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Case Studies

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Digital Ecosystems

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Financial Services

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Smart Cities and Transportation

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Articles tagged with: blockchain

David & Goliath Must Dance™ Lunch - Mobility & Transportation Ecosystem

Written by EntrepreneurCountry Global on Monday, 17 October 2016.

1. What is a David & Goliath Must Dance event ?

David & Goliath Must Dance events are hosted by EntrepreneurCountry Global in order to explore the challenges and opportunities faced by an industry that is transforming in real-time, into an ecosystem. We see Ecosystems as facilitators of future marketplaces. Ecosystems are like nature. EntrepreneurCountry Global sees its role as helping to organize the raw assets, the climate, the inhabitants, the settlements, the needs and the offerings so that sustainable economics emerge and successful businesses prosper. It is precisely because this ecosystem is a bit ambiguous that we are interested in it.

Plunkett Research believes that the global transportation sector brought in an impressive $4.6 trillion in revenues in 2015 and this market is set to grow further in the coming years as OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and digital start-ups try to make sense of the technological opportunities available to them. This market is expected to grow to reach nearly $150bn over the next four years especially with the advent of car and bike sharing platforms, connected cars and contactless travel.

A history and a calendar of these events are listed here.

2. Who

Alistair Crane – CEO of Hero™
Americo Lenza – Head of Global Consumer Innovation at Vodafone
Andrew Lee – Head of Market Intelligence and Analysis at Octo Telematics
Anthony Headlam – Chief Technology Officer at Jaguar Land Rover
Christian Varnholt – Head of App Factory at Volkswagen AG
Daniel Lai – Director for Global Engagement Platform at Nissan
Dr Geoff McGrath – Chief Innovation Officer at McLaren Applied Technologies
Johnaton Grech – Founder of Silex Group
Jonathan Raper – Co-Founder and CEO at TransportAPI
Mahmood Aziz – Senior Vice President Business Development at Xoriant
Mark Parsons – Chief Customer Officer at DHL Supply Chain, UK & Ireland
Neil Sunners – SVP Innovation & Chief Information Officer International at Avis Budget Group International
Nicolas Cary – Co-Founder & President at Blockchain
Paul Ostergaard – Founder of Norwood Systems
Sam Clark – Founder of Conjure
Tony Lynch – Co-Founder and CEO at Faxi Ltd
Amit Pau – Managing Director at Ariadne Capital
Ilona Simpson – CIO in Residence and Senior Advisor at Ariadne Capital

Highlights from our lunch featuring interviews.

 3. Key Quotes

We – at Ariadne Capital - entertained a vibrant and engaging set of discussions focused on business model innovation, the strategic value of data as well as the importance of building partnerships between Davids and Goliaths. These are the key quotes;

- “Subscription models work only if the product and/or service on offer is valuable.”
- “Subscription models have not materialised, there is a dichotomy between companies that have started with a subscription model such as Netflix for instance and those trying to enter this space.”
- “If you already know what is a good driver, then you can accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles.”
- “Customisation is key.”
- “New competition comes from software platforms as engineers become disintermediated”
- “Beyond connectivity, who owns the customer experience?”
- “We will probably move from contracts to micro payments in the future.”
- “There are endless possibilities with car functionalities, software can be tailored to the driver.”
- “The key in the mobility space is better integration and safer driving.”
- “Google and Apple are trying to commodify the mobility and transportation sector.”
- “There is no price comparison website for the mobility sector, that is what is missing.”
- “Digital natives and millenials have different expectations.”
- On the synergies between the transportation of goods and people “Freight does not need customer service.” – “There are three key elements in logistics: money, information and product – the first two are already digitised but the product is always the slowest part in the chain, it is key to remain flexible and adapt to the market evolutions.”
- “It would be great to get our hand our hands on the aggregated data our customers are sitting on.”
- “We cannot be wedded to a single OEM” – “Best stop arguing about who owns who, data sharing and partnerships are important to create a great user experience.”
- “Old companies can provide the infrastructure to the new business models.”
- “You do not want to commodify your assets.”
- “I believe digital identity will be one of the biggest trend in this next five years especially with the advancement of Blockchain technology. This will enable people to share their data with whoever they choose.”
- “Blockchain is a transactional platform that could solve traffic patterns amongst other things.” – “Connectivity and user experience is key.”
- “The app economy must be embraced but the Apples and Googles could supplant the OEMs in the future.”
- “It is essential to get people’s head around technological shifts such as autonomous vehicles, Uber, etc. because a number of them do not have a clue what is going on.” – “Hubs will be the places that people visit every day, the key will be how to utilise these hubs.”
- “Digital identity is relevant to multiple ecosystems.” – “Consumer trust is key.”
- “Collaboration is key but the challenge is the execution.”
- “We open our data to third parties and it is up to these companies to decide what to offer our customers, this would ensure that people remain loyal to our brand.”
- “Kodak made the first digital camera but did not know whether it will be commercially viable. We are looking into an abyss, five years ago we did not talk about customers, we dealt with dealerships but here we are so it would be fair to say that we do not know what change means.”
- “No one knows where the value is, Google and Apple are testing the waters just like the rest of us.”

4. What were the key learnings

- Business models are shifting because of connectivity thus referring back to core elements of Ecosystem Economics®, the need for business innovations and the importance of unit economics
- User experience is essential to ensure customer loyalty
- We are moving towards software-centric digital world
- It is not yet clear where the value is – all players are testing the waters focusing their effort on user experience
- Leveraging the strength of large partners while harnessing the innovative power of digital start-ups is important
- Collaboration and data harnessing could enable OEMs to enhance their value proposition
- Subscription as-a-service could a model worth exploring as car ownership is becoming a rarity

5. Ecosystem Economics®

An overview of Ecosystem Economics® can be found here.

The attendees of Mobility & Transportation Ecosystem discussed how Digital Enablers and Goliaths could generate supra profits by incentivising individuals, creating digital revenues, and partnering with Natural Allies.

6. Digital Ecosystems

EntrepreneurCountry Global is building Europe’s largest Ecosystem focused on the Mobility & Transportation sector with partners whose customers total in the billions. This ecosystem will grow further.

 We would like to invite you to become a Partner to the Mobility & Transportation Ecosystem. The Partnership will enable you to:

1. Understand how ecosystems are built by building one, and to develop your understanding of Ecosystem Economics® - the methodology for organising the economics of your ecosystem which has been adopted by leading firms, written about by leading academic institutions and presented to more than 500 Board rooms;
2. Identify and partner with Natural Allies - other Goliaths and Davids who are building leadership positions in the Mobility & Transportation arena;
3. Build a profile as a leader in this sector;
4. Have an early radar and dashboard for trends and insights in the Mobility & Transportation Ecosystem; and
5. Test Pilot Mobility & Transportation applications across the Ecosystem, not just inside your firm.

We are building a live digital ecosystem in the Mobility & Transportation; if you would like be involved, please send an email to We will be sending you weekly updates to inform you of developments in this ecosystem. Video interviews from the event will be broadcasted on our dedicated channel ECTV and posted on our Facebook page, which you are welcome to join.

Sign up for our 16th EntrepreneurCountry Forum in February 2017 at 8 Northumberland Avenue in Central London.

Economy 4.0: The Global Revolution and its 5 Disruptive Forces (part 3 of 7)

Written by Reinhold M. Karner on Wednesday, 05 October 2016.


Today, even the pace of innovation seems to be on its edge, with technology and society evolving at a faster pace than businesses can adjust to. This is challenging any leadership to ‘adapt or die.’

Smart phones, apps, digital media, photos and maps, social web, video games, the cloud, drones and robotics, accurate weather forecasts: these are just a few examples of life-changing things made possible by the exponential growth in the power of computer chips over the past five decades – Moore’s Law, named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore.

In 1965, Gordon Moore observed that transistors were shrinking so fast that every year, twice as many could fit onto a chip without increasing costs, and in 1975, adjusted the pace to a doubling every two years. Although it was originally not expected to remain valid till today, no one really knows when the theory will no longer apply. This constant doubling for nearly all digital electronics is strongly linked to Moore's law: quality-adjusted microprocessor prices, memory capacity, sensors and even the number and size of pixels in digital cameras, the speed of data transmission and its result into an avalanche of data generation. Eron Kelly from Microsoft predicted: "In the next five years, we’ll generate more data as humankind than we generated in the previous 5,000 years."

Referring to part 1 in this series, in which I spoke about the progress and results of constant doubling (where 30 exponential footsteps take you not just 30 meters but 26 trips around the world), we are – according to MIT’s professor Andrew McAfee, using 1958 as starting point where information technology was first noted by the U.S. BEA – at exponential footstep number 39. That would take us 13,750 times around the world – just to illustrate the staggering and exponential speed of development of this major disruptive force. We have certainly arrived at the digital age and its digital economy, with a vast and exponentially growing number of use-cases.

What we can learn from anthropologist Ian Morris’s research is that nothing has bent the curve of human history more than the first industrial revolution. For thousands of years, humanity experienced an incremental upward trajectory. It was steam power in the 18th century that started it all, followed by other technological innovations including mechanical engineering, chemistry, metallurgy, electricity and the combustion engine. Within 200 years, it had bent the curve of human history — of population and social development — nearly vertically. According to Morris, the ability to generate massive amounts of mechanical power was so important that it “made mockery of all the drama of the world’s earlier history.”

Prof. McAfee’s lesson is clear: computers and other digital advances are doing for mental power (the ability to use our brains to understand and shape our environments) what the steam engine and its descendants did for muscle power.

2015 was the year where digital business found its way into the enterprise. The digital transformation is disrupting industries, economies, jobs and lives faster than most people realise. This is not just about digital start-ups, it’s everyone in every industry! Global digital commerce now amounts to over a trillion euro annually, and in the private sector, nearly 25 per cent of revenue comes from digital – in five years it should be 40-45 per cent! As most analogue revenues flatten or even decline in many industries, businesses are shifting to a new source of growth: digital revenue from digital business, including the digitalisation of things.

Digital business is the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds, making it possible for a variety of industries to participate seamlessly within the same value stream process composed of people, businesses and things.

There is another speciality, a unique economic property of digital information: such information is non-rival, and it has close to zero marginal cost of reproduction. That means that digital information is not ‘used up’ when it gets used, and is often extremely cheap to create another copy of a digitised resource (such as ebooks and music), while only one person or thing can consume rival goods at a time.

Digital business will break down traditional barriers between industry segments, creating completely new value chains and new business opportunities that may not be filled by incumbent players. It will also challenge existing industry boundaries and the dominance of leading players, causing them to rethink their business. As the famous Canadian author and influential management thinker Don Tapscott states, “Digital Business is a new paradigm. Paradigm shifts involve dislocation, conflict, confusion and uncertainty. New paradigms are nearly always received with coolness, even mockery or hostility. Those with vested interests fight the change. The shift demands such a different view of things that established leaders are often last to be won over, if at all.”

To compete in a digital world, enterprises must digitalise their models, in which products, services, markets, channels and processes are transformed through digital technologies. Gartner Inc., the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, believes, “digital business is the essence of digitalisation as it disrupts existing business models — even those that were born of the Internet and e-business eras. Why? As the presence of the IoT (Internet of Things) grows, the things’ ability to generate new types of real-time information and to actively participate in an industry’s value stream will also grow.”

Practically everything (device/object) that can be instrumented (digitised/connected) will be. Every piece of equipment, anything of any value will have embedded sensors and be connected to the Internet. The Internet of Things (IoT) will happen without human users!

Cisco’s executive chairman and former CEO John Chambers said that 500 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2025. He sees a global $19-trillion ‘Internet of Everything (IoE)’ opportunity (that's the entire US economy plus some) – the networked connection of people, process, data and things — which is opening up new opportunities in both public and private sectors. Chambers is picking the next 10 years to be a period of ‘explosive growth’ not seen since the '90s glory days of the Internet. “This new digital age will have five to ten times the impact of the Internet today,” he says.

In 2016, investments in IoT hardware will exceed 2.3 million euros per minute. Within five years, one million new devices will come online every hour, leading to approximately 50 billion connected things in 2020.

Samsung’s Co-CEO BK Yoon made a strong statement: “the IoT is a huge game changer. The most important topic for our industry right now, something that will revolutionise our lives and unlock infinite possibilities. By 2020 every single piece of Samsung hardware will be an IoT device, whether it is an air purifier or an oven.”

And it isn’t just their competitors that will follow suit. The manufacturing industry is where the future of Industry 4.0 facilitates the vision and execution of a Smart Factory, where modular, structured, cyber-physical systems will monitor IoT physical processes, creating a virtual copy of the physical world and making decentralised decisions.

3D-printing as new additive manufacturing and Industry 4.0 will widely change the way production and logistics are carried out. 3D-printers which create high-value innovation opportunities using advanced materials will soon be able to simultaneously print multiple materials such as plastics, calcium phosphate, graphene, conductive ink, glass, advance nickel alloys, electronics, food, bio-inks, pharmaceuticals, carbon fibre, kevlar and fiberglass. This will offer you a personal factory at your office or home, and a wide new era of inventions.

But we should also consider – although this might sound like science fiction to many – that as ‘things’ become more intelligent, they will become independent and autonomous businesses that buy and sell as people — with rights and responsibilities — just as corporate entities are today. Things that can receive information, negotiate, buy and request service represent new customer opportunities for all industries. When things become ‘people’ and customers, they’d have the greatest impact on supply chain, distribution networks and existing sales models.

That’s a lot of interconnections – creating billions of new relationships not driven solely by data but by algorithms. The Algorithmic Business is already here: interconnections, relationships and algorithms are defining the future of business. The Internet of Things will be the catalyst for a new age of algorithms. The arising algorithmic economy will include businesses that are key for creating highly beneficial data products.

But it’s vital to understand that the real value is not in big data, as Peter Sondergaard, Senior VP and head of research at Gartner Inc. puts it: “Data is inherently dumb, it doesn't actually do anything unless you know how to use it, and how to act with it. The real value is not in big data but in algorithms, as they define action.”

Dynamic algorithms are at the core of new customer interactions. In the future, algorithms – all encoded in software – will define the way most of our world will work. Using a set of rules to follow in making ‘computations’ is how today's leading websites and services work their magic. Agents and virtual personal assistants are becoming real: Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s new virtual assistant tool Google Assistant are just the early prototypes. So, the post-app era is coming!

Agents enabled by algorithms define the post-app era. A market for algorithms will soon emerge. By 2020, smart agents will facilitate 40 per cent of interactions, so many users will even have forgotten about apps. Instead, they will rely on virtual assistants – algorithms in the cloud – that they trust.

The furious pace of technological adoption and innovation is shortening the life cycle of companies and forcing executives to make decisions and commit resources much more quickly. Leaders in business, politics and society should adjust to this new reality.

But there is another interesting ‘thing’ one should have on their radar in this infinite array of new technologies and innovations: Blockchains. It’s the outstanding technology most likely to change the next decade of business. Today, Blockchain is the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

The Blockchain technology is itself complex, and another example of the unexpected fruits of cryptography, but based on a simple idea. At its most basic, Blockchain is a gigantic, worldwide distributed ledger or database running on millions of devices and open to anyone, where not just information but – and that is its new nature – anything of value, like money, titles, deeds, music, art, scientific discoveries, intellectual property, and even votes, can be moved and stored privately and securely. That means Blockchain is a trust machine, a trust protocol – the second wave of the Internet!

Blockchain is at its core powerful for one reason: it solves the problem of proving that when someone sends you a digital ‘something’, they didn’t keep a copy for themselves, or send it to 20 other people. Their respective computers regularly agree on how to update the database using a consensus mechanism, after which the modifications they have settled on are rendered unchangeable with the help of complex cryptography. Once information has been immortalised in this way, it can be used as proof of ownership. Maintaining this type of ledger of goods and services is a remarkably important aspect of global economics.

Blockchain could for instance even help to cut electricity bills, research suggests. A Blockchain-based smart plug that can adjust power consumption minute-by-minute has been created by technologists at Accenture. In the future, ownerless companies could be based and run on the Blockchain.

On the Blockchain, trust is established not by powerful intermediaries like banks, corporations or governments, but through mass collaboration and a clever code. Blockchains ensure integrity and trust between strangers. The Blockchain can also serve as the underpinning for ‘smart contracts’ – algorithms that, for example, automatically execute the promises embedded in a bond.

As Harvard Business Review quotes, “it’s the first native digital medium for value, just as the Internet was the first native digital medium for information. And this has big implications for business and the corporation.”

It is easy to see why bankers get excited about distributed ledgers. Instead of having to keep track of their assets in separate databases, as financial firms do now, they can share one. Trades can be settled almost instantly, without the need for lots of intermediaries. As a result, less capital is tied up during a transaction, the risk will be reduced immensely and the cost of transactions will become negligible. More than 40 leading banks already have a stake in R3 CEV, a start-up meant to come up with shared standards. Similarly, firms including IBM and Digital Asset Holdings have started the Open Ledger Project to develop open-source Blockchain software.

Like the Internet democratised the exchange of information, transforming entire industries in the process, the Blockchain could democratise the exchange of value – a concept with staggering possibilities.

However, one can keep writing about this major disruptive force, going into the implications of autonomous cars, digital healthcare, and the next phase of mobility whereby most of us will use a mesh of mobile devices and wearables on our bodies and so on. So I’d like to refer to one last – but important – topic, from an unusual or perhaps unpopular perspective: robots, drones, smart machines and artificial intelligence.

As long as these technologies are supporting us in a fruitful way, we should be fine. But as we enter into a ‘conflict of interest’ zone between humans and machines, we should think twice, decide and regulate it in a wise way. We need to get this right, it’s unlikely that we’ll get a second chance without massive collateral damage – if any at all – if we get it wrong.

A worrying development is that by 2025, computers could do the work of 140 million knowledge workers, and robots could do the work of another 75 million people. There will still be high demand for skilled positions and many totally new professions will be created, yet we’ll eradicate much more jobs than create new ones.

And the aim can’t be to either expect or everybody to acquire an IQ of over 120, to make up nations of poets, thinkers and Einsteins, or for everyone to be a manager or top-qualified scientist, or to create a ‘useless class of humans’ who are paid a basic income and are allowed to ‘enjoy’ fun and leisure. This would be dead wrong and off track. We all have countless talents, and not everyone will, should or could become an academic. But to have a decent and rewarding job, the freedom and opportunity to enjoy an interesting career and be respected regardless of talent or position is key for us all, for our personal development and a peaceful coexistence – now and for many generations and centuries to come!

In the next parts of this series, Reinhold Karner will tackle the other three disruptive forces, and conclusions and recommendations will follow. 

What Banks Are Learning from Bitcoin

Written by Credit Suisse on Tuesday, 14 June 2016.

blockchainWhat does Bitcoin have to do with banks? Maybe more than you think. Thirty major banks are exploring how they can use the technology that powers the cryptocurrency to make financial transactions cheaper, faster, and safer. Called blockchain, the technology relies on what is known as a distributed ledger—transaction records are kept in a decentralized database spread across networks of computers instead of in one central location. Each computer in the network is required to approve new transactions, using cryptography to ensure that sales and purchases are legitimate. It would be extremely difficult – some would say impossible – to tamper with previously recorded transactions, and the bank staff using the network can see every single sale and purchase that has ever taken place. What’s more, transactions take place directly between buyers and sellers, with no need for middlemen to clear the deal. As Dan O’Prey, Chief Marketing Officer for Digital Asset Holdings, put it at Credit Suisse’s Emerging Markets Leadership Forum in San Francisco: “It’s a unified record of the truth.” Digital Asset Holdings is helping banks create tools that use blockchain technology to trade assets such as syndicated loans and bonds, some of which are expected to go live this year.

Rethinking Banking

Written by Credit Suisse on Wednesday, 20 April 2016.

1460557301131.2Thousands of new business models are sprouting up in the finance industry; investors are betting billions on the Fintech scene. While it may be surprising at first glance, traditional banks are among those profiting from this transformation.

Jamie Finn’s insights on the Venture Capital market disparities between Europe and America

Written by Glede Jung on Thursday, 17 December 2015.

Jamie Finn is an experienced angel investor and M&A adviser who has participated in over $500 million worth of transactions including Kontera, Jajah, Tokbox, RingRing Media and Zingy. He has also successfully launched new products and businesses in Germany, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, the United Kingdom and America. This all-rounder has taken a short break from his day job as AT&T’s AVP Big Data Product Innovation to delve into the world of venture capital (VC) shedding lights on the differences between Europe and North America.