be preserved and reused, or lost forever. A report by the Green Alliance in collaboration with academics from the University of Leeds outlines three scenarios entailing different degrees of circularity in the UK economy in the next decades. The business-as-usual scenario brings no marked change in terms of 80 per cent of plastics, textile and electronics that continue to go to landfill, incineration or low-quality recycling.
But with higher recycling targets, the report says, the UK would move to a more circular economy. The transformation scenario relies not just on a higher level of recycling but also other ways of maximising resource value, with material use and waste expected to halve thanks to reuse and repair activities.
Current infrastructure is dominated by residual waste treatment, while companies offering solutions to avoid waste via design, new business models and reuse received no funding at all. The report suggests new ways of incentivising business need to be found, with the focus shifting upstream so materials can be captured and repurposed before they become waste. Meanwhile, the government should take stock of existing and planned infrastructure, and build a database on material and product stocks and flows to address the information deficit existing in the sector.
Source: Zita Goldman, Business Reporter
The world of work is undergoing a major process of change. With the rise of technology and economic, political and social disruption intensifying, organisations are having to adapt to increasingly global competition, new business models and changing customer demands.
In today’s dispersed workplaces, more and more people are working from anywhere, at any time. Artificial intelligence and automation are gathering pace and the need for employees to constantly learn new skills to reach their potential and help their organisations thrive has never been greater.
Virtually every business is having to work out how to adapt and transform. The physical workspace and the skills required are evolving and it won’t be long before there is a potential mismatch between the skills workers currently have and those that their business needs in the future.
Human skills are a competitive advantage, and how agile a company is in embracing new technology to unlock and nurture those skills impacts employee happiness and business performance. Organisations that invest in the continuous development of their people will succeed in enabling a people-led transformation in the digital age. After all, it is people-centric companies that are the most successful in making change happen.
Technology makes people development easy. The right systems and processes fuel a people-led transformation in the digital age in a number of ways, from helping to recruit new talent to driving collaboration and developing tomorrow’s leaders. Technology also provides organisations with the data they need to make informed decisions to affect change.
Recruiting the best talent
In the future workplace, the need to hire skills different to those that exist today will intensify the war for talent. The rise of the gig economy and demand for hiring workers on a flexible basis will empower change and create a more on-demand culture in the workplace.
To bring new skills into the business, organisations will need a clear recruitment strategy and the right procedures in place to attract and hire both freelance and permanent staff. The future of recruitment will always be human, but it will also be increasingly augmented with technologies, including artificial intelligence and digital platforms, that automate and optimise the recruitment experience for organisations and job-seekers alike.
Kallidus Recruit, our easy-to-use applicant tracking system, has been designed to enable recruitment teams to identify and hire the best talent when they need it. It ensures the best candidate experience while giving full visibility of every part of the recruitment journey, from a candidate’s first application to their first day in their new job.
Making it easy for people to learn
One of the biggest challenges in the future will be balancing the recruitment of the skills needed now, while focusing on the organisational ability to develop raw talent and the skills needed in the future. Making it easy for people to learn will be critical, at one level for the delivery of mandatory or induction training to new starters to building long-term capability in the business.
Learning is undergoing a major transformation. In the past it was confined to the classroom. But in the same way that the office is no longer the hub of productivity, nor are the confines of the classroom the hub of learning. Businesses are having to rethink traditional ideas surrounding productivity and are reimagining how they can enable employees to accomplish tasks when and where it is best for them. Whether it’s at work, while travelling or from home, the future of learning is about making it as easy as possible for people to learn and maximising natural learning opportunities.
Next-generation learning platforms such as Kallidus Learn help to deliver a fun and engaging learning experience and empower learners to learn on demand and on the go. The connected, always-on era in which we live means more and more people are able to complete their workplace learning on handheld devices using a rich mix of e-learning, video and learning games to supplement face-to-face education. Learning will become available increasingly at the point of need and a part of the working day, removing the time and cost spent in the classroom.
Another key trend as we embrace the future will be a greater focus on performance management. Kallidus’ Perform software will help organisations to align their skills development with their business’s strategic goals, while ensuring individuals have a clear purpose and understand how their development will contribute to business success.
The future of work is already here in many ways, and technology has a crucial role to play in creating a dynamic way to live, work and learn, and in leading a people-led transformation in a world where there is a lot of change and disruption.
by Harry Chapman-Walker, Sales Director, Kallidus
For further information about how Kallidus can help you prepare for the future of work visit www.kallidus.com/BusinessReporter
Since the NHS was created more than 70 years ago, medicine and medical technologies, as well as the health and care needs of our society, have changed radically. Yet the way care is delivered to many patients has remained locked into the service model created in 1948. The Long Term Plan for the NHS, published earlier this year, sets out an ambition that digitally enabled care will become mainstream.
Virtually every aspect of modern life has been radically reshaped by steps forward in technology. The innovation and technology needed to evolve the health and care system into a service fit for future generations is already out there, waiting to be adopted.
We already have access to digital technology that frees up clinicians so that they have more time for patients:
• Ufonia and iPlato use AI-driven voice technology to triage or call patients and have a fully autonomous, natural conversation, to assess their health status against specified criteria or offer guidance on accessing services
• Health Unlocked’s eSocial prescribing tool lets GPs easily deliver a digital social prescription to patients
• Rightangled’s Heart DNA test is a genetic test kit for cardiovascular risks, drug responses and a risk evaluation
We can also use artificial intelligence (AI) to support diagnostics to increase the opportunity for early intervention. For example, Skin Analytics specialises in screening for melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.
There are also systems to help tackle organisational challenges:
• Medic Bleep reduces delays in sharing patient information between clinicians, staff and outpatient departments
• Beringar provides smart monitoring for NHS Estates
We know technology can now deliver tailor-made care for patients, putting them in control of their treatment and health records: My mHealth, Medopad, uMotif and Aseptika are just a few examples of many companies providing digital self-management platforms for those with long-term conditions.
But reports have identified that transforming the health and social care system will not be achieved without a better co-ordinated effort to bring health sector innovators together with NHS and social care teams so that health needs are prioritised. The NHS is complex and ambitious about the future, but pressures are seeing staff stretched to the limit. Successfully introducing new ways of working or new products can be a lengthy process, despite the potential benefits to patients’ lives, support for staff and/or savings that great new ideas can bring.
According to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, a “tide of technology” should be embraced, and this is exactly what the AHSN Network is doing with its Innovation Exchange programme.
There are 15 regional Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) in the UK, whose primary objective is to enhance the uptake of healthcare innovation for patient benefit. They support frontline staff, helping them understand possible new solutions to their challenges and connect the NHS to tech innovators.
An important part of this work is a commission from the Office of Life Sciences to provide the Innovation Exchange, an AHSN-coordinated approach which identifies, selects and supports innovations with the potential to transform the lives of patients and support UK business growth.
So what has been achieved by the AHSN Network Innovation Exchange so far?
A 2019 survey of companies that AHSNs and the NHS Innovation Accelerator have worked with over the past year concluded that 691 jobs had been created and £152 million of investment leveraged in order to support development of the companies that were engaged with.
In total, 2,605 companies and 3,630 innovations were supported, with 164 firms entering into long-term strategic partnerships with the AHSNs.
Healthy.io, the first company to turn smartphones into a clinical-grade diagnostic devices, offering the only FDA-cleared and CE-approved home urine test equivalent to lab-based devices, is one such company.
One of its first UK products is a home-based urine-screening service that can detect signs of chronic kidney disease (CKD). The test kit and associated app allow at-risk people, such as those with diabetes, to test themselves for signs of CKD at home.
The Healthy.io team worked closely with the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, which commissioned the York Health Economic Consortium to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the service for people with diabetes and hypertension who struggled to attend their annual tests.
The report stated that, by rolling out this innovation for non-compliant at-risk populations (people with diabetes or hypertension) across England, an estimated 11,376 cases of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and 1,361 deaths would be prevented over five years thanks to 33,723 additional cases of CKD being diagnosed, potentially saving the NHS £660 million.
With 42 million urine tests undertaken by the NHS, urinalysis is the second most common diagnostic test. It is possible to use this technology across a huge range of clinical pathways – for example, the team is working with the East Midlands AHSN on moving urinary tract infection (UTI) testing out of GP clinics and into the community pharmacy setting to reduce pressure on general practices. It is also working with maternity services to offer generic urine testing for pregnant women who need frequent testing but are low-risk and therefore don’t need to keep attending clinics to complete the tests.
Olivia Hind, Partnerships Director at Healthy.io, said: “The economic evaluation supported by Yorkshire & Humber AHSN has helped us to build a healthcare economic case and go to other areas demonstrating the financial savings and usability. It has also helped us build up our business case as we expand into the US.
“The AHSNs helped us to understand which care pathways to focus on, which geographical areas, and which customers – whether they’re clinical commissioning groups or trusts – and that’s enabled us to fine tune our offering and products and secure additional NHS contracts.”
This is one of many examples of innovative businesses engaging to support the change we need to deliver a future-proof NHS.
The AHSN Network works closely with many partners throughout the country to maximise the opportunities for innovators and tailor effective support for healthcare practitioners. For example, the Accelerated Access Collaborative brings to support the national adoption and spread of selected innovations, while Local Enterprise Partnerships and Innovate UK support companies throughout the economy. Patient and business organisations are also key partners with National Voices, NHSX, ABHI, ABPI, as well as the NHS Innovation Accelerator and DigitalHealth.London bringing specialist support in particular areas.
A new digital gateway for innovators is now available to help people access the experts and resources available in all 15 AHSNs, and connect to partners across the health innovation landscape.
It is a highly complex world, with many sceptics to convince, traditions to question and barriers to overcome. The only way to bring about the transformation needed is to work together, supporting those with system-changing, life-changing solutions to help them bridge the gaps and positively impact the lives of patients for years to come.
Find out more about how you can gain the support needed to move things forward in the health and care sector, and watch your business grow, at ahsninnovationexchange.co.uk
by Karen Livingstone, National Director, AHSN Network Innovation Exchange
In-depth analysis in bite-sized chunks
Maritime organisations are often reluctant to report cyber-attacks for fear of reputational damage. But now an anonymous reporting system, set up by UK-based maritime membership organisation the CSO Alliance to ensure anonymity and confidentiality, is making strides towards addressing this problem, according to this piece in shipping journal Lloyd’s List. The piece includes an overview of the International Maritime Organisation’s guidelines to maritime cyber-security risk management, which indicate the importance that shipping companies understand the nature and volume of these cyber-attacks and, in turn, raise their preparedness and do their part to mitigate the risk of subsequent events.
Three prominent women in AI talk about bias in machine learning in this interview – Daphne Koller, founder of Insitro, a company using ML to develop new drugs; Olga Russakovsky of ImageNet; and Timnit Gebru, a research scientist at Google’s ethical AI team.
Bias means at least two different things when it comes to machine learning. For a layperson, what comes to mind are the examples of racial, gender and age bias against people of colour, women and the elderly. However, for AI experts, a bias is primarily when, as Russakovsky puts it, “an algorithm is latching onto something that is meaningless and could potentially give you very poor results.”
In other words, the algorithm may come up with the right results but for the wrong reasons. For example, it can correctly identify a fracture on an X-ray only because it comes from a hospital that happens to have a high number of cases. Gebru, on the other hand, draws a link between the two types of bias by claiming that feeding a more diverse data set to algorithms is not the silver bullet – we also, she explains, need “to have principles and standards, and governing bodies, and people voting on things and algorithms being checked.”
With employee retention becoming increasingly hard, deploying AI tools to personalise and maximise the employee experience has become key to successful talent management. AI has the potential to free HR from mundane tasks, such as sorting through hundreds of CVs or scheduling meetings.
To start with, HR departments need to identify the processes that need the most improvement. Annette White-Klososky, writing for Forbes, maintains that even those on the non-technical side of a business need to have at least some basic understanding of AI to appreciate its full potential – for example, how it can reduce staff turnover through sentiment analysis, or help with coaching – to better pitch AI-enabled technologies to the C-suit.
According to IBM’s Institute for Business Value, the need for reskilling and retraining due to the impact of AI and automation technology will affect more than 120 million workers across the world’s 12 largest economies.
In the UK, only 41 per cent of employers have the required people, skills and resources in place to execute their business strategies effectively. In addition to digital skills and qualifications in STEM, there is a growing demand for soft skills such as learnability and cognitive flexibility, which the labour market can’t meet. The situation is further aggravated by the recent drop in the “half-life” of professional skills – which means that skills learned now will only be half as valuable in five years’ time – from 10-15 to five years. Meanwhile, the time needed to close skills gaps using traditional training approaches, such as classroom and virtual learning, has increased by a factor of 12 – from three days in 2014, to 36 days in 2018.
Source: Zita Goldman, Business Reporter