Pentagon: $10 billion cloud contract that snubbed Amazon was legal

Amazon | April 16, 2020

The Pentagon's process for awarding a highly lucrative cloud computing contract to Microsoft instead of Amazon was in line with legal and government purchasing standards, a government watchdog agency said Wednesday. The Defense Department inspector general found no evidence of White House interference in the contract award process. But the report said investigators could not fully review that aspect of the matter because the White House would not allow unfettered access to witnesses. The contract, potentially worth $10 billion, was awarded to Microsoft last October, prompting tech rival Amazon to cry foul.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

Mobile Mentor Awarded GSA Contract by the US Government

Mobile Mentor | November 25, 2022

Mobile Mentor, a rapidly growing technology services company and Microsoft partner, is pleased to announce their contract award with the GSA. GSA (General Services Administration) is the procurement and contracting vehicle for the United States Federal Government. The award allows the Mobile Mentor team to provide federal, state and local government agencies with services to modernize IT operations and improve cyber security using the latest in Microsoft security technologies. Mobile Mentor was officially granted vendor status to the GSA as a small business in late October. In 2022, the federal contracting goal for small business reached 27.2 percent of total federal contracting funds. “Partnering with the GSA to provide services to the federal government is a huge privilege, It opens the door for our team of industry-leading experts to make a real impact and allows us to do our part in ensuring the security of crucial federal agencies. By embracing modern security practices like Zero Trust and Passwordless Authentication, we help government agencies to achieve the optimum balance between security and user experience, We believe security and user experience are equally important in today’s world where security threats are everywhere, and employees are increasingly working remotely, relying on their technology every minute of the day. This intersection of security and employee experience defines the workplace of the future, and we are proud to be leading the way with our government clients and strategic partners such as Microsoft.” -Denis O’Shea, CEO and Founder of Mobile Mentor. Since the founding of the company in 2004, Mobile Mentor has partnered with a variety of government agencies internationally to modernize IT operations and improve security for the mobile workforce. In 2021, Mobile Mentor won Microsoft’s international partner of the year award for modern endpoint management, positioning the company as a global leader in securing the modern hybrid workforce. About Mobile Mentor: Mobile Mentor empowers people to achieve more by unlocking the full potential of their technology. With operations in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, Mobile Mentor is the remote partner for the remote workforce. Founded in 2004, Mobile Mentor has enabled millions of people to increase security and productivity with their laptops, tablets, smartphones, and apps.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

The next stage: APRU-Google-UN ESCAP AI for Social Good Project now working directly with government agencies

APRU | November 29, 2022

The AI for Social Good Project – Strengthening AI Capabilities and Governing Frameworks in Asia and the Pacific has recently passed the milestone of onboarding two key government agencies. The project is the latest collaboration between the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), UN ESCAP, and Google.org, which commenced in mid-2021 and will run until the end of 2023. Over the past year, meetings and workshops have been held with government agencies from Thailand and Bangladesh. The confirmed government partners to join the project are the Office of National Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy Council (NXPO) of Thailand, in close collaboration with the National Electronics and Computer Center (NECTEC) and the National Science and Technology Development Agency and the Institute of Field Robotics (FIBO) under the King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, and the Bangladesh Aspire to Innovate (a2i) Programme. NXPO and a2i are affiliated with Thailand’s Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation and the ICT Division and Cabinet Division of Bangladesh, respectively. The AI for Social Good multi-stakeholder network was initially set up in 2019, among the first milestones being the creation of a platform that convenes leading experts from the region to explore opportunities and challenges for maximizing AI benefits for society. After these activities engaged a wide range of policy experts and practitioners, the three project partners decided that it was the right time to move on to the next stage of working directly with government agencies to apply the insights generated through the collaborative project to date. The aim has been to work with government partners in Asia and the Pacific to grow sound and transparent AI ecosystems that support sustainable development goals. “Recognizing that AI offers transformative solutions for achieving the SDGs, we are pleased to participate in the AI for Social Good Project to share experience and research insights to develop enabling AI policy frameworks.” -Dr. Kanchana Wanichkorn, NXPO’s Vice President. NXPO identified ‘Poverty Alleviation’ and ‘Medicine and Healthcare’ as two areas of need that are now tackled by two academic project teams. To alleviate poverty and inequality, the Thai government has developed data-driven decision-making systems to improve public access to state welfare programs. The project, under the academic leadership of the Australia National University (ANU) team, will focus on enhancing the human-centered design and public accessibility of these technologies to support successful implementation. In addition, research on AI for medical applications has increased exponentially in the past few years in Thailand. However, the progress in developing and applying AI from research to market in these areas is relatively slow. To support and accelerate the use of AI in medicine and healthcare, the expert team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) will focus their research and analysis on identifying crucial bottlenecks and gaps that impede the beneficial use of AI. While the two Bangladesh projects both focus on the need for ‘Continuing and Personalized Pregnancy Monitoring’ (to improve health outcomes during and after birth), they are exploring different aspects of this key focus area for the government of Bangladesh. Under the leadership of the team from NUS & KAIST, the first project investigates challenges in perceptions and reception of incorporating AI into continuous pregnancy monitoring systems. Under the leadership of the University of Hawai‘i Team, the second project circles in on technological issues of Bangladesh’s healthcare sector and their impacts on AI-based data analysis and decision-making processes. The academic integrity of both sets of country projects is overseen by Toni Erskine, Professor of International Politics and Director of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at ANU. Erskine guides both the conception of the research questions in collaboration with the government partners and the delivery of the project outputs by providing support for the four academic teams in developing their projects. “It has been incredibly rewarding to lead a project that brings together such an impressive, multidisciplinary group of researchers with government agencies that are so passionate about finding solutions to crucial problems – ranging from poverty alleviation to maternal health care, the process of working closely with government agencies from the outset to discuss these problems and co-design research questions makes this project unique and genuinely collaborative. I’m very proud to be part of it.” -Toni Erskine, Professor of International Politics and Director of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at ANU. The following steps for the ‘AI for Social Good Project: Strengthening AI Capabilities and Governing Frameworks in Asia and the Pacific’ project will be to review and discuss the first complete drafts of the research papers by the four academic teams at a workshop in January. The partner government agencies from Bangladesh and Thailand will attend the workshop. Workshops with both government teams will also follow the presentation of final papers in the second quarter of 2023. To mark the project's conclusion, a summit with all participants in the project will be held in mid-2023 at the Australia National University.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

Volta Collaboration Awarded ARPA-E Funding to Commercialize Next Generation Fast Charging Technology Aligned With Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Volta | November 24, 2022

Volta Inc. (NYSE: VLTA) (“Volta”), an industry-leading electric vehicle (EV) charging and media company, today announced that a project application it collaborated on with Imagen Energy, LLC (“Imagen”), a developer of compact high-power EV chargers, was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The project seeks to develop and commercialize the next generation of domestically manufactured DC Fast Charging (DCFC) technology in support of the federal government’s clean energy and climate priorities. The grant is part of the ARPA-E Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy technologies with Untapped Potential (SCALEUP) program, which provides further funding to previous ARPA-E teams that have been determined to be feasible for widespread deployment and commercialization domestically. SCALEUP selectees demonstrate a viable path to commercial deployment and the ability to attract private sector investments. Through this project, Imagen and Volta seek to develop and commercialize chargers that are more flexible, more powerful, and more affordable by focusing on: Scalable Chargers: The project will utilize Imagen’s flexible, high-efficiency silicon carbide-based (SiC) power conversion platform to produce compact charging cabinets that enable affordable, easier-to-install, and highly reliable high-power fast chargers capable of charging multiple EVs simultaneously and being deployed in a market quickly. The flexible platform is expected to facilitate optional, convenient integration with energy storage and renewable energy, and supports vehicle-to-grid integration. BIL-compliance: Equipment is being engineered to deliver at least 150kW and be manufactured in the United States to comply with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s (BIL) requirements. The technology will also fulfill network connectivity requirements, including Plug and Charge capabilities and communication through the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) and Open Charge Point Interface protocol (OCPI), building upon Volta’s existing software implementation to allow flexible integration with roaming charging partners. Visibility & Access: Volta will leverage its patented, award-winning PredictEV infrastructure planning software to identify optimal sites for effective piloting and initial deployment based on local EV ownership, mobility trends, demographics, and income levels. With more than 3,000 stalls currently installed, many within disadvantaged communities, and numerous existing relationships with leading retail and commercial properties, Volta’s EV charging network will enable quick feedback loops during the testing phase. “Imagen relies on commercialization partners like Volta to accelerate the deployment of our high power density, silicon carbide-based power conversion platforms, The combination of Volta’s advanced PredictEV planning tool and the company’s existing charging network creates the ideal environment for quickly developing reliable, affordable, and efficient charging solutions that will support the rapid transition to electric mobility.” -Ezana Mekonnen, Chief Technology Officer at Imagen. While this is a modest initial government grant that does not replace the need for the capital we are currently raising, it is proof of Volta’s ability to align our business with the federal government’s priorities, said Vince Cubbage, Interim Chief Executive Officer at Volta. Volta’s collaboration with Imagen on this winning ARPA-E application demonstrates our commitment to supporting solutions that are compliant with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, ensuring implementation can be done in a capital-efficient manner. About Volta: Volta Inc. (NYSE: VLTA) is an industry-leading electric vehicle ("EV") charging and media company. Volta's unique network of charging stations powers vehicles and drives business growth while accelerating a clean energy future. Volta delivers value to site partners, brands, and consumers by installing charging stations that feature large-format digital advertising screens located steps away from the entrances of popular commercial locations. Retailers can attract and influence foot traffic, advertisers can precisely target audiences, and EV drivers can charge their vehicles seamlessly as they go about their daily routines. Volta's extensive network leverages its proprietary PredictEV® platform, which uses sophisticated behavioral science and machine learning technology to help commercial property owners, cities, and electric utilities plan EV infrastructure intelligently, efficiently, and equitably.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

Azenta and the Government of Luxembourg Announce a Memorandum of Understanding to Facilitate Continued Healthcare Technology Development

Azenta | November 09, 2022

Azenta, Inc. (Nasdaq: AZTA) and the Government of Luxembourg today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding ("MoU") to facilitate continued healthcare technology development in Luxembourg. The Minister of the Economy of Luxembourg, Mr. Franz Fayot, and the President and CEO of Azenta, Steve Schwartz, signed the MoU at Azenta's Massachusetts-based global headquarters. Azenta, Inc. had recently acquired B Medical Systems, a leading global vaccine, and medical cold chain provider, based in Luxembourg. The MoU signing ceremony was attended by several senior dignitaries from the Ministry of the Economy of Luxembourg, Ministry of Higher Education and Research of Luxembourg, Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office in New York, Luxinnovation and Azenta, Inc. Mr. Luc Provost, CEO of B Medical Systems, and Mr. Jesal Doshi, Deputy CEO of B Medical Systems, represented B Medical Systems, a subsidiary of Azenta, during the ceremony. Confirming Azenta's desire to preserve the production activities of its subsidiary in Luxembourg, B Medical Systems, and to continue the projects undertaken by the subsidiary until then, the memorandum of understanding confirms the intention of the Ministry of the Economy to continue to support the development of the company in Luxembourg. The acquisition by Azenta should also give B Medical Systems access to new markets, thanks to the group's extensive network of customers in countries where B Medical Systems has not previously had a significant presence. The MoU signing ceremony was followed by a visit to Azenta's genomics lab in Waltham, Massachusetts by the delegation of the Ministry of Health led by the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Ms. Paulette Lenert, and the delegation of the Ministry of the Economy led by the Minister of Economy, Mr. Franz Fayot. "The fact that a world-renowned company such as Azenta has acquired B Medical Systems, one of our industrial flagships, demonstrates the dynamism of the Luxembourg health technology sector, which is one of the pillars of Luxembourg's economic diversification strategy. Through this memorandum of understanding, our objective is to continue the good collaboration that already existed with B Medical Systems, particularly in its future research, development and innovation projects, as well as to identify possible synergies." -Franz Fayot The Minister of the Economy. We look forward to continued partnership and engagement with the Government of Luxembourg. B Medical Systems, which recently became a part of Azenta, has a long history of operations in Luxembourg, and we intend to build upon this already strong track record of growth and innovation, said Steve Schwartz, President and CEO of Azenta. About Azenta Life Sciences: Azenta, Inc. (Nasdaq: AZTA) is a leading provider of life sciences solutions worldwide, enabling impactful breakthroughs and therapies to market faster. Azenta provides a full suite of reliable cold-chain sample management solutions and genomic services across areas such as drug development, clinical research and advanced cell therapies for the industry's top pharmaceutical, biotech, academic and healthcare institutions globally. Azenta recently acquired B Medical Systems, a leading global vaccine, and medical cold chain provider, based in Luxembourg.

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Spotlight

Energy is an essential service and the lifeblood of our economy. Questions about how energy is produced and supplied, and how affordable it is, are at the forefront of public debate. This report aims to contribute to the debate, by providing a rigorous analysis of the current state of energy markets, and the outcomes they achieve.

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