Lantau Tomorrow: silver bullet for Hong Kong’s housing woes or costly white elephant?




The Hong Kong Legislative Council on Friday approved an initial funding requested to kick-start a feasibility study for Lantau Tomorrow Vision, a massive land reclamation scheme aimed at creating the city’s next housing and business hub.The contentious bill was passed in the absence of the opposition camp, whose members resigned en masse last month after four of their colleagues were summarily booted from the legislature over their political stance.But the HK$550 million (US$71 million) in…



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Charge sheet filed against Arnab Goswami in 2018 suicide case


Mumbai: The police on Friday filed a charge sheet against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and two others in a 2018 abetment of suicide case. The charge sheet was filed before a court in Alibaug in neighbouring Raigad district, where the case for alleged abetment of suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud has been registered.

Besides Goswami, the other two accused named in the charge sheet are Firoze Sheikh and Nitish Sarda, said special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat. The trio has been charged under IPC sections 306 (abetment to suicide), 109 (punishment for abetment) and 34 (act done by several people in furtherance of common intention). As many as 65 persons are named as witnesses in the charge sheet that runs into 1,914 pages. Prosecution sources said that it relies on purported suicide noteas the ‘dying declaration’.

Naik’s handwriting has been matched with the writing in the suicide note and forensic report indicated that he was not under pressure while writing it, sources added. Six statements recorded before a magistrate under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are also part of the charge sheet. Such statements can be used as evidence during trial. Incidentally, Goswami had moved the Bombay High Court on Thursday seeking a stay to the filing of charge sheet, but the petition is yet to be heard.





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Japan ratifies UK trade deal to take effect Jan. 1


TOKYO — Japan’s parliament on Friday completed ratification of a free trade deal with the U.K., a key move for supporting Japanese auto companies, railcar makers and other industrial groups through Britain’s looming exit from the European Union.

The economic partnership agreement, set to take effect Jan. 1, saves Japanese manufacturers operating in the U.K. from a Brexit “cliff edge” at the end of this month.

But a trade deal between the U.K. and EU remains necessary to ensure these companies have frictionless commerce with the European bloc after Brexit.

The Japan-U.K. agreement “ensures continuity for Japanese and British companies, and it is hoped that bilateral trade and investment will advance under the agreement’s high standards,” Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters Friday following a cabinet meeting.

While smoothing the way for trade, London and Tokyo are also exploring closer ties in the security field, including sharing with Japan intelligence gathered by the “Five Eyes” arrangement of the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.


Lawmakers in Japan’s legislative Diet pass the free trade deal with Great Britain on Dec. 4. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

The economic partnership agreement will abolish tariffs on industrial goods imports and exports in terms of quantity and value. Tariffs on Japanese exports of passenger cars to the U.K. will be cut stepwise until they are eliminated in 2026 — just like Japan’s arrangement with the EU

Tariffs will immediately be abolished on such items as rail cars and components, turbojet engines and control panels for electric vehicles.

Many Japanese companies operating in the U.K. use parts shipped from continental Europe to build their products, which are then shipped back to those markets. In order for them to continue operating smoothly following Brexit, the U.K. will also need to sign a trade deal with the EU.

For agricultural imports into Japan, the new agreement will not establish any new quotas under lower tariffs, though London wanted to expand Stilton blue cheese exports.

Tokyo compromised by allowing the U.K. to export agricultural products at the same tariff rate as the EU as long as imports from the EU do not reach a certain volume. Duties for forestry and fishery products will also basically follow what is in force with the EU.

When it comes to rules governing the transfer of digital data, Japan and the U.K. agreed to regulations that are at a higher level than was settled in the EU trade deal or the 11-country Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Companies that expand to the British or Japanese market will be protected from having to reveal trade secrets to the government or any businesses in the destination country. The CPTPP and the Japan-EU trade deal forbids states from requesting companies reveal source codes. Japan and the U.K. will go further by banning forced disclosures of artificial intelligence algorithms and encryption keys.





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Even morning shows commence in Telangana cinema theatres


HYDERABAD: Cinema theatres in Telangana went on to witness morning shows from Friday. Significantly, theatres witnessed 90 per cent occupancy on the first day with audiences showing no hesitation in buying tickets from counters on the first day.

Experts in cinema field feel this is a positive signal for the industry in Telangana after Covid-19 crisis. All theatres ensured a safer environment, following all the standard operations procedures. Masks were mandatory. Temperatures of viewers were checked before they could enter the screening premises. Sanitisation of hands was compulsory. Staff at the theatres wore gloves, masks and visors.

 

Many youngsters and families too were spotted at the theatres. Most of them expressed their happiness that their favourite entertainment is back.

Deepak and Prithvi from Jubilee Hills, both friends, made their way to watch the movie on the first day morning show. “It is a very nice feeling to watch movies in theatres after such a long break. We are feeling more safe and secure. The whole place is sanitised and they made wearing of mask mandatory,” the duo said.

Swathi, who wished to watch the morning show on Day One said the show will remain engraved in her memory. “It gives us a feeling that the world around us is getting normal. Our movies are back on the big screen.”

 

Tyson Vincent, manager at AMB Cinema, Gachibowli, pointed out that 50 percent of the seats were left vacant for social distancing. “Rest of all the seat seats went full for on Day One itself,” he remarked.

Devi Cinema, a single-screen theatre, sold 140 tickets for each show. This is a positive signal for future of movies, as it indicates that once movies with stars start getting released, all the seats will be full, Devi’s manager said.



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Depressing Déjà vu for Malaysia’s Narcotics Nightmare


By: Murray Hunter

In 1983, in a country where drug use had become an epidemic, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad rammed through what was regarded as some of the world’s toughest drug toughest programs. Authorities developed an intensive two-year rehab program for heroin and opium addicts, then the drug of choice, reorganized and expanded drug enforcement, and enacted the death penalty for minute traces of drugs including marijuana, which much of the world is now legalizing.

Thirty-seven years later, there is little indication that Malaysia’s no-holds-barred battle against drugs has had any effect. Although 200 grams of cannabis can still earn users the death penalty along with 40 grams of cocaine or 15 grams of heroin, statistics indicate there were 142,199 substance abusers and addicts in 2019, a figure believed massively understated. Few of those arrested are traffickers, an indication of possible protection in high places. A recent report by Amnesty International, 44 percent of people sentenced to death for trafficking are poor foreign nationals – drug mules.

Many law enforcement officials believe up to a million Malaysians could be addicted to drugs, a figure widely in use in the mid-1980s and an indication that little has changed. That figure represents almost three percent of the population although it is skewed heavily towards Malay youth, meaning the problem is a good deal more serious. Those aged 19-39 make up 72 percent of the official statistics. Drug-taking in secondary schools is also reported to be rampant among students aged 13 and above.

Malaysia’s illicit drug trade has allowed organized crime, once eliminated from urban and town areas by the authorities, to re-establish across the country in new forms including import cartels and street distribution organizations. This has also provided opportunities for corruption by members of various Malaysian law enforcement authorities. In August 2019, authorities seized US$161 million worth of drugs in a single haul, an indication that the country remains a major transit point for illegal drugs down the peninsula to Indonesia and Australia. Little more than a month ago, police in the Indonesian province of Aceh sized 81 kg of meth and other substances that they said had been transshipped through Malaysia.

Until the 1990s, heroin, other opiate derivatives and marijuana and hashish were the drugs of choice, leading to an HIV epidemic. However, methamphetamine derivatives shabu, yaba, and ice crept into the hip-pop and techno identities, primarily in urban and town areas. According to some on the frontline, meths use now comprises 75 percent of drug abuse. Other substances like ketamine and cocaine use are on the rise. Much of the distribution of meths-based drugs came to be controlled by local and foreign criminal syndicates, from shop-based locations and social media.

Today, the center of illicit drug usage is rural. Pahang, the big state to the east of Kuala Lumpur, tops the number of registered drug addicts, followed by Kelantan, Terengganu and Perlis, the peninsular northern and east coast states. Malay youths have turned once peaceful and safe rural communities into crime-ridden locales.

While Malay females generally take up steady work or pursue higher education opportunities, males tend to linger lethargically around kampongs where peer pressure and boredom drive them to drugs. This may begin with glue sniffing at school, eating, drinking or smoking locally grown ketum leaves, a locally grown psychotropic plant. They also smoke ganja – marijuana – and later move onto ice or other meth derivatives.

Although 157,677 people were arrested for various drug offences in 2018, official statistics under-represent the true numbers. In many rural areas, police tend to take the issue up with families and local imams rather than putting the perpetrator/victims through the formal legal process.

Consequently, addicted Malay youths are unable to hold down steady jobs, take on further study, or even help on their parent’s farms or businesses. They congregate, pursuing dangerous mat rempit activities – Illegal street racing, stunt bike activities and petty crime such as snatch and house robberies. These stunts often lead to injury and death, while local communities feel terrorized, and unsafe.

There are even cases of youths terrorizing their parents with knives or parangs to get cash to buy drugs. Some engage in the capture and trade of endangered animal species like Tokay Geckos or become small time distributors of drugs, even though these activities carry harsh penalties.

Although arak or alcoholic drinks are haram or prohibited in the Quran and Hadiths, there is nothing explicitly mentioned about the use of illicit drugs, making them more culturally acceptable. Idleness, lack of opportunities, strong peer influence of Malay group relationships within the Malay culture, have fostered an environment ripe to nurture drug abuse and addiction.

Other youth are curious about trying their counterparts are using. Many move on from sniffing glue while at school to other drugs later on. There are also elements of rebellion against a repressive society that demands strict conformity. Many parental examples among the uneducated Malay rural folk, who use ketum on the excuse of minor ailments such as a sore back, are poor leadership examples. Large numbers of police themselves are users of methamphetamine, according to spot checks.

Many crime syndicates in Malaysia are comprised of foreign nationals from Taiwan, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, and other ASEAN countries, importing drugs from Thailand and Myanmar. New sources of methamphetamine production in Taiwan have driven down street prices.

However, over the past few years local syndicates have risen, using Iranian and Taiwanese chemists to locally produce meths in clandestine laboratories all over the country. Syndicates already involved in extortion, loan sharking, gambling, prostitution, robbery, and human trafficking, have been attracted into the lucrative business.

The marginalization of Indian youth in Malaysia has led many into the illicit drug distribution trade. Armed gangs regularly clash in gang turf wars, which are violent and bloody. These gangs often have law enforcement and even political connections. These gangs are purported to be cooperating with Indian syndicates importing ketamine and ephedrine into Malaysia from India.

Many police and other law enforcement officers on low salaries are themselves susceptible to the lure of narco-money from organized importation and distribution groups. Annual profits from drug distribution are estimated to be RM1.2 billion, a figure that appears low. Many rumors circulate about MPs involved in the trade. Asia Sentinel is aware of one northern MP and former chief minister who is cultivating ketum within his home state.

Some argue that it is political corruption that enables these syndicates to operate unheeded. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was reported as stating that drug trafficking and other organized crime are growing due to power abuse among enforcement agencies.

The Drug Dependents (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act 1983 that Mahathir rammed through has been criticized for being too punitive where an empathetic medical approach would bring better results. Some academics and frontline practitioners argue for an amendment to The Dangerous Drugs Act (Amendment) 2014 to provide a new definition for ketum leaves and marijuana to decriminalize use. That would partly alleviate prison crowding by minor offenders who compound their drug abuse from wide availability in prisons. Globally cannabis is increasingly accepted, with movements even in the United Nations toward decriminalization.

Secondly, reformers advocate a new cannabis importation, possession, cultivation, distribution regime for medical use, which would greatly decrease the burden – and temptation – on law enforcement. The cost of running prisons for drug offenders runs at more than RM400 million per annum. However, there is no unanimous agreement, with some arguing that decriminalization might lead some youth to try these substances.

Rehabilitation is extremely important for meths dependence, as it is a difficult drug to shake. Rehabilitation can lead to psychotic disorders including paranoid schizophrenia during withdrawal. Detox can spark heavy bouts of depression, leading to difficulty in re-integrating into society drug-free. Most Malaysian rehabilitation centers have been criticized for not providing proper treatment, still using cold turkey techniques. The cost of private centers opening up to treat drug addiction are far out of reach of the majority of addicts and their families.

The decades-long fight against illicit drugs has been futile with drug addiction and drug related crime continuing to climb. The underlying causes of poverty, family instability issues, lack of opportunity, poor education opportunities, for male Malay youths are not being tackled. Recent statistics also indicate that substance abuse is now rising at a higher rate among females.

The increasing size of drug busts just indicates that plenty of material is flooding into Malaysia. Even Malaysia’s porous borders, where crossings have been closed for the Covid-19 pandemic, haven’t slowed importation.

There are still inconsistencies from the government as to how this epidemic should be approached. Law enforcers still see drug addiction as a crime requiring punitive action. Meanwhile quickly growing syndicates are working hand-in-hand with corrupt law enforcement officers. This is concerning when 50 percent of crimes committed in Malaysia are now drug-related.

Murray Hunter is a Southeast Asia-based development specialist and a frequent contributor to Asia Sentinel.

This article is among the stories we choose to make widely available. If you wish to get the full Asia Sentinel experience and access more exclusive content, please do subscribe to us.



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Disease transmission in Kerala stays low


Kerala’s COVID-19 curve remains on an extended plateau, as the low level of disease transmission has continued throughout the State over the past one month, with the test positivity rate remaining steady between 9% and 11%.

While new cases have generally begun to show a declining trend, there has been no let-up in the mortality. The State is now bracing for another peak, with disease monitoring indicators in some northern districts showing a spike.

On Friday, Kerala reported 5,718 new cases when 57,456 samples were tested in the past 24 hours, taking the State’s cumulative case burden to 6,25,767. The test positivity rate was 9.95%. With 5,496 more patients recovering and getting discharged from hospitals, the State’s active caseload has now dropped to 61,401. So far, 5,61,874 recoveries have been reported in the State.

29 deaths

The addition of 29 more deaths to the official death list on Friday has taken the State’s toll to 2,358. Malappuram reported seven of these deaths, Kottayam six, Kollam five, Ernakulam and Kozhikode three each, Thrissur and Wayanad two each and Thiruvananthapuram one.

According to official data, 867 COVID-19 patients in the State are at critically ill and being treated in ICUs in various hospitals, with 215 requiring ventilator support.

Of the 5,718 new cases reported on Friday, 5,623 are locally acquired infections, with the authorities unable to establish the epidemiological link in 572 cases. The number of health-care workers who contracted the infection was 60. In 95 cases, health officials have reported a history of travel outside the State.

Among districts, Malappuram reported 943 cases, Kozhikode 773, Kottayam 570, Thrissur 528, Ernakulam 486, Palakkad 447, Alappuzha 394, Kollam 318, Thiruvananthapuram 279, Kannur 275, Idukki 216, Wayanad 180, Pathanamthitta 163 and Kasaragod 146 cases.



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Farmers threaten nationwide protest


Security officials said that the farmers are prepared for a long haul and seem prepared to continue their agitation for several months

NEW DELHI: With support pouring in from various quarters, the farmers protesting on the borders of Delhi seem all set to go for their meeting with Union ministers on Thursday in a belligerent and not a conciliatory mood.     

On Wednesday, a day before their second round of talks with the Union government, the protesting farmers asked that a special session of Parliament be convened to repeal the three farm laws. They reiterated that if their demands are not met, they will intensify their stir by blocking all entry points to Delhi and hold a nationwide protest on December 5.

 

Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar along with minister of commerce and industry Piyush Goyal held a marathon meeting at home minister Amit Shah’s residence to discuss ways to resolve the ongoing crisis. After the meeting, Mr Tomar said, “We will hold discussions with farmers’ leaders tomorrow. Let’s see to what extent issues can be resolved.” On Tuesday, his meeting with 35-odd farmers’ union leaders was “inconclusive”. The protesting farmers rejected the government’s offer to be part of a panel to look into their concerns.

Security officials said that the farmers are prepared for a long haul and seem prepared to continue their agitation for several months.

 

While Mr Tomar hopes to address the farmers’ concerns at Thursday’s meeting, the home ministry is taking no chances and has kept 50 additional companies of paramilitary forces on standby to meet any eventuality.

The All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), an umbrella body of goods’ vehicles operators, on Wednesday expressed solidarity with the protesting farmers and threatened to halt the movement of goods across north India and subsequently the entire country if their demands are not met. AIMTC also called for a strike from December 8 in support of the farmers’ protest.

“From December 8 onwards we will shut all our operations across North India and stop all our vehicles across North Indian states and Union territories, including Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal, and Jammu & Kashmir. We have decided that if the government still does not agree to the demands of the protesting farmers, then we will call for a Chakka Jam all across India and stop all our vehicles,” said AIMTC president Kultaran Singh Atwal.

 

As the standoff between the Centre and farmers continued for the seventh day, commuters faced a harrowing time on Wednesday with long traffic jams reported from various parts of the city.

Farmers are currently camping at five spots around Delhi, with tractors, trucks and trailers packed with food, water, medicines and essential goods blocking key entrances to the city. Heavy deployment of police force and barricades at various other entry points into the city worsened the traffic snarls in and around Delhi.

While police kept the Haryana-Delhi border at Singhu and Tikri closed for traffic, farmers from various districts of western Uttar Pradesh continued their sit-in at the Noida-Delhi border for the second day on Wednesday, leading to closure of a key route that connects the state with the national capital.

 

In Chandigarh, the police had to use water cannons to prevent Punjab Youth Congress workers from marching towards Haryana chief minister M.L. Khattar’s residence.

More farmer groups and unions from Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are scheduled to reach Delhi by the weekend. With the number of protesting farmers likely to reach three lakh, reinforcements have been kept ready so that they can be deployed at a short notice at Delhi borders.

So far more than 40 companies of Central paramilitary forces and Delhi Police have been deployed all along the Delhi border to ensure that the situation remains under control.

 

The home ministry has also directed security forces to be extremely sensitive in handling the protesters who have garnered massive support from different quarters. The volunteers of the UK-based global Sikh charity, Khalsa Aid, have started providing langar, tea and refreshments and even medical help around the clock to protesters at Singhu and Tikri border.

Assuring his party’s support, Rashtriya Lok Dal vice-president Jayant Chaudhary met some protesters at Singhu border. He, however, dubbed his meeting as “non-political”.

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Crafting A Cancer Killer | Asian Scientist Magazine



AsianScientist (Dec. 3, 2020) – By combining natural compounds, scientists in Japan have created novel anticancer drugs with potentially minimal side effects. Their findings were published in American Chemical Society Omega.

Before COVID-19 came about, perhaps the most prominent disease in our collective consciousness was cancer—and with good reason. Globally, about one in every six deaths is attributed to the disease. Despite this, a cancer diagnosis is far from a death sentence nowadays, largely due to the efforts of scientists working around the clock to stop the disease in its tracks.

In hopes of adding another weapon to the arsenal against cancer, researchers led by Professor Kouji Kuramochi from the Tokyo University of Science turned to organic compounds called phenazines. Within this group, N-alkylphenazin-1-ones represent a promising group of phenazine compounds in the fight against cancer. Found naturally in bacteria, phenazines have antibacterial, antifungal and even cytotoxic activities—meaning that the compounds are also toxic to cells, including their malignant counterparts.

However, N-alkylphenazin-1-ones have proven difficult to derive from bacteria. This inspired Kuramochi and his team to synthesize the compounds instead. By adding halogen elements like chlorine and bromine as well as oxidants and water to various phenazines, the researchers were able to selectively synthesize novel compounds with potential anticancer activity.

One halogenated phenazine in particular, namely 2-chloropyocyanin, was observed to have high cytotoxicity towards lung cancer cells. Overall, the resulting phenazines were more than four times more toxic to cancer cells compared to normal cells. Accordingly, using these compounds in cancer treatment should come with fewer side effects due to their targeted approach.

Notably, the team’s new technique overcomes one of the main drawbacks of existing phenazine synthesis methods. Traditionally, when chlorine is used to produce N-alkylphenazin-1-ones, undesirable products are formed. Moreover, through the technique, the researchers were able to synthetically produce lavanducyanin—typically isolated from Streptomyces sp. bacteria—for the first time. Even better, the whole process is environmentally-friendly, according to Kuramochi.

As promising as these results may be, it’s early days yet. Now, the team is hoping to verify the effects of the novel compounds through animal studies and later on, clinical trials.

“We have established a highly versatile synthetic method that is simple and can be applied to the synthesis of many natural products,” concluded Kuramochi.

The article can be found at: Kohatsu et al. (2020) Synthesis and Cytotoxic Evaluation of N-Alkyl-2-halophenazin-1-ones.

———

Source: Tokyo University of Science; Photo: National Institutes of Health/Flickr.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.


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YouTube Music ‘My 2020 Year in Review’ playlist now available: Take a look at your most heard songs


By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

December 4, 2020 8:40:03 pm





Songs that populate the ‘My 2020 Year in Review’ playlist are in no particular order. (Screenshot)

YouTube Music has rolled out its ‘My 2020 Year in Review’ playlist, which is basically a compilation of the songs that you have listened to the most during the course of the year. It is an auto generated list and is different for all users. It seems to be quite similar to Spotify’s 2020 Wrapped and Apple Music’s Replay.

Apart from the custom ‘My 2020 Year in Review’ playlist, YouTube Music has also put up distinct playlists showing the top songs of the year. These categories include rock, Jazz, country, pop, indie and more. Both the Year in Review and the top songs playlists are currently showing up on the homepage of the YouTube Music app under the ‘Songs of the year’ carousel. Alternatively, you can find these on the desktop version of YouTube also inside of the ‘Music’ section. The list also consists of a preview of the artists besides all of the songs.

Songs that populate the ‘My 2020 Year in Review’ playlist are in no particular order. According to online reports, it is populated by either 90 to 100 songs per user. The app is also letting users download their My 2020 Year in Review playlist for offline listening. But, you cannot share the playlist, or mess with the playlist order.

Compared to Spotify’s 2020 Wrapped and Apple Music’s Replay, YouTuube Music’s list is quite basic and does not consist of any stats or the ability to share fun graphics on social media platforms. Nor does it include the basic artist breakdowns like Apple Music Replay.

To recall, YouTube Music did not put out any list in the previous year. And now that it has, we hope to see more new features to be introduced every year ahead.

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Is there a low-code hole in your data management strategy?


Data is constantly streaming through the business, and while once capturing it and cracking open its value was the reserve of a handful of data specialists within the ranks, today, everybody in the organization is expected to be reaping its value. 

Businesses have put the foot down on digital transformation and, for many, investment in a broad suite of powerful tools is top of the DX to-do list.  

The aim is to improve workflow and increase productivity by making data central, accessible, and easily shareable, but businesses can quickly find themselves stalling with software, applications, or solutions that carry a steep learning curve and high barrier to entry. 

Lacking the requisite know-how and confidence to employ powerful but cumbersome database solutions like MySQL and MongoDB, employees fall back to familiar tools such as Excel and Google Docs to share information, which while useful for small tasks, were not built for handling large quantities of metadata. 

On the balance sheet, the ‘data-driven’ business may have the gloss of one in the midst of a successful digital transformation. Under the surface, within day-to-day operations, the intended boost to productivity and workflow is suffering from a disorganized, ad-hoc approach to data handling — even the most intensive, expansive training programs would be tested to instill the confidence, skills, and discipline to leverage code-based database systems across the workforce. 

The rise of low-code data management

This is a problem that fostered the boom of low-code database management solutions, perhaps the most well-known of which is Airtable. 

Launching in 2015 with the goal of providing easier, mobile-friendly spreadsheet-like databases, the “workplace collaboration, and productivity platform” is now worth around US$2.6 billion. In 2020, the SaaS company database Latka estimates Airtable’s revenue is around $33.5 million this year. 

Airtable now claims to serve approximately 200,000 customers worldwide, including Netflix, HBO, Condé Nast Entertainment, TIME, City of Los Angeles, MIT Media Lab, and IBM, with its spreadsheet interface serving to help more users build their own apps without code. 

But this is just one of a rapidly-evolving startup market expected to accrue worth of more than US$45 billion by 2026, growing annually by 25% each year. It’s an ecosystem formed of low-code startups, and one tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google are aggressively wading into through consolidation.  

Low-code database tools are now employed by coffee shops to SaaS vendors, ousting a previous reliance on spreadsheets to manage projects, budgets and customer leads. Spreadsheet database hybrids are familiar, intuitive, and powerful. Users are familiar with the layout and capabilities, without being off-put by the UI of more complex data management tools. 

And it is among smaller businesses — which make up some 98% of businesses worldwide — where the market power lies. 

Smaller businesses become data businesses

Small and medium-sized businesses don’t have the enterprise-level resources to invest in IT infrastructure, allocating budget, and resource to software development cycles and infrastructure maintenance, particularly when this might not be their primary business goal. Easy-to-use and affordable web-based databases offer the perfect solution for these companies. It helps them handle their day-to-day data sharing, data storage, and business analytics.

It means the barrier to becoming a ‘data-driven’ organization — one that has the tools, abilities, and culture to act on data in real-time — is lowered, and employees, regardless of skill, have the confidence to use it in a way that works best for their organization. 

“Low-code empowers people with zero technical skills to collect, manage, organize, and track data in an incredibly simple way,” said Annabel Maw, director of communications at JotForm, a low-code online database and form builder.  

“Today, entrepreneurs start businesses from their homes with one or two people and don’t typically have the budget to hire IT or data professionals. Having low-code tools give anyone the opportunity to manage their data in a way that works best for them.”

For larger enterprises, adopting low-code database solutions also alleviates pressure on larger organizations’ specialist data and IT teams, who spend less time on maintenance and the development of new databases when required, where previously there would be the significant time required on managing project implementation and requirements which would need to be constantly updated or redeveloped as needs change. 

While building data literacy among teams is becoming an “essential skill” in business today, having tools, applications, and solutions that are accessible goes, perhaps, the longest way in establishing that culture throughout the organization.  





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