Power to the hubs

Power to the hubs

The Joint Hub Fund Programme has awarded grants to Cameroon’s ActivSpaces, Uganda’s HiveColan, Ghana’s iSpace and Tanzania’s KINU technology incubators to help them deliver sustainable entrepreneurship. Over €370,000 will be disbursed to the four hubs to support entrepreneurs with a social mission in developing their business plans, as well as identifying potential investors. The initiative is backed by Hivos, the DOEN Foundation and the Indigo Trust.

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3D housing

3D housing

Chinese constriction company Winsun has 3D-printed an entire five-storey apartment block, along with a sizeable villa, at Suzhou Industrial Park, a China-Singapore joint venture in Eastern China. A six-metre-tall 3D printer pumps out the requisite components at the WinSun’s factory for assembly on-site, with the company reckoning the process can cut production times by as much as 70%, and labour costs by between 50% and 80%.

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Tech fright

Tech fright

It's not just consumers who want an innovation go-slow, writes Steve Mullins. Close to 60% of CEOs say they are concerned about the speed of technological change, up from 47% last year, according to PwC’s latest Global CEO survey. What kind of tech gets them going? Mobile technologies are seen as being most important to their company, followed by data mining and analysis (80% of respondent CEOs), socially enabled business processes (61%) and cloud computing (60%).

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Open, connected

Open, connected

Now Google is pushing the Open Web of Things, part of a drive towards the ‘connected society’. What does it mean? Well, it’s a lot do to with open standards and people being willing to share, of course, and in this case Google is in the midst of establishing an open innovation and research programme around the Internet of Things. The online giant is asking for research proposals relating to the IoT in user interface and app development, privacy and security, as well as systems and protocols research, saying it is open to ‘new and unorthodox’ solutions.

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Facebook world

Facebook world

Facebook user share high‐def videos captured on their mobile phones, post links to stream music, or view high‐resolution photos. And to access this content, they’re buying faster connections and bulkier data allowances. In parallel, advances such as faster processing power and more realistic graphics, accelerate a cycle of innovation that developers leverage to create Facebook apps. “The innovation loop motivates people to purchase new, more powerful mobile devices and higher data consumption, says Deloitte in Facebook’s Global Economic Impact, its boosterish report on Facebook.

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Audi United

Audi United

Audi is looking to ‘refashion mobility as a personalised micro-sharing experience’. What could that mean? It’s all about the car maker’s Unite initiative which enables a group of up to five people to get their collective hands on a single Audi vehicle and then share access to it. Audi Uniters choose a contract length and mileage limit, along with add-ons such as winter tyres and monthly cleaning services.

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Go slow on innovation

Go slow on innovation

A majority on consumers have become unnerved by the speed of technological change, with half believing innovation is happening too quickly and that it is being driven by greed, and two-thirds thinking business growth imperatives are behind the drive to innovate, according to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer. Consumers want to see stronger business regulations (46% of respondents), but they only half-trust policy makers to develop and implement appropriate measures.

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Keep it personal

Keep it personal

Consumers generally don't mind sharing personal information when they think they are getting something of value in return. But, giving it way without consent and for no obvious reason is something disliked by many people. That’s why 47% of smartphone owners say they would like to be able to pay electronically in a similar way they do when they hand over cash without an automatic transfer of personal information, according to Ericsson ConsumerLab research.

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Modern mags

Modern mags

Say Media has launched a new publishing platform, Tempest, aimed at driving reader engagement. Tempest boasts features such as editor-friendly smart layouts, device-agnostic article pages and premium advertising. “Unlike a general purpose CMS, it is built from the ground up to support the specific needs of the modern digital magazine,” says Matt Sanchez, Say Media CEO. He adds that Tempest enables publishes to focus on their content, their readers, and their business, instead of their technology.

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Cash goes mobile

Cash goes mobile

The world is set to have some 450 million mobile payment users by 2017, up from 61 million last year. While Africa unsurprisingly accounts for around a half of all mobile money usage, one quarter of US and UK millennials made a payment using a mobile app in the last year, while 45% of that demographic is comfortable connecting payment information to a wearable device to make hassle-free payments. That’s according to the Looking Further with Ford: 2015 Trends report from Ford.

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