Tech News: FinTech Frenzy, AR to Kill Off the Smartphone? Trump Hires CTO


Top Scottish CEO Announces Focus on Digital Innovation & Climate Change

Sara Thiam was appointed as the new chief executive of the Scottish Council of Development and Industry, effective from June 2019. In her opening address since accepting the role, Thiam spoke of a desire to embrace digital technology and tackle climate change. An ITV Report stated, she said:

“Ensuring our people have the right skills and knowledge, embracing digital technology and tackling climate change hold the key to driving a much-needed surge in productivity and sustainable economic prosperity.”

“With change comes opportunity and I’m passionate about Scotland’s ability to innovate.”

With financial services, construction and oil leading the way in Scotland, the nation contributes $248,5 billion to the UK GDP. Thiam believes there is scope, and also a responsibility to drive Scotland towards greener times.

Banks Lead FinTech Frenzy

FinTech continues to grow at a rapid rate. Forbes today reported an increase in tech spending by world banks equating to a whopping “670 Tons In $100 Bills” (Roughly $67 billion). JP Morgan topped the list, having spent £11.4 billion on technology this year, with almost half of its tech budget going on disruptive technology.

Alibaba CTO announces the Alibaba Economic Technical Philanthropic Committee

Meanwhile, Alibaba CTO, Jeff Zhang has announced the inception of the Alibaba Economic Technical Philanthropic Committee. The committee has been put in place to push the boundaries of technology, allowing funds and resources for research and charitable organisations specialising in tech innovations. This is the latest of a series of philanthropic initiatives at Alibaba. Speaking to Alizila, Zhang said:

“By leveraging our understanding of our respective industries, products and businesses, we can be a stronger force for social good than we might imagine, helping solve the biggest problems facing the world: the destruction of the environment, poverty, disease and inequality.”

Loyalty Schemes Continue to Innovate Using AI

We’ve come along way with customer loyalty programmes throughout the years. From American Airlines Frequent Flier programme to the Tesco Clubcard, the 1980s and 1990s saw a sharp surge in customer loyalty schemes. Now customer information is being used on an ever-increasing basis to improve customer experience. As reported by The Drum, Artificial intelligence is set to become a staple of brand investment over the next 18 months.

American diner, Chipotle recently teamed up with online payments provider Venmo to allow customers to split the bill easily online. Meanwhile, the Starbucks app is arguably leading the way in the loyalty department, allowing customers to place orders, pay and stream music, in addition to unlocking rewards as they go.

Trump Hires New CTO

Over in the US, Donald Trump has nominated Michael Kratsios as the US CTO. If the appointment is to be confirmed, Kratsios will fill a role that was last filled in Obama’s administration. The position has been recreated to provide Trump with the latest insight and advice on tech trends and innovations.

The UK Government Grants Health-Tech Firm Record Amount

Warwickshire healthcare tech firm, OpusVL is set to receive a share of a £9 million Government fund. The firm is one of a growing number of tech firms specialising in providing an electronic observation solution which alerts healthcare professionals to ‘at risk’ patients. Able to observe patients through digital devices, the group hope to reduce costs and improve reaction times at UK hospitals. The £790k sum is the largest development grant awarded to an Open Source Project by Innovate UK. OpusVL state on their website:

“Our vision is to transform the care process digitally and also to overcome the barriers the NHS faces over proprietary IT systems that cannot be easily or cost-effectively iterated to meet clinician requirements and best practice operating procedures.”

Are We Ready for Our Lives To Resemble a Sci-Fi Movie?

Techradar this week seemed to usher in a new age. In a post titled, Goodbye Smartphone, hello augmented reality, Managing Director of AR startup, Banuba, Vadim Nekhai wrote:

“We’ll be entering the age of the ‘sci-fi movie’ where things we’ve seen in films over the years start to become reality. Rather than navigating the streets using Google Maps, apps equipped with computer vision will throw AR directions up right before our eyes, displayed as if laid out on the street in front of us.”

Ready or not, Nekhai explains that we are close to the tech we see in sci-fi movies becoming our reality. He continued:

“…expect something totally different from what we use today; potentially advanced glasses or contact lenses, all with a focus on camera-centric apps.

“In short, when AR devices become the standard, our lives will change dramatically.”

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