Category Archives: Thematic Signals

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Thematic Signals highlights confirming data points and items to watch for our list of investing themes. Whether it’s a news item, video clip, or company commentary, we’ve included this full list of items literally “ripped from the headlines.”

Pandemic pushes US retail banking into digital era

Pandemic pushes US retail banking into digital era

I’m either blessed or cursed, depending on your perspective, to live a life across both sides of the Atlantic, with operating bases in California, Ireland, and Italy This gives me a rather in-my-face perspective on how the various regions operate and respond to global events. One of the most striking differences is, and sorry to say this, the archaic nature of the US retail banking system. Ask someone in Ireland if they’d like to be paid by check and they’ll look at you like you just asked if they’d like their pint out of a can or from the tap.

It really is astounding that a nation known for its tech hubs has payment processes that have remained unchanged for decades. As with many other things digital, the pandemic accelerated the shift towards electronic banking.

By May, more than 45% of Americans had changed the way they dealt with their bank, a survey of 1,000 people by consultancy FIS found.

According to an article in the Financial Times (referenced below), Well Fargo (WFC) has seen a 35% increase in the number of checks deposited digitally and a more than 50% increase in online wire transactions. The push to get clients to do more digitally is driven in no small part by its promise to investors that it will cut $10 billion in costs.

Bank of America, the country’s second-biggest bank by assets, after Wells Fargo, reports that nearly 40% of the clients’ checks are deposited online. Digital sales of mortgages have accounted for about 60% of the activity in 2020. The bank’s AI chatbot is handling about 400,000 interactions per day now, twice the level a year ago.

As retail banking consumers become increasingly comfortable with digital banking services the need for robust digital infrastructure only becomes greater. Yet another visible tailwind to Tematica’s Digital Infrastructure theme.

Source: Covid nudges US bank customers into digital era | Financial Times

5G and Edge Computing are Becoming a Common Pairing

5G and Edge Computing are Becoming a Common Pairing

While there have been announcements concerning public edge computing buildouts, this agreement is one of a recent few that focuses on private edge computing services that will serve manufacturers and other heavy users of industrial IoT to manage production.

Samsung Electronics on Wednesday signed a partnership with IBM to combine “edge computing” with private 5G networks, the latest tie-up among big technology firms trying to help customers automate production.

Source: Samsung ties up with IBM to combine private 5G with “edge computing”

U.S. Treasury Cyber Attack

U.S. Treasury Cyber Attack

An assumed nation-state backed group has been monitoring employee emails for some time it was revealed. It is not known yet if access was obtained through a phishing or direct attack on the groups MS Office 365 platform. Officials met Saturday, December 13th to assess the damage and prepare a remedy.

Hackers backed by a foreign government stole information from the U.S. Treasury Department.

Source: U.S. Treasury breached by hackers | CyberNews

Just in Time For 5G – More Streaming!

Just in Time For 5G – More Streaming!

Just when you thought that the digital infrastructure underlying the internet and overall connectivity wasn’t strained enough in the work-from-home, learn-from-home, stay-at-home era, it appears that Google has joined the ranks of direct streaming services switching on direct to YouTube capabilities on its Stadia gaming platform.

Rolling out to some users now, Stadia appears to finally be adding support for direct streaming to YouTube without any extra software.

Source: Stadia YouTube direct streaming is rolling out – 9to5Google

California voters approved California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act. Now what?

California voters approved California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act. Now what?

On November 3, California citizens approved the California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act (CPRA), a comprehensive privacy law that expands the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Of note, the CPRA creates more stringent requirements for companies that collect and share sensitive personal information and creates the California Privacy Protection Agency, which will be responsible for enforcing CPRA violations once the CPRA becomes effective on January 1, 2023. Most privacy experts believe the CPRA moves California closer to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The CPRA defines “sensitive personal information” as a wide range of data points that includes things like account and login information, precise geolocation data, contents of mail, email and text messages, genetic data, Social Security numbers, drivers licenses, passports, financial accounts, race, ethnicity, religion, union membership, personal communications, genetic and biometric data, health information, and anything about sex life or sexual orientation.

CPRA sets limits on the collection and retention of personal information, requiring a business to retain only that which is reasonably necessary to achieve the purposes for which the personal information was collected or processed. In addition, the CPRA requires businesses to inform consumers of the length of time the business intends to retain each category of personal information and sensitive personal information, or the criteria used to determine that period.

The CPRA also expands the private right of action for consumers to bring claims against a business for the unauthorized access or disclosure of an email address and password or security question that would permit access to an account, along with access to a consumer’s non-encrypted and non-redacted personal information. It creates triple damages for violations relating to consumers who are minors under the age of 16.

One key change in the CCPA requirements in the CPRA is an extension of an exemption for businesses in terms of their employees’ data. The CPRA gives businesses the exemption from meeting the consumer privacy requirements’ tough standards for their employees until January 1, 2023. However, businesses will have to comply with certain aspects of employee privacy protection between now and then.

Source: California voters approved a new and even tougher data privacy act.  What happens now?

US telemedicine users to surpass 40 million in 2020, 60 million by 2023

US telemedicine users to surpass 40 million in 2020, 60 million by 2023

The coronavirus pandemic is radically altering how people go about their daily lives, and that includes how they interact with their healthcare providers. With quicker data speeds brought on by 5G, WiFi 6 and other broadband technologies that also feature lower latency, the telemedicine experience will continue to improve, chewing up network capacity along the way. Needless to say, we see this as a positive driver for the Tematica BITA Digital Infrastructure & Connectivity Index. 

 

 

This year, 41.7 million adults in the US will use telemedicine, representing 98.8% growth from a year prior, according to our latest estimates.We expect this behavior to stick and for growth to continue through the end of our forecast period in 2023, when the number of users will be more than triple that of 2019. By the end of 2023, there will be 64.0 million telemedicine users.

Data from CivicScience published in July also signals a change in telemedicine adoption. For example, in January, just 11% of US adults said they had used telemedicine. That figure more than tripled by July. During that same time period, the percentage of respondents who reported having no plans to use telemedicine—or simply no awareness of it—decreased by 25 percentage points.

Source: US telemedicine users will surpass 40 million this year – Insider Intelligence Trends, Forecasts & Statistics

Cloudflare and Apple design a new privacy-friendly internet protocol

Cloudflare and Apple design a new privacy-friendly internet protocol

Engineers at Cloudflare (NET) and Apple (AAPL) say they’ve developed a new internet protocol that will shore up against “one of the biggest holes in internet privacy.” Dubbed Oblivious DNS-over-HTTPS (ODoH), as Nick Sullivan, Cloudflare’s head of research explains, it is meant to “separate the information about who is making the query and what the query is.”

Every time you go to visit a website, your browser uses a DNS resolver to convert web addresses to machine-readable IP addresses to locate where a web page is located on the internet. But this process is not encrypted, meaning that every time you load a website the DNS query is sent in the clear. That means the DNS resolver — which might be your internet provider unless you’ve changed it — knows which websites you visit. That’s not great for your privacy, especially since your internet provider can also sell your browsing history to advertisers.

Enter ODoH, which decouples DNS queries from the internet user, preventing the DNS resolver from knowing which sites you visit.

ODoH wraps a layer of encryption around the DNS query and passes it through a proxy server, which acts as a go-between the internet user and the website they want to visit. Because the DNS query is encrypted, the proxy can’t see what’s inside, but acts as a shield to prevent the DNS resolver from seeing who sent the query to begin with.

Cloudflare (NET) is a constituent in the Foxberry Tematica Research Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Index.

 

Source: Cloudflare and Apple design a new privacy-friendly internet protocol | TechCrunch

Hershey Accused of Skirting Sustainability Program

Hershey Accused of Skirting Sustainability Program

How do you buy cocoa without buying cocoa? Apparently, through utilizing the cocoa futures market. Hershey seems to step out of some warm milk and into some hot water with its latest approach to procuring cocoa.

Ivory Coast and Ghana are cancelling all cocoa sustainability schemes that U.S.-based Hershey runs in their countries, accusing the chocolate maker of trying to avoid paying a cocoa premium aimed at combating farmer poverty.

Source: Ivory Coast, Ghana cancel cocoa sustainability schemes run by Hershey

SCOTUS to Weigh in on What Constitutes “Hacking”

SCOTUS to Weigh in on What Constitutes “Hacking”

Many people’s go to image for a hacker is some young, hoodie wearing Anonymous collective member who is just as happy cracking your credit card as he is trolling ISIS with LGTBQ postings. Believe it or not, per the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 the odds are good that you fall under the official definition of a “hacker.” Ever share a password for Spotify, Hulu, Disney+ or Netflix? Hacker! Ever lie on a dating app profile? Hacker! Ever stumble across a bug in a program and want to notify the software publisher of their mistake? Hacker! This ruling could have huge implications and most importantly drag a law drafted in 1986 into the here and now.

The court’s decision could fundamentally change how millions use their computers and access online services.

Source: The Supreme Court will hear its first big CFAA case

UK lawmakers plan bill to target Huawei

UK lawmakers plan bill to target Huawei

In a move to appease hawks pushing for tighter restrictions on Huawei Technologies, the UK is considering a ban on the installation of 5G equipment from Huawei as soon as next year, well before a blanket ban in 2027. UK lawmakers are set to debate the bill next week, and should it come to pass it would be a shot in the arm for Ericsson (ERIC), Nokia (NOK) and other company’s in the Tematica BITA Digital Infrastructure and Connectivity Index

Any further installations of Huawei equipment by carriers would carry fines of as much as 10% of sales or 100,000 pounds a day ($133,000).

The government already set limits on telecom companies including BT Group Plc, Vodafone Group Plc and CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.’s Three UK buying gear from Huawei that are set to kick in after December. However, there are no rules yet barring the companies from using Huawei equipment they already bought but haven’t yet installed.

Under the new proposal, that ban could come into force as soon as September next year, the people said, asking for anonymity as the talks are confidential.

The latest proposals may not go far enough for some lawmakers, who are calling for the government to consider forcing carriers to remove Huawei equipment from their 5G networks earlier than the current 2027 plan.

Source: U.K. Looks at Huawei Install Ban Next Year to Placate Hawks – Bloomberg