How Businesses Can Contribute To A More Sustainable World Post-COVID-19

how to create a more sustainable world


How Businesses Can Contribute To A More Sustainable World Post-COVID-19

News Release contribution Instant Group

The short-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis is enormous, and governments are being urged to learn from the crisis and adapt policies across the world. Remote working has skyrocketed, entire sectors have hit the brakes, and some of the world’s busiest cities are devoid of congestion.

With human activity at an all-time low since global lockdowns were implemented, Edward Harbison, Corporate Marketing Manager at Instant Offices delves into how businesses can learn to become more sustainable post-COVID-19.

Air Pollution Makes Us More Vulnerable to COVID-19 Symptoms

Coinciding with this unprecedented global pause in daily activities, particulate matter, or PM2.5, one of the most hazardous and prominent types of air pollution, saw a considerable decline. In addition to reduced PM2.5 and other pollutants, studies also show COVID-19 is set to cause the most substantial dip in CO2 emissions the world has ever seen.

According to the World Health Organisation, Particulate matter, or PM2.5 is one of the most prominent air pollutants linked to poor-health. It not only impacts air quality and contributes to the foggy haze we often see in cities and industrial areas but inhaling these ultrafine particles with every breath can add to a range of health problems in the short and long-term, including respiratory issues.

Recent studies show air pollution contributed to 1 in 10 deaths worldwide in 2017 – almost 5 million people. PM2.5 specifically contributed to 3 million early deaths, with the majority occurring in China and India. A Harvard study recently linked long-term exposure to air pollution with increased COVID-19 death rates, stating that if Manhattan had a lower PM2.5 level by just one point, it could have reduced COVID-19 deaths by 248 in the month of March.

The link between COVID-19 and air quality was first seen from space when satellite data showed reduced pollution over Italy as a result of lockdown measures. Soon after, we observed reduced boat traffic in Venice as the canals ran clearer.

Helpful tips to contribute to a more sustainable future going forward

Measure your carbon footprint: The first step to reducing the carbon footprint of your business is to measure your current output. Setting a benchmark is the first step in planning a reduction strategy. A third-party audit enables companies to calculate and map emissions throughout the organisation, from office space and operations to travel and logistics. This plan will help you identify the strategy needed to reach net-zero.

Set reduction targets: Each industry faces a unique set of challenges and opportunities when it comes to business and climate change, but the one way you can measure success as you move towards becoming more sustainable is by setting reduction targets. This could be around the energy efficiency of your office space or commercial space, staff training, and using sustainable energy and electricity. It is crucial to sense-check that your targets are realistic and fit in with overall business goals.

Support climate policies: Enable your organisation to support climate action that is working towards a more sustainable future. Discover what action your city is taking to help reduce climate change and get involved. C40 Cities has a useful tool that enables you to filter cities according to initiative. Some of the greenest cities in the world have some strong actions in place. In the UK, greener designs could save the economy an estimated £15.3bn by 2025.

Other ways to reduce your business impact:

Continue with remote working: Companies have already invested in remote working during the crisis, and the trend is set to continue. As well as reducing business overheads, remote working reduces fuel usage, office waste, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, working from home half the week could reduce emissions by 54 million tons a year.

Reduce commuting for staff: Road traffic is responsible for up to 50% of particulate matter around the world. In addition to reducing time spent wasted commuting in some of the most congested cities in the world, and thereby increasing staff happiness, a reduced commute could also positively impact the environment by reducing transport-generated air pollution. This could be done by increasing remote working options for staff, or by encouraging the utilisation of coworking space, serviced offices or flexible commercial property close to home.

The Instant Group: Flexible Workspace Specialists

Founded in 1999, The Instant Group is a workspace innovation company that rethinks workspace on behalf of its clients injecting flexibility, reducing cost and driving enterprise performance. Instant places more than 7,000 companies a year in flexible workspace such as serviced, managed or co-working offices including Sky, Network Rail, Capita, Serco, Teleperformance, and Worldpay, making it the market leader in flexible workspace.

Instant Offices hosts more than 12,000 flexible workspace centres across the world and is the only site of its kind to represent the global market, providing a service to FTSE 100, Fortune 500, and SME clients. With offices in London, Newcastle, Berlin, Haifa, Dallas, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur, The Instant Group employs 230 experts and has clients in more than 150 countries. It has recently been included in the 2018 Sunday Times’ HSBC International Track 200.

Interview Brittany Kaiser: Data Arms Race, Cambridge Analytica and Digital Privacy

Brittany Kaiser, Co-Founder at Own Your Data Foundation, #OwnYourData campaign, and DATA (the Digital Asset Trade Association) and citiesabc founder Dinis Guarda are two experts concerned about digital identity and data privacy. And in this latest series interviews for citiesabc, both digital savvy speak in-depth about the challenges of today’s digitization on people’s identity and how data has become the “gold” of our times. Brittany Kaiser worked at Cambridge Analytica during the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal and has since focused on helping governments, businesses and people (through her own initiatives) to create a more transparent and fair use of private data.

“I believe that having a conversation about data and privacy rights are one of the most important that we could be having in the times of crisis like this when rights and fundamental freedoms are being threatened around the world.” Brittany Kaiser defines herself as a data activist which aims to protect people’s data and privacy. And that is not an easy quest.

Data: The New Oil

Data has been described as the new oil by media and experts all around the world. Specially important from the business perspective is customer data.. From consumer behavior to predictive analytics, companies regularly capture, store and analyze large amounts of data on their consumer base every day. Some companies have even built an entire business model around consumer data, whether they create targeted ads or sell to a third party. Customer data is big business.

This has given way to a new industry based on gathering, analysing and even trading private data from millions of users. This billion-worth industry is dominated by giant tech companies, especially Facebook, Google or Amazon, which then use that data to improve customer experience; to refine marketing strategy; to turn data into cash flow and to use data to, in fact, secure data.

This indiscriminate use of private data has raised some controversies in recent years. These companies are nonetheless profiting off of users’ digital identities, trading with private information and doing so without being transparent about their activities. But now people seem to have awakened and are starting to demand more transparency while standing up for their rights. Brittany Kaiser is one of those people fighting for a fairer and more democratised use of private data. And, as she told us, everything starts with education.

Literacy and Digital Intelligence

“I definitely think that one of the biggest problems when protecting our data rights is the lack of digital literacy around the world. Most of us grew up taking basic computer class. We weren’t told basic cybersecurity measures like avoiding creating a password based on our birthday. Lest of all, we weren’t told that every single thing that we do when we use a computer is recorded and then sold and traded to different organizations all around the world without our explicit informed consent. So the education system needs to change in order to solve all these system problems. That is why I started the “Own Your Data” foundation last year, to promote digital literacy and education through the Digital Intelligence Quotient (DQ) standard.”

Academically speaking, Digital Intelligence is the sum of social, emotional, and cognitive abilities that enable individuals to face the challenges and adapt to the demands of life in the digital world. In summary, an emerging intelligence fostered by human interaction with Information Technology. The DQ was first introduced by The Coalition for Digital Intelligence (CDI) on September 26, 2018. This movement is a cross-sector cooperative network of organizations from around the world that aims to improve global digital intelligence by coordinating efforts across educational and technology communities through multi-stakeholder collaborations. It was formed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the IEEE Standards Association, and the DQ Institute in association with the World Economic Forum and launched.

But we are still far from that point where most of the people are really aware of asking the right questions about privacy and data protection. For now, the situation is quite different and private companies still dominate the data industry. “My former CEO at Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, used to describe data collection as an arms race and that whoever was able to collect more data from more people and analyze it in a faster and more accurate way was going to be more powerful than the other companies and countries. And this continues today. So that means that most of the world still has not given individuals their data rights and countries haven’t been able to provide a framework or regulation to avoid people’s data to be collected, surveyed, traced, etc just yet.”

Brittany Kaiser is an American former business development director for Cambridge Analytica which collapsed after details of its misuse of Facebook data were revealed to have potentially impacted voting in the UK Brexit referendum and the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Kaiser testified about her involvement in the work of Cambridge Analytica before the UK Parliament and in private before the Mueller Investigation.

Since then, she is committed to fight that kind of behaviour from these companies and all their initiatives are towards the same objective: protect people’s personal data. She is also wary about the current COVID-19 crisis from a data-rights perspective. “Due to the current crisis, we are being told by companies and governments that we are under global scrutiny for the way they use our data. We are even saying governments teaming up with tech companies like Facebook or Google in order to save from getting coronavirus and to save lives around the world, so we should be given up all our data rights. There are a few fundamental assumptions here that I think are very flawed. They tell us they are going to trace every single one of us to track down if we have been in touch with someone infected. The idea of enabling this surveillance state is going to protect us has no evidence behind it. There is no single one scientific evidence that corroborates that assumption. And I am a big fan of AI and technology to drive solutions to humanity but I do not think that this particular application is actually helpful. It sounds like an excuse to me.

But as a data activist, “I see the positive side of this when I see that data rights are headline news every single day and we are starting to see technologists and scientifics thinking about social impact as they can use solutions to help solve problems and even to solve this pandemic right now. This is a fundamental conversation that is going on between governments and companies about what data are we willing to give up, what data are we going to protect and how that data is going to be used to protect ourselves collectively without giving away our rights.”

She is an international law, diplomacy and data-driven campaigning professional with significant global experience. “My work involves developing successful strategies for politicians, governments, and corporations to achieve their goals using cutting edge technology. Currently focused on legislative reform for digital assets such as personal data and tokens on the blockchain,” Brittany said.

Her latest initiatives are the Own Your Data Foundation, a non-profit foundation that is implementing programs that democratize digital intelligence education and create measurable social impact. She is also the Co-Founder of the Digital Asset Trade Association (DATA), a non-profit lobbying firm advancing legislative reform protecting the rights of individuals to control their own digital assets.

Brittany Kaiser can be found working on Own your data foundation, on her Wikipedia page if you want to know more about her,  and on social media on Twitter and Facebook.

Virtual SSF Summit: Startup Societies in a Post-Covid World

Virtual SSF Summit: Startup Societies in a Post-Covid World
Virtual SSF Summit: Startup Societies in a Post-Covid World
Virtual SSF Summit: Startup Societies in a Post-Covid World

News Release
May 1, 3:00PM to May 3, 12:00AM BST
340 people attending

In the aftermath of COVID-19, the world will need to rebuild economically and politically. To prepare for this, the Startup Societies Foundation is hosting a virtual summit that will explore how special jurisdictions can combat pandemics and rebuild governance, institutions and economies in the aftermath of COVID-19.

This conference will explore how small and special jurisdictions have an advantage when dealing with Coronavirus and similar pandemics. Their size makes it more manageable for governments to trace goods, and people, as well as implement drastic measures to fight health threats. Successful containment strategies within Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau are evidence of this.

Other special jurisdictions, like Special Economic Zones (SEZs), can facilitate trade as states enact policies to reduce transmission. Trade barriers will likely follow recent travel restrictions as states are more motivated to control their own supply chains. Yet, states must still trade. SEZs can provide a bastion of global exchange amid mounting tensions. Also, SEZs that focus on medical technologies can help firms create preventive treatments or vaccines. These innovative Zones can also be administered by Distributed Ledger Technologies, reducing the need physical contact.

Special jurisdictions should be at the forefront of post-COVID-19 policy by providing innovative, accountable and nimble governance.

Now — at the depth of the pandemic — is the time to lay the foundation. Don’t Panic. Build.

On May 1st-2nd, this live virtual event will bring together leaders in special jurisdictions, policy making, epidemiology, distributed ledger technology, and data science.

To prepare for this, the Startup Societies Foundation is hosting a virtual summit that will explore how special jurisdictions can combat pandemics and rebuild governance institutions; economics in the aftermath of Covid 19.

Here are some of the speakers:

Prince Michael of Liechtenstein – Founder of Geopolitical Intelligence Services
Tim Draper- Founder of Draper Associates
Balaji Srinivasan – Former General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz
Taavi Kotka – Founder of Estonia’s eResidency Program
Mwiya Musokotwane – Founder of Nkwashi Private City
Roger Ver – CEO of Bitcoin.com
Wade Shepard – Author of Ghost Cities
Ibrahim Natour – Mayor of Rawabi City
James Ehrlich – CEO of Regen Villages
Mark Beer – Chairman and Co-Founder of The Metis Institute
Dr. Andreas Baumgartner- CEO and Co-Founder of The Metis Institute
Oliver Porter – Founder of Sandy Springs Georgia
Robin Hanson – Professor at George Mason University
Brittany Kaiser – Co-Founder at Own Your Data Foundation
Dinis Guarda – CEO Founder citiesabc.com, openbusinesscouncil.org, fashionabc.org
Lotta Moberg – Author of the Political Economy of Special Economic Zones
Claude Baissac – Former President of the World Economic Zone Association
Jason Potts – Professor of Economic at RMIT and Director of Blockchain Innovation Hub
Titus Gebel – Free Private Cities
Michael Castle Miller – Director of Politas
Jim Coleman – Head of Economics at WSP
Tom W Bell – Author of Your Next Government?
Nathalie Mezza-Garcia – CEO of Seaphia
Michael Strong – Radical Social Entrepreneurs
Jason Blick – CEO of Eqibank
Ricardo Plata Sarabia – Secretary of Economic Development for Barranquilla City
Ricardo Vives Guerra – President of Puerta de Oro
Joe Quirk – The Seasteading Institute
Mark Frazier – Chairman of the Startup Societies Foundation
Mark Lutter – Director of the Charter Cities Institute
Trent Larson – Principal Developer at Medici Land Governance
Rik Willard – CEO of the Agentic Group
Joel Telpner – Senior Partner at Sullivan and Worcester LLP
Joe Sanchis – Founder of Queue Technologies
Marquis Cabrera – CEO of Stat Zero Ventures
Mondher Khanfir – FEMOZA Advisor
Early Boykins – Director of Andra Capital
Marie-Noel Nsana – Former Vice President of AML Compliance at CitiBank
Adam Traidman – CEO of BRD Wallet
Brent Tanner – Chief Operating Officer of Citibank SA Brasil
David Johnston – Managing Director of Yeoman Capital
Aaron Voisine – Co-Founder & Senior Core Architect of Bread Wallet

This conference will explore how small and special jurisdictions have an advantage when dealing with coronavirus and similar pandemics. Their size makes it more manageable for governments to trace goods, people, and to implement drastic measures to fight health threats. Succesful containment strategies within Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau are evidence of this.

Other special jursidictions, like Special Economic Zones (SEZ) can facilitate trade as states enact policies to reduce transmission. Trade barriers will likely follow recent travel restrictions as states are more motivated to control their own supply chains. Yet states must still trade. SEZs can provide a bastion of global exchange amid mounting tensions. Also, SEZs that focus on medical technologies can help firms create preventive treatments or vaccines. These innovative Zones can also be administered by Distributed Ledger Technologies, reducing the need for physical contact.

Special jurisdictions should be at the forefront of PostCovid 19 policy by providing innovative, accountable, and nimble governance. Now, at the depth of the pandemic, is the time to lay the foundations. Don’t Panic. Build.

All ticket holders will recieve a free copy of our how-to manual to create Startup Societies. Also, to support decentralized applications, the conference will also accept cryptocurrenies to purchase tickets. To process a cryptocurrency transaction, follow the instructions here:
https://hopin.to/events/virtual-startup-societies-summit-special-jurisdictions-in-a-post-covid-world

About Startup Societies Foundations

Around the world, people are dissatisfied with their governments. Most governments are difficult (and slow) to change, in part due to their size. Our idea is simple: don’t argue about it, build the alternative. While the term “startup society”is new, the concept is not. American colonies began as startup societies to escape religious persecution in Europe.
While every society in history began as a startup, there are plenty of modern examples. Cities such as Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Singapore have lifted millions of people out of poverty and have the same economic output as many nation states. Currently, there are more than 5400 startup societies across the globe.

https://www.startupsocieties.org/

USA Cities with the Biggest Growth in Unemployment Due to COVID-19

data visualisation unemployment in USA, source
data visualisation unemployment in USA, source
data visualisation unemployment in USA, source WalletHub research

USA Cities with the Biggest Growth in Unemployment Due to COVID-19

News release
sources:
US Bureau of Labor Satistics
Data visualisation unemployment in USA, source WalletHub research

It’s hard to overstate just how disastrous the COVID-19 pandemic has been for U.S. jobs.
In total, the country has lost over 22 million jobs, wiping out years of gains since the last big economic crisis, the Great Recession. To put that number in perspective, it’s 13% of all adults in the workforce. Many of the jobs lost have been in non-essential industries that are closed down, such as tourism, entertainment and dining, but even businesses that remain open have been hit hard by the shock to the economy and have laid off employees. Some cities’ jobs have weathered the storm better than others, though.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is open for business and is continuing to assess how this national emergency affects our operations and data products. How COVID-19 may affect key economic indicators produced by BLS will depend, in part, on the concepts and definitions used by our various data programs. We have provided information below about our data programs and will continue to update this information to keep you informed.

Effects of COVID-19 on the Current Employment Statistics Survey

The Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, also known as the payroll survey, publishes estimates of employment, hours, and earnings at national, state and metropolitan area levels on a monthly basis. See Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on The Employment Situation for March 2020.

Effects of COVID-19 on the Current Population Survey

The Current Population Survey (CPS), also known as the household survey, is a sample of about 60,000 occupied households that is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for BLS. It provides a comprehensive body of data on the labor force, employment, unemployment, people not in the labor force, hours of work, earnings, and other demographic and labor force characteristics. See Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on The Employment Situation for March 2020.

Effects of COVID-19 on the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) provides estimates of job openings, hires, and separations that serve as demand-side indicators at the national level. The JOLTS national estimates scheduled to be published on April 7 will be for the month of February 2020. March 2020 JOLTS estimates, scheduled to be published on May 15, will cover the period during which the COVID-19 national emergency was declared (March 13, 2020.)

How are people who are absent from their jobs counted by JOLTS? The reference period of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) is the pay period that includes the 12th of the month for employment, the last business day of the month for job openings, and the entire calendar month for hires and separations. Although BLS does not estimate employment in the JOLTS program, BLS does collect employment during the collection process to validate reported job openings, hires, and separations. Also, those employees who are not actually separated are not counted as separations by JOLTS.

Will data collection for JOLTS be impacted by COVID-19? JOLTS data collection for the February reference month will not be affected by COVID-19. March data collection could be impacted and any effects will be assessed going forward.
Will BLS attempt to quantify the overall impact of COVID-19 on JOLTS estimates? BLS’s primary goal for JOLTS is, as always, to provide accurate estimates of job openings, hires, and separations. It will not be possible to precisely quantify the impact of COVID-19 on job openings, hires, or separations because its effects cannot be separated from other influences on the economy, particularly at the national level. Changes for a specific month against those of recent months may provide a general indication of the impacts at the national level.
Effects of COVID-19 on the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), publishes data on establishment counts, monthly employment, and total quarterly wages on a quarterly basis. The QCEW totals for the first quarter 2020, scheduled to be published on August 19, 2020, will be the first to reflect possible impacts from COVID-19.

How are people who are absent from their jobs counted by QCEW? Workers who are paid by their employer for all or any part of the pay period including the 12th of the month are counted as employed in the QCEW, even if they were not actually at their jobs. Workers who are temporarily or permanently absent from their jobs, but are not being paid, are not counted as employed even if they are continuing to receive benefits.

Will data collection for QCEW be impacted by COVID-19? QCEW data collection may be impacted by the availability of state unemployment insurance (UI) staff, state labor market information (LMI) staff, BLS data collection staff, and business respondents. A majority of QCEW data comes from state LMI departments processing data from their UI Tax extracts. QCEW also collects Multiple Worksite Report (MWR) data electronically via MWR Web and the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) center. QCEW manages a print contract to collect MWR data for most states. The remaining states (Hawaii, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia) print and mail forms in-house. QCEW anticipates that respondent availability to receive printed solicitations will be affected by increased telework and fewer respondents in offices where mail is sent. We are offering respondents increased electronic reporting options, working with our contractor to scan as much data as possible electronically, and researching other options to increase web reporting. QCEW depends on the availability of data provided by each business to the state UI system, and on data provided by businesses directly to BLS. If we are unable to reach some respondents, collection will be adversely impacted.

Will BLS attempt to quantify the overall impact of COVID-19 on QCEW estimates? BLS’s primary goal for QCEW is, as always, to provide accurate levels of employment, establishment counts, and total quarterly wages. It will not be possible to precisely quantify the impact of COVID-19 on employment, establishment counts, or wages because its effects cannot be separated from other influences on the economy, particularly at the national level. Comparisons of employment changes for a specific month against those of recent months may provide a general indication of the impacts at the national level. QCEW data for states and metropolitan areas may provide further indications of an impact at a more local level.

Effects of COVID-19 on the Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program

The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program is a federal-state cooperative endeavor through which total estimates of civilian labor force, employed people, unemployed people, and unemployment rates are produced for over 7,500 unique subnational areas on a monthly basis. The LAUS program utilizes a top-down hierarchy of nonsurvey methodologies and input data from a variety of surveys, programs, and administrative sources in order to replicate the household concepts of employment and unemployment from the Current Population Survey (CPS). Statewide estimates are produced by BLS using models, which feature real-time benchmarking to the national total employment and unemployment levels from the CPS. These model-based estimates for states, in turn, serve as the controls for substate-area estimation. Data for substate areas are produced by the state labor market information offices under the direction of BLS, using standard methodologies, software systems, and some inputs provided by BLS.

How are people who are absent from their jobs counted by LAUS? The LAUS program adheres to the concepts of employment and unemployment from the CPS. Sample-size limitations generally preclude publication of statewide tabulations from the CPS on a monthly basis. Although there are no published series for states corresponding to such household survey categories as “with a job but not at work due to own illness” and “unemployed on temporary layoff” available from the LAUS program, affected individuals are included in the CPS totals that serve as the primary inputs to the state employment and unemployment models, respectively.

Will data collection for LAUS be impacted by COVID-19? The LAUS program does not engage in any data collection, but rather blends data from several sources. These sources include the CPS, administrative data from the unemployment insurance (UI) system, employment data from the BLS Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey and Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program, and data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) and Population Estimates Program (PEP). To the extent that necessary inputs from any of these sources are adversely impacted by COVID-19, LAUS data will be adversely impacted as well.
Will BLS attempt to quantify the overall impact of COVID-19 on LAUS estimates? BLS’s primary goal for the LAUS program is, as always, to provide accurate estimates of civilian labor force, employed people, unemployed people, and unemployment rates for subnational areas. It will not be possible to precisely quantify the impact of COVID-19 on LAUS estimates because its effects cannot be separated from other influences on the economy. Comparisons of employment and unemployment changes for a specific month against those of recent months may provide a general indication of the impacts.
Effects of COVID-19 on the American Time Use Survey
The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) publishes national estimates of the amount of time people spend doing various activities, such as paid work, childcare, volunteering, and socializing. The survey also publishes estimates about where people work. ATUS estimates for 2020 are scheduled to be published in June 2021.

How does ATUS measure the time people spend in various activities? A key part of measuring how people spend their time is the collection of time use diaries. In the ATUS, trained interviewers collect diaries by asking people how they spent their time on one day. Survey respondents report the activities they did, where they were, and whom they were with. The ATUS program adheres to the concepts of employment and unemployment used in the CPS.
Will data collection for ATUS be impacted by COVID-19? ATUS data collection is impacted by COVID-19. The call center in which ATUS interviewers operate to collect the ATUS data was closed on March 19, 2020, and thus data collection has been temporarily suspended. Additionally, people selected to participate in ATUS interviews are from households that have completed the eighth monthly interview of the Current Population Survey (CPS). Future data collections are thus impacted by the ability of the CPS to continue operations at this time.
Will BLS attempt to quantify the overall impact of COVID-19 on ATUS estimates? BLS’s primary goal for the ATUS program is, as always, to provide accurate estimates of the amount of time people spend doing various activities. As noted above, the call center in which ATUS interviewers operate to collect the survey was closed on March 19, 2020, at which time data collection was temporarily suspended.
Effects of COVID-19 on the Employment Projections Program
The Employment Projections program publishes 10-year projections of national employment by industry and occupation based on analysis of historical and current economic data for the labor market, the macroeconomy, and industrial activity. Projections are released annually; the most recent set of projections, covering the 2018–28 decade, were released in September 2019. The next set of projections will cover the 2019–29 decade.

Will the release of new Employment Projections data be affected by COVID-19 pandemic and response efforts? The 2019–29 Employment Projections are scheduled to be released on September 1, 2020. All historical data needed to produce these projections have already been released, so production of these projections will not be affected by COVID-19 pandemic and response efforts.

How will the 2019–29 projections reflect COVID-19 pandemic and response efforts? Because the base year precedes the pandemic, the 2019–29 projections will not include impacts of COVID-19 pandemic and response efforts. The BLS Employment Projections are long-term projections that are intended to capture structural change in the economy, not cyclical fluctuations. The pandemic may cause new structural changes to the economy, but it is too soon to be able to incorporate those impacts into the 2019–29 projections. BLS releases new employment projections annually, and subsequent projections will incorporate new information on economic structural changes as it becomes available.

With over 22 million jobs wiped out so far during the COVID-19 pandemic, WalletHub today released its report on the Cities with the Biggest Growth in Unemployment Due to COVID-19, along with accompanying videos.

In order to identify where workers have been most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, WalletHub compared 180 cities based on how their unemployment rate has changed over time. We compared unemployment during the latest month for which we have data (March 2020) to March 2019 and January 2020 in order to see the difference from the beginning of the year and from last year. Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A.

Most Affected Cities

1. Seattle, WA
2. Hialeah, FL
3. North Las Vegas, NV
4. Miami, FL
5. Henderson, NV
6. Las Vegas, NV
7. Aurora, CO
8. Denver, CO
9. Cleveland, OH
10. Colorado Springs, CO
11. Reno, NV
12. Dover, DE
13. Orlando, FL
14. Port St. Lucie, FL
15. Salt Lake City, UT
16. Long Beach, CA
17. Santa Clarita, CA
18. Los Angeles, CA
19. Chicago, IL
20. Fort Lauderdale, FL

Cities with the Biggest Growth in Unemployment Due to Coronavirus, research by https://wallethub.com/
Cities with the Biggest Growth in Unemployment Due to Coronavirus, research by https://wallethub.com/

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to schedule a phone, Skype or in-studio interview with one of our analysts. Full data sets for specific cities are also available upon request. In addition, feel free to embed this YouTube video summarizing the study on your website. You can also use or edit these raw files as you see fit.

Methodology

In order to determine the cities where unemployment is most impacted by COVID-19, WalletHub compared 180 of the largest cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least one of the most populated cities in each state — across two key metrics, and reported data on the 130 most affected. We compared the growth in unemployment for the latest month for which we had data (March 2020) to both March 2019 and January 2020, in order to show the impact since last year and since the beginning of this year. We then used these metrics to rank-order our sample.

Growth in Unemployment in March 2020 vs. March 2019
Growth in Unemployment in March 2020 vs. January 2020

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

https://www.bls.gov/bls/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-employment-and-unemployment-statistics.htm
To view the full report and the USA city’s rank, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/cities-with-the-biggest-growth-in-unemployment-due-to-covid-19/73647/

Nasdaq to collaborate with R3 for digital assets exchanges

Nasdaq
Nasdaq
Nasdaq

Nasdaq to collaborate with R3 on institutional grade offerings for digital assets exchanges

News release

April 29, 2020
London/New York: Nasdaq, the architect and provider of the world’s most widely adopted market infrastructure technology and services, has entered into a long-term, non-exclusive, collaboration agreement with enterprise software firm, R3. As part of this co-operation, Nasdaq’s Market Technology business will leverage R3’s enterprise blockchain software Corda, along with professional services and support in building full lifecycle solutions for digital assets marketplaces. By tapping Corda Enterprise, Nasdaq can bolster its broader platform and partnership strategy in order to support new institutional grade assets utilizing Corda Enterprise to manage the complete asset lifecycle for new and existing market infrastructure operators on a 24x7x365 basis.

Due to the scalability, low-latency and encrypted environment in which Corda Enterprise operates, the solution is optimized for business cases requiring institutional grade controls in reliability and availability. The R3 collaboration will advance Nasdaq’s efforts in helping digital assets marketplaces strengthen transparency standards to align with their capital markets counterparts as they evolve their businesses.

Nasdaq is a long-established innovator in its use of blockchain technology, private ledgers and digital assets and is a major provider of mission-critical market infrastructure solutions across the trade lifecycle to 120+ marketplaces, clearinghouses, central securities depositories and regulators, including several digital assets exchanges.

Cathy Minter, Chief Revenue Officer, R3 said: “Financial institutions are becoming increasingly aware of the huge potential for servicing the needs of digital assets. We can help them accommodate these assets with solutions that are designed for more secure, reliable and regulated environments. Together with Nasdaq we will provide a world-class platform on which digital asset markets can be built, helping to rapidly accelerate the growth of these markets and others around the globe.”

Johan Toll, Head of Digital Assets, Market Technology at Nasdaq said: “This collaboration between Nasdaq and R3 is another important milestone in Nasdaq’s continuous development of technologies that support the creation and growth of dynamic, trusted digital asset marketplaces. R3’s Corda platform will fit well into Nasdaq’s technology ecosystem and partnership strategy and allow us to harness the power of scalable design and a new level of interoperability.”

About R3:

R3 is an enterprise blockchain software firm working with a global ecosystem of more than 350 participants across multiple industries from both the private and public sectors to develop on Corda, its open-source blockchain platform, and Corda Enterprise, a commercial version of Corda for enterprise usage.

R3’s global team of over 300 professionals in 14 countries is supported by over 2,000 technology, financial, and legal experts drawn from its vibrant ecosystem.

The Corda platform is already being used in industries from financial services to healthcare, shipping, insurance and more. It records, manages and executes institutions’ financial agreements in perfect synchrony with their peers, creating a world of frictionless commerce. Learn more at www.r3.com and www.corda.net.

About Nasdaq:

Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) is a global technology company serving the capital markets and other industries. Our diverse offering of data, analytics, software and services enables clients to optimize and execute their business vision with confidence. To learn more about the company, technology solutions and career opportunities, visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @Nasdaq, or at www.nasdaq.com.

Interview with Emmanuel Daniel, Founder of The Asian Banker, Financial & Investment Industry Challenges in a Covid-19 New World

Emmanuel Daniel, serial entrepreneur, financial expert and founder of The Asian Banker joins Dinis Guarda in this new series interview for citiesabc. As the COVID-19 crisis deepens in the West, both experts discuss potential economic consequences for nations, cities and companies, the impact on the financial industry and how the economic prominence can shift from West to East once the dust settles.

As the founder of The Asian Banker, one of the most prominents consultancies in financial services research, benchmarking and intelligence, Emmanuel Daniel is savvy in financial industry synergies, and he expects financial services to play a key role in dealing with this coronavirus crisis. Likewise, he shows some concerns about how well prepared the industry was to face a crisis like this, especially regarding digitisation and adoption of new technologies. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that the world banking has failed. With the advent of FinTech and emerging technologies, they have had no excuse to move their operations to the digital,” he said in the interview.


INTERVIEW STRUCTURE

1. Profile, professional background
2. Creating The Asian Banker
3. How do you see innovation in financial industry and banking
4. FinTech challenges and opportunities
5. Global economic crisis
6. World economy and finance in coronavirus times
7. Predictions and look at the future


However, this won’t let the financial industry be one of the industries that will utterly benefit from this pandemic. “The financial industry is one of the few industries in the world that is going to benefit from this pandemic. They are at the center of all monetary and financial activity and as such, they are the tools governments use to provide loans and other benefits to companies and people. And in the event of a potential debt crisis in the near future, they will be backed-up by nations as we saw in the past.” This idea comes from one of the basics in the financial industry: where the risk sits. In this pandemic, as the expert pointed out, the risk sits on citizens, companies and nations, while financial services are not carrying any risk at all.

Emmanuel Daniel is a digital advocate. He believes that technology, if well developed and implemented, can make a huge difference in the financial industry. FinTech startups are one of those examples. Many of these have created better and closer relationships with their consumers and as such are creating value for them. The problem comes, as Emmanuel said, with regulatory frameworks. “FinTech players are hand-tied to legacy systems and regulations, even if they are digital-only banks. That makes that they (and users) can’t actually benefit from digital systems and innovative ideas. That is why it is so important for new fintech players to build ecosystems around our legacy systems to completely bring innovation.”

FinTech and innovation is one of the main concerns for Emmanuel Daniel, especially when the conversation moves to geopolitics waters. Asked by Dinis Guarda how he sees the post-COVID-19 financial world, Emmanuel is cautious about it. He doesn’t see a traumatic shift from West to East. “I couldn’t say that the future belongs to Asia because there are still many challenges to overcome. In India or China, for example, these are more related to more mature economies where leaders will have to face the basic dichotomy: they will have to hold the country together along with all their internal disputes or drive innovation and lead the world’s economy.”  

One advantage, though, lies in the early adoption and development of financial technology applications, especially in non-financial platforms. “Platforms in the West, like Facebook for example, haven’t embraced FinTech opportunities (like payments, etc) until recently while in the East they have done that since the beginning,” said Emmanuel in the interview.

But in the end, Emmanuel is optimistic about the future. “The real message of hope and one of the takeaways of this crisis is that the economy needs to be relevant to the individuals and meet their promises by catalyzing them. The economy needs to bring prosperity to them through social capital.”

About Emmanuel Daniel

Emmanuel Daniel is an entrepreneur, train enthusiast and writer. He is the founder of The Asian Banker in 1996, one of the most respected intelligence platforms in the financial services industry that now operates across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He is also the founder of Wealth and Society, a London-based programme focused on impact investment and philanthropy and Bankquality.com, the world’s first site for capturing consumer feedback on financial services. Likewise, he founded The Banking Conversation, an online repository of interviews with a wide range of leaders and shapers of the global economy from a financial perspective.

He won the Citibank Excellence in Business Journalism for Asia in 1999 for his work on the internet in banking. “The Asian Banker Summit” won the best finance conference from the Asian Conference and Summit Awards in 2012.

In fact, Emmanuel has an established reputation for incisive commentary and analysis of critical issues affecting the industry and emerging markets in general. He interviews and has direct access to a broad spectrum of CEOs, decision makers and significant players in the industry. He is the principal author of several reports and surveys that are widely used by practitioners.

He has served in various government advisory committees on the financial services industry. He was previously a member of Council on Corporate Disclosure and Governance in Singapore. He also served as the non-accountant in the Ethics Sub-committee of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore.

As an entrepreneur, he previously served as a committee member in the Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO), a prestigious grouping of young business owners worldwide. He has served or is serving in advisory or consulting roles for various governments and institutions, and is a well regarded confidante in leadership circles. He was an associate member of The Asia Society.

He is a trainer, coach and also a well regarded global speaker on the future, the financial services industry, Asia, China and the march of civilisations. He is interviewed regularly on BBC, Bloomberg and CNBC.

He was trained as a lawyer, has degrees from the National University of Singapore and the University of London, and attended a course on economics at Columbia University in New York.

He is an avid scuba diver and it is not wise to start a conversation with him on any of the train rides he has done around the world. Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he currently divides his time between Singapore and Beijing while not on one of his extensive travelling schedules.

Links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmanuel_Daniel

https://www.emmanueldaniel.com/

https://www.theasianbanker.com/assets/media/dl/Emmanuel%20Daniel%20biography.pdf

http://www.theasianbanker.com/user-post-updates?authorid=Emmanuel+Daniel

https://twitter.com/emmanueldaniel

https://www.crunchbase.com/person/emmanuel-daniel

https://www.openbusinesscouncil.org/wiki/emmanuel-daniel/

https://howlingpixel.com/i-en/Emmanuel_Danie l

https://www.revolvy.com/page/Emmanuel-Daniel

Other Interviews

Covid-19 Crisis And Healthcare Challenges Video Interview With Prof. Henning Walczak

Book: Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit

Book: Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit
Book: Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit
Book: Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit

Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit

News Release

New Book by leading LBS Professor Alex Edmans sets out a radical new approach to embed purpose in practise

Why This Book Matters:

  • Written by Alex Edmans – Professor of Finance at London Business School and TED speaker;
  • Sets out a pioneering new approach to how companies can create both profit and social value – based on rigorous evidence and real-life examples spanning industries and countries;
  • Demonstrates how to embed purpose in practise – providing an actionable framework to guide which investments to take and which to turn down, and showing how to navigate difficult trade-offs;
  • Edmans is a leading global voice on responsible business – speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, testifying in the UK Parliament, and presenting to the World Bank Board of Directors;
  • Edmans communicates complex ideas in a highly engaging easy-to-understand way – giving a Gresham College public lecture series on “How Business Can Better Serve Society”, winning 14 teaching awards in 6 years at Wharton as well as the highest teaching award at London Business School, and writing frequently for the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and Harvard.
  • Business Review

    The book is receiving extensive acclaim – ‘A tour de force,’ Andy Haldane, Chief Economist, Bank of England; ‘Powerful and persuasive,’ Oliver Hart, 2016 Nobel Laureate in Economics; ‘Read it: it will challenge how you think,’ Will Hutton, Observer columnist

    The ‘pie-splitting’ mentality – a crisis in capitalism

    Capitalism is in crisis. Alex Edmans’ radical new book reveals a pioneering approach to solve it – moving away from a ‘pie-splitting’ mentality and advocating a new ‘pie-growing’ mentality.

    The book explores how business has lost the public’s trust – profits and executive pay have soared while incomes of average workers have been flat. Companies have made outsized returns, paying little attention to customer welfare, worker rights or climate change. Business is no longer working for ordinary people, or the planet. Citizens – and the politicians who serve them – are fighting back.

    However, Edmans believes many calls to reform business are extreme. They fail to recognise the positive role that business can play in society and view business as the enemy.

    Growing the Pie – a pioneering new approach

    Grow the Pie sets out a radically different approach – by applying it, companies can create both profit for investors and value for society.

    It dismantles the pie-splitting mentality: the idea that the value a company creates is a fixed pie, and this pie can either go to investors or society.

    Alex Edmans instead advocates the pie-growing mentality. The value that a company creates is not fixed but can be increased. By running a business to serve a social purpose – to improve human health, help citizens save for retirement, or farm food sustainably – companies aren’t sacrificing profit, but generating profit as a by-product of serving society.

    An evidence-based solution

    Grow the Pie presents rigorous evidence that both sides benefiting isn’t a “too good to be true” pipedream, but realistic and achievable.

    It lays out an actionable framework to put purpose into practice, explaining how managers, investors, and policymakers can reform business to serve society, and also how citizens can play their part.

    The book presents the world’s highest-quality evidence on controversial topics such as executive pay, shareholder activism, and share buybacks – uncovering many surprising results and showing that they can in fact be used for social good.

    Alex Edmans is an experienced writer and speaker who is frequently interviewed live on TV. He is available for interview, comment or expert advice pieces on a number of subjects, including:

    • The Pie-Growing Mentality: A new approach to business that works for both investors and society;
    • The evidence on why responsible business is good business;
    • How to put purpose into practice so it moves beyond a mission statement;
    • How to run a responsible business – how to decide which investments to take and which to turn down, and navigate difficult trade-offs where there are winners and losers;
    • Redesigning executive pay so that it’s simple, transparent, and long-term;
    • Do share buybacks line a CEO’s pockets at the expense of workers, or can they be consistent with responsible business?;
    • Does shareholder activism lead to short-termism, or can it catalyse a company to be more responsible;
    • How citizens can play their part in repurposing business – as customers, employees, and voters.
    Book: Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit
    Book: Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit

    Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit by Alex Edmans,
    published by Cambridge University Press is out in hardback 26th March 2020, priced at £18.99.

    About The author: Alex Edmans

    Alex Edmans is Professor of Finance at London Business School and a leading authority on reforming business to serve the common good – but using solutions based on rigorous evidence and recognising the importance of both investors and stakeholders. He has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos, testified in the UK Parliament, and given the TED talk ‘What to Trust in a Post-Truth World’ (which has received 1.7 million views) and the TEDx talk ‘The Social Responsibility of Business’.

Covid-19 causes spike in UK ‘hybrid industries’ – Edtech, Healthtech, Agritech, Commstech

Where there is tech, there is a way – demand grows for UK’s hybrid tech sectors
  • Covid-19 causes spike in ‘hybrid industries’ – Edtech, Healthtech, Agritech, Commstech
  • Current climate will create new generation of tech-savvy, entrepreneurial professionals with a ‘start-up mindset’
  • UK is ideally positioned to become a global leader in tech ventures and talent

Job roles within tech increased by 40% in the first third of the year thanks to a surge in-demand within the ‘hybrid-tech sector’ – namely fintech, edtech, healthtech, and agritech – according to global recruiter Robert Walters.

The UK is Europe’s top scaling tech nation, and with a record £10.1bn investment last year it is fast increasing its lead in the world. In fact, if the UK and China see the same level of tech investment continue respectively, then the UK will overtake China as the second tech nation – behind only the USA. (Tech Nation Report 2020)

Tom Chambers, Senior Manager – Technology at Robert Walters, comments: “In the last few years, tech start-ups and scaleups have received a notable amount of funding, and in the last few weeks alone we have seen government (as well as VC’s) allocate more funding towards high demand industries.

“Thanks to a strong talent pool and foundation in investment, the UK is in a very strong position globally to be able to continue on its trajectory. The current climate will be a hotbed for tech-savvy, entrepreneurial minds to launch or grow their business. These individuals may have no training at all in medicine, farming, or education, but bring expertise in data science and analytics, computing and behavioural economics.”

Tom Chambers outlines the hybrid-industries that will be in particular demand in 2020.

Education

On the 18 March, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to enforce nationwide closure of state schools across the country. With only days’ notice, the education sector had no time to prepare for children to have a prolonged period away from the classroom – posing a huge threat to educational attainment, exams procedures and prep, and general development and social skills.

Within days, schools and universities had turned to online learning tools as a solution – putting unprecedented demand on the UK’s edtech sector.

Tom Chambers comments: “What the Covid-19 outbreak very quickly highlighted to the UK (and western/developed countries) is how education is one of the most traditional industries in the world – having not transformed its delivery methods in the last 100 years.

“Lack of resources, limited funding, poor teaching facilities and inadequate infrastructure in developing countries has resulted in them actually being the early adopters of disruptive edtech – from virtual classrooms, to e-learning and gamification.

“Up until now, true all-encompassing adoption of edtech has been much slower in the western world. Now with lockdown measures in place across the globe, the western world is waking up to the benefits and efficiencies of technology in education. Now more than ever, competition amongst the industry will be rife.”

Luckily, the UK has by no means lagged behind in this realm and edtech is in fact one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors – growing at 22% year-on-year. The industry is worth an estimated £170 million to the UK economy in exports alone – highlighting the rate of adoption in other countries outside of the UK.

Last year, it was predicted that the UK edtech market was to reach £3.4bn by 2021 (out of a total of £100bn UK education market) – with this figure now poised to be much higher in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

With spending and funding rife, the industry shows no signs of slowing down. Pre Covid-19, UK schools were spending £900 million on edtech each year. This week, government has pledged to commit over £100 million to boost remote education.

Tom adds: “The UK is home to more than 1,200 edtech companies – approximately a quarter of the total number in Europe. Coupled with this, the UK ranks number one in edtech venture capital funding in Europe – receiving more than a third (34%) of total investment to the continent.

“The existing strength of our edtech industry pre-outbreak uniquely positions the UK has being able to be a true global leader in this space – creating jobs for people within tech, teaching, growth marketing, and finance.”

Top 5 job roles in-demand* within edtech:

  1. Data Scientists
  2. Software Engineers
  3. UX & UI Specialists
  4. Product Specialists
  5. Go to Market Executives

*Robert Walters

Health

Nowhere is any industry under more pressure than pharma & healthcare – UK and globally. In the UK alone the NHS launched a major recruitment campaign resulting in over 20,000 retired NHS staff returning to service, as well as over 24,000 final year students entering the NHS for the first time.

Whilst widespread media focus has remained on frontline staff, UK healthtech companies have been joining the global fight to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak we have seen an all-Ireland online platform launch to boost business collaboration – with an initial focus on healthcare innovation. Welsh government have launched a COVID-19 Symptom Tracker app, to help track the disease. The app is currently in use by 38,000 people in Wales, and 2 million across the UK.

California has historically been the hotbed for health tech innovation, but the tables look to be turning. In fact, it was London’s Babylon Health which closed 2019’s biggest healthtech deal, raising £441m from Saudi investors to develop diagnostic software for its remote care platform. The company is now valued at more than £1.6bn.

The UK is showing every sign of trying to lead the charge in healthtech solutions. Last year, the NHSX was launched – a new body that will lead the digital transformation of public healthcare nationwide.

Now, the purpose of the NHSX healthtech initiative is being put to the test with £500,000 of new funding being made available for new technology that can be scaled “within weeks” to support people who are self-isolating due to coronavirus. After receiving 1,600 applications since 23 March, 18 innovative digital solutions have been awarded up to £25,000 to help test and get their product off the ground.

Tom Chambers comments: “The healthtech industry has been growing in the UK, driven predominantly by the ‘enablers’ of digital health innovation – the government.

“The effects of an ageing population and a financially-strained NHS, have encouraged the NHS and government to take a data-driven approach to treating and preventing long term conditions and also transform how we access care.

“All of this activity in the UK has meant that investment has skyrocketed in the past five years, growing by 131%. Last year alone, £1.7 billion was invested in UK start-ups and scaleups.”

According to the Association of British HealthTech Industries, the UK healthtech sector is now the largest employer in the broader Life Sciences industry, employing 127,400 people in 3,860 companies, with a combined turnover of £24 billion.

Tom adds: “The coronavirus pandemic is a global priority, and the healthtech industry has been quick to respond. From testing and vaccinating, rise in contactless appointments, to producing life-saving equipment – we are seeing established tech start-ups adapting their areas of expertise to help play their part in the fight.

“The light that the government is shining on the healthtech sector will give birth to a new generation of entrepreneurs, start-ups and tech-savvy individuals in the UK, helping to position us a global hub for talent in the years to come.

“The kind of tech we are seeing created in this space in the UK is very consumer focused and app-driven – from smart medical devices, and wearable equipment, to health monitoring apps, heat sensors and remote appointments tools.”

Top 5 job roles in-demand within healthtech:

  1. Data Scientists
  2. Software Engineers
  3. UX & UI Specialists
  4. DSP Specialists
  5. Product Managers

*Robert Walters

Agriculture

From soaring demand for fresh produce, an over-stretched supply chain system, and seasonal labour shortages on farms due to border closures, the agricultural industry has its fair share of challenges ahead of them in the coming months.

Tom Chambers comments: “The implementation of technology into the agricultural, farming, food and supply chain industry is becoming more and more important. Covid-19 is putting pressure on the UK agricultural industry to redefine its farming and food supply chains, and to accelerate the pace at which it commercialises and adopts new agritech innovations to deliver sustainable change.

“The industry and the many facets within it mean that tech opportunities are wide ranging – from informing trade strategies, to crop optimisation and satellite imagery.”

Luckily, the UK is no stranger to agricultural innovation (agritech) having led the agricultural revolution of the 18th century – introducing innovative farming practices such as crop rotations.

The country has a stellar history of being a world leader in plant and animal science and is home to some of the most established agricultural research institutions in the world. With 20% of the UK workforce in science, talent and experience is also not an issue. Last year, the UK’s agritech sector garnered £1.84bn of investment.

When it comes to efficiency and technology, the UK’s agriculture industry is far ahead and highly mechanised, producing 50 per cent of the food it needs with only two per cent of the workforce.

Tom Chambers states: “Agritech innovations help with food supply, waste reduction, improving productivity in the food chain, sustainable crop health, precision farming and, eventually, healthier and better value food for us all.

“With the pace at which the climate, world population and human behaviour is changing, there is without a doubt that agritech is one of the most important technology sectors in the world.”

Top 5 job roles in-demand within agritech:

  1. Data Scientists
  2. Software Engineers
  3. UX & UI Specialists
  4. Machine Learning Engineers
  5. Computer Vision Specialists

*Robert Walters

Communication

Now into our sixth week of social distancing measures, nothing has quite been impacted like our traditional ability to communicate.

For personal communication; instant messaging, shared gaming, and group video calls are nothing new. The tech has been worked on for a number of years to allow for the most user-friendly experience. Apps such as Houseparty or InstagramLive have given birth to a new generation of social distancing get-togethers or personal training sessions.

The transition for employees to remote working in the UK has been particularly impressive, with managers able to stay in-touch with their team via online platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts or Microsoft Teams. The nature of these platforms, once downloaded, are one-click access – much like that of a phone call.

Tom Chambers comments: “Where we are seeing the biggest need for improved tech in this area is ‘communication at scale’. Customer-facing firms – in particular those who rely on call-centres as a touch point – are under immense pressure to improve their communication systems, reduce wait times, and speed-up access to vital information.”

In the past few weeks, we have seen website servers crash. In some cases, financial institutions, lenders and service providers have temporarily suspended call centres and instead asked customers to leave voicemails, fill online forms, or send text messages requesting a call back.

Tom Chambers adds: “Communication tools are probably one of the trickiest for tech to assist with – mostly because communication is human-led and therefore so personal and subjective and so a one-size-fits-all approach wont work.

“Institutions have been trialling and tweaking products for years and years – from automated telecalls, chatbots, and apps. These solutions circle very much around understating your customer, ample data, artificial intelligence, algorithms, and machine learning.”

This month the government launched a Coronavirus WhatsApp Chatbot and pledged investment into a new online platform that would help victims of domestic abuse who are unable to talk on the phone – which to date has been the primary method to access help of this nature.

Tom adds: “Whilst there will no doubt be some failures with some of these systems, one thing for sure is we will be trialling a variety of e-communication tools in a short period of time – and so the data and learning from this alone will resort in improved tech in this area. The Covid-19 outbreak has certainly highlighted how one of our age-old tools – communication – needs a shake-up.”

Top 5 job roles in-demand within commstech:

  1. Data Software Engineer
  2. Machine Learning Experts
  3. UX & UI Specialists
  4. Natural Language Processing Specialists
  5. Geospatial specialist

*Robert Walters

What are Smart Cities? Features, Frameworks, Quotes

Smart Cities - Insights, image by Dinis Guarda for citiesabc.com
Smart Cities – Insights, image by Dinis Guarda for citiesabc.com

What are Smart cities? Smart Cities Features, Framework, Insights, Thoughts, Quotes

The world is now urban and humanity lives and fosters in cities and smart cities are framework of our times. For the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities and the numbers will increase and citiess need to be prepared to become 100% smart cities. Over 90 percent of urban growth is occurring in the developing world, with a population young and ambitious but also struggling with the future of work, the challenges of the Covid-19 Pandemic and economic recessions coming out of that but also lacking a narrative and storyline that can create better present and future.

We need more than ever a bold new Magna Carta of citizens liberties and we need a cities based new wave of ideas and innovation that usess smart cities frames as a ways to foster and increase holistic solutions for society, industry and academy where we should focus on creating short term solutions and adding value creation for the estimated 70 to 100 million new residents to urban areas each year. Demand for smarter societies and improvement of services in urban areas is therefore increasing exponentially, and the capacity of cities and their local governments to manage this demand is challenged. Smart cities can be a foundational infrastructure and framework that if well used can create a better and more inclusive technologic Sustainability ecosystem.

Smart cities have to focus on building a smarter society using standards smartness and focus on collective intelligence alignment. The most important when designing a city and planning smart cities is the emphasis that needs to be on the design of adding value to the city and adapt the tech to solve problems and not the other way around

A smart city is all about building connections which transcend geography—something more deep-rooted and emotional. Better infrastructure is an integral part of building smart cities, but first comes building awareness about existing resources and then preparing for easier accessibility and navigation. The starting point is changing our obsolete addressing system. I have co-founded a digital addressing system that creates an eight-digit alphanumeric address for every location in a city. This can form the crux of all services: transportation, retail, governance, emergency services, etc. My aim is that people should be able to travel hassle-free, thereby forming indelible connections.
— Vaibhav Belgaonkar, co-founder, Joomzee, Geotracker Pvt Ltd, Mumbai

The world’s 100 largest cities represent around 70% of the world GDP and has 974 million inhabitants; more than a fifth of the global urban population. Tokyo is the largest, with 37.4 million inhabitants; to get into the top 100 list, a city would need to match the population of Ürümqi in China with 4.4 million people. To make the top ten, a city would need 19.2 million inhabitants.

If we go back on time in 1800, London topped the largest 100 list, with 1.1 million inhabitants. A city with the population of Turin (at just 66,000 inhabitants) would have made the list and a city with 400,000 inhabitants would have been one of the ten largest. But by 2020, a city would need to be almost 50 times this size to make the top 10 cut.

Figure: Average size of the world's 100 largest cities (millions of inhabitants), 1800-2035
Figure: Average size of the world’s 100 largest cities (millions of inhabitants), 1800-2035

The average population of the world’s 100 largest cities has increased dramatically: 9.7 million in 2020 compared with 2 million inhabitants in 1950 and 184,270 in 1800.

Technology companies are running the world and in the last 10 years Silicon Valley has failed to create effective solutions for our society that are facing a civilisation crisis as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic. These technologies giants cannot drive the world, only communities and cities can with tools and technology. The public and private sector have to leverage technologies to improve cities and their infrastructure services, deliveries and efficiency. So far governments have failed to fully embrace the benefits that the Fourth Industrial Revolution has brought, with the social, financial and privacy issues we have are creating issues that are destroying trust in organisations, governments, and political leaders.

Governments have to change their game and especially community leaders who have to take action to be able to deliver more sustainable solutions and services for their cities, in a more efficient and effective way, utilising the resources and tools at their disposal. Cities are now somehow all relatively smart cities, but the challenge is how to make this holistically “smart”, in a way, that all cities need to take seriously all technological requirements to manage, optimise, educate, coach and grow their multiple ecosystems, and at the same time focus on sustainability, in finding the best ways to create short term results, innovate and create the new tools and approaches that empower citizens and respective ecosystems.

A smart city, if well set up with digital technology, data, and multiple advanced technologies will improve the lives of its communities and people. This requires groundbreaking open-minded strategic leadership by the multiple stakeholders and administration. Highly promising smart cities have to be about not only embracing technology and innovation but also nourish the creativity, compassion, empowerment, fostering economic and social development of their citizens. Without involving all the communities and social fabric of the cities, including special young and talented tech academics, entrepreneurs pushing to transform cities with their ideas, they cannot become truly smart on a large scale.

About Smart Cities 

When we think about Smart Cities, we usually go in multiple directions but we need to narrow the focus and highlight that smart cities are in essence better-optimised cities and a concept any city has to master.

An intelligent city that is built or optimised to be amart using the best of tech to create a technology-intensive city. This means to have a tech structure at its center and be able to use the best of the 4IR revolution set of tools and tech such as AI and Blockchain to manage big amounts of data and create predictions and optimisation. To use Blockchain to distribute cloud computing and create more secure smart contracts based on identity for citizens and organisations. Using IoT with sensors in an ethical way and data conscientiously everywhere, where possible, will create highly efficient trusted public infrastructure services.

If well planned smart cities, can create economies of scale and efficiency that can save energy, augment productivity and have more transparent governance, then thanks to the information that is gathered, in real-time, by thousands of interconnected devices, then cities can understand the potential issues and create faster solutions to upcoming problems. (For example, trash cans can have sensors that indicate when they are full, and trash collectors follow a specific route based on this information.). If property and buildings become “intelligent”, one can augment innovation and economic and industry solutions with the right application of smart systems that include meters and energy saving systems, and transport optimisation according to the needs of the populations.

At the core a smart city there needs to be a city that cultivates a better relationship between citizens and governments – leveraging available technologies and efficient data management. They rely on feedback from citizens to help improve service delivery and creating mechanisms to gather this information. For example, Citizens are more active in managing their neighborhoods. Open government data is used by civil society to co-create smartphone applications (or an SMS service), e.g., to report a full trash can, and trash collectors can accommodate their routes based on this information.

We believe that a smart city approach is critical to any city in the woreld but one needs to kill myths, that the technology will solve all the problems. At the base of smart cities we need solid governance, united focused communities with leadership. For that we need to focus on building and developing global a universal smart city framework.

Smart cities vision, problem, solution - architecture, infographic by Dinis Guarda for citiesbac.com
Smart cities vision, problem, solution – architecture, infographic by Dinis Guarda for citiesbac.com

Building a Smart City Development Framework

The proposed framework is divided in five components and based on research by Victor Mulas from the World Bank:

1. Smart city and smart government strategic road map: The starting point is a forward looking analysis that not only includes understanding the existing infrastructure, but also creatinga roadmap towards a smart city model for the next five to ten years. Based on this forward looking exercise, an action plan and an investment road map are proposed, tailored to the specific needs of each city.

2. Concentrate on Identification of city priorities and road map: In parallel, interactive consultations with main stakeholders are required. Civil Society organizations, local universities, technology communities, public officers, and specialists are gathered to put forward their main needs and priorities, focusing on those that could be solved through technology. Examples from other countries and cities are studied, and problem areas are further actioned.

3. Collaboration smart cities solutions: Based on the problem statements identified before, cities have several alternatives. They could, for example, develop specific applications directly. They could also participate in events such as hackathons and app challenges to crowdsource solutions, spurring innovation and entrepreneurship. Partnerships with universities and the private sector may also result in multidisciplinary teams co-creating solutions with innovative approaches. The idea of these activities is to create prototypes and concepts that are then tested in the field (in this case, in the city) and start a virtuous cycle of feedback from citizens and adaptation/responses from government, all aimed at creating a new or improved service.

4. Smart Innovation Urban Labs: To keep the momentum generated by this collaboration process, a space that allows for the ongoing interaction between all stakeholders mentioned above is vital; space where new ideas and solutions can be tested in a fail-safe environment. This Urban Innovation Lab should lead future iterations of the proposed process and support stakeholders in coming up with problems and solutions aimed at improving the quality of life in their city.

5. Smart and Networked inclusive cities: cities implementing this process could create a network to share applications and practices. Thereby, they can maximize the value of the solutions they develop by sharing them with other like minded cities, as well as learn from other experiences and evolve. Such networks could also link to already existing networks in Europe (for example, the European Network of Living Labs or the Open Cities initiative) and the US.

This smart city infrastructure approach will appeal to all cities globally. All cities are now or should be technology-data-intensive cities. As they create a longer-term technology investment strategy, they can start leveraging existing technologies (in most cases, mobile devices, smartphones, and broadband access) to co-create smart civic applications that will help improve public services and overall quality of life.

We should promote smart cities as foundational infrastructure frameworks for cities. A smart city should be an empirical and living innovative ecosystem community where all stakeholders share base circular economic values and build a Network of Living community Labs where “Public-Private-People-Partnerships,” are the base. Smart cities should also be an ecosystem where citizens, organisations and government services and investments are continuously improving through feedback from citizens, and universities with the private sector.

Smart cities should be about creating opportunities for citizens and new businesses based on data and research that will eventually increase the quality of life and a truly optimised ecosystem. At different scales, we believe this smart cities approach will be adopted by any city, despite its size or income level. Emphasis on smart cities is critical and should not only be placed on urgent solutions that are emerging out of the Covid-19 challenges and we should aim to create a default smart cities sustainability approach for the way we manage, optimise and build our cities.

Smart Cities Framework by Dinis Guarda for citiesbac.com
Smart Cities Framework by Dinis Guarda for citiesbac.com

Quotes from leading world industry thought leaders:

Cities are built up over time from an infinity of small acts. They do not function like well-oiled machines but present complex organisms that are shaped by geographies, social milieus and inhabitants. The smart city concept overlooks the real drivers of cities: people. People come with messiness, as do cities. There are certain urban qualities that can only evolve with inefficiency, vacancy or unforeseeable events. In theory, smart city solutions can improve citizen participation and co-determination through open data and real-time participation technology. Currently, however, the concept is organised top-down, rather than from the bottom-up.
— Leona Lynen, city researcher, Berlin

“Smart cities do not mean creating jungles of concretes or sophisticated cities of glasses with HiFi technologies. But a smart city means a city, where humans, trees, birds and other animals can grow with all their glories, imperfections, freedom and creativity.”
― Amit Ray, Nuclear Weapons Free World Peace on the Earth

“A smart city is an intelligent town that provides enormous possibilities for human growth through art, culture, social, architectural, economic, political, environmental, and scientific flowering with the optimal mix of nature, technology, humanity, and arts.”
― Amit Ray, Peace Bliss Beauty and Truth: Living with Positivity

In a smart city, modern technology, especially smart devices, connect people with their surrounding areas. Citizens should be offered easily accessible services to keep them informed and their grievances should be taken seriously. City planners often rely on theoretical concepts and best practices in other cities, and want to adopt them without taking into account the unique attributes of their own cities and the peoples’ needs. They expect public participation via outdated procedures like public gatherings and filling forms. This can be prevented by enabling connected citizens to interact with the administration and have a say in city planning. We will then have more liveable smart cities.
— Michael Witte, public relations and event advisor, European Geography Association

“A smart city is a city where humans, trees, birds and other animals can grow with all their glories, imperfections, freedom, and creativity. They are not just cities of technology but cities of love, life, beauty, dignity, freedom and equality.”
― Amit Ray, Nuclear Weapons Free World Peace on the Earth

A smart city uses digital technology to improve the lives of people. This requires strategic leadership by the administration. Highly promising smart cities not only embrace technology and innovation but also nourish the creativity of their citizens. Without young and talented tech entrepreneurs pushing to transform cities with their ideas, they cannot become truly smart on a large scale.
— Faruk Tuncer, policy advisor, Berlin

“Smart cities are the intelligent cities of positivity and happy-energy, not the junkyards of technologies but cities of diversity, love, life, beauty, dignity, freedom, tolerance, and equality.”
― Amit Ray, Peace Bliss Beauty and Truth: Living with Positivity

“Smart is not just a word; it’s an attitude.”
― Ogwo David Emenike

“Peace and Tranquility are the staple and cardinal sine qua nons for Sustainable Development.”
― Musharraf Shaheen, The Srinagar Smart City : prepositions and recommendations

The Indian smart city is essentially an entrepreneurial city. Like entrepreneurs, cities must gain insight into their uniqueness to be differentiators in the global competition between cities, rather than trying to be similar to each other. Technologising infrastructure provision and monitoring is moot in the Indian context, where equitable access to infrastructure is in itself a huge challenge. I wish “smartening” Indian cities would focus on openly sharing big data and analytics.
— Madhav Raman, co-founder and principal designer, Anagram Architects, New Delhi

Sources:
Building smarter cities, co-authored by Arturo Muente-Kunigami and Victor Mulas (from the IC4D blog).
Insights from
https://blogs.worldbank.org/digital-development/building-smarter-cities
https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/digitaldevelopment/brief/smart-cities

The Pathfinders


https://www.iied.org/worlds-100-largest-cities-1800-2020-beyond

How Businesses Can Contribute To A More Sustainable World Post-COVID-19

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How Businesses Can Contribute To A More Sustainable World Post-COVID-19

As human activity is at an all-time low due to enforced global lockdowns, recent studies show COVID-19 is set to cause the most substantial dip in CO2 emissions the world has ever seen.

With a surge of remote working, entire sectors hitting the brakes, and some of the world’s busiest cities devoid of congestion, Edward Harbison, Corporate Marketing Manager at Instant Offices delves into how businesses can continue to take a more sustainable approach post-COVID-19.

Key research within the insight included:

Working from home half the week could reduce emissions by 54 million tons a year globally
Road traffic is responsible for up to 50% of particulate matter around the world
Greener designs could save the UK economy an estimated £15.3bn by 2025

The short-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis is enormous, and governments are being urged to learn from the crisis and adapt policies across the world. Remote working has skyrocketed, entire sectors have hit the brakes, and some of the world’s busiest cities are devoid of congestion.

With human activity at an all-time low since global lockdowns were implemented, Edward Harbison, Corporate Marketing Manager at Instant Offices delves into how businesses can learn to become more sustainable post-COVID-19.

Air Pollution Makes Us More Vulnerable to COVID-19 Symptoms

Coinciding with this unprecedented global pause in daily activities, particulate matter, or PM2.5, one of the most hazardous and prominent types of air pollution, saw a considerable decline. In addition to reduced PM2.5 and other pollutants, studies also show COVID-19 is set to cause the most substantial dip in CO2 emissions the world has ever seen.

According to the World Health Organisation, Particulate matter, or PM2.5 is one of the most prominent air pollutants linked to poor-health. It not only impacts air quality and contributes to the foggy haze we often see in cities and industrial areas but inhaling these ultrafine particles with every breath can add to a range of health problems in the short and long-term, including respiratory issues.

Recent studies show air pollution contributed to 1 in 10 deaths worldwide in 2017 – almost 5 million people. PM2.5 specifically contributed to 3 million early deaths, with the majority occurring in China and India. A Harvard study recently linked long-term exposure to air pollution with increased COVID-19 death rates, stating that if Manhattan had a lower PM2.5 level by just one point, it could have reduced COVID-19 deaths by 248 in the month of March.

The link between COVID-19 and air quality was first seen from space when satellite data showed reduced pollution over Italy as a result of lockdown measures. Soon after, we observed reduced boat traffic in Venice as the canals ran clearer.

Helpful tips to contribute to a more sustainable future going forward

Measure your carbon footprint: The first step to reducing the carbon footprint of your business is to measure your current output. Setting a benchmark is the first step in planning a reduction strategy. A third-party audit enables companies to calculate and map emissions throughout the organisation, from office space and operations to travel and logistics. This plan will help you identify the strategy needed to reach net-zero.

Set reduction targets: Each industry faces a unique set of challenges and opportunities when it comes to business and climate change, but the one way you can measure success as you move towards becoming more sustainable is by setting reduction targets. This could be around the energy efficiency of your office space or commercial space, staff training, and using sustainable energy and electricity. It is crucial to sense-check that your targets are realistic and fit in with overall business goals.

Support climate policies: Enable your organisation to support climate action that is working towards a more sustainable future. Discover what action your city is taking to help reduce climate change and get involved. C40 Cities has a useful tool that enables you to filter cities according to initiative. Some of the greenest cities in the world have some strong actions in place. In the UK, greener designs could save the economy an estimated £15.3bn by 2025.

Other ways to reduce your business impact:

Continue with remote working: Companies have already invested in remote working during the crisis, and the trend is set to continue. As well as reducing business overheads, remote working reduces fuel usage, office waste, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, working from home half the week could reduce emissions by 54 million tons a year.

Reduce commuting for staff: Road traffic is responsible for up to 50% of particulate matter around the world. In addition to reducing time spent wasted commuting in some of the most congested cities in the world, and thereby increasing staff happiness, a reduced commute could also positively impact the environment by reducing transport-generated air pollution. This could be done by increasing remote working options for staff, or by encouraging the utilisation of coworking space, serviced offices or flexible commercial property close to home.

Further research around Instant Office’s analysis on top cities that have plunged in air pollution since lockdown started: https://www.instantoffices.com/blog/instant-offices-news/air-pollution-in-cities-lockdown/

The Instant Group: Flexible Workspace Specialists
Founded in 1999, The Instant Group is a workspace innovation company that rethinks workspace on behalf of its clients injecting flexibility, reducing cost and driving enterprise performance. Instant places more than 7,000 companies a year in flexible workspace such as serviced, managed or co-working offices including Sky, Network Rail, Capita, Serco, Teleperformance, and Worldpay, making it the market leader in flexible workspace.

Instant Offices hosts more than 12,000 flexible workspace centres across the world and is the only site of its kind to represent the global market, providing a service to FTSE 100, Fortune 500, and SME clients. With offices in London, Newcastle, Berlin, Haifa, Dallas, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur, The Instant Group employs 230 experts and has clients in more than 150 countries. It has recently been included in the 2018 Sunday Times’ HSBC International Track 200.