This Week In Tech And Telco: Unicorns Love The UK

Happy Friday! Welcome back to This Week in Tech And Telco.

Here at Radial Path, we know you're busy. We know you don't have time to consume everything you want or to keep up to date with the latest news and trends. The working week is hectic, and now it's Friday, you want to kick back and relax.

That's why we curate this weekly list of tech and telco news and send it your way in bite sized chunks of information. Now you can get caught up quickly, without eating into the weekend.

Enjoy, and see you next week.

G20 agrees to push ahead with digital tax

Finance ministers representing the G20 have agreed to come up with rules to remove tax loopholes exploited by large tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon.

At the moment, companies arrange to have their profits taxed in low-tax countries regardless of where they make the money. Big tech has long faced criticism for the practice, which is seen as unfair.

New rules would mean larger taxes from companies currently capitalizing on such loopholes, but could also have negative repercussions for countries like Ireland which may not otherwise attract large firms.

tech and telco - tax breaks are no more
Photographer: Kelly Sikkema | Source: Unsplash

UK homes the most unicorns in Europe

A report by Tech Nation, a body set up to promote technology sector growth across Britain, and business information provider, Dealroom.co has revealed a continued rise of the home-grown unicorn population.

A unicorn is a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion. The mythical animal was chosen to represent the statistical rarity of such successful ventures.

While 13 new unicorn companies have been created in the UK over the past year, the national total is 72. Although the majority of these companies are concentrated in and around London, six other British cities are home to at least two unicorns.

Unicorns aside, there has been widespread and rapid growth in the tech and digital space across the UK, with Newcastle leading the way with the biggest cluster growth outside of London.

All in all, this means more than a third of Europe’s fastest-growing tech companies are now based in Britain.

The UK homes the most unicorns in Europe. Photographer: Inês Pimentel | Source: Unsplash

Sarcastic robot? Why not? Meet Irony Man

Creators of Irony Man, a sarcastic robot which combines nonchalant facial expressions with deadpan delivery, say it could be used to gently break bad news and persuade people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise.

Irony Man uses an algorithm that finds the best response for normal conversation, then flips words and exaggerates to introduce irony.

So: “I hate rain. I’m usually in a bad mood when it rains” becomes “Amazing! I love rain so much”, with perhaps an elongated emphasis on “amazing” and “so”.

In tests with students, Irony Man was favorable over a standard robot, being described as likable, integrating, appealing, and motivating.

The work was presented at the International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems in Montreal.

A little Robot
Photographer: Rock'n Roll Monkey | Source: Unsplash

IoT spending to hit $1.1 trillion in 2023

IDC's Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide predicts, due to steady commercial and consumer adoption of the Internet of Things, that spending on IoT will hit $1.1 trillion in 2023.

According to the guide, this represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.6%.

Industries driving IoT adoption and growth, and expected to spend the most on IoT solutions, are discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing, and transportation.

The primary IoT use case for the two manufacturing industries is expected to be manufacturing operations while transportation industry spending will largely go toward freight monitoring.

Manufacturing is leading the way in IoT development. Photographer: Pavel Chusovitin | Source: Unsplash

What else you should know

  • First the foldable phone, and now, the stretchable phone. While telco retailers are canceling preorders for the Samsung Galaxy Fold due to the delayed release following significant first-generation design flaws, Samsung won’t let problems hold it back. The phone maker recent patented a stretchable phone. (CNN)
  • Blockchain is proving itself more than a buzzword, with major companies across all sectors incorporating the new technology into their business. So far, Cisco, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Nestle, Walmart, and others have gotten involved. So what are telco leaders doing? Well, this is how AT&T and T-Mobile are both working with blockchain. (Forbes)
  • Some Huawei phones have started displaying ads, appearing on only pre installed wallpapers of landscapes. Ads have appeared on several devices, including the P20 Pro and P30 Pro. (Slashgear)
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