Proxy servers – How may they serve you?

Servers are an integral part of the world’s digital ecosystem. They come in many different forms and ‘serve’ many different purposes. While on work experience, Charles Drew of Bishop's Stortford College, explored the role of proxy servers and how businesses are benefiting from their use.

Servers

Bitcoin: boom or bust?

The definitions of Bitcoin and Blockchain have been previously covered in ‘Confused by cryptocurrencies? Bemused by Bitcoin? Baffled by Blockchain?’ While on work experience, Alex Sokhanvari of Bishop’s Stortford College took a deeper look at whether the hype and attention surrounding Bitcoin is warranted and how its future may pan out.

bitcoin boom or bust image

Bitcoin’s volatility sees it feature in the media on a regular basis. Bitcoin by analogy, is like being able to send a gold coin via email. It is a peer-to-peer online payment system that introduces an entirely digital currency. Could Bitcoin revolutionise the way we make our payments? Or could it just be a passing fad that will fade and be forgotten?

Jon Reynolds

Jon Reynolds, CEO of SwiftKey, has been awarded the number one spot in the FT Magazine’s list of Top 10 under 30 European tech entrepreneurs.

Jon co-founded SwiftKey in 2008, aged just 22. Prior to that, he worked as a civil servant in the British government, having graduated with MA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. It was at Cambridge where he met co-founder and CTO, Dr. Ben Medlock who completed a PhD in artificial intelligence (AI) at Cambridge.

Jon had noticed the trend of mobiles gradually replacing PCs and that the shrunken touchscreen keyboards weren’t fit for purpose. He and Medlock started talking about using AI to tackle the problem and came up with the idea behind SwiftKey.

While on work experience, Jack Bassett from John Hampden Grammar School explored a hot topic of public debate – encryption.

digital key

Data security, more specifically encryption, is as old as the art of communication itself. The word encryption derives from the Greek word kryptos, meaning hidden or secret and has been used throughout history, with applications from the Egyptians through to the Second World War, and is becoming an ever more pervasive theme in modern day society.

While on work experience, Henry Walton of Hockerill Anglo-European College looked into the growing Smartwatch phenomenon.

Is now the time of the Smartwatch?

Growth of the Industry

2012 saw the rise of a new industry following the success of the newly founded smartwatch company Pebble. The company pitched their e-ink display smartwatch to crowdfunding platform Kickstarter in April that year and received $100,000 in the first 2 hours after the project went live. The project went on to raise over $10,000,000 from 70,000 backers, demonstrating the substantial demand for intelligent wearable technology.

pebble

The Pebble Watch

Although fitness bands and simplistic smartwatches have been in existence for almost 10 years, it was Pebble’s success that acted as the catalyst for the smartwatch industry’s growth. Other major brands such as Samsung, LG and Motorola quickly followed suit and released their own products across 2013/14.

Jo Aidroos is an early technologist and engineer by qualification. She leads Slalom Consulting's Organisational Effectiveness Practice in London. Here we share an article of hers that explains how storytelling can be effectively used by companies to generate an optimum blend of fact and fantasy that will engage and inspire their audience.

slalom

How the science behind storytelling leads to more powerful corporate engagement

People forget what you say, they forget what you do, but they don’t forget how you make them feel. Feelings create memories that generate long lasting and powerful impressions on those listening to you, and storytelling has become a formidable "corporate tool" in creating feelings of engagement in the workplace.

Over the last five years cryptocurrency has been an emerging theme that has attracted attention from both the media and investors.

bitcoin

The sentiment towards these new forms of digital money varies from excitement to scepticism but there still remains a widespread lack of public understanding.

To help with some clarity, we look to explain three of the widely used terms:

AR Hololens

In decades past, virtual reality (VR) was often thought to be the next big thing. Except it wasn’t. Despite previous attempts to produce ‘killer’ products, mainly in the gaming domain, it ultimately didn’t take off. At least not yet.

However there are signs that the hype is returning as major technology companies are again placing their bets in this space. In 2014, Facebook purchased VR company Oculus Rift for $2bn, a company founded only two years earlier.

Along with VR, interest is also picking up in another form of reality - augmented reality (AR). Google (Glass) and Microsoft (HoloLens) have both developed and publicised new hardware products in this area.

UKeconomicgrowth

In 2014 the UK economy is expected to grow by close to 3%. The OBR’s current growth forecast for 2015 is 2.4%. The UK has been the fastest growing G7 economy with unemployment steadily declining.

Here we take a look at ten risks to the outlook for UK growth in 2015.

Euan Semple is a public speaker, writer and executive coach. He helps organisations utilise and understand social media, showing its potential within the workplace. Here we share an article of his addressing the growing need for awareness in the era of big data, as more of our lives become digitised.

Big Data and Social - a Match Made in Heaven or Hell?

In the early days only big organisations could do computing and there were going to be five computers in the world.

We all know how that ended up.

Then only big organisations could do networking infastructure and getting online was the preserve of the workplace. But these days we carry ubiquitous network access 24 hours a day in our pockets.

Now we are led to believe that only big organisations can do big data. But it is our data. We are becoming increasingly aware what is done with the data, by whom, and for what. We are starting to care." - Doc Searls, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and more recently The Intention Economy.

digital disruption - image credit TechRepublic

Digital disruption will continue to shape 2015. There will be more devices, more connections and more data, as more and more ‘things’ become smarter. Whilst not necessarily new, here are ten themes we will be tracking over the course of 2015.

 

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Rise of machines or resentment of machines?

Professor Stephen Hawking warned of the threat AI poses to mankind. 2015 is considered a little early for super-intelligent machines to display general intelligence, however computers are becoming increasingly smarter at specific tasks. Some companies are now starting to implement AI to perform back office jobs. There will also be further developments with voice activated personal assistants, as more data lends to smarter and more personalised responses.

IP Strategy - Image credit: siliconangle.com

Small and medium enterprises account for 99.9% of all private sector businesses in the UK and play a critical role in long term growth prospects of the UK economy. In the era of the digital revolution, many of these companies are investing in ideas and intangibles creating intellectual property (IP). In some cases, IP may be their only asset. Consequently, IP is crucial to their ability to grow and attract further investment. An IP strategy is a key component of the overall business strategy.

When assessing investment opportunities, equity investors often place great importance on a company’s IP. It can underpin the ability of a business to defend its position by providing exclusive use of an invention or method and prevent others from copying. This can be the difference between success and failure.

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