Category Archives: digital economy

Business meets data science at the Digital Economy Summit in Rotterdam

Industry and business professionals joined academics in digital business and data analytics at the Digital Economy Summit in Rotterdam on 20 June. The community of innovators gathered to explore digital phenomena and data analytics research – and their applications in the business world – at the event organised by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) as an initiative of the forthcoming .

Invited speakers and panellists from diverse professional backgrounds contributed their expertise on the data revolution and its implications for business strategies. The Summit was a full day of presentations, panels, and discussions to explore digital business, digital strategy, business analytics, artificial intelligence, digital experimentation and privacy. The Summit concluded with the inauguration of Ting Li as Endowed Professor of Digital Business at RSM.

Prof. Eric van Heck gave a welcome address. He emphasized the interdependence of academic research and the role of businesses in applying it for positive change. “Businesses use innovation, which is found through research and science, for real-world impacts,” he said. As Chair of RSM’s Department of Technology and Operations Management, Prof. Van Heck notices a response to the data revolution among his students. “Years ago, many students would avoid working with data analytics and algorithms. But now, we see a growing trend of students asking for these courses because the job markets are asking them for these skills – it is a growing expertise!”

Data-informed business strategies

Professor Rob Kauffman from Singapore Management University presented his research of the living analytics revolution; how people leave digital traces of what they have been doing, and how data scientists can make meaningful inferences using this information. He illustrated the impact of smart analytics in large data sets, potentially revealing ‘digital canaries in urban data mines’, the subject of one of his research papers.

Prof Kauffman reminded participants that “companies are not the central nodes in society” when referring to how businesses can create better impact. He suggests that there is an increasing demand for data-informed business strategies that reflect society’s needs, likening this to the current need for evidence-based policy-making in EU politics.

Good data science from good data science teams

“Private business is also driving that next wave of innovation,” says senior data scientist Adam Hill of data intelligence lab HAL24K, referring to the opening address. Hill discussed the use of analytics in digital business and what makes good data science. Data science “derives actionable insights to improve business,” he said. He refers to methods such as machine learning and real-time data and decision-making to illustrate their uses in examples like predicting air pollution, optimizing traffic flow, and public bike distribution. At the end of his presentation, he advises that an excellent data scientist should possess “a diverse collection of skills that cover statistics, programming, databases, communication and business domain.” Good data science comes from building data science teams, he said.

“We are at an inflection point for data-driven management,” says Prof Ravi Bapna of Carlson School of Management at University of Minnesota. His presentation highlighted the challenges of using data analytics in business. He argued that there are three main challenges:

  1. executive-level awareness of the art of analytics
  2. a shortage of talent
  3. organisational muscle and capabilities.

“Analytics ‘translation’ [into business strategy] is by far the biggest deficiency [in companies],” argued Prof. Bapna. To tackle these problems, he offered an organisational learning plan that consists of a test-and-learn culture, gaining experience with large-scale data processing, and moving from point optimization to end-to-end-process optimization using audio-visual and language processing.

Eight weeks from idea to market

John Staunton, CEO of Countr POS, an online retail Point of Sale platform, presented case studies of businesses and their use of AI, machine learning, and behavioural analytics. One case study of supermarket chain Spar’s introduction of cashier- and POS-less purchasing system showed that relying on mobile, self-serve, and digital payments, machine learning learns to personalize the customer’s in-store experience. It can take as little as just eight weeks from idea to market, Staunton suggests, and this is how digital business should embrace the analytics revolution. Echoing previous speakers, he underlined the importance of collaboration within business analytics as “nobody is an expert at everything [and] closed ecosystems do not work.”

Learn to manage new technologies

Senior Associate Dean of Fox School of Business at Temple University, Prof. Paul Pavlou highlighted the foundations of digital business strategy and offered an illustration of its trajectory. Referring to recognizable phenomena such as digital platforms, AI, and the Internet of Things (IoT), Prof. Pavlou offered a prediction of the rise of Future and Emerging Technologies. As digital business advances into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, “sophisticated technologies are likely to emerge, such as nanotechnology, new materials, biometrics, and quantum computing.” He advised that learning to manage these technologies would allow for “sustained competitive advantage.”

The ethics of data analytics for privacy and data sovereignty

Moderated by RSM’s Prof. Peter Vervest, the Digital Economy Summit concluded with a panel of data experts from business and academia: Jan-Kees Buenen of SynerscopeMartijn Imrich of XomniaDr Nelson Granados of Pepperdine University; and Prof. Rajiv Garg, of University of Texas at Austin. The interactive discussion addressed questions from participants, and insights and opinions from audience members were welcomed.

The panel tackled the debates surrounding co-creation in the era of big data. An intricate discussion towards the end of the session addressed the ethics of data analytics for privacy and data sovereignty. Prof. Garg dove deeper into this question and raised issue of bias of machine learning and AI for social groups such as nationality, race, and socio-economic status. An argument offered was that it is not the tools themselves that carry these biases but how practitioners program them. Panelists, supported by various participants in the audience, agree that such flaws do not invalidate the pursuit of data science; on the contrary, it is motivation to direct further cross-sector research to confront this issue.

source: www.rsm.nl

7 Digital skills are not optional in today’s tech savvy world (UNCTAD)

unctadNegative stereotypes about women and girls studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects are among the impediments to an inclusive world where hi-tech solutions solve global problems, the 21st session of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development(CSTD), hosted by UNCTAD, heard at a meeting in Geneva on 15 May.

An all-woman panel discussed the theme of building digital competencies to benefit from existing and emerging technologies, with a special focus on gender and youth dimensions.

Recalling that women had played pivotal roles in the history of computing, Shirley Malcom, head of the directorate of education and human resources at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said it was “refreshing” to see the CSTD focus on issues of gender and youth in its deliberations.

Meanwhile, Helena Dalli, Malta’s European affairs and equality minister, said female role models were an important factor in promoting more women to take up STEM subjects and pursue careers in science and technology.

Profound changes for all

Speaking in a video message, the meeting also heard from Geraldine Byrne Nason, chair of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, on the importance of coordination between intergovernmental bodies.

To help guide the conversation, UNCTAD prepared a background report, steered by Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s, division on technology and logistics, and head of the CSTD Secretariat.

Setting out the issues

The remarkable technological progress the world has seen recently is transforming the fabric of our lives. The profound changes – driven by the spread of new information and communications technologies (ICTs) – will affect everyone’s life and every country’s economy.

For example, sensor devices deployed all over the world are improving agricultural productivity and making it possible to map and control epidemic outbreaks. And digital platforms are creating new job opportunities.

But Big Data can unfortunately also be used to influence democratic processes – as the world witnessed in recent elections in the United States and Europe – and automation means that certain jobs will no longer be available for humans.

“Opaque algorithms can ‘bake-in’ bias and exclusion,” Ms. Malcom said.

Whether the effects of technological change will be more positive than negative depends on the getting the right skills into the right people’s hands.

Miriam Nicado García, rector of Cuba’s University of Informatics Sciences (UCI), explained how her university was a new venture, begun in 2002, that aimed to tackle this problem for her country. Software produced in Cuba for health, education, legal and tourism applications was being made available free to other countries, she said.

A skills mismatch

Estimates show that already by 2020 90% of new jobs will require ICT skills. Yet more than one-third of workers in developed countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) currently lack the digital know-how needed. And over half the population in these economies have no digital skills at all – with female employees usually being less tech savvy than their male counterparts.

“The more we let the gender divide grow, the more economic disparities will grow,” Ms. Dalli said when explaining the proactive measures Malta had taken, as a small island nation with few resources, to promote women in STEM fields.

In fact, technology in the workplace can affect women and men differently. ICT service jobs are normally well paid, but the share of women in such positions remains very low, especially in developing countries.

A recent survey among 13 major developed and emerging economies showed that female workers tend to hold low-growth or declining occupations, such as sales and administrative jobs.

Although women are less represented in sectors threatened by automation, such as manufacturing and construction, the report prepared by UNCTAD ahead of the event says that since there are few women in STEM job families, they may not be well placed in the economy to benefit from the increasing demand for workers with tech skills.

Such a mismatch between what businesses need and what job-seekers offer will slow economic growth significantly. What’s worse, portions of the population could become unemployable. And with unemployment levels already high in many parts of the world, such a situation would be devastating, not just for the individuals but also for their families and communities.

Getting the right skills in the hands of the workforce will be even more important in developing countries, where billions of young people will enter the job market in the coming decades.

In Africa alone, about 11 million young people will enter the labour market every year for the next decade. If governments don’t help equip new job seekers with the right skills, they may have to deal with rising youth unemployment.

However, according to Sophia Bekele, founder & CEO of DotConnectAfrica Group, whose works helps African women run tech start-ups, developing countries may have a competitive advantage over older, more developed markets.

“The global South has best opportunity to leapfrog in the digital economy instead of reinventing the wheel,” she said.

Four levels of digital competency

According to the UNCTAD report, four different levels of digital skills are needed during the journey from adopting new devices to creating new technologies.

“The most fundamental skill sets for individuals and companies in the digital era are capabilities to adopt new technologies,” the report says, adding that “digital literacy for all is a basic requirement for every citizen to participate fully in the digital society.”

So every country, no matter the stage of economic development, needs to have in place basic digital education and training programmes for all its citizens.

For people, being “digital literate” means being able to use the basic functions of common devices, such as a computer. For a business, it means “knowledge about ICT installations in the existing business system,” the report says.

But more and more professions, even beyond the ICT sector, require the ability to adapt and creatively use available technologies. And it is when a countries workforce can modify existing technology or design new systems and devices technologies that real value is added to the economy.

“To maximize the benefits of new technology, countries and companies in developing countries need to have the digital skills to introduce modifications to new technologies,” the report says. This is because advanced technologies are often designed for contexts – both technical and social – that differ from the realities of many developing economies, and therefore must be adapted to the local context, the report adds.

Adding a gender dimension to the issue of context, Ms. Malcom said that very often, time itself was a scarce commodity for women that policies designed to help them must reflect.

A moving target

Technology’s impact, however, extends well beyond the labour market, and being tech savvy has increasingly become important for enjoying a good quality of life in what has become and increasing digital world.

“With increasing numbers of software and applications being used to accomplish everyday communicational and informational tasks, basic knowledge of ICTs is now essential for citizens to solve everyday problems, as well as to engage in community activities,” the report says.

Digital skills are a multifaceted moving target. According to the report, six major drivers influence what technical competencies people need:

“Increasing globalization, extreme longevity, workplace automation, fast diffusion of sensors and data processing power, ICT-enabled communication tools and media, and the unprecedented reorganization of work driven by new technologies and social media, which are massively increasing collaboration opportunities.”

But the other, more specific digital competencies required will likely depend on the country’s economic specialization and industrial development.

For example, the report says, “Countries where the manufacturing sector dominates economic growth will require talents, experts and a workforce with specialized skills in industrial robotics, automation and the Internet of Things.”

While the skills that workers need to use technology increases, so does the list of the complementary soft skills necessary to perform in the digital economy.

Human skills in a robot’s world

But digital skills are not enough to adapt to changing labour markets demands. Paradoxically, as work becomes more automated, the unique human skills that cannot be easily replaced by machines become ever more important.

So building and strengthening skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity, will be essential to create the flexibility required for the current and future demands for the workplace, the report says.

The need for human creativity and innovation helps explain why professions like engineering and science are less at threatened by digitalization and computerization, the report says. Likewise, occupations that involve sophisticated communication skills will also be in a better position in the digital era.

“For example, natural language processing algorithms can detect emotions underlying text, but are often inaccurate in comprehending sarcasm, humour or irony,” the report says.

Finally, even if computers and robots could perform every task, economies would still rely on people to come up with the new businesses ideas. That’s why the report calls on governments to equip people with the digital entrepreneurship skills.

source: http://unctad.org 

Belarus Considers Digital Economy a Top Priority, Develops Resolution For OSCE Meeting

mainlogoBelarus considers the digitization of the economy a top priority and is developing a resolution promoting digital economy for a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE PA), local news  BelTA reports May 15.

Speaking at the Eurasian Digital Forum, the Minister of Telecommunications and Informatization Sergey Popkov said that digital technology is considered as a top priority due to its ability to transform “the economy, public administration and social services.” Popkov further cited the recently adopted Decree on the Development of Digital Economy, that facilitates cryptocurrency-related activity.

“The adopted Decree number 8 has provided unprecedented rights for the residents of Belarus High Technologies Park (HTP) to explore such innovative technologies as blockchaincryptocurrencies and smart contracts.”

In a separate statement, Chairman of the House of Representatives Vladimir Andreichenko revealed that Belarus is developing a resolution promoting digital economy for a session of the OSCE PA in Berlin this July. Andreichenko gave a statement about the coming session when he met with the Georgian ambassador to Belarus, Valeri Kvaratskhelia:

“…The Belarusian resolution is aimed at promoting the digital economy. It also deals with the issues of economic growth in the OSCE region, elimination of various obstacles and barriers, harmonization of standards, etc.”

The resolution has already been prepared and will require a requisite number of signatures at the Belarusian House of Representatives. Andreichenko said that the resolution will also be sent to Georgian MPs to gain their support.

Last week, local media reported that the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) is considering strict requirements for investing in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), and is planning to introduce а similar regulatory framework for crypto exchanges. ICO investments will be closed to authorized investors, who must fulfill two of four strict criteria in order to qualify.

source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/belarus-considers-digital-economy-a-top-priority-develops-resolution-for-osce-meeting

Dubai Holding to launch region’s first digital bank – it will invest up to Dh1 billion (230 mil Euro)

dubai holdingDubai Holding, the global investment holding company, has announced it will invest up to AED 1 billion over the next five years to launch a next generation digital bank for the UAE, with plans to expand services across the Middle East and North Africa region. This announcement is in line with UAE’s goal of becoming a cashless digital economy, and guided by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision for Smart Dubai.

Owing to the UAE having one of the highest smartphone penetration rates globally, Dubai Holding’s digital bank will aim to provide an on-demand, fully customizable and engaging experience to individuals and businesses alike.

His Excellency Abdulla Al Habbai, Chairman at Dubai Holding, said: “Through our investment in Dubai Holding Digital Bank, we are enabling digital opportunities with the potential to empower individuals and businesses to leverage new financial technologies for additional convenience and to unlock new business opportunities, in support of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai’s for a smarter and cashless society.”

Leveraging Dubai Holding’s vast ecosystem of work, play, live offerings, the Digital Bank will offer unique perks and services to users, as well as providing bespoke banking services that extend beyond the traditional bank offering. Customers will have access to the region’s first truly personalized and dynamic loyalty program.

Dubai Holding’s Digital Bank aims to provide a state-of-the-art platform to facilitate digital transactions and accelerate the drive towards a cashless society, and facilitate the exchange of data and insights between individuals and businesses.

Apart from serving our individual consumers, this bank will be amongst the first pure play digital player in the UAE to serve the SME and mid-size corporate segment. We, at Dubai Holding, firmly believe that SMEs are the primary driver of the Dubai economy and their financial inclusiveness is a key to both Dubai and the UAE success.

Dubai Holding will leverage its exposure to and understanding of UAE SMEs to create a state-of-the-art loan and deposit offerings. We plan to address key SME pain points through transparent reporting across all SME accounts, cash management platform linked to receivables, payroll and payments.

The bank’s first products are expected to debut in 2019.

source: www.mediaoffice.ae

Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe (Report)

atlantic-councilIn an age of transatlantic tensions over the Iran deal, trade balances, and steel tariffs, digital policy is uniquely poised to offer opportunities for greater US-EU cooperation. At the same time, the digital arena also has the potential to be a policy minefield, with issues such as privacy, digital taxation, and competition policy still unresolved. Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe addresses these challenges and explores how the US-EU digital agenda fits in the larger transatlantic relationship.

Making America First—but Not Alone—in the Digital Economy
For the United States to continue as a leader in the digital economy, it must engage with Europe. Strong and early US engagement could help moderate European policy while ensuring greater compatibility across the Atlantic. That compatibility is essential if the United States and Europe are to succeed in fighting cyberattacks, online terrorism, and criminal networks. It is also key to US and EU future economic success in the competitive global digital marketplace.” excerpt

Written by Atlantic Council expert Frances Burwell, a distinguished fellow with the Future Europe Initiative, this report analyzes the prospects for US-EU collaboration in the digital economy, identifying potential crisis points and next best steps forward.

Report 

Source: http://www.atlanticcouncil.org 

Putin signs new ‘May Decree’ spelling out Russia’s development goals to 2024

russiaRussian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree setting the national development targets up to 2024, the Kremlin’s press-service said.

Earlier in the day Putin was sworn into office for another six-year term at an inauguration ceremony in the Kremlin.

By signing a major decree immediately after taking office Putin continued the tradition of eleven decrees of May 7, 2012, which identified the main tasks of the country’s socio-economic development for years to come.

Russia should join the group of the world’s five largest economies by 2024, according to the Russian president’s decree on the country’s national goals and strategic development tasks.

 The document sets several goals, which the Russian government should achieve by 2024.

One of the tasks says that “the Russian Federation should join the group of the world’s five largest economies, ensure economic growth rates above the world’s level while keeping macroeconomic stability, including inflation at no more than 4%”.

National projects

The Russian government should develop or revise national projects in twelve areas, ranging from demography to international cooperation and export supports, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced.

“The Russian Government in line with national goals is to develop (revise) in cooperation with government authorities of Russian constituencies and present national projects (programs) in the following areas by October 1, 2018 for consideration at the meeting of the Council under the Russian president for Strategic Development and Priority Projects: demography, healthcare, education, housing and urban environment, ecology, safe and quality motorways, labor productivity and employment support, science, digital economy, culture, small and medium enterprises and support of individual business initiative, international cooperation and export,” the Decree reads.

Digital economy

The government should ensure growth of the share of costs for the digital economy development in Russia’s GDP of at least 3-fold in 2024 compared to 2017, Vladimir Putin said.

The targets to be achieved by the government in 2024 include increasing domestic expenditures for the development of the digital economy at the expense of all sources (by share in the country’s gross domestic product) at least 3-fold compared to 2017.

Putin also instructed to ensure “creating a stable and secure ICT infrastructure for high-speed transmission, processing and storage of large amounts of data accessible to all organizations and households.”

At the same time, state bodies, local governments and organizations in 2024 should use predominantly domestic software.

By 2024, the government should also create a legal regulation system for the digital economy, based on a flexible approach in each sphere.

The president also instructed to ensure information security on the basis of domestic technologies.

Putin also urged to solve the problem of transforming priority sectors of the economy and the social sphere through the introduction of digital technologies and platform solutions.

The program “Digital Economy of the Russian Federation“, approved in the summer of 2017, was designed up to 2024 and consists of five areas: normative regulation, education, personnel, cybersecurity, formation of research competencies and IT infrastructure. Part of the activities envisaged by the documents are already being implemented.

Source: www.tass.com 

Major Belarusian Bank Starts Offering Bitcoin CFD as Belarus Gets Less Crypto Friendly

A well-known bank in Belarus will begin offering a bitcoin contract for difference (CFD) product through its platform, a joint project with a Swiss bank. Meanwhile, Belarus is growing less crypto friendly, reportedly amending its decree to impose strict KYC rules.

Mtbankfx is an accredited FX dealer and the first banking forex platform in Belarus. Launched in July 2016, it is a joint project between Minsk Transit Bank (Mtbank), one of the most well-known banks in Belarus, and Swiss Dukascopy Bank SA.

The platform will start offering a bitcoin CFD product next week, according to local media. It has already added information and updated its terms of service to reflect this new offering.

Mtbankfx explains in its terms of service that its tools, including the BTC/USD tool with 1:3 leverage, are “available for transactions around the clock – from the opening of the market on Sundays at 21:00 GMT in the summer (22:00 GMT in the winter) until the market closes on Fridays at 20:00 GMT in summer/winter time.” For the bitcoin CFD specifically, the company wrote: All open positions as of 20:00 GMT Fridays will be forcibly closed.

While the platform offers CFDs for many underlying assets, the bitcoin CFD is the only one that will be forcibly closed.

On March 29, Switzerland’s Dukascopy Bank SA launched its own BTC/USD CFD product for European clients. “Bitcoin to US Dollar (BTC/USD) with leverage 1:3 has been added for live trading,” the company stated.

Major Belarusian Bank Starts Offering Bitcoin CFD as Belarus Gets Less Crypto Friendly
Alexander Lukashenko.

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko signed the decree “On the development of the digital economy” in January that legalizedcryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, and smart contracts. The decree went into effect in March.

However, local media reported this week that amendments to that decree are already being prepared to obligate cryptocurrency exchanges operating within the High-Tech Park (HTP) to disclose their data and identify customers.

Ria Novosti’s source explained that “beneficiaries must meet the requirements for reputation” such as having no criminal record and no bankruptcy proceedings against them, in whole or part. “They should [also] show the availability of funds in accounts of at least $5 million and confirm the sources of their origin.” Additionally, Forklog elaborated: “Operators are required to identify the clients of the exchanges, as well as record and store all types of communications with them. In certain cases, exchange-residents of the HTP will be required to conduct customer verification procedures.”

The news outlet added, “information about customers and their transactions should be stored at crypto exchanges for at least five years.”

source: https://news.bitcoin.com/