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Friday 25 September 2020

HCL acquisition boosts digital capabilities down under

HCLHCL Technologies has announced its intention to acquire DWS Ltd, an Australian IT, business and management consulting group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The move strengthens HCL’s position in the region, where it has been for more than 20 years. DWS has 700 employees across Australia’s largest cities (compare that with HCL’s 150,000 worldwide and 1600 already in the region) and produced FY20 revenue of A$167.9m.

The acquisition should nicely enhance HCL’s ability to deliver digital programmes for clients while also strengthening its presence in key industries.

HCL’s has been turning in a strong performance in the UK for several years thanks to its combined infrastructure and apps capability, and its ability to cultivate large digital-led deals. TechMarketView clients can read about how the firm is accelerating automation for its customers with its Exacto platform, here.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: acquisition  

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Friday 25 September 2020

£25m grant as Clearbank and Tide look to help struggling SMEs

ClearBankClearbank, the provider of cloud-based clearing, has received a £25m grant from BCR, in a joint award granted in partnership with fellow UK challenger bank, Tide. The latest funding has been provided to enable the two banks to deliver services and support that help SMEs cope with the joint challenges of COVID-19 and Brexit.

In February 2019 Clearbank was one of three UK challenger banks awarded a share of £280m by BCR (the independent body established to implement the £775m RBS State Aid Alternative Remedies Package). ClearBank had previously received £60m from the fund which was set up to help fuel competition in the banking sector (see: Challengers boosted by BCR cash injection).

TideTide, which targets its services directly at small businesses, was one of the first UK institutions to draw attention to the negative impact that the coronavirus was having on the sector (see: Tide highlights crisis facing SMEs). In order to help those in the SME sector to future proof their businesses, ClearBank and Tide aim to help smaller firms capitalise on the increasing demand for digital services.

The climate for SMEs in the UK is increasingly tough, particularly in light of the limited reserves available, with company’s typically prioritising investments in future growth. Meanwhile, the jury is clearly still out on whether or not the Chancellor’s latest job support measures will be sufficient to protect this struggling sector.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding   SMEs   clearbank   tide  

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Friday 25 September 2020

Ripjar: $36m to intelligently root out criminal behaviour

Ripjar logoFounded by five former GCHQ employees with the aim of helping governments and global businesses detect criminal behaviour - money laundering, terrorism, fraud, criminal networks and the like – data intelligence provider Ripjar has good credentials and a touches a pain point that’s getting harder to address as threats become more numerous and sophisticated. Add in some impressive growth – it has doubled in size since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, signed 6 new customers and moved into profit - and it looks like an attractive proposition. 

Long Ridge Equity Partners certainly thinks so and has invested $36.8m in the company that started out in 2013. It joins existing investors Winton Capital and Accenture. Total funding to date is reported to be c.£60m.

With an AI/ML foundation, including copious use of NLP, and attention paid to data sources, automating workflows, integration and scalability, its Labyrinth platform is thorough. It also pays attention to visualisation, including provision for different perspectives on the data, to ensure the insight uncovered is accessible. Visualisation can be a bit of poor relation within some AI/ML platforms. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: funding   startup   software   AI   ML   nlp  

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Friday 25 September 2020

Innovate UK grants Sweep funds to brush up its app

logoLast week I asked the question, ‘how many personal finance apps does the world need?’ when writing about yet another personal finance start-up, called Chip (see Crowd and Future Fund chip in more dosh for Chip).

You can ask much the same question about expense management apps (and I do!), with news that London-based expense and travel management start-up Sweep has banked a £456k grant from Innovate UK.

Founded in 2018, Sweep targets start-ups and SMEs with its travel booking-cum-expense tracking combo platform. The expense management function costs £5 per month per user (first 5 expenses p.m. free) but this is included ‘free’ if you sign up for the travel booking bit at £10 p.m.p.u., which can handle hotel, flight and Eurostar bookings.

It’s clearly still early days for Sweep as there are still big gaps and ‘coming in 2020’ in the functionality checklist. And there’s so many other players in this market, including the ‘challenger banks’, that I have to ask the question, do we really need another?

PS For the oldies among you, sorry, but no matter how I tried I just could not work a reference to Sooty in this piece. Disappointing, I know

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Friday 25 September 2020

Crowdstrike boosts IAM with Preempt buy

Crowdstrike boosts IAM with Preempt buyThe proposed US$96m acquisition of identity access management (IAM) and threat prevention specialist Preempt Security should boost Crowdstrike’s zero trust capabilities to better monitor, detect and prevent cyber attacks and attempts at unauthorised system access from both internal and external sources.

It will also add around 55 employees to the company’s ranks and form a new module within Crowdstrike’s Falcon cloud-native endpoint protection platform. Preempt’s technology analyses user identity, behaviour and risk profiles to apply optimal security protection at any one time across on-premise, cloud or hybrid systems while minimising disruption to employee productivity.

Crowdstrike saw its revenue almost double (up 92%) to US$481m in the twelve month period ending January 2020, and we don’t see forecasts of US$725m for FY21 being too wide of the mark despite the economic turbulence of lockdown restrictions this year. First half results are already up 85% year on year to US$377m, with demand for Crowdstrike subscriptions soaring as IT departments around the world shifted their cyber security perimeter to remote worker devices and locations.

We don’t expect the addition of Preempt Security in the third quarter will add much to Crowdstrike’s turnvoer, but the company saw its annual recurring revenue grow 140% year on year in FY19 from a small base. Founded in 2014 it has raised around US$18m of Series B funding to date, with backers including ClearSky Ventures, Blackstone, Intel Capital and General Catalyst.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: acquisition   IAM   endpointprotection   cybersecurity  

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Friday 25 September 2020

August sees European tech M&A deals slump

chartThe European TMT M&A landscape saw a 36% decrease in deal volume during August, according to latest data from corporate finance firm Regent Assay, with transaction numbers falling from 288 to 185 and aggregate deal value losing $5b down to $20.2b. The aggregate P/Sales multiple tumbled to a 12-month low of 1.2x while the P/EBITDA multiple dropped from 11.5x to 9x.

While lockdown restrictions again loom over the economy, Regent Assay believed the decline may be mainly due to seasonal factors with August typically being a slower month for M&A. Regent noted that the data from the past few months seems to suggest that the decrease in activity started in January, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The largest deal in the UK tech sector was the ‘merger’ between language translation companies RWS and SDL in a share-based deal worth £809m (£854m when SDL’s cash is factored in). The combination will bring two UK HQ’d and UK listed companies together and was the second time that month a UK HQ’d /UK listed tech company announced a substantial acquisition, the other being Aveva’s $5bn bid for OSIsoft.

Also of note is another acquisition by UK-headquartered, US-listed nearshore services star, Endava, which acquired Comtrade Digital Services (CDS), a Balkan near-shore software engineering services business for €60m.

And we were especially proud to announce the news that Deloitte is to acquire SAP-centric consultancy and product provider – and TechMarketView Little British BattlerKeytree, in a deal that will see its staff and assets join Deloitte’s consulting practice

You can find more deals by searching on 'acquisition' in the UKHotViews archive. You can also keep in touch with the broader picture of M&A activity in the UK software & IT services sector in the next edition of quarterly report series, IndustryViews Corporate Activity in coming weeks.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: acquisition  

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Friday 25 September 2020

*NEW RESEARCH*: Business Continuity Planning: Lessons learned from COVID

Read our new research report Business Continuity Planning: Lessons learned from COVID.

BCP report coverIn the days, weeks and months since the COVID-19 outbreak, Business Continuity Planning (BCP) for organisations of all shapes and sizes has taken centre stage. Many of these plans were developed with specific events in mind, much more akin to a terrorist attack, a natural disaster or a single country outage, as opposed to a global pandemic impacting most of the world simultaneously. Organisations have had to learn quickly, thinking on their feet, adapting and refining BCP plans as they go. For providers of IT and Business Process Services there has been the added complexity of being responsible for enacting BCP plans for a huge variety of clients across multiple and variable contracts, often deployed across geographies.

With hindsight there is, of course, much to learn about how things can be improved for future events, and this report looks to identify some of those lessons and how they could be applied successfully in a post-COVID world. To help illustrate some of the key learnings, we have drawn heavily on a case study of Conduent’s COVID-BCP experience in Europe. Conduent is a major Business Process Services and solutions provider that operates many large and complex contracts on behalf of major, and often global, brands and like so many others had to adapt its service offer into very new ways of working in rapid time. We spent time recently with Conduent’s European management team to understand their experience with BCP since COVID and how it will likely change things as we head towards a “new normal.”

Subscribers to TechMarketView's TechSectorViews can download this report now. If you don’t have a subscription and would like to know more about how to access our services, please email Deb Seth.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: businesscontinuity   newresearch  

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Friday 25 September 2020

Be ready for a new normal with our individual subscription service: UKHotViews Premium

FACT: Staying ahead of the curve in a competitive workplace has always been the hallmark of successful entrepreneurs.

How do they achieve this? HVP

A deep and thorough understanding of their industry sector, knowing exactly what makes their customer base tick and a thirst for knowledge and motivated mindset.That is why we introduced our HotViews Premium Service.

We know that our clients depend on our analysis and informed research, and that those clients come in all shapes and sizes. Tailor made for Entrepreneurs & Tech Professionals, a subscription to HotViews Premium provides access to our extensive archive of over 25,000 HotViews and HotViews Extra articles relevant to your industry. You will also benefit from access to our IndustryViews research.

Trusted in the industry for over 10 years, TechMarketView is here to help you emerge from this challenging period that we find ourselves in, and prepare to work towards a positive future. As the old saying goes, ‘fortune favours the prepared!’.

For more information about this service, or any of our products, click here, or simply send us an email and we’ll be happy to chat things through.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Thursday 24 September 2020

Capgemini to offload CCaaS business

LogoNine years after acquiring APAX Partners-backed Contact-Centre-as-a-Service (CCaaS) specialists Odigo (then known as Prosodie) for €382m, Capgemini is set to reverse the process. The global SI heavyweight has entered into exclusive negotiations with the London-HQ’d PE firm with a view to sell back the omni-channel cloud platform business. The asking price has not been disclosed.

The announcement is also light on the reasons why Capgemini has decided to now dispose of a business which services more than 400,000 users and more than 200 customers in nearly 100 countries. It is likely however that, post the €3.7b Altran acquisition and the onset of the pandemic, Capgemini has been reviewing its investment priorities. Indeed, Odigo CEO, Erwan Le Duff has expressed that he would be very happy to welcome Apax Partners as a new source of funds to support the company’s plans for growth, internationalisation and technological innovation.

Assuming that the sale proceeds, Capgemini will continue to integrate Odigo CCaaS solutions as part of its offerings.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: disposal   bpaas   contactcentre  

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Thursday 24 September 2020

*UKHotViewsExtra* Accenture Q4 & FY20: Continued UK declines

Accenture logoAccenture delivered FY20 (to end August) revenues of $44.3b, an increase of 4% year on year in local currency; growth would have been 1% higher had it not been for a reduction in revenues from reimbursable travel costs. The executive team pointed to the resilience of the business due to the diversity in its operations and the discipline throughout the organisation. The operating margin improved from 14.6% to 14.7%. Having pursued redundancies (see Accenture to make 900 UK staff redundant), the utilisation rate in Q4 stood at 90%.

UKHotViews Premium logoThe benefit of having a diversified business is seen most starkly in the Q4 performance – a period when the impact of the pandemic would have been felt throughout. TechMarketView subscribers – including those with a UKHotViews Premium subscription – can read more in UKHotViewsExtra: Accenture Q4 & FY20: Continuing UK declines.

If you are not yet a subscriber, please contact Deb Seth to find out how to access this research and more.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: results   consulting   itservices   operations   Solutions  

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Thursday 24 September 2020

Adoption of NearForm's contact tracing app continues to grow

NearForm logoRather than adopt the NHS Covid-19 app, which launched in England and Wales today (see NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app launched), Northern Ireland and Scotland took an alternative route, both choosing apps developed by Irish digital solutions business NearForm (see Scotland chooses NearForm’s contact tracing tech). The technology was originally developed at the request of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland, where the resulting COVID Tracker app has now been downloaded by c.40% of the population.  

Northern Ireland's StopCOVID NI app went live at the end of July and the Protect Scotland app launched on 10 September—the latter was downloaded more than one million times during the launch week. The NearForm app is also being used in Gibraltar and will be launched in Jersey in October. It has also been adopted in the US, with the state of Delaware launching its COVID-Alert DE app last week and the state of Pennsylvania launching COVID Alert-PA this week. Further states are expected to go live shortly.

NearForm has a strong reputation for accelerated and scalable solution delivery, building a client list that includes the likes of IBM, Wallmart, Uber and Netflix. Speaking to TechMarketView, NearForm's chief commercial officer Larry Breen, said the company's experience of rapid development and deployment put it in the perfect position to help HSE develop the original app.

Like the development of the NHS app, NearForm originally pursued a centralised approach (see A world beating approach to contact tracing?), but they quickly identified the challenges, engaged with Apple and Google, and made the decision to pivot to a decentralised app.

Larry said they are now seeing a significant improvement in contact tracing effectiveness where the apps have been deployed. However, he expects the apps to continue to pivot and evolve as we learn more about the virus, public health approaches and the technology advances.

In these rapidly changing times the agility and accelerated development approach demonstrated by NearForm has been key to its success and should help ensure the apps play a vital role in the efforts to control the virus around the world.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: app   healthcare   covid-19   contact+tracing  

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Thursday 24 September 2020

Microsoft partners with bp and Shell on transformation and sustainability

Microsoft logoThrough two fresh agreements signed with existing partners bp and ShellMicrosoft is doubling down on carbon emissions goals and able to highlight the role of digital transformation in achieving them.

A co-innovation agreement with bp will see the two work together on technology innovations and ‎digital solutions to help meet sustainability aims, including energy use and carbon emissions reductions. bp will make further use of Microsoft Azure to further its own digital transformation and will supply Microsoft with renewable energy to help meet the company’s 2025 100% renewable energy goal. 

Co-innovation is a significant part of the partnership and the two have ambitions to combine ‎Microsoft’s digital expertise with bp’s energy markets knowledge in four areas. They will be looking at Microsoft’s ‘Smart Cities’ initiative and ‎bp’s ‘Clean Cities’ vision to identify where they can collaborate on sustainability aims; co-developing technology to provide clean energy parks including carbon capture use and storage; exploring how to harness data-driven, ‎personalised, actionable insights to help consumers manage energy use and reduce emissions; and working on IIoT solutions for bps’s production and operations facilities. 

The partnership with Shell is less wide ranging but still substantial. As a baseline Shell will provide Microsoft with renewable energy and together they will use Microsoft’s Azure and data from Shell assets to strengthen operational safety. Beyond that they will work together to use AI/ML to drive digital transformation across Shell’s operations using real-time data insights to contribute to worker and onsite safety, and efficiencies to reduce Shell’s carbon emissions. They also plan to work on digital tools Shell can offer its suppliers and customers to support their carbon reduction footprints. 

There is an element of quid pro quo as green energy and Azure cloud resources are traded but these are high profile initiatives that should demonstrate what can be achieved with joined up digital transformation planning and cross industry collaboration. And sustainability is an area suppliers need to showcase (see here for Sopra Steria for example, or here for Tesla’s battery journey). These agreements should serve all three parties well – and hopefully the planet too. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: partnerships   software   greentech   AI   ML   sustainability  

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Thursday 24 September 2020

BigDish’s funding like Brewster’s Millions

bigdishBigDish, the main market-listed food technology firm that we track, has lined up a $5m investment over an 18-month period from an Ultra High Net Worth Individual that could secure the long-term future of the business. However, the funding comes with some pretty hefty caveats and tasks that need to be completed, that means that BigDish has everything to do in a short space of time.

Firstly, the firm has to successfully pivot to SaaS by the end of Q1 2021. No easy feat and to fund this a short-term loan from an investment company of £540k has been agreed. 

Secondly, BigDish needs to secure market acceptance of BigDish-to-GO – we assume some targets have been set that must be reached to release the funding. Whilst the market is definitely moving in this direction post-pandemic with takeaway and delivery performing better, it’s a competitive and pretty crowded market and their tool is still in beta.

And finally, BigDish must deliver “Completion and acceptance of an international market expansion plan that supports a USD 5 million investment over an 18-month period.” – something that sounds both difficult and expensive. It’s also not obvious which markets they are targeting and rolling out across the UK looked hard enough. 

It all sounds very “Brewster’s Millions” (for those of you who remember the Richard Prior movie from the 80s) with lots of money and effort to be spent against the clock in order to win the grand prize. If Big Dish completes these tasks it then gets its money by the end of the second quarter of 2021 or as the company puts it…..“Whilst the Company is optimistic of a successful outcome……..there can be no guarantee of such.”Sounds like there is a movie script in this one or at least a reality TV show.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: saas   funding   foodtech  

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Thursday 24 September 2020

Musk’s FLAT Battery Day

TeslaI’ve gone on record many times in the past, saying that I think Tesla will be remembered more for its advances in battery technology than its cars. See Elon, The Battery Boy. Indeed, I also think that in our quest to reduce pollution and move to renewable energy sources, battery technology is key. The world clearly has enough solar, wind and Batterytide/water power to meet its energy needs many times over. What it lacks is the practical ability to store that energy to be used when and where it is needed to be used. I’ve been highlighting this issue for over 10 years now – during which time the cost of storage of a kw hour of energy has plunged 10-fold. .Source - BNEF.

Battery-related stories can be found on a near daily basis now – even in the popular media. Yesterday it was the discovery of extensive and quite easily 'mined’ deposits of lithium in Cornwall.

Yesterday was also previewed as ‘Battery Day’ as Elon Musk had trailed some big announcements. For years the ‘million mile’ battery was promised – ie a battery that would outlast your car. But instead Musk announced a desire to further cut the cost of batteries so he could reduce the cost of Tesla car to c$25,000 in 3 years time. Tesla would do that by taking a lot of the production inhouse – they have even bought 10000 acres of land in Nevada, rich in lithium, so they can own that part of the chain too. One of the other interesting innovations announced by Musk was a cylindrical cell battery that would be part of the structure of the car. These new batteries would store 5x more energy than those currently used.

This all came as a disappointment to investors who wiped billions/11% off Tesla’s value. Although, to be fair, Tesla stock is still up 180% YTD. Also gave analysts, like me, the ability to announce it as ‘Musk’s FLAT Battery Day’!

The ‘problem’ as ever with Musk is that all his announcements would take many years to develop.  But we’ve all learned not to dismiss them as science fiction as many of his ‘moonshots’ do come to fruition eventually. Only a few years ago, most people dismissed Musk’s dreams of creating an electric car manufacturer which would rival (and be worth more than) the world’s long-standing auto manufacturers. Or build a reusable and reliable space delivery vehicle like Falcon at SpaceX.

Musk will probably get there. Just not quite sure when!

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Thursday 24 September 2020

Kenyan/UK OkHi locates funding for lost souls

logoHere’s another take on the concept of a ‘universal address locator’ that was arguably pioneered by London-based start-up what3words. It’s Nairobi-HQ’d but UK-registered OkHi, which uses your mobile phone to ‘link you to an accurate GPS point and with a photo of your gate’.

The start-up was co-founded in 2014 by ex-Google and ex-YouTube employee Timbo Drayson, driven by the statistic that ‘Kenyans spend 500 years of time every month getting lost’ (one of the more unusual straplines I have seen on a website!). Kenya-based Drayson is said to have led the launch of Google Maps across emerging markets and built Chromecast. OkHi has raised £1.4m in a funding round supported by the Angel Investment Network.

To get an OkHi locator, you need to key in your mobile phone number (including country code) into the website and enter a verification code texted to your mobile. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive the text.

In contrast, with what3words you can locate any address on the planet within three metres through a unique, memorable three-word sequence generated by the app (for example, 10 Downing Street comes out as slurs.this.shark – honestly!)

While I can sort of see the advantage of getting a picture of the location as part of the OkHi service, you can navigate to a location using Google Maps directly from what3words.

It seems to me that what3words is already so well established I struggle to see how OkHi will, dare I say, find its way in the market.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Thursday 24 September 2020

TrueLayer attracts $25m for open banking push

TLTechnology provider, TrueLayer, has secured an additional $25m in Series C funding as it looks to accelerate open banking in the UK. The latest cash call was supported by existing backers, Temasek, as well as by contrbutions from Anthemis, Connect Ventures and Northzone.

Along with the likes of Yapily, London-based TrueLayer is one of the leading companies helping to facilitate the growth of open banking. TrueLayer provides API-based services that enable financial services organisations and third-party providers to capitalise on the free-flow of banking and customer data. 

In June, TrueLayer was chosen by the Cabinet Office to participate in a major UK Public Sector transformation initiative by helping public sector organisations to accelerate payments via its Payment Initiation Service (see: TrueLayer brings PIS to Crown Commercial Services).

The open banking opportunity for vendors such as TrueLayer is a truly global one. The company is already active in mainland Europe and further afield and facilitates around 50% of all open banking traffic in the UK. TrueLayer intends to use the latest funding to expand its operations as open banking continues to gain momentum across geographies.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding   apis   truelayer  

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Thursday 24 September 2020

Accenture gets inside tech sales

LogoAccenture has bought N3, an Atlanta-based IT sector focused ‘inside sales’ outsourcer. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Founded in 2004 and now employing 2,200 personnel worldwide, N3 specialises in the provision phone, B2B email and internet sales services which leverage a technology-enabled framework, digital marketing expertise and custom analytics. With offices in eight countries including the UK, the company has enjoyed particular success with IT businesses and counts the likes of Microsoft, Cisco and SAP among its clients. The COVID driven increased popularity in remote buying has seen N3 gain greater traction in the B2C sales arena in recent months

The acquisition, which also houses significant AI and machine learning capabilities, will be embedded within Accenture Operations, the firm’s business process services arm.  In particular, N3 will bolster the company’s SynOps platform which Accenture describes as a human-machine operating “engine”.

The consumerisation of technology has changed business users’ expectations not only regarding their experiences of IT services, but also how these capabilities can be purchased. Even prior to the pandemic there was a growing customer appetite for B2B suppliers to offer buying process options that looked and felt much more like the best in class online retail channels. With increased remote working likely to remain a fact of corporate life for the foreseeable future, it would seem probable that the virtual sales arena will become a progressivley more important competitive battleground.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: acquisition   marketing   systemsintegration   bps   AI   data   ML  

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Thursday 24 September 2020

NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app launched

Covid-19 App ImageThe long awaited NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app for England and Wales has been launched this morning. As long as your device is running iOS 13.5 or Android 6.0 or later you can download it from the Apple and Google app stores now.

The app provides users with the ability to check the level of coronavirus risk in their postcode district; QR code scanning at venues they have visited; a symptom checker; test booking; and a self-isolation timer. Like the original app, which was abandoned in June (see A world beating approach to contact tracing?), it uses Bluetooth to help log the time a person has spent in close proximity with another app user, so they can be alerted and told to self-isolate if that person later tests positive for the virus. General availability of the app follows trials on the Isle of Wight, in the London borough of Newham, and with NHS Volunteer Responders across England.

At last week's Public Accounts Committee meeting on digital transformation in the NHS, it was revealed the cost of developing the new app and supporting it through to April 2021 is estimated to be £25m. This is on top of the £10.8m that was spent on the first app.

There is a lot riding on the success of the new app, especially when you consider the widely publicised issues relating to traditional contact tracing. Its success will depend on a willingness of people in England and Wales to engage with the technology. In April, research conducted at the University of Oxford suggested the virus could be controlled if approximately 60% of the population use the app, but it starts to have a protective effect at much lower levels of adoption. More recently, a study from the University of Oxford and Google found that if 15% of the population participated, apps could reduce infections and deaths by approximately 8% and 6%.

Contact tracing apps are not a panacea, they are just one piece of the puzzle in controlling the pandemic; they need to complement traditional contact tracing and testing strategies. Many public health intervention challenges need to be resolved before the UK will be able to effectively control the virus.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: nhs   healthcare   covid-19   healthtech   contact+tracing  

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Thursday 24 September 2020

Funding Circle H1 highlights impact of COVID-19

FCP2P finance provider, Funding Circle, has released its interim results highlighting improved revenue and a sharp fall in profitability as COVID-19 impacted lending patterns and investment performance. In the six months ended 30 June 2020, the company, which was founded after the last financial crisis in 2008, grew total income by 24% to £101.2m.

In the first half of its current fiscal, Funding Circle recorded an operating loss of £113.5m, compared to £31.3m in H1 19. This reverse was primarily due to the impact of the coronavirus on the value of investments held for sale. Fee income was down by 19% to £64.8m however, this was more than compensated for by a large rise in the organisation’s investment income, which leapt from £2m to £49.8m. This growth was due to the fact that these programmes had only just begun by June 2019.

In April, Funding Circle became part of the UK government’s CBILS scheme to help distribute emergency loans to SMEs, (see: Funding Circle joins CBILS). The company has also been helping to distribute the equivalent emergency “Paycheck Protection” funding in the US (PPP).

Earlier this year, Funding Circle rolled out its new “Instant Decision” technology to help speed up the application process. This has helped to greatly improve the processing of loans to SMEs with applications being completed within 6 minutes on average and automated decisions taking just 9 seconds.

Innovative lenders such as Funding Circle provide an increasingly important source of credit to the UK’s struggling SMEs. The coronavirus has helped to drive growth amongst online small business lenders, as the major banks and traditional credit sources have tightened their criteria and been slow to respond to demand.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: SMEs   fundingcircle  

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