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What caught my eye in March 2020

Every month in 2020, I'm going to be sharing my thoughts on the top 5 interesting things in tech that have caught my eye. Enjoy!

1. Spotify continues its hunt for new revenue streams

Building on last month’s roundup which included news of Spotify acquiring podcast network ‘The Ringer’, more revenue-generating news came out in a pitch to record labels. Focusing on its two-sided marketplace, ‘Marquee’ is a new product that allows labels and artists to pay a minimum of $5,000 to notify followers of any new releases.

I was quite surprised reading this, as a notification system in this scenario seems like a total no-brainer to the point where I wondered if I’d missed out on the fact Spotify used notifications all along!

More on the announcement via Bloomberg

2. MIT's tech to look out for in 2020

Super Nintendo World

The words ‘cutting edge technology’ are often overused but this roundup deserves their application as MIT takes a look at the breakthrough technology we can expect in 2020.

In the midst of the current pandemic, I was immediately drawn to ‘Hyper Personalised Medicine’ which looks at ‘n-of-1’ treatments, medicine so personalised it is designed specifically for the recipient and particularly useful in rare conditions created by a genetic fault. This is fast becoming a reality bringing hope to those with ‘too rare to care’ diseases.

See the full review via MIT Technology Review

3. Can our pipes handle the pandemic data strain?

During the current pandemic, we’ve witnessed a huge shift in the way we live our lives with many countries opting for a full lockdown. With this, there have been some drastic changes not only in terms of how we work but also what we do for entertainment. Netflix and many other content streaming providers have seen a huge surge in demand which has resulted in a request from the European Union to reduce traffic in order to ease pressure and keep services up.

Interestingly this has resulted in some fact-checking by larger telco players such as BT who are keen to not be portrayed as having a weak infrastructure by the media. Peak demand doesn’t seem to have increased but instead lasts longer.

More on the EU's request via Netflix

4. Amazon seeks to add 100,000 to its workforce

Covid-19 will leave its impression on the world's economy long after the threat has subsisded. Many media outlets report on the job losses resulting from a global shutdown, the most startling being 6.6m people filing for unemployment in the last week of March, in the US alone.

Whilst many companies are buckling under the strain, Amazon are looking to employ 100,000 people to keep up with orders. Ecommerce in struggling sectors such as groceries for instance, will be seeing forced adoption which begs the question as to how much of it remains following the pandemic.

More on Amazon's hiring announcement via AP

5. Big tech hate on pause

Staying with big-tech, pre-pandemic, a lot of these companies were on the receiving end of cries of foul play, particularly when it came to the spreading of misinformation and inappropriate uses of data. That seems to be on pause for now as many look to use their areas of expertise and resources to join the fight against Covid-19. Apple are producing facemasks, Tesla producing ventilators and Facebook policing its content. In the US pariticularly, many of these companies provide a great deal of hope to get through this crisis.

More via The Verge

Curve Ball: Calling all creatives!

This month I’m using this space to spread a call to creatives worldwide from the United Nations and the World Health Organisation. A design brief has been set asking people to donate their skills to helping spread the message as to how we can reduce the virus threat. If you have the time, get involved. We too can play our part in fighting against Covid-19.

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