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Global Businesses Turn to Oracle Blockchain Service to Speed Transactions Securely

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Global Businesses Turn to Oracle Blockchain Service to Speed Transactions Securely

Arab Jordan Investment Bank, CargoSmart, and Intelipost are among early adopters of enterprise-class general ledger service

Businesses around the world have been deploying an early adopter version of Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service, which becomes generally available today.

The service allows organizations to easily build blockchain networks to drive more secure and efficient transactions and to track goods through supply chains on a global scale. Arab Jordan Investment Bank, CargoSmart, Certified Origins, Indian Oil, Intelipost, MTO, Neurosoft, Nigeria Customs, Sofbang, Solar Site Design and TradeFin are among the many global organizations that already have adopted Oracle’s blockchain platform.

Blockchain has the power to fundamentally transform how every industry does business by making interactions more secure, transparent, efficient and cost-effective. Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service provides customers with a development platform to build their own networks, and to quickly integrate with Oracle SaaS and third-party applications they already use, as well as other blockchain networks and Oracle PaaS services. It also enables users to provision blockchain networks, join other organizations, and deploy and run smart contracts to update and query the ledger. Oracle’s blockchain platform leverages the company’s decades of experience across industries and its extensive partner ecosystem to reliably share and conduct trusted transactions with suppliers, banks, and other trade partners through blockchain.

“Blockchain promises to be one of the most transformative technologies of our generation,” said Amit Zavery, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Platform. “We are excited to announce the availability of Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service. It is the result of years of R&D alongside our valued partners and customers. With Oracle’s platform, enterprises can enhance their business, eliminate unnecessary processes, and transact with their distributed networks more easily, transparently and securely than ever before.”

Oracle’s blockchain platform is built on top of The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric. It is pre-assembled with all the underlying infrastructure dependencies, container lifecycle management, event services, identity management, REST proxy, and a number of operations and monitoring tools integrated under a single console, expediting the set-up and application development process. Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service is an Oracle-managed cloud platform backed by a 99.95 percent availability SLA, with built-in high availability configuration, autonomous recovery agents, as well as continuous ledger backup capabilities that can enable multi-datacenter disaster recovery across availability domains.

It further benefits from broad capabilities in Oracle Cloud Platform for plug-and-play integration with existing cloud and on-premises applications, API management, and application development environments and tools. Additionally, Oracle is delivering new SaaS applications to use blockchain technology for common use cases, such as track and trace, provenance identification, warranty and usage, and cold chain. The plug-and-play ability with Oracle and third-party applications results in faster integration with diverse systems of record; greatly accelerating time to market and multiplying the returns from using the blockchain platform across different application use cases.

“Blockchain projects are quickly moving from pilot to production as enterprises and governments begin to see the inherent value of distributed ledgers and smart contracts,” said Robert Parker, group vice president of manufacturing and retail insights, IDC. “As spending accelerates, buyers will need an enterprise class platform beyond open source that includes data security and integrity, scalability, manageability, and interoperability.”

Quotes from Global Organizations and Consortia Using Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service

Blockchain has the power to impact almost all industries and has applicability to verticals from transportation, supply chain and logistics, energy, retail and ecommerce, to financial services, telecommunications and public sector. Organizations and industry consortia are already using Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service to help ease transactions, track goods through supply chains, and reduce costs, including global shipping leaders, multi-national manufacturers, food producers and energy marketplaces. For example, Oracle joined the Food Safety Consortium and is a member of The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions, participating in its working group on blockchain.

“Oracle’s blockchain platform has helped us minimize the complexity of electronic fund transfers by reducing cost, increasing efficiency and security levels, and ultimately improving the overall customer experience,” said Ayman Qadoumi, A. Deputy General Manager, Information Technology and Security, Arab Jordan Investment Bank. “The built-in features such as identity management and data encryption made it an ideal choice given our industry requirements and compliance needs. Additionally, the REST APIs helped us and our vendors accelerate application development and integration with existing core services.”

“We are using Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service to develop an application to help simplify the complex documentation processes that plague the shipping industry,” said Steve Siu, CEO, CargoSmart. “Its comprehensive nature has allowed us to quickly turn prototypes into viable products in several 12-week sprints and so far, we have seen proven productivity gains of more than 30 percent compared to other blockchain platforms we tested. Another key purchasing requirement were its integrated management and operations tools, which allow business partners to monitor all of their blockchain activities and the health of the network.”

“As the producer of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from fruits grown in small family farms in Italy, we wanted to trace our product that we sell in the US market branded Bellucci Evoo across the entire supply chain – ‘from the tree to the shelf,'” said Andrea Biagianti, CIO of Certified Origins. “The availability of Oracle’s blockchain service simplifies the implementation and collaboration of all parties included, and represents a real competitive advantage for us. It adds a further level of transparency and information that is valuable for consumers looking for quality products and helps us to support the excellence of the small farms.”

Dr. Terence Lau, Convener of the Food Safety Consortium (FSC), welcomed Oracle as a Corporate Member of the non-profit technology development platform established by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. “FSC is committed in advancing global food safety with science and technology,” said Dr. Lau. “With an increasing demand on multidisciplinary expertise in tackling challenges in food safety and quality, FSC is delighted to partner with Oracle to leverage blockchain, big data, and other IT applications to provide better food provenance, tracking and safety. We look forward to exploring Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service to improve and accelerate the Food Safety initiative in Hong Kong, as well as globally.”

“Companies are increasingly testing and seeing the value blockchain technologies can offer their organizations, from streamlining internal processes to building trusted networks with partners, customers and third parties,” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger. “Based on Hyperledger Fabric, Oracle’s platform, with its support for interoperability with non-Oracle Hyperledger Fabric instances, will help build further support for open standards and interoperability, while illustrating how quickly, easily and securely businesses can begin utilizing blockchain to improve business processes.”

“Oracle’s blockchain platform is agile, easy to develop on and its enterprise-grade scalability makes it an ideal choice for deploying blockchain platforms rapidly,” said Juan José Miranda, blockchain project manager, Magia.Digital. “Based on our experience with the platform, we even chose it as our main development platform for the New York Consensus’ Hackathon 2018. With its features, we were able to impress the judges and ultimately be named winner of the contest.”

“Once we decided that blockchain would be the ideal technology to help bring our ‘From Mileage to Opportunity’ – M2O – loyalty program to life, we went through a rigorous approach to find the right vendor,” said Suwan Kim, CEO, MTO. “We were confident that Oracle’s pre-assembled blockchain cloud service could quickly help us realize a trusted platform that empowers users to convert credit card points and air miles to tokens. It also provides us with easy, ongoing management and all the underlying security, scalability, and resilience that are needed for a production solution like this.”

“We used Oracle’s blockchain to build a trusted platform for the automation of Customs Excise Trade business processes and procedures,” said Aber T Benjamin, Assistant Comptroller General Modernization, Nigeria Customs Service. “Using this technology, we found the entire business environment can be migrated to blockchain to automate processes and create transparency and predictability. Once the transition to blockchain is completed, NCS expects revenue growth increase of about 50 percent. This technology helps our organization to build global trust for Nigerian businesses through irrefutable data on goods manufactured in the country.”

“Using Oracle’s blockchain platform in factoring and supply chain finance seems a natural fit that enables us to go from a fragmented process along heterogeneous systems to a common base, that can be trusted by all, used as a reference, resolve conflicts and streamline processes,” said Nikolaos Vasilonikolidakis, CEO, Neurosoft. “Risk mitigation in factoring is paramount and Oracle’s blockchain brings common consensus that helps settle transactions in near real-time.”

“Oracle’s blockchain platform is enabling Sofbang to build smart contract supply chain solutions for our customers,” said Michael Ribet, product development manager, Sofbang. “We’re delighted with the rich functionality, robust scalability of the service and how it’s designed to integrate blockchain technology with current business critical applications seamlessly. Our customers are anticipating up to 35 percent efficiency gains by communicating more reliably and rapidly with their trading partners through Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service.”

“We helped found the Energy Blockchain Network earlier this year after realizing stakeholders in the solar project ecosystem needed a single source of truth with immutable records, so they can trust project status data,” said Jason Loyet, CEO of Solar Site Design. “We can now program each project’s status, list requirements to move forward, and rewards value contributions in near real-time. We are really happy with how easily NetSuite SuiteCloud Development Platform and Oracle’s blockchain platform integrate with pre-packaged blockchain APIs, allowing us to explore new ways to develop smart contracts, manage the projects and reward programs.”

“As a company dedicated to making business-to-business payments and supply chain finance secure, frictionless and ubiquitous using blockchain, we are able to significantly accelerate the time to onboard corporations, their suppliers and banks by using Oracle’s blockchain platform,” said Amit Baid, CEO, TradeFin. “It provides a REST API-driven platform with rich integration options in Oracle Cloud Platform, allowing us to quickly onboard existing customers. Additionally, Oracle Scaleup Ecosystem provides access to the platform itself, cloud credits, mentoring, and a number of Oracle resources that can help start-ups like ours grow quickly.”

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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears

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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears 1

By Colin Packham

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay news outlets for content, a senior lawmaker said on Monday, as Canberra neared a final vote on whether to pass the bill into law.

Australia and the tech giants have been in a stand-off over the legislation widely seen as setting a global precedent.

Other countries including Canada and Britain have already expressed interest in taking some sort of similar action.

Facebook has protested the laws. Last week it blocked all news content and several state government and emergency department accounts, in a jolt to the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the titans of the technological revolution.

Talks between Australia and Facebook over the weekend yielded no breakthrough.

As Australia’s senate began debating the legislation, the country’s most senior lawmaker in the upper house said there would be no further amendments.

“The bill as it stands … meets the right balance,” Simon Birmingham, Australia’s Minister for Finance, told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio.

The bill in its present form ensures “Australian-generated news content by Australian-generated news organisations can and should be paid for and done so in a fair and legitimate way”.

The laws would give the government the right to appoint an arbitrator to set content licencing fees if private negotiations fail.

While both Google and Facebook have campaigned against the laws, Google last week inked deals with top Australian outlets, including a global deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

“There’s no reason Facebook can’t do and achieve what Google already has,” Birmingham added.

A Facebook representative declined to comment on Monday on the legislation, which passed the lower house last week and has majority support in the Senate.

A final vote after the so-called third reading of the bill is expected on Tuesday.

Lobby group DIGI, which represents Facebook, Google and other online platforms like Twitter Inc, meanwhile said on Monday that its members had agreed to adopt an industry-wide code of practice to reduce the spread of misinformation online.

Under the voluntary code, they commit to identifying and stopping unidentified accounts, or “bots”, disseminating content; informing users of the origins of content; and publishing an annual transparency report, among other measures.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Colin Packham; Editing by Sam Holmes and Hugh Lawson)

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GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback

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GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback 2

By Pushkala Aripaka and Matthias Blamont

(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi on Monday said they had started a new clinical trial of their protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, reviving their efforts against the pandemic after a setback in December delayed the shot’s launch.

The British and French drugmakers aim to reach final testing in the second quarter, and if the results are conclusive, hope to see the vaccine approved by the fourth quarter after having initially targeted the first half of this year.

In December, the two groups stunned investors when they said their vaccine would be delayed towards the end of 2021 after clinical trials showed an insufficient immune response in older people.

Disappointing results were probably caused by an inadequate concentration of the antigen used in the vaccine, Sanofi and GSK said, adding that Sanofi has also started work against new coronavirus variants to help plan their next steps.

Global coronavirus infections have exceeded 110 million as highly transmissible variants of the virus are prompting vaccine developers and governments to tweak their testing and immunisation strategies.

GSK and Sanofi’s vaccine candidate uses the same recombinant protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccines. It will be coupled with an adjuvant, a substance that acts as a booster to the shot, made by GSK.

“Over the past few weeks, our teams have worked to refine the antigen formulation of our recombinant-protein vaccine,” Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and head of Sanofi Pasteur, said in a statement.

The new mid-stage trial will evaluate the safety, tolerability and immune response of the vaccine in 720 healthy adults across the United States, Honduras and Panama and test two injections given 21 days apart.

Sanofi and GSK have secured deals to supply their vaccine to the European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States. It also plans to provide shots to the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme.

To appease critics after the delay, Sanofi said earlier this year it had agreed to fill and pack millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from July.

Sanofi is also working with Translate Bio on another COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on mRNA technology.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Matthias Blamont in Paris; editing by Jason Neely and Barbara Lewis)

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Don’t ignore “lockdown fatigue”, UK watchdog tells finance bosses

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Don't ignore "lockdown fatigue", UK watchdog tells finance bosses 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses are not always making sure all employees can speak up freely about their problems, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday.

Many staff at financial companies have been working from home since Britain went into its first lockdown in March last year to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

One year on, the challenges have evolved from adapting to working remotely to dealing with mental health issues, said David Blunt, the FCA’s head of conduct specialists.

“During this third lockdown, there has been a greater impact on mental well-being, with many people struggling with job security, caring responsibilities, home schooling, bereavements and lockdown fatigue.”

Bosses should continually revisit how they lead remote teams, he said.

“The impact of COVID-19 is creating a huge workload for those considered to be high performers, while the remote environment potentially makes it much more challenging for those who were previously considered low performers to change that perception,” Blunt told a City & Financial online event.

Companies should consider “psychological safety” or ensuring that all employees feel confident about speaking out and challenging opinions.

“We’ve heard varying reports of how successful this has been,” Blunt said.

Pressures in the financial sector were highlighted this month when accountants KPMG said its UK chairman Bill Michael had stepped aside during a probe into comments he made to staff.

The Financial Times said Michael, who later apologised for his comments, had told staff to “stop moaning” about the impact of the pandemic on their work lives.

Blunt was speaking as the FCA next month completes the full rollout of rules that force senior managers at financial firms to be personally accountable for their decisions to improve conduct standards.

There have only been a “modest” number of breaches reported to regulators so far as firms worry about being “tainted” but more cases will become public as sanctions are revealed, Blunt said.

“Regulators won’t be impressed by lowballing the figures.”

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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