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Carl Data enters into securities exchange agreement with Astra Smart Systems

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Carl Data enters into securities exchange agreement with Astra Smart Systems

Carl Data Solutions Inc. (CSE:CRL, FSE:7C5, OTC:CDTAF) (“Carl Data” or the “Company”), entered into a securities exchange agreement (the “Agreement”) with Astra Smart Systems Corp. (“Astra”) on June 8, 2018. Astra manufactures Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices and runs a data center that can host over 1,000 servers. Several high profit margin Data Hosting, Data Processing, Data Analytics and Software as a Service (SaaS) contracts that generate monthly reoccurring revenue are also serviced by Astra.

Pursuant to the Agreement, Carl Data has agreed to acquire (the “Acquisition”) all of the issued and outstanding shares of Astra from its shareholders (the “Shareholders”), for total consideration of (i) 9,300,000 common shares in the capital of the Company (approximately $1,581,000 CAD at $0.17 per share), (ii) the payment of an aggregate of $300,000 in cash to the Shareholders within thirty days of closing and (iii) the payment of an aggregate of $300,000 in cash to the Shareholders within six months of closing.

Astra is creating environmental monitoring sensors and devices for the IIoT, while developing complimentary data-centric software.

Its data hosting center takes advantage of affordable leasing and industry incentives, such as subsidized power and human resources. The Columbia Basin Trust provides $400M CAD annually for these kinds of subsidies in the West Kootenays region. By bringing to market fully integrated end-to-end (E2E) environmental monitoring solutions for problems such as air quality, flooding and drought, Astra and Carl Data expect to continue expanding across further industrial verticals and emerging markets.

Pilar Portela, founder and CEO of Astra, is expected to continue with her role and assist with the transition for one year following completion of the Acquisition. Portela stated, “Astra’s annual potential earnings have been carefully orchestrated through its various revenue streams. Focused on the three bases of E2E services for Industrial IoT clients, being Data Acquisition, Data Processing and Data Analytics, Astra builds products that help our clients augment their business intelligence capacity.  From safety and environmental sensors to process analytics and data modeling, Astra has grown through a profitable model almost from day one.”

Portela added, “Joining forces with Carl Data Solutions will enable our companies to expand, integrate and offer multiple E2E solutions to our industrial clients, scale our sensor manufacturing and assembly lines housed in our 45,000 square foot facility, and support client data processing needs in our one-megawatt data center.”

Greg Johnston, Carl Data’s President and CEO, commented “Astra is a fast growing, well-managed company with technology that is very complimentary to our products. Our business plan was always to supplement organic growth by acquiring innovative companies and help accelerate their expansion. Astra is a great example of a purchase that allows us to quickly bring our technology into new verticals where the target company is already established.”

“In addition to new revenue and customers, Astra employs a group of very talented people who have come a long way in a short time. We look forward to expanding Astra’s operations and integrating their technology into our list of products and services to accelerate our overall growth,” added Johnston.

Disclaimer for Forward-Looking Information and Future-Oriented Financial Information and Financial Outlook Information

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements and are prospective in nature and contain future-oriented financial information and financial outlook information (collectively, “FOFI“) about the growth in Astra’s revenues in the future. Forward-looking statements are not based on historical facts, but rather on current expectations and projections about future events, and are therefore subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from the future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as “may”, “should”, “will”, “could”, “intend”, “estimate”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “expect”, “believe” or “continue”, or the negative thereof or similar variations. Forward-looking statements in this news release include statements regarding: completion of the Acquisition; the continued operation of Astra following the Acquisition; the expected consideration under the Acquisition; the expected benefits to the Company and Astra’s business operations of the Acquisition, including financial projects relating thereto; and the Company’s plans with respect to Astra’s integration following the Acquisition.

Forward‐looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward‐looking statements and, even if such actual results are realized or substantially realized, there can be no assurance that they will have the expected consequences to, or effects on, the Company. Factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations include, among other things: the Acquisition not completing; Astra not being operated as expected following the Acquisition; the consideration under the Acquisition being different from that disclosed in this press release; the benefits to the Company and Astra of the Acquisition or the financial projections associated therewith not being realized as expected or at all; changes to the Company’s plans with respect to Astra’s integration following the Acquisition; the ability of the Company to establish a market for its services; competitive conditions in the industry; general economic conditions in Canada and globally; the inability to secure additional financing; competition for, among other things, capital and skilled personnel; potential delays or changes in plans with respect to deployment of services or capital expenditures; the possibility that government policies or laws may change; technological change; risks related to the Company’s competition; the Company’s not adequately protecting its intellectual property; interruption or failure of information technology systems; and regulatory risks relating to the Company’s business, financings and strategic acquisitions. The information contained herein and any forward‐looking statement or FOFI speaks only as of the date on which it is made and is subject to change. We disclaim any intent or obligation to update any forward‐looking statement or any FOFI, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable securities laws. Although we believe that the assumptions inherent in the forward‐looking statements and FOFI are reasonable, forward‐looking statements and FOFI are not guarantees of future performance and accordingly, undue reliance should not be put on such statements due to their inherent uncertainty.

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller 1

WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The president’s poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the U.S. inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.

Hours after Gorman’s electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books – neither out yet – topped Amazon.com’s sales list.

“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, wrote on Twitter.

Gorman’s debut poetry collection ‘The Hill We Climb’ won top spot in the online retail giant’s sale charts, closely followed by her upcoming ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’.

While poetry’s popularity is on the up, it remains a niche market and the overnight adulation clearly caught Gorman short.

“Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then’.”

Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country in Wednesday’s rendition.

“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it,” Gorman said on the steps of the U.S. Capitol two weeks after a mob laid siege and following a year of global protests for racial justice.

“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”

The performance stirred instant acclaim, with praise from across the country and political spectrum, from the Republican-backing Lincoln Project to former President Barack Obama.

“Wasn’t @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait,” tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

A graduate of Harvard University, Gorman says she overcame a speech impediment in her youth and became the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.

She has now joined the ranks of august inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

Her social media reach boomed, with her tens of thousands of followers ballooning into a Twitter fan base of a million-plus.

“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted TV host Oprah Winfrey.

Gorman’s books are both due out in September.

Third on Amazon’s best selling list was another picture book linked to politics and projecting hope: ‘Ambitious Girl’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.

(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape 2

By Justin Pike, Founder and Chairman, MYPINPAD

Delivery of intuitive, secure, personalised, and frictionless user experiences has long been table stakes in digital commerce, well before the era of COVID-19. As businesses harness the revolutionary power of digital technologies, they have pursued large-scale change to adapt to evolving consumer preferences (some more successfully than others, but that’s a blog for another day). Digital transformation is a term we hear repeatedly, and it looks different for each organisation, but essentially, it’s about utilising technology and data to digitise, automate, innovate and improve processes and the customer experience across the entire business.

As I said, this was already well underway but then came 2020 and no industry escaped the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had an indelible impact on businesses performance, operations, and revenue. Regardless of whether the impact of COVID has been very positive or very challenging, it has forced organisations globally to re-evaluate and re-orient strategies to adapt.

As lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions continue to change daily life, this raises the question of how we can balance a dramatic shift to digital and the benefits it brings, while ensuring business continuity and innovation both during and post-COVID, and protecting everyone against fraud?

Digital is an essential survival tool, and even more so in a COVID world

No one could have predicted the dramatic digital pivot that has taken place over this year. Indeed, within weeks of the COVID outbreak cash usage in the UK dropped by around 50%. Digital solutions including delivery applications, contactless payments, mobile commerce, online and mobile banking have become essential components of a touchless customer experience in the era of social distancing. It’s no longer just about an enhanced and superior customer experience, it’s also about health, safety and survival.

In store, businesses have benefited from contactless payments enabling faster throughput and reduced need for consumers to touch payment terminals (therefore requiring greater cleaning, which degrades the hardware much faster). Mastercard reported a 40% increase in contactless payments – including tap-to-pay and mobile pay – during the first quarter of the year as the global pandemic worsened. Digital has also become an essential sales channel for many B2C brands. Where brick and mortar stores have been required to close, digital commerce enables continuity of customer relationships and revenue. This channel also provides brands with rich customer data, which can be used to enhance and personalise the customer experience and typically results in greater levels of engagement and uplifts in revenue.

Industry forecasts estimate that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach GBP 1.8 trillion in 2023 – a clear indication that the process represents a long-term investment and a global commitment to digital-first strategy. The key point here is that digital brings significant benefits, and regardless of COVID, is here to stay.

The challenges that rapid digital transformation brings to businesses

Justin Pike

Justin Pike

Regardless of whether businesses are operating in developed or less-developed economies, these times of crisis have levelled the playing field in the sense that all businesses are facing similar issues. Access to products and supplies, maintaining customer relationships, accelerating sales for some and declining sales for others, health and hygiene are just a few of the unique challenges brought about by COVID.

Many businesses in physical environments have had to swiftly implement changes to significantly reduce safety risks for staff and customers, such as contactless payments, mobile ordering and delivery options. But with these changes come a host of other benefits of digitisation, such as faster transactions, and reduced human error at the point-of-sale.

The reliance on technology, however, can also expose organisations and consumers to certain vulnerabilities. In particular, the risks of fraud and cybercrime have dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic as scammers have taken advantage of digital technologies to target both businesses and individuals.

As a McKinsey report illustrates, new levels of sophistication in the activities of fraudsters have placed more pressure on companies that have been previously slow to go digital, bringing “into sharp relief how vulnerable companies really are”, and damaging the financial health of small and large businesses. In fact, the Bottomline 2020 Business Payments Barometer reveals that only one in 10 small businesses across the UK report recovering more than 50% of losses due to fraud.

But take these stats with a grain of salt. While it is important to be aware of the risks and challenges this new business landscape brings, it’s equally as important to have a lens firmly across your own business, industry and audience, and to identify the changes you can make internally to mitigate risk as well as improve your customer experience. Where can you make some quick wins? Do you have the right skillsets internally to achieve what you need to achieve? What technology is out there that will enable your business goals? There are tech companies like MYPINPAD that are making huge strides in software development, which will transform businesses globally.

A digital world post-COVID

Almost a year in, the line between business success and failure remains fragile. However, an ongoing transition towards greater digitisation will be the difference between survival and the alternative.

There is a wide range of initiatives businesses can implement to weather this storm. If we look at the space MYPINPAD operates within, secure digital consumer authentication is crucial to the ongoing success and security of not only financial products but also identification and verification across a range of different industry verticals. Shifting the authentication of consumers securely onto mobile devices enables businesses to completely reshape their customer experiences. By bringing together a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, accessibility, privacy, security and access to consumer data, businesses are able to drive digital transformation across day-to-day activities.

Against this backdrop, software with stronger security standards continue to play an ever more vital role in supporting society, protecting consumers and businesses from the increase in risks that rapid digitisation brings. Already, merchants can deploy PIN on Mobile technology from companies like MYPINPAD, onto their smart devices to speed up the digitisation process many are now tackling.

Essentially, opening up universal payments and authentication methods that feel familiar, for both online and face-to-face transactions, will be key to opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to redefining how businesses engage with consumers.

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Food supply problems in Northern Ireland are due to Brexit because there are now a certain amount of checks on goods going between Britain and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

British ministers have sought to play down the disruption of Brexit in recent days.

“The supermarket shelves were full before Christmas and there are some issues now in terms of supply chains and so that’s clearly a Brexit issue,” Coveney told ITV.

The Northern Irish protocol means there are “a certain amount of checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland and that involves some disruption,” he said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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