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Cars and Money: The Future of Tech

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Cars and Money: The Future of Tech

By Stephen Magennis, UK MD for Quality Business at Expleo

The 2010s have been a decade of significant change, driven by technological advances which are showing little sign of slowing. Alongside this, market growth across multiple industries is being increasingly challenged by consumer behaviour. New challenges are being laid down and to remain relevant, UK businesses are facing tough decisions on how to best align to the current economic climate.

With significant change comes great opportunity. As we look forward to 2020 and the next decade, it must be an acknowledged that in spite of market challenges, it is an exciting time for businesses who are looking to use technology to drive their future success. Below, I examine two landmark fields where the future is already being shaped.

 Driving Automotive into the future 

The automotive industry has been utterly transformed in recent years, and while we may not be flying Jetsons-style from A to B – enormous progress has been made in developing the vehicles of the future.

Throughout the last decade, progress in the Automotive sector has focused on three key areas: Electric Vehicles (EVs), connected cars and safety and security. These workstreams are the foundations upon which the next generation of Autonomous Vehicle (AV) technology will rest.

In the same way that the Internet of Things offers improvements to our home lives through increased convenience, enhanced comfort and better use of resources, the development of the data network between connected vehicles is making our roads safer, and transport smarter.

Original Equipment Manufacturers in the Automotive industry have recognised that the mechanics of the future will not be tinkering with engines and oil levels. They will be coders, working out how to increase vehicle efficiency, improve carbon neutral technology, and maximise customer experience from road data gathered by connected cars.

Perhaps most importantly, connected technology provides insights on where, how and when accidents are most likely to happen, in a way that has never been possible before. This is a huge leap forward for society. With the first UK trials of AVs. Efficient route data – both in terms of journey planning and identifying best petrol prices and rest stops along the way – adaptive mapping, weather information, and applications which personalise the experience all contribute to making time spent on the road more pleasant. Imagine what Benz and Ford would say if they were alive today?!

Fast money 

Currency has been used to trade in exchange for goods and services for millennia. Each evolution has been prompted by a shift in convenience. Bartering? Too variable. Bronze replicas? Too cumbersome. Metal coins? Too heavy. Paper? Too bulky.

For a long time, plastic cards seemed to have cracked the problem: easily portable, quick, convenient. Then Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, which represented a seismic cultural shift in how we go about our daily lives.

Calls and correspondence? Smartphone. Diaries and calendars? Smartphone. Notebook? Smartphone. Entertainment? Smartphone. Internet? Smartphone. Shopping? Smartphone.

This one device enables us to stay connected and productive in so many ways, that it was inevitable it would also be the catalyst for another evolution in the story of currency. Contactless payments are designed to be seamless and convenient. One tap, and the shopper is on to their next errand. Simple.

Arguably, of all the technologies which have emerged over the last ten years, contactless payment has claim on being the most impactful on our daily lives.

Here it is worth thinking of the proverbial swan, calm and collected floating on the lake’s surface, yet paddling away under the water. The technology used to deploy, integrate and support contactless systems is complex. Layers of data and functionality are in play, with security constantly being tested, reviewed and enhanced so users can remain confident that their money is protected.

Across travel, retail, entertainment and beyond, experts are already looking for the next technology evolution in the payment space that will ensure customer experience remains paramount. In the early 2020s, we are likely to see regulation technology move into the spotlight while biometrics become mainstream.

The businesses leading the charge will be those who can ensure systems are fit for purpose, delivering a simple user interface and offering rigorously-tested security.

To the future

2020 marks the beginning of a new era of ambition, courage and bold thinking for businesses who embrace innovation. While Automotive and Finance can be regarded as early adopters in terms of technology, they are not alone in seeking to evolve. The key to maximising technological success will be through learnings shared across sectors.

Tech convergence will sustain the synergies of the future. For example, developments in the Finance industry will benefit the Retail sector; Automotive progress can deliver advantages to Aerospace; and supply chain innovations can transform the Entertainment industry. As technological advances revolutionise these sectors, efforts to drive efficiencies, improve processes and overhaul supply chains will become central to delivering best-in-class customer service.

The pace of change which will propel us to 2030 will not be without its own challenges. But it will be exhilarating. We may yet see those Jetsons cars floating about our cities – and much more beyond.

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.

Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.

The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.

Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.

Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.

Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.

“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.

Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.

“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.

“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”

Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.

He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.

“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.

Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.

“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of State’s (Dowden’s) assertion that the government’s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.

It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.

The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.

Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)

 

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would offer a fast-track visa scheme for jobs at high-growth companies after a government-backed review warned that financial technology firms will struggle with Brexit and tougher competition for global talent.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that now Britain has left the European Union, it wants to make sure its immigration system helps businesses attract the best hires.

“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow,” Sunak said in a statement.

Over 40% of fintech staff in Britain come from overseas, and the new visa scheme, open to migrants with job offers at high-growth firms that are scaling up, will start in March 2022.

Brexit cut fintechs’ access to the EU single market and made it far harder to employ staff from the bloc, leaving Britain less attractive for the industry.

The review published on Friday and headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, set out a “strategy and delivery model” that also includes a new 1 billion pound ($1.39 billion) start-up fund.

“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.

Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.

The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance, all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.

It also recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.

“We recognise the need to make the UK attractive a more attractive location for IPOs,” said Britain’s financial services minister John Glen, adding that a separate review on listings rules would be published shortly.

“Those findings, along with Ron’s report today, should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform.”

SCALING UP

Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.

“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.

A UK fintech wanting to serve EU clients would have to open a hub in the bloc, an expensive undertaking for a start-up.

“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” Swinburne said.

The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).

“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.

($1 = 0.7064 pounds)

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jane Merriman and John Stonestreet)

 

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