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Category: Digital Economy

20 Sep 2020
Blockchain-secured land entices real estate investors

Blockchain-secured land entices real estate investors

In the “real” world, real estate has historically been seen as a viable investment. Individuals and corporations usually purchase land and property either for development or to sell at a higher price in the future.

With the world becoming increasingly digitized, it appears that the trend of ascribing significant value to land and property has been spreading to the virtual scene. At the intersection of emerging tech like virtual reality and blockchain, developers, investors and hobbyists alike are creating a vibrant virtual real estate market.

While VR provides the tools to visualize these digital spaces, blockchain technology is acting as a base layer for the monetization of virtual real estate. With the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic causing a pivotal move toward more digital forms of human communication, interactive virtual worlds may provide a safe space for the preservation of numerous social constructs.

Second Life and Linden Dollars

Virtual real estate is by no means a recent phenomenon. ity simulators like SimCity have been around for decades. In 2003, a 3D virtual environment called Second Life arguably kickstarted the monetization of virtual real estate as users rushed to acquire digital land using the platform’s native currency, Linden Dollars. Second Life’s run was before the advent of Bitcoin (BTC); nevertheless, the project saw users buy, sell and lease properties, as well as run businesses on virtual land.

The platform soon declined, as other immersive and interactive virtual real estate projects emerged. However, at the height of its popularity, Anshe Chung, a “Second Lifer,” became a millionaire from selling digital real estate.

Virtual land as a commodity

With the coming of blockchain technology, VR platforms like Somnium Space and Decentraland enable users to acquire and monetize plots of virtual land. Recently, Whale — a nonfungible token vault — became the second-largest holder of virtual land in The Sandbox game.

Binance Launchpad hosted The Sandbox initial exchange offering back in August with the token sale event raising about $3 million. Binance is also an investor in the project, having bought over 4,000 Land tokens earlier in September.

Commenting on the growing popularity of virtual real estate, Joseph Madding, a marketing and PR consultant at The Sandbox, remarked that investors are becoming more open to the idea of digital land as a viable investment, telling Cointelegraph:

Virtual Real Estate is definitely becoming more popular. Over the last 10 weeks, we’ve seen over 1,000% more users interacting with our Telegram chat, Discord, Twitter and other social media platforms and have expanded our community management to match the increasing demand. In terms of virtual land as a commodity, we’ve seen our LAND that originally sold at roughly $370 resell for over $2,000 for what we would sell as a small estate. That’s astonishing and shows huge community interest for our NFTs.”

Indeed, the rush for virtual land assets is only the latest in the established trend of digital real estate selling out quickly. In March, VR world Somnium Space sold 110 Ether worth of virtual land in the first week of a planned, 10-week offering at the time.

Upon opening its platform in February, Decentraland saw users purchasing millions of dollars’ worth of digital acreage. In 2019, a portion of the “Genesis Plaza” estate in the Decentraland metaverse called Estate 331 sold for about $80,000, becoming the second-most expensive NFT of 2019.

Expanding digital property landscape

While it is common to see projects pursuing the tokenization of real-world commodities, the emerging virtual real estate space is creating a self-contained digital economy. With blockchain technology as a base-layer, these platforms can monetize digital land, enabling users to trade assets within the metaverse.

Apart from early adopters acquiring virtual land in the hopes of seeing assets appreciate over time, some individuals and organizations have been developing these assets. The process works similarly to real-world real estate development with the establishment of commercial and residential complexes, industrial zones and parks, among others.

Part of the allure driving the desire to own virtual land appears to be based on optimistic projects about the viability of VR technology. According to a study published in August, the combined VR and augmented reality market is estimated to be worth $20.9 billion by 2025, with companies in China and India expected to drive this significant growth in the next five years. Head-mounted displays are becoming increasingly popular among game developers and enthusiasts alike. With advances in 3D technology, manufacturers are becoming better at creating HMDs that deliver a more immersive and interactive VR experience.

Meanwhile, for blockchain projects, in general, scarcity plays a major role in driving value for their native tokens. As is the case with the real world, for real estate holdings to remain valuable, virtual land on these metaverses needs to be finite.

The monetization of virtual real estate also offers another tangible use case for NFTs. Digital land developers are creating malls, boutiques, shops and other retail outlets where they sell electronic merchandise like fashion items, rare cards, concert tickets, etc. For game developers, the marriage of VR and blockchain technology is creating the opportunity to enjoy “all-digital” gaming. Commenting on the benefits of fully digital environments, Madding argued:

“As a game developer, virtual real estate provides a nearly no-risk platform for publishing your games. With NFT technology, you’re not publishing on just an App Store anymore and you’ll have true ownership over the space in which you design and publish your game. As a consumer, owning LAND feels like buying any physical video game, and if you find yourself wanting to do something new, you can either design something completely new with our free tools, or you can resell the digital real estate just like you’d sell any physical copy of a game.”

Life after COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about sweeping changes to human interaction, and the utilization of virtual forms of communication has taken center stage. As shutdowns continue across the world, organizations have been utilizing electronic video conference solutions for meetings. Tech giants in the United States have even issued work from home orders with reports of the practice expected to continue regardless of whether scientists come up with a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Conferences and meetups are a ubiquitous occurrence in the crypto and blockchain space. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was not possible for people to physically attend many such events in 2020.

To navigate this hurdle, organizers and attendees flocked to the virtual realm, sporting creative avatars to discuss important issues in the industry. These events pushed the boundaries of electronic interaction from utilizing third-party messaging services to people interacting in a fully digital space.

According to Madding, the established social construct is becoming more open to digitization: “As the years go by, large social events like we see in Epic Games’ Fortnite may certainly be more and more common, and we hope to lead the way and see these amazing social spaces sprout up in our Metaverse.” For Artur Sychov, the founder and CEO of Somnium Space, the appeal of virtual real estate has been growing, telling Cointelegraph:

“We do see an increased interest in Somnium Land Parcels (PARCEL) because more and more people realize real use cases they can deploy and use those parcels for. Examples are talk shows, art galleries, cinemas, fitness clubs, crypto exchanges and more are already deployed inside our virtual reality world.”

As developers create more immersive and interactive virtual environments by solving issues such as display latency, it may become possible to have almost every social activity taking place in the digital space. Such solutions might even tie-in with the growing NFT marketplace for items like concert and theater tickets.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/breaking-virtual-ground-blockchain-secured-land-entices-real-estate-investors

03 Sep 2020
Supply chains need AI, but AI needs humans

Supply chains need AI, but AI needs humans

The press is full of articles on why businesses need AI because it is expected to make a tremendous impact. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2030, the additional annual global economic impact will be $13 trillion, a figure that equals about 62 percent of the total current U.S. GDP. Gartner estimates that by the end of 2024, 75 percent of organizations will have moved from merely piloting AI to making it operational, and AI made their list of the Gartner Top 8 Supply Chain Technology Trends for 2020.

AI has made explosive progress since 2012 when a grad student from the University of Toronto won the ImageNet Challenge by a huge margin using deep learning, at the time considered a fringe method. Ever since, deep learning has taken Silicon Valley by storm, and AI has spread into all sectors, including supply chain, to address vexing problems previously considered unattainable. With algorithmic advancements, huge amounts of data and better computing infrastructure, AI has shown promise, making impressive gains in predictive accuracy and speed, far exceeding the cognitive capacity of humans.

The role of humans in AI
But as much as AI is growing in importance to businesses, the role of humans is also more critical than ever. With all the focus on automation (and accompanying fears of job losses), I believe that the idea of a “lights out” or fully autonomous supply chain overemphasizes eliminating the role of the human. We humans are essential to AI because we can provide contextualization, conscience and collaboration.

AI has made tremendous progress but still does not pass the famous Turing Test, devised in 1950 to evaluate whether a machine can think like a human. Examples of areas where machines fail to match our thinking are in understanding cause and effect, reason, and judgement under uncertainty, all of which depend on context.

Humans understand the context
Consider the planning problem of lead times for your average car, which may have more than 30,000 parts. No human has the time or capacity to build a plan that accurately estimates when each of those parts will arrive, so inevitably a planner must guess, resorting to shortcuts, such as assuming related parts from a supplier will have the same lead time, which may not be true. Machine learning can use the historical data to predict what the likely lead time will be, replacing a human’s assumptions and guesses. Combine these 30,000 models with automation and you get the Self-Healing Supply Chain, which can detect variances from plan, auto-correct minor ones and alert the planner to the exceptions for her to address. This kind of application significantly increases accuracy and improves productivity.

But what happens when a disruption shutters plants, delaying the flow of a significant source of these parts? History is no longer an accurate predictor of arrival, throwing a wrench in the machine learning’s algorithmic gears, but a human understands the cause and the effect and can apply reason and judgement under this kind of uncertainty. When lead times are up as much as 200 percent or more, a planner uses her contextual information and abundant domain expertise to make the best decisions possible. When patterns are more reliable, machine learning shifts into gear to provide humans additional insight, but until then, we want to keep the human at the wheel.

Humans have a conscience
Another reason we want humans driving the use of AI is to use our conscience to manage the unintended consequences of AI. McKinsey describes AI as a double-edged sword, given its positive and negative impacts, which are sharper than most new innovations and less well understood. Just a few examples of risks that make headlines are fatal crashes from self-driving cars, job losses from automation, manipulation of political campaigns and state surveillance.

When it works as we want it to, AI can seem like magic, but when it fails us, calls increase for regulation to put the genie back in the bottle. I believe this approach is neither feasible nor desirable. After all, the sharpness of the sword blade applies to positive benefits as well. In addition to the business gains that drive Silicon Valley, there are ample examples of AI for good, from health care to hunger to human rights and more.

Earlier in her career, Dr. Fei-Fei Li invented the ImageNet Challenge mentioned above, but the Stanford professor now leads the Human-Centered AI Institute. She has said, “It’s time to bring AI together with social science, with humanities, to really study the profound impact of AI to our society, to our legal system, to our organizations, to our society to democracy, to education, to our ethics.” Her voice is one of many ensuring we bring conscience to the application of AI, a task only suitable for humans.

Humans know how to collaborate
Finally, humans can collaborate and in ways machines cannot. In fact, some define supply chains by their relationships. Academics Doug Lambert and Matias Enz write: “Thus, supply chain management is actually about relationship management. A supply chain is managed, link-by-link, relationship-by-relationship, and the organizations that manage these relationships best will win.” These relationships work best when the links are connected and all can share the same view of what is happening in the supply chain based on visibility derived from the same data. This visibility allows real-time collaboration to occur when people in different parts of the business can share ideas based on a common understanding of the data, leveraging the wisdom of the crowds.

When a disruption occurs, the linked nature of supply chains means that its impact will not be isolated to one area but will have repercussions across the network. So when lead times are delayed, the pain felt by procurement will also affect production, distribution, sales, etc. If alternate suppliers must be found, solutions should be reached collaboratively by all the parties in the chain. Creating what-if scenarios built on concurrent planning can give the supply chain planner the information she needs to instantly see this impact. But these decisions exist in the context of relationships, which enable the most effective collaboration. Technology can provide a platform to reduce the friction in those relationships, but at the end of the day, humans make relationships work.

Keep the lights on and the human at the center
Intelligent automation from AI can take off people’s plates the mundane tasks that take up time but do not maximize our brains. Increasing our productivity can allow us to focus on what we do best. As much as I believe business needs AI for these kinds of capabilities, I also know that AI needs humans. Our abilities to understand context, provide a conscience and collaborate are not replaceable by machines. Instead of trying to turn out the lights for the grand vision of the autonomous supply chain, we can use AI to shine a light on exceptions so we are augmenting human intelligence, not replacing it. In fact, turn on the lights and get the planner a cup of coffee. AI needs her.

Source: https://www.kinaxis.com/en/blog/supply-chains-may-need-ai-ai-also-needs-humans

31 Aug 2020
The Next Boom: In The Fast-Emerging Digital Economy, Company Size Is Irrelevant

The Next Boom: In The Fast-Emerging Digital Economy, Company Size Is Irrelevant

This is the latest installment of my ongoing series of discussions with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and corporate leaders on what to expect as the world recovers in the post-Covid era in terms of technology and innovation.

Over the past few months, small businesses have been taking a beating, while larger cash-rich and technology-laden organizations were able to weather the storm. However, as the storm clouds emerge and the new business day begins, we may see things tilt dramatically in favor of smaller enterprises.

Technology is making this so. Previously, only those with resources or the right connections could get started during tough times. Think about the cheap, or even free, and abundant online resources now available to entrepreneurs and innovators, compared to the financial crisis of 2008-2009. “A big difference between 2008 and now is that it’s much easier to start a company because of major technology advancements compared to 10 or 15 years ago,” says Yancey Spruill, CEO of DigitalOcean. “Between six to eight million businesses are started each year, and a majority of them are building their businesses on the cloud. The widespread availability of tech infrastructure like cloud computing has lowered barriers of entry for entrepreneurs, regardless of their background or expertise. Technologies supporting remote work also make it easier for these founders to acquire talent outside their immediate geographic areas.”

In the post-Covid, re-emerging economy that we’ll see in the coming years, we’ll see a much more level playing field, thanks, to an accelerated pace of digitization. “A new era of inclusion, collaboration and innovation is about to begin, and online platforms will help lead the charge,” says David Carmell, attorney, entrepreneur, and CEO of DealRockit. “Superior digital experience will become the new normal, which then opens access and opportunity to more people and businesses than ever before. Small business will drive this new age of customer experience and financial inclusion, enabling individuals, businesses, and enterprises alike to interact and transact in unprecedented ways.”

In addition, entrepreneur or innovator location no longer matters “because everyone is working remotely,” says Mark Gorenberg, founder and managing director at Zetta Venture Partners. “Companies can be built anywhere and the worker base can be distributed. This is leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs beyond the main tech centers.”

For example, Gorenberg continues, “our most recent investment was for a company headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, Ensodata, a leading company in waveform AI to improve sleep disorders. We are seeing tremendous opportunities in Europe and other locations beyond the normal tech centers of Northern California, Boston and New York City. So, while the trend to distributed teams with online collaboration tools was already happening, this recession has further accelerated that trend. Location almost doesn’t matter.”

Don’t feel as if you have to be a high-tech software company, either — the opportunities to advance in the digital economy extends to all types of business. “We tend to think that the businesses that are going to fare the best are those squarely in the tech, software-enabled, space,” says Ajei Gopal, CEO of Ansys. “But manufacturing companies are just as nimble, and we see a huge opportunity for the post-Covid era to accelerate their adoption of digitization technology. Take product development, for example. Digitization has modernized and accelerated the product development process. Few products are sketched by hand on a drafting table today. Instead, the development cycle – from ideation to design and analysis to manufacturing to operations – occurs virtually. In fact, in the early phases of the modern development lifecycle, the product itself is entirely digital.”

Many entrepreneurs and professionals — laid off, or starting side projects — are likely to start new businesses at this time. Or, larger companies recognizing they need to recast their business models are being spurred to explore and experiment with new opportunities. “The pandemic has exposed areas of opportunity in education, streaming, gaming and work from home applications, and accelerated enterprise digital transformation by years,” says Spruill.

“Often, the most high-quality people are available as established companies put new product development on hold and open up more future white space for entrepreneurs to fill,” says Gorenberg

Entrepreneurs — as well as internal corporate innovation movers — “should pay close attention to digital platforms,’ Carmell prescribes. “They are the key to the future. In the race to deliver the best customer experiences, companies will increasingly turn to platforms to accelerate interactions and transactions, giving super-participation powers to users. Platforms create deeper partnerships and collaborations, allowing businesses to offer free products and services with far-reaching capabilities and benefits to clients, prospects, and business/referral partners.”

That leads to a “fast track to growth, a better map for navigating change, improved customer experiences, and broader financial inclusion,’ Carmell says.

“Start with the ecosystem in front of you,” Carmell advises. “This means your teams, prospects, clients, referral partners and others that make up your company’s constituency. It is imperative to create a virtuous cycle where everyone wins, demonstrating how much more your business can and will do.”

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2020/08/30/the-next-boom-in-the-fast-emerging-digital-economy-company-size-is-irrelevant/#7d5d3faa3216

30 Aug 2020
Regulated Blockchain: A New Dawn in Technological Advancement

Regulated Blockchain: A New Dawn in Technological Advancement

There is no doubting the fact that there are massive potentials for blockchain technology to transform the world. This has been shown in every field of human endeavor.

Blockchain technology has been deployed in the medical industry, engineering, and most importantly in the financial industry. But one thing stood out, governments and a lot of investors were at best, wary of the wholesome adoption of the technology.

The reason being adduced by everybody is that blockchain is not regulated. For blockchain to be widely accepted, there will be a need for some level of assimilation with the traditional way of doing things.

Blockchain as technology came up with a true peer-to-peer borderless transfer of value and innovative ways to raise capital or invest in promising projects, but then, there are two sides to a coin. One major use the blockchain was first deployed for, was the cryptocurrency, which a lot of people have variously used as a primary exchange of value for illicit activities, you can’t also wish away the fact that many investors have been scammed off their resources through shady ICOs.

It was sweet music to the ears when Zurab Ashvil, founder and CEO of L3COS came up with the idea of the world’s first regulated blockchain-based operating system. “Without a single universal platform for governments, businesses and individuals worldwide, there is no practical solution for addressing the underlying blockchain problems that we are facing today,” Ashvil says.

With a three-layer transformation, that will enable the government to win voter trust, save money, and go green; businesses to minimize fines, globalize, and reduce operating costs; while the society will enhance democracy, ease international travels, and simplify taxes; a regulated blockchain is a gateway to our technological advancement.

What a regulated blockchain portends is that the impact the negative statements from government officials and the media along with regulatory uncertainties have been having on entrepreneurs, investors, the market, and the industry at large, will be a thing of the past.


One area where we have started seeing the positive impact and transformation in technology is the case of the digital currency. The internet was the precursor of cashless policy and internet banking all of which greatly reduced the stress people had to go through to conduct businesses.

The Chinese Government vehemently opposed cryptocurrency because it was decentralized but it’s of great relief to see that the People Bank of China (PBOC) is at the forefront of legitimizing digital currency.

As a part of a pilot program, PBOC introduced a homegrown digital currency across four cities, this is a huge leap towards actualizing the first electronic payment system by a major central bank. The Bank of England (BoE) is also toeing the footsteps of China but at a review stage as of July 2020.

Andrew Bailey, the Governor of BoE was reported to have said, “I think in a few years, we will be heading toward some sort of digital currency.”

In the U.S. too, concerted efforts are being made towards digital currency with U.S. investment bank JP Morgan being the first bank to create a digital token to help settle payments between clients in its wholesale payments business. This does not undermine the fact that the United States Federal Reserve has not made a categorical statement as to the position of the country on CBDC.

“We are supportive of crypto-currencies as long as they are properly controlled and regulated,” says Umar Farooq, JP Morgan’s head of Digital Treasury Services and Blockchain. It is on record that the bank has always maintained that the blockchain technology is of immense benefit, their only problem all along has been the inability to regulate it.

If you had expected to see a wholesome deployment of the blockchain technology even if for non-financial-related fields before now, you did not assume wrongly. What has obtained before the emergence of regulated blockchain technology is a situation where investors are treading with caution.

They are skeptical and rightly so at putting their resources into a venture that may come crashing any time as a result of the position of government officials and policymakers. The adoption of regulated blockchains like L3COS and others that will come up swiftly to compete will be based on the fact that it can automate a wide range of operations and cut bureaucratic procedures.

The automation is achieved using smart contracts. The system removes intermediaries between end clients (businesses and consumers) and central banks.

Aside from regulation, which is the primary source of concern to almost everybody that can assert an opinion about blockchain technology, one other area that has created a lot of misgivings is the environmental impact of business transactions. You can now afford to reduce the use of paper to an unprecedented minimum, thereby contributing significantly to the green world.

Cutting costs is very vital for the sustenance of your business especially when these costs arise from illegal activities you must have randomly or unwittingly done. This will become a thing of the past as the system will automatically do a compliance check for you any time you attempt an operation.

What this boils down to is that your operation will be blocked if it seems to be going against promulgated rules and regulations. Thus, the system ensures you don’t fall prey to “potholes” and saves you from getting involved in illegalities while running your business.

A regulated blockchain ensures that transactions are supervised by regulatory bodies. The fear institutions have all along harbored, can now be laid to rest.

Ordinarily, with unregulated blockchains, institutions face the risk of financial loss and also the risk of further repercussions due to the misuse of the responsibility entrusted to you. There are also financial penalties to be paid as well as reputational damage to be taken into consideration.

Now that the world has no lack of regulated blockchains, it is a very good opportunity for any government or organization that wants to lead the global blockchain marketplace to act quickly. In a short time, leaders must have emerged and the others will just have to follow suit.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/354812

29 Aug 2020
Dubai is using technology to serve people

Dubai is using technology to serve people

We did not want to opt for ready-made solutions. Instead we built and designed every part of the ecosystem over the course of three years

The term ‘smart cities’ evokes thoughts of digitally advanced metropolises, with images of futuristic modes of living, as one would imagine the 21st century to look like. Smart cities are frequently viewed as government bodies and science experts using mysterious technologies titled with phrases such as ‘Internet of Things,’ ‘predictive modelling,’ and ‘artificial intelligence’, all now part of the modern-day vocabulary thanks to the rapid increase of technological developments taking place around the world.

The reality, however, is much different. The application of technology is not the guiding imperative for those of us designing these capitals of the future, but rather their relevance to everyday life. The purpose and value of smart cities can only be fully realised if the technologies they employ are successful in reaching people, connecting with them, and impacting their lives in a meaningful manner.

It may come as a surprise to learn that as officials in charge of building tomorrow’s smart cities, the biggest challenge we face is not one of employing technology, but rather implementing it in a way that both adds value to people’s lives and benefits the government and private sector institutions responsible for providing technology-based services. While technology is readily available and easily accessible, realising its full worth in everyday life requires innovation – this is something we are now focused on mastering.This takes me back to 2016, when I was appointed CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment, and given the honour of building Dubai’s data ecosystem. The moment I was given this task I felt overwhelmed by the enormous challenge of creating something that has never been built before anywhere in the world. I was mandated with the responsibility of establishing an ecosystem that would serve as a global benchmark; no small feat. What made my mandate feel particularly onerous was that advanced countries were – and still are – exploring and finding their way with data.

My portfolio involved my dedicated team and I creating a completely new and unprecedented data experience – one that would be the most comprehensive and ambitious in the world. With a main aim of our work being to stamp Dubai’s authority as a leading pioneer of smart city architecture, we did not want to opt for ready-made solutions. Instead we built and designed every part of the ecosystem over the course of three years.

But what exactly is data? Put simply, it is information collected from activities carried out by people, the government, private sector entities, and the tools and devices they use. This includes, for example, information on government transactions, water and electricity consumption, housing, education, health. and so on.

This is the fundamental of data. From now on in this weekly column, I will be sharing with you insights and learnings in this area through a series of articles titled ‘Data Moments.’ Through these I will introduce you to an array of technology- and data-related terms and explain how they relate to your lives as individuals or businesses.

You may have heard the expression that ‘data is the new oil.’ Global studies and research confirm that those who succeed in achieving and analysing a wealth of data will govern the new economy. I hope sharing my learnings through Data Moments will contribute in some small way to helping achieve this success, and I would be delighted if you would join me on my journey.

Source: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/editorials-columns/dubai-is-using-technology-to-serve-people

27 Aug 2020
Drivers Of Value Creation In Digital Economy

Drivers Of Value Creation In Digital Economy

India’s goal to become $1 Trillion Digital economy by the year 2025 is gaining high visibility due to the current pandemic situation and its impact on the ecosystem. The investments in digital technologies is going to change the demand curve and generate businesses exponentially in near future.

The digital economy is mainly comprised of three essential parts- the infrastructure, how the business is conducted, and the selling of goods through online mechanism.

Industry 4.0 is also helping in making the processes more flexible, efficient and effective to produce high-quality goods at reduced costs by leveraging these digital technologies, thereby, enabling the growth of the digital economy. In the Indian context, the manufacturing sector needs a push through incentivization and reforms to increase the GVA which was estimated at US$ 397.14 billion in FY20PE (Financial Year 2020 Provisional Estimate by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation). Moreover, this will also help the government in achieving its overarching aim to create 100 million new jobs in the manufacturing sector by 2022.

Since digital data is becoming an increasingly valuable economic resource, it is very important to understand how to rapidly create value from it. The drivers of value creation in the digital economy consist of two vital elements which are as follows:

  1. Digital Platforms– As per Geoffrey Parker, “platform is a business based on enabling value-creating interactions between external producers and consumers. The platform provides an open, participative infrastructure for these interactions and sets governance conditions for them”. Digital platforms offer these mechanisms online and can be both intermediaries and infrastructures. The intermediaries connect different groups of people.
    For example, Facebook or any other social media channel connects users, advertisers, developers, companies and others, and Uber or any other online taxi hiring medium connects riders and drivers. Many platforms also serve as infrastructures. For example, users can develop profile pages on Facebook, and software developers can build apps for Apple’s App Store. The growth of digital platforms as a result of technological developments is strongly linked to their increasing capacity to collect and analyze digital data.

The two significant types of platforms- Transaction platforms, which are sometimes alluded as two/multi-sided platforms, offer an infrastructure, typically an online resource, that supports exchanges between several different parties. They have become a core business model for major digital corporations like Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook and eBay.

Another type is the Innovation Platforms which are sometimes alluded to as Engineering or technology platforms. These platforms provide ways for sharing common designs and for interactions across a sector. Related examples include operating systems (e.g. Android or Linux) and technology standards including solutions, configuration and utilization standards.

Digital platforms can facilitate value-creating interactions between the different sides of the platform, as producers and consumers of different goods and services. But essentially, their effective functioning relies on digital data, and the main source of their value creation emerges from leveraging those data in intelligent ways.

2. Data and Digital Intelligence- Data-related activities are no longer mere side activities in the production of goods and services; instead, they have become an essential feature of the production process and a key aspect of economic activity. The following aspects discuss the complex dimensions of digital data as an economic resource, with implications for trade and development.

  • Complex nature of data– The origin of the digital economy lies in the extraordinary amounts of detailed machine-readable information available about almost everything. The development and policy implications of data collection and use depend greatly on the type of data involved.  Data can be classified according to different criteria, for example:
  • Personal or non-personal data
    • Private and public data
    • Data for commercial purposes or governmental purposes
    • Data used by companies, including corporate data, human resources data, technical data and merchant data
    • Immediate and historic data
    • Sensitive and non-sensitive data
    • B2BB2C, government to consumer (G2C) for paying taxes etc. or consumer to consumer (C2C) data such as online auctioning.
  • Economic value of data- It is the quantification of the relationships and patterns around customers, products, services, operations and markets that drive operational, management and strategic predictions.
  • Data Value chain– An entirely new value chain has evolved around firms that support the production of insights from data, including data acquisition (to provide new sources of data), data storage and warehousing, data modelling and analysis, and data visualization. At the lower levels of the “data value chain”, information content is limited, and therefore, the scope for value generation is also low. Value increases as the information and knowledge content rises.
Image Source: Digital Economy Report 2019- Value Creation and Capture: Implications for Developing Countries (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)

The outcome of this value chain is “digital intelligence” that can inform firms in their decision-making and innovation efforts. In addition, the data can be used to improve the algorithms used for automated decision-making in the development of products, processes or services.

Since digital data is becoming an increasingly valuable economic resource, it is very important to understand how to rapidly create value from it. The drivers of value creation in the digital economy consist of two vital elements which are as follows:

  1. Digital Platforms– As per Geoffrey Parker, “platform is a business based on enabling value-creating interactions between external producers and consumers. The platform provides an open, participative infrastructure for these interactions and sets governance conditions for them”. Digital platforms offer these mechanisms online and can be both intermediaries and infrastructures. The intermediaries connect different groups of people.
    For example, Facebook or any other social media channel connects users, advertisers, developers, companies and others, and Uber or any other online taxi hiring medium connects riders and drivers. Many platforms also serve as infrastructures. For example, users can develop profile pages on Facebook, and software developers can build apps for Apple’s App Store. The growth of digital platforms as a result of technological developments is strongly linked to their increasing capacity to collect and analyze digital data.

The two significant types of platforms- Transaction platforms, which are sometimes alluded as two/multi-sided platforms, offer an infrastructure, typically an online resource, that supports exchanges between several different parties. They have become a core business model for major digital corporations like Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook and eBay.

Another type is the Innovation Platforms which are sometimes alluded to as Engineering or technology platforms. These platforms provide ways for sharing common designs and for interactions across a sector. Related examples include operating systems (e.g. Android or Linux) and technology standards including solutions, configuration and utilization standards.

Digital platforms can facilitate value-creating interactions between the different sides of the platform, as producers and consumers of different goods and services. But essentially, their effective functioning relies on digital data, and the main source of their value creation emerges from leveraging those data in intelligent ways.

2. Data and Digital Intelligence- Data-related activities are no longer mere side activities in the production of goods and services; instead, they have become an essential feature of the production process and a key aspect of economic activity. The following aspects discuss the complex dimensions of digital data as an economic resource, with implications for trade and development.

  • Complex nature of data– The origin of the digital economy lies in the extraordinary amounts of detailed machine-readable information available about almost everything. The development and policy implications of data collection and use depend greatly on the type of data involved.  Data can be classified according to different criteria, for example:
  • Personal or non-personal data
    • Private and public data
    • Data for commercial purposes or governmental purposes
    • Data used by companies, including corporate data, human resources data, technical data and merchant data
    • Immediate and historic data
    • Sensitive and non-sensitive data
    • B2BB2C, government to consumer (G2C) for paying taxes etc. or consumer to consumer (C2C) data such as online auctioning.
  • Economic value of data- It is the quantification of the relationships and patterns around customers, products, services, operations and markets that drive operational, management and strategic predictions.
  • Data Value chain– An entirely new value chain has evolved around firms that support the production of insights from data, including data acquisition (to provide new sources of data), data storage and warehousing, data modelling and analysis, and data visualization. At the lower levels of the “data value chain”, information content is limited, and therefore, the scope for value generation is also low. Value increases as the information and knowledge content rises.
Image Source: Digital Economy Report 2019- Value Creation and Capture: Implications for Developing Countries (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)

The outcome of this value chain is “digital intelligence” that can inform firms in their decision-making and innovation efforts. In addition, the data can be used to improve the algorithms used for automated decision-making in the development of products, processes or services.

Source: https://analyticsindiamag.com/drivers-of-value-creation-in-digital-economy/

26 Aug 2020
Exponential Growth: What Research Into Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Tells Us About LawExponential Growth: What Research Into Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Tells Us About Law Practice Disruption Practice Disruption

Exponential Growth: What Research Into Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Tells Us About Law Practice Disruption

An analysis of nearly 300 academic works on Bitcoin, blockchain, and related technologies demonstrate an exponential interest in the area and help to pinpoint precisely what practice areas are already being impacted by the technology and which are likely to come next.

It’s been 10 years since a pseudonymous coder called Satoshi Nakamoto unveiled Bitcoin, a decentralized digital network that primarily functions to maintain the integrity of a native cryptocurrency also called bitcoin by tracking transactions made to a digital ledger called a blockchain. In the decade since its invention, Bitcoin has been both praised as the next iteration of money and peer-to-peer communication and criticized as being an asset far too volatile to become mainstream. Just this month, the Office of Comptroller of the Currency gave national banks the go-ahead to take custody of cryptocurrencies for its customers, the U.S. Postal Service filed a patent to track mail-in ballots on a blockchain, and the Federal Reserve announced it was exploring creating its own digital dollar utilizing using blockchain technologies. Despite its critics, Satoshi’s invention and the wider industry and technologies it inspired appear to be here to stay.

Source: https://www.law.com/legaltechnews/2020/08/25/exponential-growth-what-research-into-blockchain-and-cryptocurrencies-tells-us-about-law-practice-disruption/?slreturn=20200726043712

22 Aug 2020

The inestimable value of quantum technology: ‘Enormous impact on the economy’

The first quantum network in the Netherlands is to be released around the end of the year. A quantum link will be established between two Dutch cities, connecting and entangling two quantum nodes.

The first quantum network in the Netherlands will be released around the turn of the year. A so-called quantum link (Q-link) will be established between the Dutch cities of Delft and The Hague, which will enable two quantum systems to be linked and entangled. If this network works, further scaling up to other cities in the Dutch Randstad region will be considered. Dutch scientists and companies are working hard on the development of quantum technology in the form of quantum networks and computers. But what use will this new technology be to us? And how will it change our lives?

The Netherlands aims to become the Silicon Valley of quantum technology, as indicated in the Dutch Government’s National Agenda for Quantum Technology document. Along with several others, QuTech, which is a long-term collaboration between the Dutch Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), is conducting research into the potential of Quantum Computing and Quantum Internet. It is also looking into practical applications that involve the participation of companies such as the Dutch telecom giant KPN and the American multinational Cisco Systems.

NATIONAL AGENDA QUANTUM TECHNOLOGIES
This agenda sets out the Dutch course to be taken in terms of the development of quantum technology. The Netherlands wants to be and remain at the forefront, which is precisely why it is focusing on it: “Groundbreaking research, high-quality education, state-of-art facilities and accelerated programs to speed up the introduction of the technology to the market should attract talent and companies and lead to a vibrant quantum ecosystem that has a European and indeed even a global function,” as stated in the document.

Enormous economic impact
The range of applications seems to be limitless. “The quantum computer makes calculations in a completely different way than the computers we are currently familiar with,” says Ingrid Romijn, program manager at QuTech. “A quantum computer can, for example, calculate the various states of large molecules extremely quickly. This enables researchers to simulate the interaction between substances and cells much more accurately. This enables medicinal drugs to be developed specifically for any given individual who has a particular disease. In addition, quantum technology can contribute to advances in batteries and solar cells. It can also clarify and solve logistical problems much more swiftly,” Romijn explains. The quantum computer can, therefore, have a major impact on the healthcare, energy and logistics sectors, to name but a few. “But that’s not all. Every sector can benefit from a computer with more computational power. Consequently, the economic impact is bound to be enormous.”

QUTECH
QuTech is a research institute run by the University of Technology Delft and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). Its mission is to design scalable prototypes of a quantum computer and an inherently safe quantum network based on the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics. In order to achieve these goals, they bring scientists, engineers and industry together into an inspiring environment to work towards building the quantum future.

It is not yet clear exactly how significant this impact will be. Not all the capabilities of a quantum computer have been figured out by researchers and companies as yet. René Pluis, the cybersecurity leader of the digital acceleration program for the Netherlands at Cisco Systems: “This is more often the case once fundamental research is put into actual practice.” He compares it to the technological revolution of the 1950s. “That’s when electronic appliances and transistors became the norm. Appliances are able to function in more compact, lighter, and cheaper versions. We are completely used to that now,” he says.

CISCO SYSTEMS
Cisco provides the equipment needed for network connections, security, and (tele)communication. This has been its most important task for more than 35 years. Apart from that, they want to be able to connect people in every possible way. Innovative advances, including quantum technology, play an important role in this respect.

“In those days, the transistor radio was invented, but we had no idea at the time that we could also create an MRI scanner based on that same technology. The same holds true for the laser. At first, it was a massive machine. Now it’s tucked away in small appliances like a CD player. We don’t know yet what we can do with quantum technology in the future, so we have to use it and figure it out.”

The two key principles
Quantum technology works on the basis of two principles: entanglement and superposition. These two characteristics make the technology stand out from all others. Quantum technology does not look at bits, but instead, it deals with qubits. The currently used bits are always a 0 or a 1. A qubit can also be a 0 and a 1 at the same time. The way qubits work is based on principles of quantum mechanics, one of the most precise theories in the world. Thanks to major breakthroughs over the past decade, it is now clear that these principles can be applied in new cutting-edge technologies. “By having the quantum computer perform computations using qubits, in principle, several computations can be performed at the same time. Since quantum computers can perform multiple operations all at once, they have the potential to solve problems that are practically unsolvable for conventional computers,” Pluis asserts.

The second characteristic of qubits that makes quantum technology possible is entanglement. This means that two quantum systems, for example, electrons or photons, are connected with each other without actually ever being physically connected. If one quantum system changes, the other one will also sense that, even if they are thousands of kilometers away from each other. “This also sounds almost magical, but it has been proven to work,” Pluis goes on to say: “As a consequence of this entanglement, there is a link between the states of the two systems from a distance. It is as if they are one system, so to speak.”

Romijn adds. ” This allows you to synchronize things much faster when two quantum systems are remotely entangled,” she says. This could, for one thing, result in more accurate positionings and localizations and could be incorporated into astronomy. Pluis: “The more accurately atomic clocks are tuned up with each other, the finer satellites and telescopes can be tuned.”

Improved security
An entangled connection also provides a higher level of security. “You then have a quantum link to someone else. If someone tries to access or eavesdrop on an entangled connection, the entanglement disappears and it is immediately clear that someone was attempting to read the data,” Romijn explains. According to Romijn, one of the first applications of quantum computers and networks will be to secure confidential information, e.g. that of the government or the military. “For instance, we are working with a Dutch bank to examine the scope for security,” she says.

Not only does the quantum computer offer new forms of security, but it also poses security risks. The current security provided by encryption, a cipher sequence generated by multiplying large prime numbers, is no longer as secure when a quantum computer comes into play. “It is very difficult for a standard computer to reduce this type of cipher sequence down to those two prime numbers. This is why data is secure. But because a quantum computer performs these kinds of calculations far more quickly, it can easily crack these kinds of codes,” explains Pluis, who works at Cisco.

“The quantum computer’ is still a few years down the road. But if someone were to save files now in order to decrypt them sometime in the future, that might pose a problem. Not all documents will still be relevant in a number of years, but government documents often still will be,”, he notes. That is why a new type of security is needed for important – classified – documents. “An encryption system is currently being developed on the basis of quantum network technology that no longer relies on the huge computational power of quantum computers,” Pluis states.

Good or evil
Data security is one of the many applications of quantum technology. As such, the new technology has two faces. On the one hand, it can crack today’s security systems, with all the ensuing implications. On the other hand, it can provide new and more sophisticated forms of security. Romijn: “What if the technology falls into the hands of criminals? The government, among others, is quite concerned about that.” According to the program manager at QuTech, this is a recurring question that always arises where technological developments are concerned. “When the laser was invented, people were also afraid that criminals would make weapons out of it. Now it appears that good things are done with it in the main,” she comments.

“The technology is not good or evil. We have to make sure that it is put to good use.” There is a lot of emphasis on the ethical side of things within the National Agenda Quantum Technology document. “We want to focus on social impact and actually involve society in the development process. Not only technicians but also philosophers and lawyers, for instance”. Romijn thinks that this is a way for Europe to distinguish itself from China and America, which are also actively involved in the development of quantum technology. “Whereas for China and America it is mainly the technological and economic aspects that play a leading role, Europe has also introduced a third element into the discussion: impact and ethics. This element is often essential when it comes to gaining public acceptance for new technology and the regulations surrounding them.”

Cooperation as a guiding principle
Apart from the competition to be the first to realize a fully functional quantum computer, in Romijn’s view it is also imperative that countries and companies work together. “For example, researchers all have their own expertise, but so do companies and even countries. We can subsequently arrive at the most optimal result by working together,” she states. This is why a few months ago, TNO, TU Delft, QuTech, and the municipality of Delft jointly set up the Quantum Delft ecosystem. “Labs run by large companies and start-ups are being brought together here. Everyone is working on their own technology or a component of the computer or network. Because everyone is working on the same campus, people get to meet each other more easily and in turn, more new initiatives spring up from that contact. This enables the development to speed up even more,” Romijn points out.

Jacqueline Schardijn, a business developer in the field of quantum technology for the regional development corporation Innovation Quarter adds: “There is already a wonderful ecosystem set up around Quantum Delft, where start-ups are working with scientists on quantum issues and associated technologies. It is useful for the business community to know who they can turn to when they want to focus on Quantum Technology. They want to stay informed about the possibilities and impossibilities of quantum technology. Like how to run simulations on quantum platforms such as Inspire. The Cronos Group, QuTech, and Innovation Quarter are all working on this; raising awareness about the business side. We are delighted to welcome the business community to the wonderful world of quantum technology.”

Pluis: “It is no longer a matter of whether quantum technology is going to change the world, it is a matter of when that is going to happen. What we now know about the possibilities of this technology is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Only time will tell what the impact of this technology will be.”

Source: https://innovationorigins.com/the-inestimable-value-of-quantum-technology-enormous-impact-on-the-economy/

15 Aug 2020

AI could be as big as sliced bread for innovation

Its impact on everyday lives will run just as deep and be just as long lasting.

Otto Rohwedder was a jeweller by trade, but he was also an inventor and a risk-taker – an enviable combo for the modern-day tech entrepreneur. Born in Iowa in 1880, the jeweller’s apprentice went on to open up three stores of his own, but his true passion lay elsewhere.

Nestled inside his workshop, he would apply his expertise in jewellery and watchmaking to inventing new machines. One in particular became an unlikely obsession. Some inventors dreamed of time travel and space rockets, but not Rohwedder.

His goal was to develop a machine that could slice bread. It may have lacked the excitement and appeal of traveling through space or time, but he was utterly convinced by his idea, and was prepared to sell his jewellery stores to fund it.

Rising from the ashes
But it was an uphill struggle. First came an inventor’s worst nightmare: in 1917 a fire engulfed Rohwedder’s factory, sending his prototype and all the blueprints up in smoke and setting him back several years in bringing his slicer to market. But he was in it for the long game.

Undeterred by the disaster, the inventor pressed on, generating new funding, redesigning his machine and gathering the opinions of tens of thousands of people as to the perfect thickness of a slice of bread.

After years of graft, in 1927, Rohwedder finally designed a machine that not only sliced the bread but wrapped it too, and the following year the first sliced loaf emerged from a bakery in Chillicothe, Missouri. Only the slicer wasn’t an instant hit.

The baking industry voiced concerns about the new-fangled idea and pre-sliced bread proved a tough sell with many consumers. Pre-sliced loaves went stale faster than whole loaves, and some shoppers felt they were “sloppy looking”.

Not deterred
Still, like many of the inventors that came before and have come since, Rohwedder slogged on, driven by a belief that what he had to offer was a gamechanger.

Eventually, instinct and hard work paid off. To make his loaves look more appealing, he had produced U-shaped pins to hold them together. By the 1930s, sliced bread had become a kitchen staple in households across America.

So impressed was The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune, the paper declared the invention nothing short of “The greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped”. A line that gave rise to the slogan we know and love today.

Everyone wanted one
And so sliced bread took off. People learned to love the invention that saved them time, effort and potential injury – and the baking industry learned to love it too. With slices thinner and more uniform, people ate more of them… and more frequently.

By 1933, for the first time, more bread was sold sliced than unsliced in the US, and spin-off products and inventions were on the rise too: pop-up toasters and spreads to smother over every slice.

Decades on from Rohwedder’s invention, history is repeating itself. Pnly this time the innovation causing a storm is not the sliced loaf, it’s artificial intelligence – a class of disruptive tech that is on par with the great transformative technologies of the past such as electricity, cars, the microchip, the internet.

Sliced bread wasn’t the first invention to alter everyday life, but it illustrates two things: how fear and suspicion are our gut reactions to change. And how innovations can transform life for the better once we let them in.

So, next time you bite into a sandwich, consider this: if the modest sliced loaf has made life easier, just think what AI could do.

Source: https://gulfnews.com/business/analysis/ai-could-be-as-big-as-sliced-bread-for-innovation-1.72954625

02 Nov 2019
AI Stats News: 64% Of Workers Trust A Robot More Than Their Manager

AI Stats News: 64% Of Workers Trust A Robot More Than Their Manager

Recent surveys, studies, forecasts and other quantitative assessments of the progress of AI highlighted workers’ positive attitudes toward AI and robots, challenges in implementing enterprise AI, the perceived benefits of AI in financial services, and the impact of AI on the business of Big Tech.

AI business adoption, attitudes and expectations

50% of workers are currently using some form of AI at work compared to only 32% last year; workers in China (77%) and India (78%) have adopted AI over 2X more than those in France (32%) and Japan (29%); 65% of workers are optimistic, excited and grateful about having robot co-workers and nearly a quarter report having a loving and gratifying relationship with AI at work; 64% of workers would trust a robot more than their manager and half have turned to a robot instead of their manager for advice; workers in India (89%) and China (88%) are more trusting of robots over their managers, but less so in the U.S. (57%), UK (54%) and France (56%); 82% think robots can do things better than their managers, including providing unbiased information (26%), maintaining work schedules (34%), problem solving (29%) and managing a budget (26%); managers are better than robots in understanding workers’ feelings (45%), coaching them (33%) and creating a work culture (29%) [Oracle survey of 8,370 employees, managers and HR leaders in 10 countries]

The growth of AI applications in deployment was actually less this year than last year, with the total percentage of CIOs saying their company has deployed AI now at 19%, up from 14% last year—far lower than the 23% of companies that thought they would newly roll out AI in 2019 [Gartner]

74% of Financial Services Institutions (FI) executives said AI was extremely or very important to the success of their companies today, while 53% predicted it would be extremely important three years from now; about 75% expected that over the next three years their organizations will gain major or significant benefits from AI in increased efficiency/lower costs; while 61% of FI executives said they knew about an AI project at their companies, only 29% of these executives reported on a project that had been fully implemented; only 29% of AI projects are within full implementation phase, with 46% still pilots, 35% in proof of concept and 24% in initial planning; challenges include securing senior management commitment (45%) and securing adequate budget (44%); technologies used in AI projects include virtual agents (72%) and natural language analysis (56%); 50% found it extremely or very challenging to secure talent and 49% found it extremely or very challenging to attract and retain professionals with appropriate skills [Cognizant survey of FI executives in US and Europe]

82% of CEOs say they have a digital initiative or transformation program, but only 23% think their organizations are very effective at harvesting the results of digital, and even fewer CIOs would say they are very strong at this [Gartner surveys of CEOs and CIOs]

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/gilpress/2019/11/01/ai-stats-news-64-of-workers-trust-a-robot-more-than-their-manager/#777497912b21