Toshiba Globally Known Name for Electronics in Crisis

 

Toshiba – one of the best-known names in electronics – is in crisis, saying its very survival is in doubt.

The Japanese conglomerate's latest results reveal much bigger than previously estimated losses for the nine months through to the end of last year.

Toshiba risks its share being delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange and its auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata, has refused to approved those results because of concerns over billions in losses at its US nuclear power plant subsidiary Westinghouse Electric.

Hackers Post Fake Deals on Amazon

 

Amazon third-party sellers, which account for more than half of the company's sales, have been hit repeatedly by hackers who post fake deals on legitimate sellers' pages. WSJ's Laura Stevens explains the impact on consumers on Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero. Photo: Reuters

UK Paramount Theme Park Construction Set to Cost £3.5 billion

It’s the news British film-lovers and thrill-seekers have been waiting to hear forever – no longer do we have to schlep across the seas to get our fix of stardust and adrenaline, for the UK is finally getting its own ‘Disneyland’.

The theme park will be the first of its kind in the UK, and is being created by film company Paramount at a cost of £3.5 billion.

Paramount is the company behind such iconic films as Titanic, Forrest Gump, The Godfather, Footloose, Braveheart and Iron Man.

Touted as the “UK Disneyland,” the new theme park is set to be built in Dartford, Kent and will feature attractions inspired by the films.

However, the park will also include rides inspired by BBC Worldwide and Aardman Animations, the creators of Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Chicken Run.

The resort will be divided up into different areas such as Adventure Isle, Land of Legends, Cartoon Circus, Starfleet Command, Action Square, Port Paramount and Entertainment City.

As well as rides, the theme park is planned to include a theatre, cafes and restaurants, shops, hotels and a nightclub.

Much like at Disneyland, there will be a “Paramount and Friends Carnival” every afternoon and a show “celebrating the works of Paramount Pictures and our other content partners” every evening.

At an expected £57 for a full-priced day ticket, a family trip to the theme park will not be cheap.

Despite the price, the creators are expecting to welcome up to 40,000 visitors a day.

The plans for the park, however, are yet to be approved – a development consent order (DCO) will be submitted to the government in November, Essex Live reports.

But Humphrey Percy, group CEO of the project's parent company Kuwaiti European Holdings, is confident there’ll be no problems getting the green light to go ahead with the park: “We have the financial backing to take us all the way through that process,” he said.

Provided the plans are approved by the Government, construction of the theme park should commence in 2019, with the 872-acre resort set to open in 2022.

Online Orders Made Faster by Robots

 

Behind every order you place online is a picker, a person who navigates a warehouse to find the item you ordered, picks that item off a shelf and brings it to be shipped. That can take a while but Fetch Robotics, a Silicon Valley startup, thinks it has a faster solution. You guessed it, robots.

Electric “driverless pods” test out by public

 

Members of the public are getting the chance to test newly designed electric “driverless pods” on pavements in Greenwich.

Labelled as “probably the most significant change in transport” in a century the £8m Government-backed project will gauge people's perceptions of autonomous public transport.

Amazon targets Uk Businesses with new online marketplace

simone.brunozzi/flickr.com

(qlmbusinessnews.com via independent.co.uk – – Tue, 4 Apr, 2017) London, Uk – –

More than a hundred million products will be available for companies to buy, including laptops, office supplies, furniture and commercial-grade printers

Amazon's quest for market domination is becoming harder to ignore.

The sprawling Seattle-headquartered group on Tuesday said that it is launching a service in the UK aimed at doing for businesses what it already does for individual customers, by offering a marketplace where companies can buy everything from industrial machinery to paper clips and janitorial equipment – even in bulk.

Amazon Business will aim to cater to the procurement needs of businesses of all sizes, as well as institutional buyers including universities, hospitals and non-profits.

“Whether you are a sole trader, a buyer in a mid-size company or a chief procurement officer in a large multi-national organisation, Amazon Business has the products and capabilities to serve your needs,” Bill Burkland, who heads up Amazon Business in the UK, said in a statement.

More than a hundred million products will be available to companies that sign up to the service, including laptops, office supplies, furniture and commercial-grade printers.

Businesses will also be able to buy highly specialised equipment— like power tools and thermal imaging cameras— and lab supplies like microscopes, test tubes and high-speed centrifuges.

Amazon Business already launched in the US in April 2015 and now serves more than 400,000 businesses there. It generated more than $1bn (£800m) in sales in its first year, according to the company. Last December it rolled out in Germany, where it is now used by more than 50,000 business customers.

The latest launch in the UK could help bolster Amazon’s already meteoric stock price rise and it also underscores the company’s commitment to diversifying both its customer base and the services it provides.

Last year, Amazon started a food delivery service across London–directly rivalling players like Deliveroo and UberEats—and more recently the company has launched a drive-through style of bricks-and-mortar supermarket in the US.

Customers order their food online then collect from a warehouse, with bags pre-packed and loaded into the boot by Amazon employees.

And the company’s proven ability to shake up the markets in which it operates seems to be paying off.

Amazon’s share price has surged by close to 50 per cent over the last year to a record high, valuing the company at well over $400bn. Profits last year increased nearly three-fold to $2.4bn on sales of about $136bn, partly thanks to the launch of its Amazon Echo home assistant and the popularity of its media streaming services for Amazon Prime members.

Founder Jeff Bezos recently overtook Warren Buffett in a Bloomberg ranking of the world’s richest people, to nab second spot after Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Mr Bezos, who is also Amazon's chairman and chief executive, is now worth $75.6bn – which marks a massive $10.2bn increase so far in 2017.

By Josie Cox

‘Tap and go’ technology to replaces tills by 2021

Michael Ocampo/Flickr

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Mon, 3 Apr, 2017) London, Uk – –

Brits are well known for their love of queuing, but the prospect of standing in line while out shopping is soon to become a memory of a bygone era.

A quarter of shops are planning to do away with queuing altogether within four years, by letting customers pay for items using their smartphones by 2021, according to a survey of Britain's biggest retailers.

Transactions at traditional manned, stationary point of sale check-out are in freefall with the proportion falling from 71pc in 2012 to 52pc in 2017.

The move by stores is in part a response to Brexit, retail consultants at Zebra, which conducted the research, said.

By getting rid of tills and staff retailers will be able to cut costs at a time when they are seeing their margins squeezed as a result of the falling value of the pound and rising commodity prices.

Household name stores including Waitrose and Zara are already installing high-tech payment and security systems which are likely to evolve into fully “queue-less” systems over the coming years.

Zara has installed high-tech clothes tags which let staff know where they are in stores, however, these could eventually be used to let customers scan garments and pay for them using their smartphones.

Meanwhile, Waitrose has rolled out handheld self-scanning devices in some stores which looks and feel like smartphones and let customers upload their shopping lists.

The latest mobile devices for self-scanning use Bluetooth technology to detect what a customer has just scanned. This also allows the retailer to know where customers are in store and provide contextual information, such as “don’t forget, that product is part of a special offer.”

Mark Thompson, director of retail and hospitality at Zebra Technologies, said: “In five years, a visit to the British high street will be massively different from today. Retailers want to put more power into the hands of shoppers, letting them pay with their mobiles as they browse, or giving them smart-carts with screens and built-in scanning.

“The store itself will continue to get smarter as well. Retailers will be able to tell when and even where specific customers are in store. This technology will also save stores money, which is why the falling value of the pound, coupled with higher commodity prices will speed up its rollout as firms look to maintain their profits.”

By Katie Morley

Automation taking the paper cut industry to a whole new level

 

A Silicon Valley startup called Ripcord has unveiled a machine that takes stacks of paper, pulls out the staples, rapidly scans the paper and send the scans to the cloud. That seemingly inane task is done at breakneck speed.

Self-driving cars potential £8bn boost to UK economy

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Thu, 30 Mar, 2017) London, Uk – –

Self-driving cars could deliver an £8bn a year boost to the economy by giving people with disabilities the ability to travel more freely, increasing their education and earnings potential.

New research on so-called “autonomous” cars has found that vehicles that do not need a human at wheel could open up opportunities for people with disabilities that limit their mobility.

Instead of having to rely on inflexible public transport, self-driving vehicles would give freedom to an estimated 1m people, offering them the opportunity to boost qualifications and increasing their earnings by an average of £8,500 a year.

The findings tie in with Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) Connected Car conference on Thursday, which explores how the technology will transform the industry and the opportunities it presents.

“The benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles are life-changing, offering more people greater independence, freedom to socialise, work and earn more, and access services more easily,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the trade body, which predicts that self-driving cars will be commonplace by the 2030s.

“Fully autonomous cars will be a step change for society, and this report shows people are already seeing their benefits. The challenge now is to create the conditions that will allow this technology to thrive.”

The research also found that six out of 10 people believe self-driving cars will improve their quality of life, with this rising to seven out of 10 for people aged 17 to 24.

The high cost of insurance is seen as a hurdle to young people driving, but when computers are controlling vehicles this is no longer a factor.

Older people also identify the benefits of autonomous cars, with half of them saying it would make their day-to-day lives easier, as aged-related issues such as failing eyesight limit their ability to drive themselves.

Across the board, stress-free driving is perceived to be the biggest attraction of self-driving technology, with computers taking the pressure off and the cars parking themselves once at their destination.

On-board technology that self-diagnoses problems is also expected to ease motorists’ minds.

Britain is aiming to be at the forefront of developing autonomous cars, with the Government having made it a priority with legislation and funding to encourage research in the UK.

The potential payoff for establishing Britain as a world leader in the sector is massive. The SMMT valued autonomous cars and the systems that connect them to the internet as being worth £51bn a year to the UK economy by 2030. Success in the field could also see 320,000 jobs created.

The latest research into the impact of autonomous cars was conducted by Strategy&, a unit of global consultants PwC.

“There is a real risk that this momentum and competitor advantage in the UK will stall if we don’t do more to create positive public perception, overcoming our inherent risk averse culture,” said Mark Couttie, a partner with Strategy&.

“Expanding people’s horizons about the advantages of fully autonomous cars is a vital first step. This means better communicating the art of the possible to increase social acceptance and dispel concerns that our survey identified relating to cost and safety.”

By Alan Tovey

Large electronic device ban comes into force on UK airlines

 

A ban on large electronic devices in aeroplane cabins has come into effect on several airlines flying “into the UK and US”.

Citing attacks on aircraft and in airports in recent years, the US has applied the restrictions to nine carriers from eight countries: Turkey; Morocco; Jordan; Egypt; the United Arab Emirates; Saudi Arabia; Qatar; and Kuwait. The UK ban covers six nations, excluding the UAE, Morocco and Kuwait, but including Lebanon and Tunisia.