UK government seeks views on proposed plastic packaging tax

FoodBev Media Ltd | February 19, 2019

The UK government has launched consultations on the introduction of new plastic packaging taxes and tougher rules for packaging producers, in a move towards a more circular economy. Building on commitments made in the Resources and Waste Strategy published in December, new plans will see the costs of recycling borne by those that produce packaging waste. It is estimated that packaging producers pay “around 10%” of the cost of dealing with packaging waste. By increasing that to cover the full amount, the government aims to incentivise producers to think carefully about using less packaging, and to switch to using packaging that is easier to recycle. Last October, the government announced that from April 2022 it would introduce a new tax on the production and import of plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content, subject to consultation.

Spotlight

The cloud is changing the way government operates. It is enabling agencies to move away from traditional, on-premises IT models to a more modern, cloud-based approach. This shift is not only improving efficiency and reducing costs, but it is also helping agencies to better serve the public.

Spotlight

The cloud is changing the way government operates. It is enabling agencies to move away from traditional, on-premises IT models to a more modern, cloud-based approach. This shift is not only improving efficiency and reducing costs, but it is also helping agencies to better serve the public.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

Healthy Together and Florida Department of Health Win at ATARC's GITEC Emerging Technology Awards

Healthy Together | December 14, 2022

On December 6th, the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center (ATARC) awarded Healthy Together and the State of Florida's Department of Health (FDOH) with a Digital Experience Award at their 2022 GITEC Emerging Technology Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C. The annual ceremony recognizes government initiatives that have made significant contributions in the advancement and implementation of technology innovations. The Digital Experience Award spotlights government projects that promote exceptional citizen service experiences through the use of technology. ATARC nominates organizations that have radically improved the experience of government and pushed the boundaries to build customer-centric human connections in our digital world. "We are incredibly proud to have our partnership with FDOH recognized by ATARC. The Digital Experience Award is a powerful validation of the impact we were able to have and our mission to improve collective health and make government more efficient. We are excited to continue to innovate and modernize resident access to government services with our technology." -Jared Allgood, President of Healthy Together. While awardees typically come from federal agencies, FDOH was selected because of the widespread success of its roll-out of the Healthy Together mobile platform in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other 2022 winners include NASA, the Department of Veterans Affairs, ATF, GSA, the U.S. Army and the Marine Forces Cyber Command. About the Project: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Florida Department of Health, Division of Disease Control engaged Healthy Together and its cloud-based SaaS Disease Management Platform to support case investigators, deliver timely test results to residents, and automate case investigation processes. With a population of over 21M residents, manual processes at labs and testing providers coupled with heavy demand for testing created significant delays in the time to deliver diagnostic results. Due to the rising number of cases, FDOH sought solutions to scale the response to resident and departmental needs. The Florida Department of Health partnered with Healthy Together to deploy a case management system and mobile application to deliver real-time test results to residents. Through the application, FDOH was able to successfully deliver over 30M diagnostic results to state residents. As part of the deployment, Healthy Together built and implemented a self-serve, digital case interview based on CDC guidelines and FDOH standards to assist in case investigation. Over 90% of self-serve case interviews were completed within 1 hour of receipt of a positive test result, a staggering 10x increase in speed to deliver services with more contacts elicited than traditional manual methods. Data captured by the digital case interviews was fed to its auto-scaling AWS hosted case management software that automated data analysis, decreased manual processes and reduced the need for additional hiring. Over the course of the partnership, more than 50% of Florida households utilized Healthy Together's services. Healthy Together has since partnered to help additional states, counties, and tribes to scale and automate other government processes such as Medicaid, SNAP and TANF eligibility, enrollment, & renewal, WIC program management, and behavioral health systems. About Healthy Together: Healthy Together is a health technology company that builds SaaS technology for government, education and enterprise. Their technology aids in areas such as disease surveillance, behavioral health management and benefit enrollment for programs like Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and WIC. Healthy Together's mobile application has reached #1 in the App Store Health & Fitness category and has over 225k reviews on the App Store and Play Store with a 4.9/5 star rating.

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CYBERSECURITY

WalkMe Joins UK Government's G-Cloud Digital Marketplace

WalkMe | November 09, 2022

WalkMe Ltd. (NASDAQ: WKME), a leading provider of digital adoption solutions, today announced its approval to join the G-Cloud Digital Marketplace by the Crown Commercial Service of the UK government. WalkMe is now a part of the G-Cloud 13 initiative, a centralized hub for the streamlined procurement of cloud-related IT services and technologies by public sector organizations such as central and local governments, non-profit organizations, education, defense, and emergency and health services. The G-Cloud Marketplace reduces the complex requirements to purchase IT by centralizing the vendor qualification process. There is an urgent need to deliver more and better services quicker with tighter budgets in the National Healthcare Service (NHS) and across the British government. WalkMe's digital adoption platform (DAP) provides customised on screen guidance and automation to realise the promise of digital technology while improving the employee and end user experience as well as overall programme efficiency. WalkMe's DAP not only increases the adoption of digital technologies, but also levels the playing field for citizens with varying degrees of digital dexterity making for more equitable access to government services. The platform can identify usage inefficiencies so that solutions can be deployed to improve adoption and overall user experience while providing unprecedented data insights to continuously improve. Improving the adoption of digital technologies in the public sector will make services more accessible, reduce pressure on contact centers as end users opt for on screen help and automation, and lower staff attrition as employees can use their digital tools more easily and efficiently. "We are honored to join the G-Cloud Digital Marketplace and do our part to strengthen government-citizen relationships through enhanced user experience and accessibility, We look forward to playing a role in the improvement of the digital citizen experience across the UK and to discover the innovative ways public sector organizations will use WalkMe technology to drive efficiency, save money, and elevate the experience for end users across the board." -Simon Blunn, Senior Vice President & General Manager EMEA, WalkMe. About WalkMe: WalkMe's cloud-based digital adoption platform enables organizations to measure, drive and act to ultimately accelerate their digital transformations and better realize the value of their software investments. Our code-free platform leverages our proprietary technology to provide visibility to an organization's Chief Information Officer and business leaders, while improving user experience, productivity and efficiency for employees and customers. Alongside walkthroughs and third-party integration capabilities, our platform can be customized to fit an organization's needs.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

Borqs to Establish with the U.S. Government a Plan to Divest its Ownership of Holu Hou Energy Due to Deemed Critical Technology

Borqs | December 20, 2022

Borqs Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: BRQS, “Borqs”, or the “Company”), a global provider of 5G wireless, Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, and innovative clean energy, today announced the Company has received a letter dated December 13, 2022 (the “Letter”) from the Department of the Treasury on behalf of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) stating that the Company is required to negotiate with CFIUS to fully divest its ownership interests and rights in Holu Hou Energy LLC (“HHE”) due to HHE solar energy storage system and EnergyShare technology for Multi-Dwelling Residential Units (“MDU’s”) being deemed a critical technology and therefore a potential national security risk. As stated in the Letter, HHE is considered a top ten solar energy storage supplier in Hawaii, has only been increasing its dominant market share, expects to grow at an exponential rate, and focuses on multi-family dwelling units which are common in military housing. Due to Borqs’ IoT software development and hardware sourcing capabilities in China, CFIUS is concerned that through Borqs, the PRC could gain significant visibility and exert influence over HHE’s business operations and get access to HHE critical technology. CFIUS is requiring the Company to design a plan to mitigate all identified national security risks to the satisfaction of CFIUS. Borqs intends to comply to the requirements from CFIUS and enter into a National Security Agreement with various departments of the U.S. Government with a plan that is effective, monitorable and verifiable to voluntarily divest Borqs’ investment interests and rights in HHE (the “Plan”). HHE’s commercialization of its solar energy storage system and novel EnergyShare technology for MDU’s has enabled the company to open up a new market segment for renewable energy in the USA - likely worth several billions of dollars. In the last year the Company’s MDU development pipeline has reached thousands of individual units in Hawaii alone, with California MDU potential being at least one to two orders of magnitude higher in the coming years. One segment of this new market is for communities of military and other government personnel. The overall MDU opportunity is significant for the company and significant for the USA. Since Borqs’ financial support in HHE starting from October 2021, HHE has signed approximately $50 million in contracts and has a growing pipeline approaching half a billion dollars. We believe this voluntary mitigation will enable the tremendous inherent value of HHE to be realized and that the divestment can be a profitable transaction for Borqs’ shareholders. The Plan to mitigate will include engaging a nationally recognized investment bank with experience in administering competitive sales and auction processes, assigning and hiring of security and monitoring personnel to directly communicate with CFIUS, immediate and complete removal of all Borqs administrative and technical influence over HHE, immediate voluntary reduction of Borqs ownership of HHE from a majority to a minority position and with the target of divesting all. The Company believes such points will enable the Company to accomplish the divestment in an orderly manner. About Borqs Technologies, Inc. Borqs Technologies is a global leader in software and products for the IoT, providing customizable, differentiated and scalable Android-based smart connected devices and cloud service solutions. Borqs has achieved leadership and customer recognition as an innovative end-to-end IoT solutions provider leveraging its strategic chipset partner relationships as well as its broad software and IP portfolio. Borqs’ unique strengths include its Android and Android Wear Licenses which enabled the Company to develop a software IP library covering chipset software, Android enhancements, domain specific usage and system performance optimization, suitable for large and low volume customized products, and is also currently in development of 5G products for phones and hotspots. The Company acquired controlling shares of the solar energy storage system entity, Holu Hou Energy LLC, in October 2021. About Holu Hou Energy, LLC Holu Hou Energy, LLC, a Delaware Corporation, brings state-of-the-art renewable energy and energy storage systems to the Single-Family Residential, Multi-Dwelling Unit Residential and Commercial building markets. With operations in California, Hawaii, Wisconsin and Shanghai, HHE engineers proprietary storage system and control platform solutions, including a breakthrough “HHE Energy Share” technology that is key to development of the Multi-Dwelling Unit Residential housing market. HHE is a vital partner for investors and asset owners that are seeking ESG solutions.

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