Record U.S. tariff award over Airbus aid could fuel trade tensions

Reuters | September 30, 2019

Transatlantic trade ties face renewed disruption this week when global arbiters are expected to grant the United States a record award allowing it to hit European imports with billions of dollars of tariffs in a long-running aircraft subsidy dispute. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has found that both European planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA) and its U.S. rival Boeing (BA.N) received billions of dollars of illegal subsidies in a pair of cases that have run for 15 years. Both sides have threatened tariffs after the Geneva body found neither adhered fully to its findings. However, the United States has a head start, with the European Union having to wait until early in 2020 to hear what level of retaliation it can exact over Boeing.

Spotlight

The aim of the workshops is to create awareness, enhance knowledge and develop relevant skills in electoral and governance processes and leadership among participants, in order for them to effectively communicate and apply them in influencing and mobilizing other youth to actively participate in the processes and other community and national development activities.

Spotlight

The aim of the workshops is to create awareness, enhance knowledge and develop relevant skills in electoral and governance processes and leadership among participants, in order for them to effectively communicate and apply them in influencing and mobilizing other youth to actively participate in the processes and other community and national development activities.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

British public to receive the opportunity to invest directly in advanced self-driving technology on the roads today

Academy of Robotics | March 16, 2022

Academy of Robotics, a high-growth British autonomous vehicle and robotic technology company, announces it has launched its pre-series A fundraising which will be accessible to all individuals. The fundraise will provide an opportunity for professional and retail investors to participate in pioneering autonomous technology that has a proven application in last-mile logistics and to invest in a company which already has a fully-licensed, custom-built autonomous vehicle (AV) on the roads in the UK. Academy of Robotics developed its first AV, the Kar-go Delivery Bot, using proceeds from an initial crowdfunding round in 2017. The company successfully proved its complete self-driving delivery technology in road trials with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in September 2021. The trials focused on last-mile airbase logistics, supporting RAF personnel by using the Kar-go Delivery Bot to run delivery errands around the UK's largest airbase at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire. As part of the company's current £20 million investment round, Academy of Robotics has already secured a £1 million investment and, in April 2021, it received a further £1 million in match-funding through the UK government's Future Fund scheme. The scheme (which has now closed for applications) aims to support UK-based companies, subject to at least equal match-funding from private investors. With the first £2 million secured, the company has now allocated at least £1 million of its total £20 million pre-series A fundraise to retail investors using Crowdcube's nominee service. Academy of Robotics is the first British autonomous vehicle company to launch a pre-series A fundraise on Crowdcube at this stage of proven development, based on data provided by Beauhurst and Crowdcube. The pre-series A funding will be used to scale-up production of its electric AV technology, which will facilitate opportunities for retail investors to directly benefit from the company's growth and accelerated expansion. This includes Academy of Robotics opening a new factory and test-track facility in a rural location in the East of England, which will create at least 100 new jobs by 2023, including skilled work and technological development opportunities. Having achieved so much since our last fundraise, we are excited to launch our next round, offering the community of individual investors a chance to participate in the high-growth autonomous vehicle and robotic technology space in the UK. As we support the UK competing for its rightful share of the global AV sector, we can, at the same time, alleviate some of society's challenges, including supply chain pressures and air pollution.” William Sachiti, CEO and Founder of Academy of Robotics "The UK government's Future Fund investment has provided us with a valuable funding injection following a challenging couple of years for high-growth technology start-ups, which will allow us to make the critical investments we need to scale to the next level at pace and stay ahead in this highly competitive, fast-moving autonomous vehicle space." Kar-go was first manufactured in partnership with a classic-car specialist in West Sussex and in collaboration with a British former F1 car designer. This demonstrates the talent that exists within the British automotive industry and its willingness to combine with British expertise in AI technology. Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone said: "The UK is a world leader in the development of automated vehicles and we are working closely with industry to ensure we remain one of the best locations in the world for automotive innovation, providing jobs across the country. Today's announcement demonstrates our commitment to encouraging the growth of high potential British technology companies, and I look forward to seeing Academy of Robotics go from strength to strength as we build back better." William Sachiti commented: "The UK has been a great environment to develop our innovative, autonomous robotic technology. The supportive regulatory environment means that with the approval of one body – the DVLA – we can test our vehicles across the UK, which has seen us already successfully trialling Kar-go in diverse, real-life road conditions. The UK's well-established crowdfunding scene means we have largely developed as a community-funded enterprise, which is so important for responsible innovation in the AV sector rather than face pressures to 'move fast and break things'." Alongside its core focus on last mile logistics, Academy of Robotics recognises other use cases where its vision and robotic technology can solve wider challenges for the UK, if not globally. The Kar-go Delivery Bots have been certified as roadworthy by the DVLA. Having commenced trials on UK roads (in Hounslow) in November 2020, Academy of Robotics has since expanded its trials to include Surrey and South London. In the first Hounslow road trials, the company used its contact-free self-driving technology to deliver medicines during the pandemic and Academy of Robotics is now working on further developments in medical logistics. About the Future Fund The Future Fund was established to support the UK's innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The Future Fund, now closed to new applications, provides eligible companies with convertible loans, on the condition that private investors at least match the government's commitment. The convertible loans are designed to convert into equity at the next qualifying funding round. The Future Fund is developed by the government and delivered by the British Business Bank. About Academy of Robotics Academy of Robotics is a technology company which specialises in R&D to create technology to perform or simplify complex tasks. Combining the best techniques from machine learning and mechatronics, Academy of Robotics builds powerful self-adapting machines and task specific artificially intelligent software. The team of leading engineers, scientists, and researchers were the first company to build and deploy a custom-built self-driving car and operating system on the roads in the UK. The project is known as Kar-go. CEO, serial entrepreneur, William Sachiti set up the company in 2017 together with Dr. Elio Tuci as well as lead engineer Dr Aparajit Narayan when they met at Aberystwyth University, the home of the team who developed the intelligent vision system for the autonomous Mars rover. Prior to enrolling at Aberystwyth, William Sachiti had already successfully exited two businesses to major brands, including Secret Escapes. William was named "Disruptor of the Year" in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards this year.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Talkdesk Transforms Government Benefits Program Delivery

Talkdesk | October 04, 2021

Talkdesk Inc., the global customer experience leader for customer-obsessed companies, announced the launch of Talkdesk Citizen Engagement, an end-to-end customer experience (CX) solution that provides a better way for government agencies to administer benefits, communicate with applicants and recipients, and modernize their contact center operations. While different in many ways from private sector organizations, government entities are subject to the same consumer demands of today’s digital age, where fast, frictionless, and intelligent interactions have become expected in all areas of life. Whether grocery shopping, buying insurance, visiting the doctor, or applying for government benefits, the CX stakes have never been higher. This is especially true for government agencies, as citizens rely on them during crises and for assistance with vital services. In fact, many U.S. states and municipalities reported record-breaking interaction volumes last year as their crisis services hotlines were inundated with citizen inquiries related to the pandemic. Designed with that in mind, Citizen Engagement offers a well-timed solution for helping state and local governments alleviate common pain points associated with supporting key programs like Medicaid, unemployment insurance, SNAP, housing assistance, and more. The solution streamlines and simplifies the benefits process, giving government organizations the capabilities they need to deliver the service citizens want. Solution highlights include: Improved access – Enables citizens to easily find program information, understand how to apply, fulfill eligibility requirements, and obtain application assistance on the communication channel of choice. Bots, multi-language features, and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered self-guided options further simplify the program enrollment process and accelerate access to benefits. Reduced inbound call volumes – Proactively notifies applicants throughout the enrollment and benefits disbursement journey to reduce citizen effort, status check inquiries, and inbound call volumes. Complex inquiries can be seamlessly transitioned to the right live agent without long hold times. Systems of record and identification tools can also be effortlessly integrated for fast verification. Modernized contact center operations – Allows operations to adapt to evolving program requirements and scale as necessary to meet fluctuating demands without the need for complicated coding or overloading IT resources. The solution’s AI-infused capabilities also make agent onboarding and ongoing training more efficient, empowering agents with suggested next best actions in real-time. “The pandemic and recent disaster relief efforts placed added pressure on state and local government agencies, which were already burdened by disparate, legacy systems. Recognizing yesterday’s technology can’t meet the demands of today, these organizations are now reenvisioning the contact center and prioritizing CX. Talkdesk Citizen Engagement helps put them on the path to modernization, giving them a better way to support social service delivery and foster greater trust and transparency.” John Bastin, vice president, industry strategy - public sector, Talkdesk The Citizen Engagement solution is compliant with Section 508, which requires federal, state, and local agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Citizen Engagement is part of a portfolio of Talkdesk products and solutions tailored to meet industry-specific needs, enabling enterprises and government organizations to unlock the promise and potential of great customer experiences. In addition to the introduction of Citizen Engagement, the company also just announced Talkdesk Insurance Smart Service. Learn more about the full range of Talkdesk contact center solutions. About Talkdesk Talkdesk® is a global customer experience leader for customer-obsessed companies. Our contact center solution provides a better way for businesses and customers to engage with one another. Our speed of innovation and global footprint reflect our commitment to ensure businesses everywhere can deliver better customer experiences through any channel, resulting in higher customer satisfaction, cost savings and profitability. Talkdesk CX Cloud™ is an end-to-end customer experience solution that combines enterprise scale with consumer simplicity. Over 1,800 innovative companies around the world, including IBM, Acxiom, Trivago, and Fujitsu partner with Talkdesk to deliver a better way to great customer experience.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Siemens Government Technologies Helps Corpus Christi Army Depot Achieve Its Energy Efficiency and Savings Goals

Siemens Government Technologies | May 27, 2022

Siemens Government Technologies (SGT), Inc., Siemens' federally focused U.S. affiliate, is extending crucial energy efficiency and resiliency work at the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) in Texas. The new $17.1 million task order will achieve Army efficiency and resiliency goals for its premier rotary wing and repair facility thanks to a budget neutral task order given by the Army Corps of Engineers' Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville. Siemens has been assisting CCAD with energy efficiency and resiliency initiatives since 2015. Critical infrastructure enhancements have been scoped to return the largest energy savings at the lowest feasible cost to the government, which they credit to the close collaboration with Army project engineers. Siemens has been able to provide more than $93 million in energy conservation measures compensated for by the decrease in baseline utility costs over the contract duration by leveraging energy savings performance contracts — where energy efficiency initiatives are completely financed with minimal upfront investment. We’ve been fortunate to serve CCAD with essential smart infrastructure and energy-efficient systems that support their national security mission. By providing these critical upgrades that expand overall efficiency for smart energy management, the Army CCAD team can maintain its focus on their core mission of critical repair and refurbishment of rotary wing assets here at home and around the world.” John Ustica, Interim CEO of Siemens Government Technologies The present task order covers seven buildings with a total square footage of more than 1.5 million square feet. The project team, led by SGT, will replace existing stream traps, install point-of-use pressure washers to eliminate single pass steam, replace hot water boilers with high efficiency boilers, and replace hot water pumps with high efficiency variable volume pumps to reduce single pass steam. High-efficiency chillers will be installed in place of air-cooled chillers, and new local controls will enable remote monitoring and warning for more efficient operation. Existing interior and exterior fixtures will be replaced or retrofitted with LED technology as part of the lighting upgrades. The project team will enhance existing SCADA systems to monitor and manage existing furnaces and freezers, as well as implement a new SCADA system, to reduce overall parts scrap rate, labor, and cycle time.

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