By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission on Friday urged the 27-country bloc to work together to speed up the rollout of fibre and 5G networks to boost the region’s virus-hit economy and secure its technology autonomy.
EU countries should develop a best practices toolbox by March 30 with the aim of cutting cost and red tape, provide timely access to 5G radio spectrum and allow for more cross-border coordination for radio spectrum for 5G services, the EU executive said.
The coronavirus outbreak showed how important internet services and 5G are, European digital chief Margrethe Vestager said.
“We have seen the current crisis highlight the importance of access to very high-speed internet for businesses, public services and citizens, but also to accelerate the pace towards 5G,” she said in a statement. “We must therefore work together towards fast network rollout without any further delays.”
The Commission also proposed a recommendation to boost research and activities to develop new supercomputing technologies.
“Keeping up in the international technological race is a priority, and Europe has both the know-how and the political will to play a leading role,” Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said in a statement.
The Commission is investing 8 billion euros($9.46 billion)in the next generation of supercomputers.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)
Image Credit: Reuters
British could lead the world with first sovereing data exchange
The British island of Jersey, is ideally placed to become the world’s first privacy enhancing sovereign data exchange which will have huge benefits to the whole of the UK and beyond. Global Smart City expert and digital transformation consultant, Joe Dignan said the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of a combined data view of a population, and now is the time to establish a trusted, highly regulated and ethical exchange. He has called on the Jersey government to support the idea for the benefit of everyone.
A sovereign data exchange is a regulated infrastructure that allows data owners to store, share and monetise their data while retaining ownership and privacy.
‘If dealing with the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that single sources of data are meaningless unless synthesized with other data and visualised so we can understand it,’ said Joe.
‘Jersey is a microcosm where it controls the levers of the economy, legislature, government and security in an enclosed and agile environment that already has a digital twin. It also has all the necessary skills for regulatory and governance of that data, through its finance industry. This puts it in a unique global position to act as a data exchange which can bring huge health, economic and environmental benefits to the UK and elsewhere.’
Joe and a host of global technology experts, including Fintech titan, Nick Ogden, are discussing Jersey’s position as a sandbox for data innovation and digital testing at a series of free online events for Jersey Tech Week, 16th to 23rd October.
Nick set up what is believed to be the world’s first e-commerce business in the Island in 1994, before launching World Bank. Key figures from IBM, Ocado, World Bank, Carlsberg and Microsoft, will also demonstrate the very latest trends and developments for the industry, including insights into emerging tech trends – with fintech, artificial intelligence, digital health and creativity.
Joel Mills, the CEO of AugmentCity, will showcase the digital twin of Jersey, part of the United Nations’ United 4 Smart Sustainable Cities initiative, which is already helping to inform decision making.
‘Covid has been terrible for everyone, but it has speeded up the adoption of technology, from the simple need to work from home to the urgent need for good quality data and its use,’ said Joel.
‘The pandemic has shown that single sources of data are meaningless. This has opened up opportunities for us to make big improvements in the future with informed decisions using data from multiple sources and visualised for human understanding.
‘Using simulation in partnership with the UN’s smart sustainable development goals, allows us to connect humans and data like was never possible before. Breaking down barriers, fast tracking new technologies and reducing time and cost. If we are to beat the virus we need to embrace technologies and Jersey is playing a key role in prototyping this.’
EBANX announces expansion to Central America and the launch of EBANX GO within the LatAm region
EBANX, fintech company specialized in payment solutions for Latin America, announced the Push LatAm, an initiative that comprises expansion of its operations to new markets in Central and South Americas; the offering of hybrid services within Latin American countries; and the launch of EBANX GO, a prepaid card that offers a digital payments account in a partnership with Visa, to other markets in the region besides Brazil; all within the next 12 months. Push LatAm was announced this Thursday, October 15, at the Latin America Summit, EBANX annual event about business in Latin America.
EBANX expansion to Central America will start in Panama, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Guatemala. Paraguay, in South America, is also a destination. These five new markets will add to the current nine where the company already operates – Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia and Ecuador.
Besides the geographical expansion, Push LatAm also consists of model expansion. After having unveiled its local payment processing, EBANX will now launch its hybrid model, making things more flexible for global companies that have offices in the region, in a fully compliant way. By combining cross-border and local processing services within the same territories, this new model will allow local settlements for merchants, starting by South American countries.
And following a market trend of electronic payments and digital accounts that was accelerated by the pandemic in Latin America, EBANX will also launch EBANX GO in other LatAm markets. The e-wallet was soft launched in Brazil in the beginning of 2020, with a Visa card and a digital payments account, and has been growing steadily ever since. Around 60% of the current purchases made with the EBANX GO card are within EBANX merchants, proving the product can also work as a performance tool for them, besides being an easy-to-use payment option for consumers in the region.
“The Push LatAm initiative reflects our mission from the beginning of EBANX: to create access, to connect Latin Americans and global brands, always with a customer and product-driven mindset. Expanding our footprint and our solutions right now is the perfect realization of this goal. This will enable us to keep excelling in our commitment with Latin America: to be highly specialized in the region, translating each one of its countries and their singular cultures to businesses around the world,” said João Del Valle, co-founder and COO of EBANX.
VR is Not Stalled
Relative to what? What is the model of growth that innumerable tech journalists compare VR to and conclude it is failing, or more charitably, that it has stalled?
Is it TV sets, or home computers, or iPhones? I don’t really care.
If this is stalled, I hope it stays stalled forever.
I don’t use virtual reality every day, like I use an iPhone or used to use a TV set. I am in virtual reality every day.
I hang out with friends there. I help lead gatherings where people talk about stuff that matters and is hard to talk about IRL. I also go to parties there. And fly.
All this time, and in all the different things I do in VR, no corporation is making any money off me. Yet. Probably I am being tracked at some level, but it’s minimal. All the VR numbers are minimal at this point compared to, say, Facebook.
When people say VR is stalled, what they are really saying is, there is no sufficiently aggregated mass market, yet (because it is assumed to be inevitable), that can be objectified and commodified and targeted in order to sell stuff.
Aw, too bad. What a disappointment.
You can see it in the headset packaging. Logos of the familiar brands, implicitly telling us as we unbox our new device that we are meant to consume content from the same old same old, and pay for it.
You can see it in the set-up instructions, that refer to a ‘Safe Play Area,” as if that is all we are capable of. Play. That pisses me off so much.
Go Play With Yourselves, you greedy bastards who think your fellow humans exist to be exploited by you. We aren’t kids. We’re not playing. We can do better than buy your crap. We will if we feel like it for light entertainment on the side, but you will never be the main event, not if I can help it.
Virtual Reality and all synthetic realities give us a way to connect deeply with each other that no medium has ever done before. When we are in virtual worlds together, We Are Together, and we feel able to communicate very deeply and freely.
Goddamn it, This Is Not A Game!
It is a real chance to build new communities and even new worlds where we treat each other the way we want to be treated.
And it is going just fine.
Every day more people discover what is actually happening on social VR platforms, as opposed to what journalists tell us isn’t happening. It is growing at a perfect pace to integrate newcomers, welcome them, show them what the culture is like.
I’m very pleased that the growth curve is not more attractive to investors betting on The Next Big Thing.
Here’s an Idea: What if The Next Big Thing is People?
People are endlessly entertaining. Put into the right world, we can get along and have meaningful experiences that make everyone feel good. We’re free software for each other to be with.
Right, I know I sound like a naive young jerk, which I am. I just happen to be a 71 year old naive young jerk who has been around some and who has been an early adopter of all media technologies since about 1956. I’ve seen how it goes. I was lovin’ my GeoCities websites back in 1995. The bullshit that we have now isn’t what I thought was going to happen.
I know we are dancing with the devil now in VR.
Whatever critical mass been achieved that I am proclaiming to be, ‘fine,’ has come about in no small part through the efforts and the multi-billion dollar investment ultimately by one super powerful human, Mark Zuckerberg. I don’t think any one person should have that kind of power and I definitely don’t believe that one greedy and fraud-prone entity should own all the data that VR activity generates.
The reason I think VR is going just right is specifically because Zuck can’t make a ton of money off us yet. I think people who want to do more in virtual worlds than consume commodified crap are finding each other and building relationships and networks. I know the monopoly control-freak capitalists are coming after us, coming after me.
We can stay a step ahead of them. Facebook owes its power to the cumulative decision by lots of people to give attention to one app, one website, of all the apps and websites out there. They are losing; in fact, they have already lost. Virtual Reality is actually Facebook’s life preserver. I have no idea what’s going to happen.
I think there will be open source VR platforms that will be subscriber-supported in kind of a Bernie Sanders-style broad-based approach. I think there will be new generations of headsets and other devices that could be kickstarted and even cooperatively owned businesses. Capitalists baiting the trap with free cheese isn’t the only way things get developed.
We could use some more time, so please keep spreading the news of what an under-performer the whole VR thing turned out to be. We’re not ready for Coca-Cola ads on every virtual corner yet, so yeah, best for the marketing folks to sneer.
By the time they figure it out, I hope we’ll be gone to other worlds that they will also find to be sorely lacking in upside potential.
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