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Progress Reveals Three Latest Progress Labs Innovation Projects  

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Progress Reveals Three Latest Progress Labs Innovation Projects  

Internal incubator program supports breakthrough ideas focused on blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, and microapps 

Progress (NASDAQ: PRGS), the leading provider of application development and deployment technologies, today announced three new projects under development in Progress Labs, the internal technology incubator in which teams create, test, and turn innovative ideas into reality. First launched in 2017, Progress Labs is designed to identify and nurture the best ideas from Progress employees and bring them to market as new technologies designed to enable Progress customers to innovate in their own businesses.

“Technology is moving faster than ever before, and organizations need to innovate to survive,” said Dmitri Tcherevik, Chief Technology Officer, Progress. “Amid a wave of hype around emerging technologies, we’ve chosen to explore three specific areas — blockchain, AR/VR and microapps – that will have a high impact on the way businesses operate in the next three to five years. Within Progress Labs, we are dedicated to evaluating and delivering on these technologies, bringing real solutions to market that will benefit our customers.” 

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain and distributed ledger technology are revolutionizing how organizations exchange information by allowing data to remain trustworthy while being securely distributed. According to Gartner, “By 2025, the business value added by blockchain will grow to slightly over $176 billion, then surge to more than $3.1 trillion by 2030.”[1]

Progress Labs teams are creating new tools to help organizations easily build and deliver the next generation of blockchain-based apps. The Progress blockchain platform will make it very easy to set up a blockchain network that brings together disparate processes and information systems into a secure, permissioned and distributed ledger that all network participants rely on. Developers will quickly deliver new solutions that address even the most challenging of collaboration scenarios with trust built into the network by design.

 Augmented and Virtual Reality

In its Tech Vision 2018 survey, Accenture notes that “immersive experiences delivered through VR and AR will take us much further in the digital future, eliminating distance altogether and extending our definition of reality.”

Through augmented and virtual reality advancements, Progress Labs intends to create solutions that connect employees to vital information, sensor data and physical equipment in a natural way that blends the physical and virtual worlds. The goal is to deliver augmented experiences that adapt to the environment and job at hand to increase worker productivity across head-mounted displays (smart glass) and desktops. This can promote better training, optimized employee workflow and democratized access to expert knowledge for the entire workforce.

Microapps

While most organizations realize that mobility drives employee productivity and customer engagement, IT executives still struggle to leverage innovations such as microservices and cloud-native architectures for integrating business systems, automating workflows and delivering engaging user experiences. The need for maintenance, security and compliance further inhibits new IT initiatives. Micromoments, or microapps, are a new paradigm in application architecture and user experience that delivers on the promise of mobility with new levels of flexibility to increase user productivity and optimize operations, without comprising security or increasing costs.

The microapps platform in development at Progress Labs will provide a set of development and administration tools that make it easy to improve employee productivity. This is achieved by delivering business workflows through a set of microservices and microapps that are readily available to users, without the need to install, authenticate and struggle with multiple mobile apps and web portals.

Every year a new cohort of extraordinary teams join Progress Labs while others graduate the program. Teams generally spend one to a maximum of two years testing their ideas by implementing a sequence of experiments carefully designed to prove their economic and customer value. Successful projects become part of the Progress portfolio upon their graduation from the Labs. The Progress Labs pilot program in 2017 resulted in the release of Progress® NativeChat™, the artificial intelligence-driven platform for creating and deploying chatbots.

For more information about Progress Labs and to track the progress of the current cohort, please click here.

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 1

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 2

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 3

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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