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AI is Viewed as a Game Changer by Businesses, GlobalData Poll Shows

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to be the most disruptive emerging technology, according to the latest report from GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. In response to a poll by the company, 65% of respondents stated that AI would disrupt their industries, ahead of cybersecurity (57%), and IoT and cloud computing (both on 55%).

Conducted as part of the latest report by GlobalData, ‘Emerging Technology Sentiment Analysis Q1 2021’, the survey examined sentiment towards seven key technologies: cybersecurity, cloud computing, augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain. AI was the most polarizing technology, with more than a fifth of respondents saying that they felt more negative towards the technology in Q1 2021 than this time last year.

Filipe Oliveira, Senior Analyst at GlobalData commented: “Processing power is increasing and becoming democratized, making complex AI workloads available to a growing number of companies. As more businesses are exposed to the technology, some will find that it does not live up to expectations.”

Of all the technologies that GlobalData polled, executives are most skeptical of blockchain. Less than half believe in the potential of the technology to cause any disruption in their industries. Further, only 25% said that blockchain was already disrupting their business, the lowest share among the seven technologies polled. An even smaller 23% believed that the technology would live up to all its promises.

Oliveira added: “Tech vendors have overhyped blockchain as a business solution, and the technology’s weaknesses (limited scalabilitya and high-energy consumption) have become apparent to enterprises. If these problems are mitigated, and expectations set to more realistic levels, views might change.”

In addition to polling sentiment towards emerging technologies, GlobalData asked respondents to share their views on action taken by enterprises to improve their sustainability record. The picture was not flattering for corporations. More than two-thirds of executives were skeptical about the business world’s sincerity when it came to implementing sustainability plans. At the same time, only 50% said that their companies had changed their behavior in the last year to achieve sustainability goals.

Oliveira commented: “Sustainability will be the most significant trend impacting businesses post-COVID-19, and achieving sustainability targets should be high on every CEO’s agenda. Companies risk their reputation and revenue if they do not take sustainability seriously.”

GlobalData’s quarterly “Emerging Technology: Sentiment Analysis” report is based on six polls that received 2,250 responses from executives across 18 business sectors. The polls were conducted online in Q1 2021 on the Verdict network of B2B websites, which have 69 million unique visitors a year. The polls were designed to help GlobalData understand current sentiment of the business community towards emerging technologies and evaluate how sentiment is likely to evolve in the near future. The questions asked are a snapshot of GlobalData’s annual Emerging Technology survey.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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E-commerce

Amazon to Pay $2.25 Million Fine for Unlawful Price-Fixing

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Amazon, an American leading e-commerce and technology company, has been asked to pay a fine of $2.5 million for price-fixing and ordered to shut down its ‘Sold By Amazon’ program by the attorney general of Washington.

On Wednesday, Bob Ferguson, Attorney General of Washington, announced that “as a result of his office’s price-fixing investigation, Amazon will shut down the “Sold by Amazon” program nationwide.”

Explaining the ‘Sold by Amazon’ program and how the leading brand fix prices of items, Ferguson said Amazon lured third-party sellers on its platform to join the ‘Sold by Amazon’ program by assuring them that they would receive at least an agreed-upon minimum payment for sales of their consumer goods in exchange for their agreement to stop competing with Amazon for the pricing of their products.

Consequently, if sales exceeded the negotiated minimum payment, Amazon and its competitors split the surplus proceeds amongst themselves. For example, if a seller and Amazon agreed to a $20 minimum payment and the item sold for $25, the seller would receive the $20 minimum price and share the $5 additional profit with Amazon, in addition to any fees.

The “Sold by Amazon” program resulted in prices for some products increasing when Amazon programmed its pricing algorithm to match the prices that certain external retailers offer to online consumers.

As a result, when prices increased, some sellers experienced a marked decline in the sales and resulting profits from products enrolled in the program. Faced with price increases, online customers sometimes opted to buy Amazon’s own branded products — particularly its private label products. This resulted in Amazon maximizing its own profits regardless of whether consumers paid a higher price for sales of products enrolled in the “Sold by Amazon” program or settled for buying the same or similar product offered through Amazon.

Prices for the vast majority of the remaining products enrolled in the “Sold by Amazon” program stabilized at artificially high levels. This is because Amazon programmed its pricing algorithm to maintain the seller’s pre-enrollment price as the price floor. This meant participating sellers had limited, if any, ability to lower the price of their products without withdrawing the product’s enrollment in the Sold by Amazon program.

For example, while sellers were once able to offer price discounts on their products, Amazon subsequently prevented many sellers from continuing to offer discounts. Sellers then bore the risk of having their products not sell in a timely manner, or at all, while still paying Amazon for things like storage fees of their enrolled products. Many sellers remained stuck with an artificially high price for their products while Amazon was able to maximize its own profits.

Following the investigation, the court, therefore, said “Amazon must stop the “Sold by Amazon” program nationwide and provide the Attorney General’s Office with annual updates on its compliance with antitrust laws. In addition, Amazon will pay $2.25 million to the Attorney General’s Office, which will be used to support the Attorney General’s antitrust enforcement, which does not receive general fund support.”

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Telecommunications

Google Plans to Invest $1 Billion in Airtel

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The world’s leading search engine, Google will invest $1 billion in Airtel, Indian leading telecom operator with operations in 14 African countries, including Nigeria.

The investment is part of a $10 billion commitment to India, the world’s second-largest internet market.

Detailing its investment plans, Google said it will use $700 million to acquire a 1.28 percent stake in Airtel, the preferred network for over 300 million subscribers. Another $300 million will be used to explore multi-year commercial agreements with Airtel.

Google and Airtel will now work to expand Airtel products to cover a wide range of Android-enabled devices to consumers via “innovative affordability programs,” they said. The two companies also plan to work with smartphone manufacturers to produce more affordable smartphones for users in India and across the company’s operating markets.

The announcement came at a period when Airtel and Vodafone are struggling to repay billions of dollars owed to the Indian government. Earlier this month, Vodafone gave up more than 35 percent in equity to New Delhi, making the Indian government the company’s largest shareholder.

“Airtel is a leading pioneer shaping India’s digital future, and we are proud to partner on a shared vision for expanding connectivity and ensuring equitable access to the Internet for more Indians,” said Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google and Alphabet, in a statement.

“Our commercial and equity investment in Airtel is a continuation of our Google for India Digitization Fund’s efforts to increase access to smartphones, enhance connectivity to support new business models, and help companies on their digital transformation journey.”

Airtel will now be going head to head with Jio Platforms, run by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.

In 2020, Google invested $4.5 billion in Jio Platforms, and since then, the company has amassed 400 million subscribers in India, thanks to its lower rates on voice calls and data offerings. Facebook and other leading global investors are also backing Jio Platforms.

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Telecommunications

FG Launches National Policy on 5G, Assures Protection of Data

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In a bid to improve Nigeria’s digital economy, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, inaugurated the national policy on Fifth Generation Networks (5G).

Investors King recalls that the 5G network was earlier approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on September 8, 2021.

The 5G technology was put in place to promote transparency which will help tackle insecurity and create more job opportunities. 

President Buhari stated that the benefits of the 5G networks would be fully harnessed to improve the national economy, security and the general welfare of the citizens.

He explained that the issues surrounding the 5G network have been extensively discussed including health safety which has made the federal government come up with a suitable policy. 

Speaking on the treasures to be mined in the 5G technology, Buhari mentioned that the network will aid the growth of all sectors, adding that it is faster than the previous technologies available.

In his words, “The 5G technologies can support virtually every sector of the economy, including enhanced connectivity, improved healthcare, support for education while fostering smart cities, and boosting agriculture, among other advantages.

”5G technology is significantly faster than earlier digital technologies and it provides near real-time communication. This can play a key role in boosting our efforts towards enhancing security across the nation.

”It will enable our security institutions to effectively deploy robotics, autonomous vehicles, augmented and virtual reality to address any security challenges that we face.”

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, during the launch opined that the 5G technology will greatly help in curbing insecurity in the nation.

Enumerating the goals of the 5G network national policy, the minister said it will secure the ecosystem and ensure protection of data with international standards. 

He added that the 5G network will open up opportunities to explore broad information to solve security issues in the country.

“The 5G Network will enhance transparency and economic development as its potential for job creation is unprecedented.

“It is viable platform for security institutions to leverage on, in tackling the security challenges that have bedevilled the country, by harnessing the potential of digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Robotics etc. which explore real-time information for maximum efficiency,” he said.

The federal government affirmed that it would continually make the country friendly for investors to successfully build their businesses.

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