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Vodafone report urges EU to embrace digitalisation for GDP boost
by Paul Hill
In a new report dubbed ‘Digitalisation: An opportunity for Europe’, Vodafone has urged the European Union to increase the digitalisation of services and value chains over the next six years to boost the bloc’s GDP per capita (per person) by 7.2% which is equivalent to a €1 trillion increase in GDP overall.
Vodafone commissioned the report which Deloitte carried out; it looked at connectivity, human capital, use of internet services, integration of digital technology, and digital public services. The report found that just a modest improvement in these areas could result in a big impact on the EU’s GDP.
Over the last decade, some countries, including Greece, have been hit hard by austerity measures and with the financial impact of COVID-19 finally coming into focus these economies will be hit again. Vodafone’s report, however, found that increased digitalisation would see those with a lower GDP benefit the most. If Greece raised its Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) score from 31 in 2019 to 90 in 2027, it would see an increase in GDP per capita of 18.7% and its long-term productivity increase by 17.9%. Other countries that would see GDP increases of over 10% include Italy, Romania, Hungary, Portugal, and the Czech Republic.
Commenting on the findings of the report, Joakim Reiter, Group Director of External Affairs, Vodafone Group, said:
Aside from economic growth, the report suggests that the digitalisation of economies will also provide countries with environmental benefits as less paper and fossil fuels are used, the quality of life will increase as smart city technologies cut carbon emissions and mortality, and inclusivity will be improved as the digital ecosystems open up new opportunities for more people in society.
By Usama Jawad96
Apple slapped with $12 million fine for making misleading claims about iPhones
by Usama Jawad
Just a couple of weeks ago, Apple was forced to pay $113 million as a settlement for its "batterygate" scandal from 2017. Back in March, it also had to enter a $500 million settlement regarding the same issue. Now, the company has once again found itself in hot water, but this time due to making misleading and unclear claims regarding iPhones.
The iPhone 8 launch event Italian antitrust authority Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) has handed the Cupertino tech giant a €10 million ($12 million) fine for making misleading claims about numerous iPhone models, from iPhone 8 to iPhone 11.
More specifically, the authority claims that Apple touted the iPhone's water resistance as a major feature in its promotional content, saying that it can withstand submersion in water of 1-4m in depth for up to 30 minutes. However, the company failed to clarify that this statement is only true under specific lab conditions such as being submerged in pure and still water.
The watchdog also stated that Apple's disclaimer about the warranty not covering damage due to liquids is not only unclear but also goes against its boasts of water resistance. It went on to say that Apple's refusal to provide warranty coverage in post-sales phase for iPhones suffering damage due to water and other liquids is illegal under the country's consumer code as well.
Apart from the fine, Apple has also been ordered to offer links to the regulatory authority's findings on its webpages for Italian customers.
Plex adds more streaming content thanks to new partnership
by Paul Hill
Plex has announced that more content will be available to users in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain after it reached a partnership agreement with Endemol Shine Group.
The partnership will see free ad-supported content arrive in the aforementioned countries; titles include Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Bananas in Pyjamas, City Homicide, Deal or No Deal, MasterChef, McLeod’s Daughters, Mr Bean and Peaky Blinders. The content will vary by country so you may not see all the titles listed here on Plex.
Commenting on the development, Shawn Eldridge, vice president of strategic alliances and content at Plex, said:
Endemol Shine Group said that it was pleased with the partnership and that it was looking forward to working with Plex in the future. The firm didn’t specify how it sees its relationship with Plex evolving.
Today’s news arrives almost two weeks after it announced the launch of ad-supported video content from Crackle. The content offered by Crackle was limited to the United States so today’s news will be welcomed by those elsewhere in the world who are waiting for new content.
Nokia to deliver 5G in France and Italy with Iliad Group
by Paul Hill
Nokia has announced that it’s working with Iliad Group, France’s fourth-largest mobile operator, to deliver 5G to customers in France and Italy. The Iliad Group boasts 17 million customers across France and Italy. The announcement comes at a time when countries are deciding whether, or not, to allow Huawei equipment into their 5G networks.
Commenting on the partnership, Thomas Reynaud, Iliad Group’s CEO, said:
Under the agreement, Iliad Group will install Nokia’s AirScale radio access technology which supports both 5G and 4G/LTE. AirScale will allow Iliad Group to future-proof its radio network, allowing it to expand its services to consumers and businesses at a later date. According to Nokia, AirScale can deliver service with “ultra-low latency, huge connectivity, [and] extreme capacity”.
Iliad Group has worked with Nokia in France since 2012 and in Italy since 2018. Nokia’s technology has helped Iliad Group to deliver both 3G and 4G connectivity to its customers. This agreement will allow the networks to be modernised and will see 5G connectivity added.
European Union approves €3.2 billion for battery tech R&D
by Paul Hill
The European Commission has approved €3.2 billion in funding for several projects across the European Union which seek to further develop new battery technologies. The money is being sourced from several EU member states including Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Sweden. The public funding will allow for an additional investment of €5 billion from private firms.
The Commission’s Executive Vice President, Margrethe Vestager, said:
The public money will fund research into mining and processing of raw materials, the production of advanced chemical materials, the design of battery cells and modules and how they can be integrated into systems, and finally into methods of recycling or re-purposing used batteries. Funding these types of projects is one of the missions that Ursula von der Leyen, the Commission President, set out in her manifesto earlier this year.
By investing in research and development of battery technology, the EU hopes to meet its goals of becoming a zero-carbon economy by 2050. The funding could mean that products like electric cars have a larger battery capacity allowing for travel over greater distances, and ensuring that the technology is more environmentally friendly.