The Five Forces – The Real Infrastructure Initiative & Seven Companies To Make It Happen

“What I have tried to do with my work is to make baseball more fun,” The Bill James Newsletter, 1985 as quoted in Moneyball, by Michael Lewis

Five forces are critical to driving any infrastructure initiative. Ignore the push or pull of any one of these forces and you weaken your effort, or go nowhere – respect their power and you drive forward. My wife, Ingrid, criticized me over the weekend: “You think about everything in terms of infrastructure.” “But how else are we going to save the country,” I responded. Tunnel vision. But I think that – right now – that is maybe not be a bad thing. This is an extraordinarily chaotic period, we are in what seems like the eye of the hurricane – the next 12 months are likely to be one of the most challenging, and hopefully one of the most creative, periods in our history. Infrastructure is an investment in our future, it brings us together, and it carries us closer to our dreams. To begin, though, we need to understand – differently, with crystal clarity – the five forced, and we need to work out a strategic solution that works for all of us, and that sustains investment, long-term.

Five Forces Defining the Infrastructure Landscape. Much as Michael Porter’s famous five forces defined the competitive intensity of an industry, there are five forces that are critical to how to think about a country’s infrastructure industry – get them wrong and investment will fall, be inconsistent, or ineffective. From 1992 through to 2016 every successful presidential candidate promised, and failed, to drive infrastructure forward. By organizing strategy around these five forces the next Administration can – intensely, perhaps even ruthlessly

Virus Forces Europe to Confront Its Creaking Internet Problems

Massimiliano Capitanio

Source: Massimiliano Capitanio

Shortly after coronavirus forced Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to lock down the country, lawmaker Massimiliano Capitanio took an unusual call at his office in Rome.

It was an appeal for help from a hospital at the epicenter of the outbreak in northern Italy. Its administrators direly needed faster internet connections and computers to deal with the flood of patients. Capitanio — who sits on parliament’s telecommunications committee — called the country’s phone companies to help out.

To Capitanio, the pandemic was a wake-up call to fix Italy’s creaking internet. Now Conte has stepped in with a plan to kick-start investment by merging the country’s two biggest landline networks.

“Some families still don’t own a computer,” said Capitanio. “The government has been forced to step in and tackle this social emergency.”

Europe’s internet infrastructure is riddled with gaps and bottlenecks, exposed over the past seven months by surging hospital admissions to the rise of home working and explosion of e-commerce. Governments are now deciding how to intervene, after predicting the introduction of faster networks could lead to an annual benefit of 113 billion euros ($133 billion).

In Italy, the state investment vehicle Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA is expected to obtain a significant stake in a unified national network and give former monopoly Telecom Italia SpA confidence to speed up a roll-out of faster fiber-optic connections by removing rival Open Fiber SpA.

The plan tears up a guiding principle of the European project that more competition leads to better services. It’s part of a new pattern of engagement with industry that suggests Europe is watering down its anti-monopoly principles in response to China’s state-led expansion and Donald Trump’s America First agenda.

Building more robust infrastructure would stimulate stricken economies and spur the

Pandemic Forces Europe’s Largest Tech Event to Go Fully Online | Technology News

LISBON (Reuters) – Web Summit, Europe’s biggest technology conference, will be held entirely online in December due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced the cancellation or postponement of many major events this year, its organiser said on Thursday.

“Lisbon is still Web Summit’s home but with growing COVID-19 outbreaks across Europe, we have to think of what’s best for the people of Portugal and our attendees,” the conference’s founder Paddy Cosgrave said in a statement.

The decision, which came after the organiser said in June the event would take place in Lisbon as planned, followed talks with the Portuguese government and Lisbon’s mayor.

The event, which moved from Dublin to the Portuguese capital in 2016, attracts around 70,000 participants every year, drawing speakers from leading global tech companies and startups, as well as politicians.

Web Summit will be able to host 100,000 attendees online on its own conference platform, the organiser said, adding around 800 speakers will join the event, including Zoom chief executive Eric Yuan and Captain America star Chris Evans.

Portugal, which has so far reported a total of 81,256 cases and 2,040 deaths from the coronavirus, much lower than in neighbouring Spain, began lifting its lockdown on May 4.

But like most other European countries, it has seen the number of COVID-19 infections rise again after a summer lull.

“The safest and most reasonable answer is to host Web Summit fully online in 2020,” Cosgrave said. “We look forward to welcoming attendees back to Lisbon in 2021.”

(Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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The British Armed Forces Now Has a Drone That Can Shoot Stuff

An example of a hexacopter drone.

An example of a hexacopter drone.
Photo: Omer Messinger (Getty Images)

In partnership with the United Kingdom’s Strategic Command, which supports the Ministry of Defence, an unnamed company has developed a new battle-ready drone to assist armed forces with dangerous ground operations during urban warfare.

Reported by Popular Mechanics (via The Times), the i9 is a human-operated drone that can fly indoors, uses AI to locate and identify targets, and is outfitted with dual shotguns. If reading that makes you feel like we’re living in a 90s science fiction movie, well, I guess we are. Except Arnold is not headed to Mars.

As Popular Mechanics points out, breaching operations—when armed forces storm into a sealed off, enclosed area where enemy forces could be hiding—are one of the most dangerous type of ground operations. Casualties are usually high, especially among soldiers who enter the building first. Sending in a drone first is ideal for these kinds of operations. But hexacopters, or six-bladed drones like the i9, usually have issues with crashing to the ground if they get too close to a wall inside a small room, particularly if they are carrying something heavy, like a shotgun. The wall disrupts the airflow needed to keep the drone flying, which isn’t very useful in breaching operations.

The i9 is the UK’s first drone that can fly indoors while carrying heavy weaponry. The Ministry of Defence also hopes to develop other uses for the i9 as well, such as using it as a battering ram to knock other drones out of the sky and replacing the dual shotguns with either a rocket or chain gun. No, that is not the rambling of a video game designer. That is the desire of the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

Neither Popular Mechanics nor

Canada Probing Allegations Azeri Forces Are Using Canadian Technology in Nagorno-Karabakh | World News

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada is probing allegations that Azeri forces involved in fighting with Armenia are using Canadian drone technology that was initially exported to Turkey, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.

Project Ploughshares, a Canadian arms control group, says video of air strikes released by the Azeri air force indicates the drones had been equipped with imaging and targeting systems made by L3Harris Wescam, the Canada-based unit of L3Harris Technologies

.

The Globe and Mail newspaper said the firm had received permission earlier this year to ship seven imaging and targeting systems to Turkish drone maker Baykar. Turkey is a key ally of Azerbaijan, whose forces have been fighting for a week over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“In regards to the Canadian military equipment that may have been used … the minister of foreign affairs has launched an investigation into what exactly happened,” Trudeau told reporters when asked about the matter.

“It is extremely important that the terms of Canada’s expectations of non-violation of human rights (are) always respected,” said Trudeau, adding that he was extremely concerned by the fighting.

Canada’s Export and Import Permits Act forbids the sale of weapons if they could be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights laws.

Officials at L3harris Wescam were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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