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Digital Strategy & Innovation

Digital Copyright, the start of a new era? Really?

Until not too long ago we were wondering what the big printed paper publishers should do about Google and Facebook. If these international Over The Top were to be considered more a threat or an opportunity. We have witnessed the like and fan battle first (but what exactly should we do with Facebook fans?), then the bickering on Instant Articles, AMP, YouTube, etcetera. Today we can start all over again, with the introduction in this scenario of the digital copyright provisions established by vote by the European Union. The big platforms, in fact, will no longer be able to use artistic and journalistic content without paying the sources. Note: it will still be possible to simply link the page containing the news or content, what will no longer be possible is offering a free summarized preview (text with images) that “satisfies” users’ needs, persuading them not to click on the said link.

So, once again: what should the big printed paper publishers do about Google and Facebook? Yes, because it’s not enough to claim victory for a European law – which is still in the making and will then require the incorporation of single State Members – that at least on paper, is on the side of publishers and journalists. It is necessary to once again wonder how to interpret, now, the new market scenario.

Here are two possible versions.

The first: it will no longer be convenient for the big platforms to invest in information, therefore they will give up all efforts in this area (as an example, no more Google News). In addition to publishers’ loss of revenue caused by the absence of links/previews in their articles, the same publishers will experience a reduction of traffic on their sites with consequences on advertising revenue. Though the first part is only “hypothetical” (as of today publishers are not compensated in any way), the second is absolutely differential compared to the current scenario, and a further drop of traffic would cause even more problems to the already marginal advertising revenue.

The second: publishers continue to be present on these platforms. Ok, but at what cost? Publishers’ “negotiating power” is such that it can elicit better conditions than the few currently effective (for example an advertising split of advertising spaces available in AMP and Instant Articles)? If we think about it carefully, any offer made available by OTTs and publishers to enable the use of their news and articles at a very low price would be better than nothing. What alternative revenue sources do publishers currently have that would enable them to turn it down? In what other way do they think they could make more?

Because the real matter is not so much the use of artistic and journalistic contents.  The real issue is: what alternative is possible?  It is on this that a publisher, or even better, the publishers combined (it would be about time) must reason.

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Digital Trend & Solutions

A hot summer for smartwatches: are we going to pay with our watch?

by Ivano Asaro and Valeria Portale, Mobile Payment & Commerce Observatory

Innovation runs fast also in the world of payments. Though payments made through smartphones still need to fully leverage their potential the time of wearables is now, with the availability of objects that can be worn such as watches, bracelets, or rings, that enable to pay by simply coming close to a contactless POS.

According to a report published in February by Mastercard, one European citizen out of four can’t wait to be able to pay via wearables, that is not only the smartphone but also smartwatch, fitness tracker, rings or other wearable devices.

On the 9th of August Samsung presented the brand new Samsung Galaxy Watch, strongly focused on user wellbeing and stress monitoring which, like previous models, is based on NFC technology and combined with Samsung Pay can be used as a contactless payment device. After about one month, in response to its main competitor, Apple introduced version 4 of the Apple Watch: this too, as in the previous model, includes NFC technology and is therefore capable of paying through Apple Pay.  

Also recently, American Express launched Amex Band, the contactless bracelet enabling AMEX card holders to pay just by moving their wrist over the POS. On the 4th of September, in collaboration with Visa, the Moscow Credit Bank launched a payment solution that uses an NFC ring. A similar service had been tested by Barclays in the UK already in 2015.
But it is not only banks or smartphone manufacturers that are working on such solutions. Michael Kors launched Access on August 20th, a classic style watch with Google Fit to monitor physical activity, and with an NFC antenna for Google Pay payments. The exact same choice was also made by Skagen for their new smartwatch Falster 2 presented at the end of August.
Fitbit, one of the leading manufacturers of wearable devices, in recent months released two fitness trackers  (Versa and Charge 3), both including NFC technology to enable payments via Fitbit Pay. The payment service is active in 18 Countries and supported by over 100 financial institutes (in Italy by Carrefour and Boon).
The 3rd of September, the famous clothing and accessory brand Diesel launched a new Google Pay enabled touchscreen smartwatch (in countries where Google Pay is available), and with Alipay in China.

A period full of new device news, to be added to products already on the market and launches, such as the Letspay contactless bracelet by Unipol in Italy of just a few months ago.

Smartphones and wearables will be increasingly integrated with payment solutions. The smartphone’s screen continues to be a key element to offer additional services other than payments (discounts, loyalty cards, saving services, identity, etc.) and, especially, perceived by users as more secure: the possibility of viewing payment information in real time attenuates users’ fears of using such tools. This is another reason why wearables are often integrated with smartphones, in order to receive notifications and check information in real time.

It is undoubtable, however, that in many circumstances it is much faster and easier to pay simply by bringing a bracelet or ring near a turnstile or a POS rather than getting out a phone from a bag or a pocket, especially when the expense is below 25 euros and does not require a PIN code or authentication. The installation of contactless POS on Milan’s underground turnstiles could prove to be an important launch pad for the adoption of these objects: it is not by chance, in fact, that in London, where contactless technology is in use on the entire underground network, such solutions have been under testing for several years now. Additionally, smart watches are increasingly associated with fitness and the concept of wellbeing, and have become the inseparable partners of many athletes. Also in these situations a bracelet or watch would greatly simplify the payment process.
Users will not give up their smartphones, but it is likely that a growing number of people will get one of these smart devices and chose which tool is best for each occasion.

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Digital Trend & Solutions

Why Data Breach reports are increasing, due to GDPR

by Alessandro Piva and Giorgia Dragoni, Information Security & Privacy Observatory

In the last weeks Data Breach reports by organizations that have been subject to security violations have increased. But let’s find out why this is primarily due to the introduction of the GDPR (the new General personal data protection Regulation).

Famous Data Breach cases

July 18, 2018: there have been reports that Movistar, one of Spain’s major Telco operators has been subject to a security breach caused by a weakness of its IT systems. The personal data of millions of customers has been accidentally exposed online to anyone with basic technical expertise. Due to a malfunction related to dynamic addresses (URLs), it was possible to collect personal information regarding every Movistar customer by simply editing some parameters manually.


The Movistar case however, is not the only data breach event occurred over the last weeks. In the last period there have been news about security violations on a nearly daily basis, and they are increasing at a phenomenal rate. Just to mention a few examples, following are some recent cases:

  • LabCorp, an American Medical diagnostic company that on the 16th of July announced it was looking into “suspicious activities” that could have put health data of thousands of patients at risk;
  • Adidas, communicated on the 29th of June to have been subject to a breach that exposed contact information and passwords of several million customers of the American online store;
  • NHS, the UK National Health Service has been subject to a data breach and as a result exposed the personal information of millions of patients.

 Data Breach and GDPR

Though the increase of news of this kind is alarming, it represents the first evidence of the consequences of the GDPR era. With the effective enforcement of the new data protection regulation it has become mandatory to inform the Authorities in the event of loss or breach of personal information within 72 hours from disclosure.

Already in 2017 Research conducted by the  Information Security & Privacy Observatory highlighted a considerable increase of awareness within businesses to data protection, attributable to the GDPR. The gradual increase of reports and news of potential breaches confirms the issue has reached the highest level of attention ever. The General Data Protection Regulation is already producing results: for companies it is an opportunity to stimulate investments, to design new roles within organizations, to implement new tools and methodologies capable of enabling secure digital transformation which affects each and everyone of us, both as consumers and professional users.

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Digital Trend & Solutions

Can Supply Chain Finance become strategic for CFO?

In the current economic and financial context, the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) role is becoming increasingly strategic within the company, expanding its breadth and shifting from company finance expert to strategic business partner with comprehensive knowledge of the company.

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Digital Trend & Solutions

Telcos flirt with the advertising market

AT&T appears to be nearly closing the acquisition of AppNexus, one of the leading international advertising ad-exchanges. For the American telecommunications giant this operation represents a significant leap towards the advertising market and an opportunity to cash-in on the large volume of data they own. Telcos, in fact, own a great deal of first party data (relayed by users when activating the service) and can make it available to organizations operating in the data-driven advertising market, such as AppNexus, to enable crossing this data (i.e. gender, age, address of residence, payment trustworthiness) with navigation data so as to create increasingly accurate user profiles.

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Digital Trend & Solutions

Artificial Intelligence meets the Internet of Things

According to data from the Internet of Things Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano, the IoT market in Italy (in 2017) reached 3.7 billion euros, with a 32% growth from the previous year. With the increasing spread of the number of smart objects companies, not just in Italy, are starting to glimpse the potential of data made available by smart devices. Proof is in the market launch of a rising number of new IoT solutions that integrate advanced data analysis platforms with Artificial Intelligence algorithms (AI) capable of simplifying the management of connected devices, a traditionally complex issue particularly with the increase of smart objects.

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