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AWS ANNOUNCES GENERAL AVAILABILITY OF AMAZON MANAGED BLOCKCHAIN

Amazon Managed Blockchain provides a fully managed service that makes it easy and cost-effective to create, manage, and scale blockchain networks

AT&T, Nestlé, and Singapore Exchange Limited among companies using Amazon Managed Blockchain

Today, Amazon Web Services Inc., an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), announced the general availability of Amazon Managed Blockchain, a fully managed service that makes it easy to create and manage scalable blockchain networks. Customers who want to allow multiple parties to execute transactions and maintain a cryptographically verifiable record of them without the need for a trusted, central authority can quickly setup a blockchain network spanning multiple AWS accounts with a few clicks in the AWS Management Console. Amazon Managed Blockchain scales to support thousands of applications and millions of transactions using popular open source frameworks like Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum. To learn more about Amazon Managed Blockchain, visit:https://aws.amazon.com/managed-blockchain.

For customers in businesses like finance, logistics, retail, and energy that need to perform transactions quickly across multiple entities, blockchain gives them the ability to execute contracts and share data, with an immutable record of the transactions, but without the need for a trusted, central authority. Customers typically create blockchain networks using frameworks like Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum, but setting up the networks using these frameworks is difficult and time consuming. Each member of a blockchain network has to provision hardware, install software, create and manage certificates for access control, and configure network settings. As usage of a blockchain application grows, there is a lot of work involved in scaling the network, including monitoring resources across all nodes, adding or removing hardware, and managing the availability of the entire network. This complexity is the reason many customers typically need the help of expensive consultants to make blockchain work. Amazon Managed Blockchain is a fully managed blockchain service that makes it easy and cost effective for customers to create and manage secure blockchain networks that can scale to support thousands of applications running millions of transactions. Customers simply choose their preferred framework (Hyperledger Fabric is supported at launch with Ethereum support coming later this year), add network members, and configure the member nodes that process transaction requests. Amazon Managed Blockchain takes care of the rest, creating a blockchain network that can span multiple AWS accounts and configuring the software, security, and network settings.

“Customers want to use blockchain frameworks like Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum to create blockchain networks so they can conduct business quickly, with an immutable record of transactions, but without the need for a centralised authority. However, they find these frameworks difficult to install, configure, and manage,” said Rahul Pathak, General Manager, Amazon Managed Blockchain at AWS. “Amazon Managed Blockchain takes care of provisioning nodes, setting up the network, managing certificates and security, and scaling the network. Customers can now get a functioning blockchain network set up quickly and easily, so they can focus on application development instead of keeping a blockchain network up and running.”

In addition to making it easy to set up and manage blockchain networks, Amazon Managed Blockchain provides simple APIs that allow customers to vote on memberships in their networks and to scale up or down more easily. Amazon Managed Blockchain offers a range of instances with different combinations of compute and memory capacity to give customers the ability to choose the right mix of resources for their blockchain applications. Amazon Managed Blockchain secures certificates for access control using AWS Key Management Service technology, eliminating the need for customers to set up their own secure certificate storage. Unlike existing blockchain technologies that require custom development to extract blockchain network activity data, Amazon Managed Blockchain makes it easy to replicate transactions to Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB), which will offer a fully managed ledger database with a central trusted authority when it becomes generally available in the coming months. This gives customers the ability to gain advanced insight into key trends, such as who is transacting and what is the rate of their transactions. Amazon Managed Blockchain is available immediately in US East (N. Virginia) and will expand to additional regions in the coming year.

AT&T Business offers a range of edge-to-edge technologies including mobility, cybersecurity, networking, voice and collaboration, cloud and IoT solutions and services to match their customers’ technology needs. “Blockchain is far more than just Bitcoin or cryptocurrency. It’s changing the way companies do business and giving us a new way to solve complex business problems,” said Andy Daudelin, Vice President, Alliances Business Development, AT&T Business. “AT&T’s suite of blockchain solutions now includes Amazon’s Managed Blockchain. Amazon Web Services customers can integrate their blockchain solution with AT&T Business’s IoT and edge-to-edge portfolio. This allows them to automate data collection to improve their ability to manage complex supply chain processes, monitor environmental conditions, improve security, gain real-time insights, and so much more.”

Nestlé is a global food and beverage company with more than 2,000 brands and global distribution across 189 countries worldwide. “Transparency in supply chains is increasingly important to consumers, who want to know what is in their food and where it comes from. While Nestlé has begun to release information on its supply chains for its 15 key commodities, using blockchain technology enables a more precise tracking,” said Armin Nehzat, Digital Technology Manager, Nestlé Oceania. “With Amazon Managed Blockchain, we are able to set up our Hyperledger Fabric network and easily invite our partners to collaborate in our supply chain transparency efforts. Amazon Managed Blockchain will enable our customers to track their products on the blockchain from the farm all the way through to consumption.”

Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX) is Asia’s leading and trusted market infrastructure, operating equity, fixed income and derivatives markets to the highest regulatory standards. “Ever since overcoming the physical limitations of open-outcry trading pits, technology has been fundamental to the transformation of critical financial-market infrastructures,” said Andrew Koay, Head of Blockchain Technology, SGX. “SGX sees blockchain technology as a way to bring innovation to our distributed financial marketplace, and we have developed Delivery-versus-Payment (DvP) capabilities for the settlement of tokenised assets across different blockchain platforms. We are working with AWS to move our existing investments in Hyperledger Fabric to Amazon Managed Blockchain. Amazon Managed Blockchain offers businesses the opportunity to eliminate the heavy-lifting typically required in infrastructure setup. This allows us to focus on adding business value and not worry about managing or scaling the underlying platform.”

MOBI, the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, is a non-profit foundation formed to accelerate adoption of and to promote standards in blockchain, distributed ledgers, and related technologies. “Blockchains will increasingly impact the provisioning of mobility services since they enable business networks to reduce the cost of coordinating their activities,” said Chris Ballinger, Founder and CEO, MOBI. “MOBI hopes to build a worldwide network of cities, infrastructure providers, consumers, and producers of mobility services in order to realise the many potential benefits of blockchain technology. Since Amazon Managed Blockchain is a fully managed service, users are able to setup a Hyperledger Fabric network in minutes and easily invite other partners to join. Also, since Amazon Managed Blockchain’s ordering service ensures reliable sharing of data across the network, our participants don’t need to worry about managing infrastructure and building a blockchain solution from the ground up. Instead, they can now focus on building applications for connected car payments, autonomous and electric vehicles, and peer to peer ride-sharing services.”

TrackX Inc. is an enterprise asset management company deploying SaaS-based solutions for the comprehensive tracking and management of physical assets. “Returnable asset tracking including movement and transportation tracing, invoicing, billing, payment and remediation is complicated, and time sensitive,” said Dr. Eddie Shek, Chief Strategy Officer, TrackX. “Blockchain technology has the potential to increase the speed at which we track and reconcile returnable and reusable assets such as beer kegs, intermediate bulk containers, and plastic pallets. Before Amazon Managed Blockchain, we had spent a huge effort building and managing our blockchain infrastructure. Now, we can use Amazon Managed Blockchain to quickly and easily create blockchain networks with Hyperledger Fabric and easily enable our customers to monitor and maintain accountability throughout their entire supply chain. Amazon Managed Blockchain fully manages our blockchain infrastructure and shared network components, enabling us to focus on developing smart contracts to deliver additional value to our customers.”

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology, and operations. “At Accenture, blockchain is driving business transformation in virtually every industry—from aerospace to not-for-profits,” said Prasad Sankaran, Senior Managing Director of Accenture’s Intelligent Cloud & Infrastructure business group. “Blockchain’s unique characteristics are helping to reinvent complex supply chains, improve business processes, and expand the reach and veracity of our digital identities. As the technology continues to take hold, services such as Amazon Managed Blockchain can drive both cost saving and revenue generating opportunities.”

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VIBEPAY SETS SIGHTS ON GROWTH WITH INTEGRATION OF MORE UK BANKS AND NEW BUSINESS ACCOUNTS

VibePay is continuing on its ambitious path of growth, with the integration of more UK banks and payment providers via open banking, and a business account function in its newly launched social payments app.

With 24 banks now integrated with the app, including new additions Starling, Capital One and Tesco, VibePay is aiming to boost engagement with its 50,000 users and drive more sign-ups amongst its Gen Z audience.

The addition of business accounts for the first time will open up VibePay to a small business audience and appeal to the many Gen Z-ers who earn money from selling on their social channels or platforms like Depop. This functionality will enable them to make and receive payments with no fees and provide instant access to funds and a transaction dashboard to track their payments.

 

The new app will see further functionality added over the next few weeks including:

  • Vibe.me links, giving all users a personalised payment URL
  • Vibe ID – an ‘online passport’ allowing users to link their bank account and seamlessly transact and interact with brands across the web
  • QR codes, to scan for instant payments
  • Vibe Shop – a new way to buy Vibe merchandise via pay with bank functionality
  • Integration with VibeTickets, allowing its 100,000 users to make payments via VibePay with no fees

 

Luke Massie, founder of VibePay, says“This new app is the culmination of months of work – we’ve taken invaluable feedback from the VibePay community and looked at how we can make the app bigger and better so it’s easier, more fun and an indispensable tool for our users’ lives.

 We’re built for Gen Z by Gen Z which means we’re able to reach this critical audience with a unique solution built on their lives. We can’t wait to roll out the new functionality over the coming weeks and see our community continue to grow. We’ve already got our sights set on the next phase of growth for 2020 and beyond.”

 

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BOARD REPORT HIGHLIGHTS COMPLEX DECISION-MAKING PROCESS ACROSS BANKING AND FINANCE SECTOR

‘The State Of Decision-Making’ report from Board, reveals business decisions made in silos without modern planning tools

A third (33%) of Banking & Finance decision-makers believe decisions made in silos, despite majority (63%) of decisions being implemented worldwide

More than half (57%) of Banking & Finance decision-makers rely on spreadsheets for decision-making despite modern planning tools now available

 

Board, the #1 decision-making platform, has today released ‘The State Of Decision-Making’ report focussing on how UK organisations make their important business decisions.

Based on a survey of 500 senior decision-makers, across industries including, Banking & Financial Services, Consumer Goods, Manufacturing, Pharmaceutical, Professional Services, Retail, and Transport & Logistics,  ‘The State Of Decision-Making’ report from Board shows that today’s business decision-making process is increasingly complex, with multiple departments and seniority levels all responsible for some form of decision-making, leading to a lack of cohesion between units and a waste of business resources.

 

The State Of Decision-Making’ research found that while a clear majority of respondents (63%) working within the banking and finance sector say the important decisions they are responsible for get implemented globally, the decision-making process itself is not joined-up across the business, with one third (33%) also saying that crucial business decisions are made in departmental silos.

 

The research, conducted on behalf of Board International by independent research organisation 3GEM, also asked respondents the tools they use to make decisions and, while almost every action within an organisation today will lead to the creation of new data, it seems many businesses are not using the crucial insights which data can provide to make important decisions.

 

More than half (55%) of respondents in the banking and finance industry said they were making business decisions based on data and insights, but ‘gut feeling’ decisions are still made by up to 44% of companies. What’s more over half (57%) of the sector’s companies still rely on spreadsheets to aid their decision-making, despite more modern and reliable tools now available.

 

“In today’s fast-paced, data rich and evolving business environment, making quick and effective decisions is critical to both compete and survive,” explains Gavin Fallon, Managing Director for UK, Nordics & South Africa at Board International. “Important decisions are being made at any one time across multiple business functions, but all too often, important decision-making is disconnected, modular or fragmented.”

 

The research also asked respondents about the challenges banking and finance decision-makers face at their organisation,  with nearly a third (29%) citing a lack of available data and insights and one quarter (25%) citing the fact there are too many people in the decision-making process as their biggest frustrations. However, industry decision-makers believe that the process can be improved with the introduction of new technology, with the majority (57%) of respondents saying this would make their decision-making better, while 41% also felt increased use of data and insights would help.

 

“Businesses have to plan every day for a far more uncertain future and set themselves up to prepare for change and keep changing against the backdrop of a more volatile and uncertain marketplace than ever,” continues Fallon. “A bad decision can have wide-ranging impact across the whole organisation and no business can afford to waste time and resources on bets that may or may not come off.  As the business environment increases in complexity, the ability to not just react, but predict, in real-time, becomes more important than ever.”

 

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