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Computex: Windows-Android hybrids and phablets launch

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Asus’s chairman showed off its dual-booting Transformer Book Trio
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A laptop running both Windows 8 and Android; a 6in (15.2cm) smartphone; and a hybrid mouse-touchpad are some of the devices to have been unveiled ahead of the start of Computex.

The tech show in Taipei, Taiwan runs from Tuesday to Saturday.

Other launches included the first PCs to feature Intel’s new processor, codenamed Haswell.

The event comes a week after researchers suggested PC sales were declining faster than had been thought.

IDC predicted that shipments of personal computers – including both desktops and laptops – would fall by 7.8% over the course of 2013. The firm had previously forecast a 1.3% decline.

It added that it believed tablet shipments would grow by 58.7% over the same period, putting them on course to overtake PCs by 2015.

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Foxconn and Firefox

Taiwanese firm Hon Hai revealed it is to develop five devices powered by Mozilla’s new Firefox mobile operating system.

Hon Hai is perhaps best know for making Apple devices at its Foxconn factories in China. However, analysts have suggested the firm could be responsible for assembling as much as 40% of the world’s consumer electronics.

Hon Hai said its Firefox line-up would include smartphones and televisions. It added that they would be released under others’ brands, rather than its own.

The news offers a boost to Mozilla’s HTML5-based OS which it is pitching as an “open alternative” to Android for low-end handsets.

The move also allows Hon Hai to diversify its operations. That may reassure investors following a Wall Street Journal report last week which said Apple was increasingly sending orders to another Taiwanese firm, Pegatron.

WSJ report
That trend poses a potential problem for manufacturers since margins on tablets are often thinner than they have been accustomed to with PCs.

Hybrid devices
Acer kicked off the announcements with news of an 8.1in tablet capable of running the full Windows 8 operating system.

The firm described the Iconia W3 as being the first device that lets Microsoft’s desktop OS be used comfortably with “a single hand”.

The Taiwanese company also announced a 5.7in Android handset which it called its “first phablet” – signifying a cross between a phone and a tablet.

The Liquid S1 offers slots for two Sim cards – allowing consumers to use it with both their business and personal accounts. However, its 720p resolution screen and a lack of 4G support may limit its appeal to buyers wanting a high-end device.

Asus – which is also based in Taipei – announced the Transformer Book Trio as the centrepiece of its news conference.

The device is marketed as a three-in-one device which can be used as a desktop, laptop or 11.6in tablet. Its key feature is that it can run both the Jelly Bean version of Google’s Android OS and Windows 8.

The firm said users would be able to synchronise data between the platforms in order to enjoy a “smooth transition” between each mode.

Acer’s new line-up included what the firm said was the industry’s first 8.1in Windows 8 tablet
Other news from the firm included the Fonepad Note – a 6in phablet featuring a stylus and 1080p resolution display – and the Zenbook Infinity Ultrabook, a laptop which has toughened glass covering the back of its display. At 15.5m (0.61in) thick, it is thinner than Hewlett-Packard’s Envy Spectre 14 which pioneered the idea of a glass-clad laptop in 2012.

Perhaps more unusual was the company’s VivoMouse. The wireless device combines a circular touchpad and mouse into a single device which can be dragged across a surface or operated while being held in the air.

Asus said the controller was particularly suited for Windows 8 users whose PCs lacked touchscreen displays.

New chips
Other announcements included:

Dell’s 11.6in-screened XPS 11 laptop. The device’s screen is attached to its body with a hinge which allows it to be twisted round and folded back over the keyboard in a similar manner to Lenovo’s Yoga range.
Two new Android tablets from Samsung. The 8in and 10.1in Galaxy Tab 3 computers offer an alternative to the firm’s existing 7in model. The larger model is unusual in that it is powered by an Intel-made chip rather than one of Samsung’s own ARM-based processors.
Gigbayte’s Slate S10A – a 10in tablet which is one of the first Windows 8 devices to be powered by AMD’s new A4-1200 processor.

Asus said its VivoMouse touchpad-mouse hybrid was an “entirely new kind of pointing device”
Several of the new laptops used Intel’s latest generation of Haswell chips.

The US firm said last month that the processors would be 50% more power efficient than the previous generation, Ivy Bridge. However, full details about their capabilities are being held back until a press conference at Computex on Tuesday.

One analyst said the variety of computers on show was evidence of innovation, but warned that the amount of choice might end up leaving shoppers perplexed.

“Many users have already moved away from wanting a fully functional PC to an iPad, Android tablet or smartphone,” said Ranjit Atwal, an analyst at tech consultants Gartner.

“As a result that leaves a smaller audience and now the challenge for PC-makers is how to target this group, which is also – by its nature – likely to be more demanding.

“The problem is that by throwing so many different designs at the wall in an effort to meet the challenge of wooing them, they risk confusing shoppers rather than winning them over.”

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Enterprenuer

AUTOMATION WILL MAKE LIFELONG LEARNING A NECESSARY PART OF WORK

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Shifts in skills are not new: we have seen such a shift from physical to cognitive tasks, and more recently to digital skills. But the coming shift in workforce skills could be massive in scale, write Jacques Bughin, Susan Lund, and Eric Hazin in Harvard Business Review.

President Emmanuel Macron together with many Silicon Valley CEOs will kick off the VivaTech conference in Paris this week with the aim of showcasing the “good” side of technology. Our research highlights some of those benefits, especially the productivity growth and performance gains that automation and artificial intelligence can bring to the economy — and to society more broadly, if these technologies are used to tackle major issues such as fighting disease and tackling climate change. But we also note some critical challenges that need to be overcome. Foremost among them: a massive shift in the skills that we will need in the workplace in the future.

To see just how big those shifts could be, our latest research analyzed skill requirements for individual work activities in more than 800 occupations to examine the number of hours that the workforce spends on 25 core skills today. We then estimated the extent to which these skill requirements could change by 2030, as automation and artificial technologies are deployed in the workplace, and backed up our findings with a detailed survey of more than 3,000 business leaders in seven countries, who largely confirmed our quantitative findings. We grouped the 25 skills into five categories: physical and manual (which is the largest category today), basic cognitive, higher cognitive, social and emotional, and technological skills (today’s smallest category).

The findings highlight the major challenge confronting our workforces, our economies, and the well-being of our societies. Among other priorities, they show the urgency of putting in place large-scale retraining initiatives for a majority of workers who will be affected by automation — initiatives that are sorely lacking today.

Shifts in skills are not new: we have seen such a shift from physical to cognitive tasks, and more recently to digital skills. But the coming shift in workforce skills could be massive in scale. To give a sense of magnitude: more than one in three workers may need to adapt their skills’ mix by 2030, which is more than double the number who could be displaced by automation under some of our adoption scenarios — and lifelong learning of new skills will be essential for all. With the advent of AI, basic cognitive skills, such as reading and basic numeracy, will not suffice for many jobs, while demand for advanced technological skills, such as coding and programming, will rise, by 55% in 2030, according to our analysis.

The need for social and emotional skills including initiative taking and leadership will also rise sharply, by 24%, and among higher cognitive skills, creativity and complex information and problem solving will also become significantly more important. These are often seen as “soft” skills that schools and education systems in general are not set up to impart. Yet in a more automated future, when machines are capable of taking on many more rote tasks, these skills will become increasingly important — precisely because machines are still far from able to provide expertise and coaching, or manage complex relationships.

While many people fear that automation will reduce the number of jobs for humans, we note that the diffusion of AI will take time. The need for basic cognitive skills as well as physical and manual skills will not disappear. In fact, physical and manual skills will remain the largest skill category in many countries by hours worked, but with different importance across countries. In France and the United Kingdom, for example, manual skills will be overtaken by demand for social and emotional skills, while in Germany, higher cognitive skills will become preeminent. These country differences are the result of different industry mixes in each country, which in turn affect the automation potential of economies and the future skills mix. While we based our estimates on the automation potential of sectors and countries today, this could change depending on the pace and enthusiasm with which AI is adopted in companies, sectors, and countries. Already, it is clear that China is moving rapidly to become a leading AI player, and Asia as a whole is ahead of Europe in the volume of AI investment.

We see retraining (or “reskilling” as some like to call it), as the imperative of the coming decade. It is a challenge not just for companies, which are on the front lines, but also for educational institutions, industry and labor groups, philanthropists, and of course, policy makers, who will need to find new ways to incentivize investments in human capital.

For companies, these shifts are part of the larger automation challenge that will require a thorough rethink of how work is organized within firms — including what the strategic workforce needs are likely to be, and how to set about achieving them. In our research, we find some examples of companies that are focusing on retraining, either in-house — for example, Germany’s SAP — or by working with outside educational institutions, as AT&T is doing. Overall, our survey suggests that European firms are more likely to fill future staffing needs in the new automation era by focusing on retraining, while US firms are more open to new hiring. The starting point for all of this will be a mindset change, with companies seeking to measure future success by their ability to provide continuous learning options to employees.

The skill shift is not only a challenge, it is an opportunity. If companies and societies are able to equip workers with the new skills that are needed, the upside will be considerable, in terms of higher productivity growth, rising wages, and increased prosperity. M. Macron’s point about technology being a force for good will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Conversely, a failure to address these shifting skill demands could exacerbate income polarization and stoke political and social tensions. The stakes are high, but we can already see the outlines of what needs to be done — and we have a little time to work on solutions.

 

 

 

Source: Harvard Business Review

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Innovations

WHY BRAND PURPOSE IS THE ULTIMATE DISRUPTIVE FORCE

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As SXSW gets going, it’s worth remembering that disruptive brands need to be prepared to take a side, says Jason Foo.

Uber: has been found wanting when it comes to purpose

As the “Futurati” descend on Austin this week for SXSW and discuss the disruptions of the future, it’s worth reminding ourselves that the market advantages gained by organisations from these “disruptions” are only temporary.

Disruption is not a new concept, either. It has always been the engine of change and progress – having taken us from living in caves, to being able to create fire, to then inventing the wheel.

What has changed is that it has never been easier, faster or cheaper to usher in new waves of it: Technological advancement is accelerating exponentially, supported by our burgeoning application of artificial intelligence.

All this will be on show at SXSW, although this year – partly as a result of the political situation – social impact, civic activism and brand purpose provide a key thread of the agenda.

Take New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s opening keynote focusing on gender bias in advertising; Tinder discussing its partnership with LGBTQ advocacy group, GLAAD; and Refinery29 talking cyberbullying with pop star Kesha. It seems brands are waking up to the fact that, if you rely on technology alone as the basis for advantage, your disruptive impact will be only temporary. Just as surely, you will be disrupted by the next waves of progress.

Indeed, some of the most famous and current ‘disruptors’, such as Uber and Deliveroo, might have found that they successfully used technology to shake-up their sectors, but they have been found wanting when it came to purpose beyond profit. Treatment of staff, assault and car accidents have tarnished Uber, while Deliveroo has found itself in the spotlight for questionable employment techniques.

Fortunately, by embracing ‘purpose’, brands can insulate themselves against some of the wider forces at play – and many at SXSW have recognised this and are addressing it in their sessions: “Advertising for Good, What is it good for?”; “AI for Good: Unleashing the potential for everyone”; “Build a culture of Good: Unleash results”; “Design Sprints for Social Good” – the list goes on.

Brand purpose, this most powerful form of disruption has been borne, to a large extent, from the crisis of trust and engagement with brands, with organisations and with governments. Commentators have spoken of widespread feelings of disaffection and alienation and vast swathes of society are looking for new ways to be heard, represented and served.

These people are also voting with their wallets. Brands need to take heed, or pay the consequences.

The answer to this is actually very simple and costs very little: demonstrate that you are trustworthy and build a meaningful connection with consumers based upon things you mutually care about.

Tesco has clocked on to this, signalling its desire to build consumer trust by focusing on ‘purpose’ – with its chief executive Dave Lewis saying that this is “what anyone in the UK should expect from a business”.

The brand has just launched a press and social campaign about its commitment to tackle food waste and has said that it will ensure that no food fit for human consumption will be wasted by its UK operations by the end of this year.

According to data from Lewis’s former employer, Unilever, 33% of adults would buy a product from a brand because they believe it is doing social or environmental good.

And Unilever itself has put purpose at the heart of its business. It is no coincidence it is the eighth most-applied to organisation on LinkedIn and attracts the best talent.

What’s more, the recent attempted takeover of Unilever by Kraft Heinz was a fascinating assertion of the role of purpose in insulating the organisation from an unwelcome or “disrupting” takeover. While Kraft Heinz and its backers could see the opportunity to strip costs out of Unilever – and make it more purely profit focused – Unilever’s board and shareholders were of the view that it contributes more than that.

Unilever’s triple-bottom-line commitment of people, planet, profit is driving the growth of the company: its sustainable living brands grew 30% faster than the rest of Unilever’s business in 2015.

Newer companies than this august institution should learn from this. It’s clear that brands that nail their relationships to the cultural good are used more, advocated for more, preferred more and even forgiven more than those that don’t.

It’s not just about creating a product but about building a movement: Among staff, shareholders and customers.

Disruptive brands need to be prepared take a side and be as pioneering in their purpose as they are in their business model. Through this they can create a business people will not only notice, but may come to love. This is a message that attendees at SXSW will hear time and again over this coming week. Now that’s disruptive.

source: http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/why-brand-purpose-ultimate-disruptive-force/1427109?_lrsc=0e85ede2-ee19-4db6-a60b-cf035bb5acf4&utm_source=Elevate&utm_medium=referral#t4hgg1KYCT1kVagQ.99

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Research

CHINESE PHARMA FIRMS TARGET THE GLOBAL MARKET

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A new Chinese drug for colorectal cancer could mark an important milestone

WALK into the Shanghai laboratories of Chi-Med, a biotech firm, and you encounter the sort of shiny, cutting-edge facilities common in any major pharma company in America, Europe or Japan. Chi-Med has just had positive results in a late-stage trial of its drug for colorectal cancer, which is called Fruquintinib. If the drug is approved both in China and in Western markets it could be the very first prescription drug to be designed and developed entirely in China that will be on a path to global commercialisation.

Given China’s ageing population, higher incomes and rising demand for health care it is clear why innovation in drugs is a priority for the country. Its national market for drugs has grown rapidly in recent years to become the world’s second-largest. It could grow from $108bn in 2015 to around $167bn by 2020, according to an estimate from America’s Department of Commerce. By comparison, America spends about $400bn a year on drugs.

Chinese firms mainly sell cheap, generic medicines that earn only razor-thin margins. The pharma industry is extremely fragmented, with thousands of tiny manufacturers and distributors. That helps explain the limited amount of finance that is available for investment in new medicines. Most Chinese pharma firms devote less than 5% of sales to R&D, according to a report last year from the World Health Organisation (big global drug firms typically spend 14%-18% of sales on R&D). And the bulk of that spending goes to research into generics.

But things are changing quickly. The government is encouraging the industry to consolidate, chiefly by raising standards for the quality of new medicines. It is also improving the country’s regulatory infrastructure, which should make it more efficient, and faster, to develop drugs. The value of deals in the health-care sector has been increasing as a result. ChinaBio, a research firm, reckons that over $40bn of foreign and local money went into the life sciences in China in 2016. In the same year just three Chinese biotech firms—CStone, Innovent and Ascletis—together raised more than $500m of financing.

Another boost is the arrival of talent from abroad, whether Chinese-born executives returning with a Western education or Westerners with experience of multinational pharmaceutical firms. Christian Hogg, the boss of Chi-Med—which was founded in 2000, has eight drugs in clinical development and listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange in 2016—used to work at Procter & Gamble, a global consumer-goods firm. Samantha Du, the firm’s very first scientific officer, was formerly an executive at Pfizer, an American pharma giant. Now known as the godmother of Chinese biopharma, she used to manage health-care investments for Sequoia Capital, a Silicon Valley venture-capital firm. In 2013 she helped found Zai Lab, which licenses late-stage drugs from Western pharma companies to develop and sell in China. Zai Lab also aims to develop innovative medicines in immuno-oncology.

Another firm attracting attention is BeiGene, an oncology firm based in Beijing, which has four clinical-stage drug candidates and which raised $158m in an IPO last year. Chi-Med’s Fruquintinib may even be beaten in the race to approval in America and Japan by a cancer drug called Epidaza from Chipscreen Biosciences of Shenzhen. China approved it in 2015.

It is too early to say whether these innovative firms will remain rarities. Only a few large ones have emerged, since the industry is resisting consolidation. But the size of the local market will itself help the industry grow. And developing a drug in China is far cheaper than it is in America or Europe. Given the outrage at the high cost of drugs in America, in particular, there is every incentive for Chinese firms to develop medicines for the global market.

source:http://www.economist.com/news/business/21718937-new-chinese-drug-colorectal-cancer-could-mark-important-milestone-chinese-pharma-firms?fsrc=scn/li/te/bl/ed/abetterpillfromchinachinesepharmafirmstargettheglobalmarket

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