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Accenture puts $200m in skills

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Supporting its vision to improve the way the world works and lives, Accenture is committing more than US$200 million over the next three years to help equip disadvantaged people with job skills for the digital age.

“As a technology leader, we have an obligation to apply new scalable technology solutions to help solve complex societal challenges,” said Pierre Nanterme, Accenture’s chairman and CEO. “Our investments will continue to empower Accenture to produce socially minded partnerships and programs that will have a profound impact on the lives of millions of people throughout the world, now and for the future.”

Accenture’s commitment will help support Skills to Succeed, Tech4Good, Accenture Development Partnerships and related Accenture initiatives.

The company’s Skills to Succeed initiative advances employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, leveraging digital innovation to help close employment gaps at scale. Together with a network of nonprofits and other ecosystem partners, Accenture has since 2010 equipped more than 2.2 million people with the skills to get a job or build a business, with a goal of equipping a total of more than 3 million people by 2020.

In South Africa, Skills to Succeed has already equipped thousands of people with job skills since 2015, with the vast majority of them gaining employment in digital, software development and business process services. One Skills to Succeed programme in the country is CE3 in rural KwaZulu-Natal, which serves as a catalyst for local economic development. The programme strengthens existing businesses, creates employment opportunities and builds new businesses through, among other things, the provision of clean, affordable electricity.

Examples of other Accenture’s Skills to Succeed partnerships include:

  • Helping Youth Business USA develop a platform that uses artificial intelligence and analytics to connect young entrepreneurs from under-represented communities with the resources, skills, training and mentoring needed to grow their business.
  • Working with Rede Cidadã and Instituto Ser Mais in Brazil to provide low-income populations with the business and technical skills they need to build meaningful, lasting careers in technology, including the opportunity to be hired by Accenture.

Accenture’s Tech4Good projects use advanced technologies to help solve critical challenges facing business and society. For instance, the company collaborated with The Grameen Foundation India, using technologies from AI to augmented reality, to help disadvantaged people improve their financial literacy to enhance their financial and social well-being. In collaboration with Club Egalité, Accenture Labs in Sophia Antipolis, France, is developing a virtual-reality game that helps primary and middle school students explore future-proof jobs and develop critical skills for the digital economy, with the goal of encouraging an interest in STEM careers.

Accenture Development Partnerships works across government, business and civil society, applying business and technology solutions to build capacity and strengthen programs for development organizations around the globe. For example, Accenture collaborated with the Spanish Ministry of Employment and a consortium of nonprofit partners and corporations in 2013 to create Emplea+, an online program that helps marginalized individuals develop technical, digital and soft skills needed for employment.

“The opportunity to improve lives requires collaboration across business, government and non-governmental organizations,” Nanterme said. “As leaders weigh new technologies and applications, we all must ask ourselves: Does this benefit the next generation? If the answer is yes, it’s the right thing to do.”

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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Five key biometric facts

Due to their uniqueness, fingerprints are being used more and more to quickly identify and ensure the security of customers. CLAUDE LANGLEY, Regional Sales Manager, for Africa at HID Global Biometrics, outlines five facts about the technology.

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How many times in a day are you expected to identify yourself? From when you arrive at work you are required to sign in, visiting your bank, receiving healthcare services… The list is endless. When a system knows who you are, you are able to do any number common, everyday activities. Your identity is unique and precious. It is also easily stolen and the target of many hackers across the globe. Technology is constantly evolving alongside the criminal element, always looking for ways to protect data and identity. One such solution happens to be biometrics and it is rapidly gaining traction in our increasingly complex modern world.

Reliable, secure and fundamentally YOU, unique biometric traits such as fingerprints are being used by banks, enterprises and consumers to verify identity. Biometric solutions offer significant identity protection because they use unique biological details to ensure an account is only accessed by the account holder, a door only opened by the owner. Here are five things that are little known about this technology…

  • The uncut identity. Your fingerprint is unique to you. Nobody can use a copy of it to impersonate you. Good technology is capable of scanning down into the layers of the fingertip to differentiate unique elements of a person’s fingerprint, this data is then encrypted and used as a key to unlocking whichever physical or virtual door that the biometric system protects.
  • The living proof. No, there is nothing to the stories of fingerprints being used without their owner’s knowledge or permission. Biometric solutions can use specific variables to determine if the finger used to access the system is that of a present, living person.  A copy or a fake cannot be used to access a cutting-edge biometric solution.
  • Easy and convenient. Queues and documents and paperwork may well be a thing of the past should biometrics take a firmer grip of government and banking systems. The process of registering is easy, and access to identity documents and records is yours alone.
  • Security blanket. A thousand passwords and a hundred post-it notes stuck on walls and drawers.  An excel file with a list of sites and applications and their corresponding passwords, all a thing of the past.  Nobody needs to remember their password with biometrics, they only need to show up.
  • Anywhere is cool. Schools, airports, networks, offices, homes, toilets, banks, libraries, governments, border controls, immigration services, call centres, hospitals and even clubs and pubs – knowing “who” matters and biometrics can quickly and conveniently confirm your identity where needed.

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