New Drone Standards are to be unveiled for the first timein Spring 2018 which are expected to lead to strengthened public confidence in safety, security and compliance within an industry which is set to be one of the fastest growth sectors in the world. These standards are set to release the true potential of this industry, which will revolutionise the way we live, and transform business sectors from transport to infrastructure, agriculture to medicine – across air, land, sea and space.
The announcement was made at an event at the House of Lords [last night] sponsored by Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB, LVO, OBE, DL on behalf of the British Standards Institution (BSI) and Drone Major Group, whose founder and Chief Executive is Chairman of the BSI Committee responsible for Drone Standards.
The event was attended by BSI Chairman Sir David Brown, politicians including Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg, and other senior stakeholders in the drone industry, including manufacturers, users, service providers, economists, academics and media.
Sir David Brown commented “BSI is playing a pivotal role in supporting the exciting global future for drones through its work on standards for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Standards accelerate innovation, boost productivity and enable trade, while promoting safety and consumer protection.”
Robert Garbett, in his role as Chairman of the BSI Committee on Drone Standards, stated in a speech that “after several years of work and global collaboration, detailed draft standards are expected to reach BSI Committee stage by Spring 2018, following which there will be a period of wider consultation, expected then to lead to adoption shortly thereafter.”
“He commented “The development and adoption of the first quality and safety standards for the drone industry will make 2018 a pivotal year for an industry which is set to become a global phenomenon. It is the year when British and world standards will be crystallised, energising the industry, and enabling it to meet its full potential to the benefit of UK plc, and indeed economies worldwide.
“Drones, empowered by Standards that can be trusted and relied upon are the key to many of our economic, transport, security, environmental and productivity challenges of today. They will open up new avenues to innovation that we can only begin to imagine!
“Two years ago drones were forecast to spawn a $100 billion industry by 2020*. But today the opportunities are perceived to be even greater than this since such projections were based upon available data at that time which predominantly focused on the air industry, and we define the entire drone industry as covering surface, underwater, air, and space. If you look at the entire picture the figures are much larger and growing faster than anyone expected.If you then forecast the impact of integrating drone technologies across these environments, the figures will take on an ever more exciting dimension.”
“Looking at our vision for the ‘direction of travel’ for the drone industry, key areas of growth include:
- In the transport.. Drones are bringing new possibilities to freight and passenger transport on land, water and in the air, which will reduce the need for expensive infrastructure projects, reduce road traffic, ease congestion, save lives and reduce pollution in our cities.
In addition, this transport revolution will allow workers to live further outside the cities, reducing the pressure on housing and spreading wealth to the regions. In this single area alone, the benefits that drones bring are compelling.
In addition, with the recent UK Government announcement that we will have driverless cars on our roads by 2021, this reality is gaining momentum and will have a widespread positive impact on every one of us.
Whether you call them autonomous vehicles, surface drones or unmanned ground vehicles, full adoption of drone technology by the automotive industry will be the revolutionary step that the world is waiting for.
There are of course many challenges ahead, from the levels of intelligence required to make a passenger-carrying drone vehicle safe for use at speed, to the liability in the case of an accident. However the economic and safety arguments for the full adoption of passenger-carrying drone vehicles on our roads are overwhelming.
- In infrastructure and construction, drones are already significantly reducing the time and resources needed to plan and build our roads and buildings, making the progress faster, safer and much more cost effective. Indeed drones are shaping plans for new smart cities for which the use of these technologies will be part of the fabric of life.
- In agriculture,drones will use advanced scanning technology to detect crop disease before it is visible to the human eye and assist in the intelligent use of pesticides, thus dramatically reducing our exposure to them and increasing crop yields.
- In medicine, drones are already being trailed which are able to attend the scene of an accident within minutes to scan the area in 3D, feed this information to the emergency services to assist with access and pre-attendance assessment, and then land with medical supplies.
- In the marine environment, Remotely Operated Vehicles or Unmanned Underwater Vehicles have been used extensively in the inspection and repair of pipelines and oil rigs for many years. Indeed this sector is very well established in many respects as a standalone industry, and is often neglected when calculating the growth of the drone market. As the range of applications for drones in the marine environment expands into exploration, environmental monitoring and intervention, the value to the industry is rapidly increasing. This is definitely a sector to watch as technologies create opportunities for businesses and investors.
“There are many other examples from the use of drones in mining when new resources become available which were previously inaccessible; in defence as new technology enables us to meet threats without risking the lives of our soldiers, and in security of everything from oil pipelines to individuals and many more.
“The keys to growth for this exciting young industry are:
- First we need to educate the public on the positive impact that this technology will have on their lives, and not sow the kind of fear that preceded the introduction of the automobile which led to people having to walk in front of a car waving a red flag!
- We need investors to get behind the research and development which will enable the industry to break through the barriers it faces such as ‘operations beyond visual line of sight’, the integration of airspace, and the adoption of multi-environment systems (from air to land to sea and beyond).
- And finally we need governments worldwide to stand firmly behind the drone industry to ensure that it is not choked by over-regulation… thankfully something the UK Government has indicated it is keen to avoid… and to work together to find effective ways to promote responsible use, without stifling a great new sector which has the potential to make such an important contribution to the wellbeing of people and businesses throughout the world.”
“The potential for the drone industry worldwide is huge, and particularly for the UK economy where the combination of our intellectual capital – our technology, engineering, innovation, governance, and above all, our development and support of high standards – is world class.”
*Goldman Sachs – http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/technology-driving-innovation/drones/
AI-powered visibility key to mitigating IT systems risk in financial services
By Penelope Feros, Vice President, APAC, Cherwell Software
The world of finance changes by the minute. Financial businesses — from banks to insurance agencies and brokerages — are facing a myriad of macro challenges that come along with modernisation.
The rise of fintech and challenger banks make the landscape more competitive than ever, putting pressure on the ingenuity of offers, fees, and net interest margins (NIMs). Today’s mostly online banking means an increased need for cybersecurity and protection against data breaches and costly outages.
Automation is no longer a futuristic option for the workplace, but now, a reality that also impacts the customer experience. Disruptive technologies like AI to address the exponential rise in data and complexity in finserv organisations is primed to grow in significance across IT teams in the region.
According to IDC, financial services spending on AI in Asia Pacific will reach US$4.29 billion in 2024, with Australia making significant traction and advancements in AI spending, alongside key financial hub markets Singapore and Hong Kong.
Rising system vulnerabilities within complex IT environments
Digital transformation has resulted in IT infrastructure complexity growing at an astronomical rate. The resultant increases in infrastructure data and alarms at the service desk far exceed the capacity of any human to meaningfully read, analyse and respond to them. The infrastructure itself is also constantly morphing and changing, yet finance service desks are still expected to resolve requests, incidents, and performance issues in seconds – an impossible task, given the volume of data.
Financial brands are expected to maintain a pristine reputation while making sure all business-critical applications perform optimally, in order to stay competitive and deliver a better service experience.
Every application is supported by a complex fabric of servers, network devices and services – both physical and virtual – local and in the cloud. The impact of an outage or vulnerability for any one of those components can be extreme. IT teams need to monitor not just every device, but also the dependencies between them. Understanding all of the pieces that make an application available is about more than knowing the up or down status.
With security vulnerabilities putting customer data at risk, having awareness of the priority systems that need to be secured is also vital. As the architectures behind applications become even more complicated with the cloud, virtualisation and shared services, manual documentation of dependencies is no longer a feasible option.
AIOps implementation begins with discovery and analysis
The good news is that the solutions available to automatically discover the organisation’s systems and map dependencies are much more sophisticated today.
Discovery and dependency mapping (DDM) tools enable organisations to see how physical, virtual, and logical compute, network, and storage entities are connected. They can handle the complexity of distributed hybrid environments, giving finserv IT teams the opportunity to visualise and manage the components of their online retail, supply chain, ERP and other critical applications.
The discovery phase involves uncovering all of the compute, network and storage entities across the IT environment and ensuring the organisation’s configuration management database (CMDB) is always kept up to date.
DDM tools depict the interdependencies in a graphical format, so IT teams can readily see the connections between assets, and which services they support – critical to troubleshooting incidents or preventing impact of change.
Once the CMDB is kept up to date with automated discovery and dependency mapping, finserv organisations need to make sense of the data in order to make informed decisions. By applying machine learning algorithms to analyse this data, AIOps can identify patterns, spot anomalies and predict (and prevent) future outages. The resulting insights can trigger intelligent automations to effectively prevent outages, improve performance, and ease the burden of managing increasingly complex infrastructure. By automatically triggering actions based on insights, AIOps can quickly fix issues or prevent them from happening, whether it’s a network link that’s gone down, an over-utilised disk or a service that simply requires a restart.
With automatic discovery and dependency mapping, AIOps allow financial services organisations to, gain visibility over IT environments, rapidly evaluate changing needs, and the means to quickly meet them. Adoption of the right solutions leveraging AI can help IT operations in financial services organisations make sense of the growing volumes of data and get on top of increasing risks of outages.
Mobile app acceleration during the pandemic: Businesses must adapt or die
By Mike Rhodes, CEO of ConsultMyApp
For the past year, the over-riding narrative has been to stay at home and reduce in-person contact. As a result, every aspect of our lives, from work and socializing to exercising and shopping, has shifted online.
Amid such a backdrop, the mobile app market has become more important than ever before. In fact, the second quarter of 2020 became the largest yet for mobile app usage, with new downloads skyrocketing to 35 billion and in-app spending reaching a record $27 billion.
Whilst some industries have tackled this new digital challenge head on, and with great success, others have failed to engage and retain users online. The most notable example has been the failure of the NHS track and trace app which, according to the latest reports, only curbed the transmission of coronavirus by 2 to 5 percent last year.
Developing a mobile app is simple, but as track and trace shows, ensuring an app’s success is far more complex than registering the platform and attracting active users. In order to increase visibility, drive installs and retain users, app optimization and pre and post-acquisition marketing is essential. Yet, currently, only the most digitally savvy businesses are aware of this.
So, where do businesses need to concentrate their efforts if they are to successfully leverage their mobile apps and obtain a market advantage in the new Covid-era?
Prioritise app-store optimization
The mobile app industry is booming. Irrespective of the sector, businesses across the world are quickly waking up to the potential of the mobile app market and, as a result, apps are becoming increasingly important in our everyday lives.
Amid such a saturated market, app-store optimization should be the top priority for your mobile marketing strategy. According to Apple, 70 percent of individuals use the search tool to find apps, so keyword optimization is essential to make sure that the right people find your app above anyone else’s when they search in the stores.
Moreover, optimizing your creative assets is crucial to ensure sustained conversion. For example, enhancing the icon, screenshots and multimedia assets that appear on the app store can boost the appeal of your listing and help improve download rates. After all, your profile on the app store acts a virtual shop front with a footfall of billions of people globally, so you need to make sure it stands out.
Ultimately, app-store optimization can improve your visibility in organic searches and help to increase overall conversation rates, alongside building a strong foundation for your app to set it up for continued success.
Enhance your communication strategy
Amid the ongoing market upheaval, businesses core messaging has become more important than ever before, and a brand’s ability to communicate effectively with their target market has become pivotal to determine whether they are a thriving success or fall into irrelevance. However, with so many businesses trying to carve out a unique voice online, it can be hard to remain relevant to customers.
Mobile apps provide businesses with a unique opportunity to provide a personalised user experience, that not only works to build relationships with existing customers, but also offers the opportunity to approach an even wider market than before.
Maintaining regular interaction with your customers via a mobile app platform that caters to their personal needs will help to build a loyal following and result in better rates of engagement for the business.
Pivot according to shifts in consumer behaviour
The mobile app market is flourishing and, in Q1 of 2020 alone, the average time individuals spent in apps each week rose by 20 percent. Whilst a recent report has suggested that this shift online will continue long after social distancing measures and lockdown restrictions lift, in order to remain successful, businesses must monitor shifts in consumer behaviour and pivot their app experience.
Developing and optimizing an app is not a one-and-done process. Businesses need to constantly review user interests, sentiments and requirements, alongside design trends, if they are to remain relevant and meet consumer demand. No matter how advanced your app is, if you neglect to pivot your service offerings accordingly, you will fall behind your market competitors.
Review in-app monetization approaches
The past year has brought about drastic changes to the way businesses operate and, if they are to remain successful, they must continue to react to the changing economic climate and adapt to the opportunities available.
Whilst in-app monetisation strategies and mobile advertising can open up access to new revenue streams, businesses must prioritise the customer experience alongside the desire to raise funds. For example, modifying the purchasing process to make it more accessible and intuitive, whilst remaining simple, can help boost sales. In contrast, brands that overlook the potential to monetise aspects of their app, or have a poorly designed app which deters customers, will fall short and lose out on this new market potential.
Address security concerns
Without a doubt, the Covid-19 pandemic has rapidly accelerated the digital transition. Even individuals who have traditionally resisted the shift online, have been embracing these new opportunities at an unprecedented rate. However, despite this widespread acceptance, there are still concerns over fatigue when it comes to interacting with technology and distrust on security and data protection.
Businesses will need to address these concerns in equal measure if they are to retain users and ensure the long-term success of their mobile apps. Whilst apps need to be optimized to attract customers, functionality is just as important, especially as more brands enter into this space.
On average, it is estimated that each individual has up to 90 apps on their phone, but they will only use nine in any one day. The stark reality is that many apps are downloaded, used once for the required purpose and then forgotten about. If businesses want their mobile apps to succeed in a flooded market, they will need to invest in app optimization and marketing strategies to build awareness, improve the customer experience and develop a competitive edge.
Ultimately, mobile apps have become the new interface for brands and businesses across all sectors amid the ongoing pandemic. This shift is only set to gain momentum moving forward and businesses simply cannot afford to overlook the lucrative potential of the app market if they are to survive in the new Covid-era.
‘Spooky’ AI tool brings dead relatives’ photos to life
By Umberto Bacchi
(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Like the animated paintings that adorn the walls of Harry Potter’s school, a new online tool promises to bring portraits of dead relatives to life, stirring debate about the use of technology to impersonate people.
Genealogy company MyHeritage launched its “Deep Nostalgia” feature earlier this week, allowing users to turn stills into short videos showing the person in the photograph smiling, winking and nodding.
“Seeing our beloved ancestors’ faces come to life … lets us imagine how they might have been in reality, and provides a profound new way of connecting to our family history,” MyHeritage founder Gilad Japhet said in a statement.
Developed with Israeli computer vision firm D-ID, Deep Nostalgia uses deep learning algorithms to animate images with facial expressions that were based on those of MyHeritage employees.
Some of the company’s users took to Twitter on Friday to share the animated images of their deceased relatives, as well as moving depictions of historical figures, including Albert Einstein and Ancient Egypt’s lost Queen Nefertiti.
“Takes my breath away. This is my grandfather who died when I was eight. @MyHeritage brought him back to life. Absolutely crazy,” wrote Twitter user Jenny Hawran.
While most expressed amazement, others described the feature as “spooky” and said it raised ethical questions. “The photos are enough. The dead have no say in this,” tweeted user Erica Cervini.
From chatbots to virtual reality, the tool is the latest innovation seeking to bring the dead to life through technology.
Last year U.S. rapper Kanye West famously gifted his wife Kim Kardashian a hologram of her late father congratulating her on her birthday and on marrying “the most, most, most, most, most genius man in the whole world”.
‘ANIMATING THE PAST’
The trend has opened up all sorts of ethical and legal questions, particularly around consent and the opportunity to blur reality by recreating a virtual doppelganger of the living.
Elaine Kasket a psychology professor at the University of Wolverhampton in Britain who authored a book on the “digital afterlife”, said that while Deep Nostalgia was not necessarily “problematic”, it sat “at the top of a slippery slope”.
“When people start overwriting history or sort of animating the past … You wonder where that ends up,” she said.
MyHeritage acknowledges on its website that the technology can be “a bit uncanny” and its use “controversial”, but said steps have been taken to prevent abuses.
“The Deep Nostalgia feature includes hard-coded animations that are intentionally without any speech and therefore cannot be used to fake any content or deliver any message,” MyHeritage public relations director Rafi Mendelsohn said in a statement.
Yet, images alone can convey meaning, said Faheem Hussain, a clinical assistant professor at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society.
“Imagine somebody took a picture of the Last Supper and Judas is now winking at Mary Magdalene – what kind of implications that can have,” Hussain told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
Similarly, Artificial Intelligence (AI) animations could be use to make someone appear as though they were doing things they might not be happy about, such as rolling their eyes or smiling at a funeral, he added.
Mendelsohn of MyHeritage said using photos of a living person without their consent was a breach of the company’s terms and conditions, adding that videos were clearly marked with AI symbols to differentiate them from authentic recordings.
“It is our ethical responsibility to mark such synthetic videos clearly and differentiate them from real videos,” he said.
(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi in Milan; Editing by Helen Popper. 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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