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Ericsson CEO Warns Of Chinese 6G Domination, UK Restructures Data Policy, Smartwatch Market Growth – Tech Weekly

Here is the overview of the most important news headline from the past week. We look at an innovative network that can potentially solve synthetic identity fraud, key challenges for SMEs going digital, an Indonesian BNPL giant expanding, USD stablecoin used for disaster relief, data policy restructuring in the United Kingdom, eye test that can detect Alzheimer’s risk, FDA approval of the first nerve stimulation device meant for stroke patients, Ericsson CEO warning about China’s domination in 6G, and big growth for the global smartwatch market. 

Fiverity Launches A Network That Will Combat Synthetic Identity Fraud

FiVerity, the cyber fraud defense startup, has just launched an innovative network that can effectively combat synthetic identity fraud. Cyber Fraud Network is targeting financial institutions, law enforcement specialists, and regulators with its collaborative system that allows for a secure exchange of intelligence on suspected fraudsters. The network is based on sophisticated AI and ML solutions and is able to detect high-level cyber fraud and threats to financial institutions and law enforcement agencies. 

The Federal Reserve wrote in its Payment Fraud 2020 paper, “No single organization can stop synthetic identity fraud on its own. Fraudster tactics continually evolve to stay a step ahead of detection – and the most sophisticated fraudsters can operate at scale in organized crime rings, generating significant losses for the payments industry. It is imperative that payments industry stakeholders work together, share information and keep up with the threat.”

Accessing the Cyber Fraud Network is straightforward and can be done by a simple API integration. It significantly increases the defense of the institutions and teaches them how to identify fraud patterns. 

“Financial institutions – from the smallest community bank to the largest global lender – all understand the severity of the cyber fraud problem,” said Greg Woolf, CEO of FiVerity. “Until now, they’ve been uncertain about what information they can share without violating privacy regulations or other security rules. Many also worry about giving up a competitive advantage when sharing customer data. FiVerity’s Cyber Fraud Network was created to solve these problems and give financial institutions the tools they need to share information without violating their customers’ privacy.”

FintechOS Describes The Key Challenges For SMEs While Moving Digital

The newest report published by the tech provider for financial institutions, FintechOS, reveals some interesting facts about SMEs going digital. The key points include the statement that almost half of SME bankers claim the average time for an SME approval is more than one week. Moreover, the report shows that payments are the biggest competition in the sector, followed by loan products and overdrafts. At the same time, loans are presenting the biggest growth opportunity for SME banks. The report also revealed that one of the main challenges is the absence of adequate IT tools. One of the main consequences of the lack of good IT tools is a limited offering, with the majority of SMEs being offered standardized products. 

“Specialists are targeting specific segments like the SME market and financial services are becoming increasingly embedded into other products through partnerships and APIs. This results in banks becoming one step further removed from their customer base,” says Teodor Blidarus, CEO and Co-Founder, at FintechOS. “To compete on the same level as fintechs, they need to leverage a partner that can support them to deliver personalized products, fully digital customer journeys, and platforms that can support their ideas around innovation. Only then can SME banks confidently walk a clear and controlled path to a digital future, where they can bring new products and services to market that are more customer-centric, data-driven and faster to deploy.”

Indonesian BNPL Giant Enters Vietnamese Market 

The BNPL giant that became hugely successful in Indonesia, Kredivo, has just expanded its operations to Vietnam. The expansion happened through a Joint Venture with the investment office Phoenix Holding. The BNPL fintech will be collaborating with the VietCredit Joint Stock Company and its core products will be launched across several stages. The first services offered to the customers in Vietnam will include consumer payments and personal loans, set to launch at the end of this year. 

Vietnam marks a great opportunity for Kredivo as only 4.1% of the Vietnamese population currently holds a credit card and the market holds big opportunities for newcomers. 

Valery Crottaz, chief operating officer at Kredivo, says, “the launch of Kredivo in Vietnam, our first market outside of Indonesia, is another key achievement and milestone for the business this year. Vietnam came as a logical choice given the low penetration of credit cards in the country and a rapidly growing middle class; the fast-growing e-commerce market; and the similarities in the demographic and consumption patterns to Indonesia.’’

Nguyen Lan Trung Anh, CEO of Phoenix Holdings, adds: “Kredivo and Phoenix share a mutual vision of financial inclusion and access. Together we want to make credit and financial services more easily available to those who qualify for and need them. In Vietnam, with a golden generation that is upwardly mobile and digital native, our services like Buy Now Pay Later will cater to consumer needs where other credit services come with unreasonably high barriers. As in other markets, we believe BNPL will unlock and catalyze another important growth stage of the Vietnam economy.”

Aid:Tech Will Use Circle And USD Coin For Anti-Fraud Disaster Relief

AID:Tech, a fintech that focuses on federal relief distribution will start utilizing Circle payments solution and digital dollar stablecoin, USD Coin to ensure secure and efficient operations. AID:Tech is the first company that ever delivered international aid using blockchain. Since 2015 when that milestone was reached, the startup has collaborated with a series of large international organizations. 

Jeremy Allaire, co-founder, and CEO of Circle says: “Collaborating with AID:Tech to power the delivery of relief pay-outs via USD Coin to people impacted by natural disasters and helping connect underserved individuals to financial means is extraordinarily rewarding. It’s the application of the mission we set out to accomplish when we started our journey with Circle.”

Joseph Thompson, co-founder and CEO of AID:Tech adds: “AID:Tech’s work with Circle accelerates our ability to deliver seamless, transparent payments transactions between humanitarian organizations, merchants and people requiring fast access to funds. In the wake of a disaster, money matters, and timing is everything. This collaboration gives AID:Tech an opportunity to make a meaningful impact when people need it most.”

UK Is Restructuring Its Data Policy And The Question Of Innovation Resurfaces 

Oliver Dowden, the UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, has announced that the United Kingdom will be restructuring its data policy, with a brand new ‘data adequacy’ partnership. The new UK Information Commissioner John Edwards will be responsible for changing the current data practices in the post-Brexit environment. 

It was announced that the UK will partner with the US, Australia, and the Republic of Korea. Edwards is also in the process of discussing data adequacy collaboration with Singapore, the Dubai International Finance Centre, and Colombia. India, Brazil, Kenya, and Indonesia are also considered.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Now that we have left the EU I’m determined to seize the opportunity by developing a world-leading data policy that will deliver a Brexit dividend for individuals and businesses across the UK. That means seeking exciting new international data partnerships with some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, for the benefit of British firms and British customers alike.”

“It means reforming our own data laws so that they’re based on common sense, not box-ticking. And it means having the leadership in place at the Information Commissioner’s Office to pursue a new era of data-driven growth and innovation. John Edwards’s vast experience makes him the ideal candidate to ensure data is used responsibly to achieve those goals,” he added.

Speaking to The Guardian, Eduardo Ustaran, co-head of the global privacy and cybersecurity practice at Hogan Lovells, highlights that: “The UK is starting to show that there is room for diversion from EU data protection law whilst still retaining the GDPR as a framework. What this means in practice is that the way in which international data flows are approached is not identical to the way the same data flows are treated in the EU, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the protection is going away.

“What the UK government is testing is our ability to recognize that the protection of personal data around the world comes in different shapes and forms, but can still be effective. The appointment of John Edwards as the next information commissioner is a vote for no-nonsense and pragmatism for the future of data protection regulation,” Ustaran continues.

UCSD Researchers Find A Potential Eye Test For Alzheimer’s 

Scientists working at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) found out that amyloid plaques in the eye retinas could indicate the same amyloid plaques in the brain, something that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, with that finding, a potential for diagnosing Alzheimer’s through an eye test becomes a reality. After the UCSD team made the discovery, the hope is that their finding will be a visible biomarker for detecting risk for the disease. The research was published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

“This was a small initial dataset from the screening visit,” said Robert Rissman, senior author of the study and professor of neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the Biomarker Core for the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at UC San Diego. “It involved eight patients. But these findings are encouraging because they suggest it may be possible to determine the onset, spread, and morphology of AD — a preclinical diagnosis — using retinal imaging, rather than more difficult and costly brain scans. We look forward to seeing the results of additional timepoint retinal scans and the impact of solanezumab (a monoclonal antibody) on retinal imaging. Unfortunately, we will need to wait and see and analyze these data when the A4 trial is completed.”

FDA Approves First Nerve Stimulation Device That Helps Stroke Patients 

The FDA came with a big announcement, it just approved a nerve stimulation device that is supposed to help stroke patients regain control of their arms and hands. The Vivistim device that was developed by MicroTransporter targets the vagus nerves of the body, Its electrical pulses support the brain is responding to the body’s motor signals. 

“People who have lost mobility in their hands and arms due to ischemic stroke are often limited in their treatment options for regaining motor function,” Christopher Loftus, M.D., acting director of the FDA’s Office of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices, said in an agency statement. “Today’s approval of the Vivistim Paired VNS System offers the first stroke rehabilitation option using vagus nerve stimulation.”

The device includes a tiny pulse generator that would be placed under the skin, with electrodes connected to the vagus nerve on the side of the neck. 

Ericsson CEO Warns Of Chinese Domination In 6G 

Börje Ekholm, CEO of the Swedish telecom giant Ericsson has recently spoken out about 6G and voice his concerns for China’s domination if the country develops its own 6G standard. Ekholm told Light Reading in an exclusive interview that, “If the tech world is fragmented East and West then it is going to mean competition between two ecosystems,”.

 “A Chinese ecosystem will be formidable competition for the West. It concerns me that end-users – customers and enterprises – will feel it in their mobile experience,” he continues. 

The US restrictions on Chinese telecoms that were widely reported since 2020 are making it hard for Western companies in terms of collaborating with China. Thus, due to the challenges connected to partnering on standards developments, there is a belief that China will keep the findings from R&D to themselves and develop its own standards. 

“I am less worried about Ericsson in that scenario,” said Ekholm. “Ericsson can survive. Ericsson can work there. But will the technology ecosystem in the West be large enough or are we going to suffer from technology developments and productivity developments? That is the big question.” It certainly is, especially when you consider how much we’ve spent on things like Covid lockdowns and foreign interventions. Developing a coherent global strategy on 6G development needs to be a high priority now that other distractions are slowly resolving themselves.

Smartwatch Market With A Huge Growth As Shown By The Q2 Data 

The latest Q2 data show significant growth for the smartwatch market globally. As compared to the Q2 of 2020, the sector has grown by 27%. While Apple keeps its position as a leader, with a 28% of market share, Samsung is gradually gaining its fair market share, with Garmin surprisingly coming in as a key player too.

“Looking at the success of Apple Watch, more OEMs have entered the smartwatch market with a relatively less advanced OS but comparable fitness and health-related features, and stylish designs at affordable prices targeting hundreds of millions of potential users globally,” said Sujeong Lim of Counterpoint. “The pandemic has further pushed consumers towards being more health-conscious and features such as SPO2 and heart rate monitoring have trickled down to the sub-$100 smartwatch segment. The sub-$100 smartwatch segment grew a massive 547% annually, highlighting its mass-market reach.”

“The smartwatch attach-rates for smartphones have been steadily rising,” said Lim. “Apple’s ecosystem is seeing a greater attach rate as the brand continues to bake in attractive designs, health features, and related services around it. Apple Watch’s user base crossed the 100-million mark for the first time during the quarter ended June, capturing the lion’s share of the smartwatch user base globally. The US continues to be the key Apple Watch market, contributing to more than half of its user base, with an attach rate of close to 30%.”

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