A Passage to India – The Genesian Theatre Company


Event:

Transport your to India by E M Forster’s A Passage to India

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When: Showing until 19th June 2021

Where: The Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000



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Artificial intelligence can significantly reduce company driving


Automated planning will help TDC NET’s service cars reduce the number of kilometers driven by 25 percent. The solution will later be extended to others with a lot of company driving.

Every year, approximately 4 million tonnes of CO2 are emitted on Danish roads according to the Danish Climate Partnership for Land Transport. This is a large part of the total CO2 emissions in Denmark.

With that in mind, DTU Management and DTU Compute, together with the software company QAMPO and TDC NET, and with support from Innovation Fund Denmark, have now launched the ambitious four-year project GREENFORCE. Through the project, the partners will develop solutions that can significantly reduce the total driven in TDC NET. At the same time, the solutions must be disseminated to other relevant companies that want to limit their driving.

TDC NET, which connects Denmark via mobile networks and landlines, has 850 technician cars that drive 80,000 kilometers daily, equivalent to two full times around the Earth. The goal is to reduce it by 25 percent by 2025, among other things, using far more advanced automated transportation planning.

Software reduces mileage

International studies suggest that total transportation costs can be reduced by 5 to 20 percent by going from manual to automated transportation planning. A potential that can be translated into reductions in CO2 emissions. The GREENFORCE project will realize this potential in practice.

Specifically, the parties will develop new software that, via artificial intelligence combined with advanced algorithms, computing power, and service design, analyzes data from TDC NET and the technician cars. Using the data as a starting point, it will be possible to optimize the technicians’ daily route planning in real-time, enable the technicians to solve more customer problems from a distance and predict when the network needs to be maintained.

Ali Khatam, co-founder of data and software company QAMPO says:

“DTU Compute and DTU Management are experts in artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and optimization. In the GREENFORCE project, we will combine the three areas in an innovative way that has not been seen before, and develop a research area with huge potential.”

David Pisinger, Professor at DTU Management

“QAMPO is a leader in the design and development of intelligent planning solutions, including health, passenger transport and airports. Based on our know-how and with the strong competencies that are part of the project, we look into a unique opportunity to design and develop a groundbreaking product to utilize existing resources more efficiently and create transparency in an otherwise unmanageable logistical issue – for the benefit of our customers, society and the climate. With GREENFORCE, QAMPO will look into a steadily growing Field Service Management market with a global turnover of more than DKK 100 billion per year.”

Will develop a new research area

DTU focuses on delivering research that not only contributes to the academic world but also translates into concrete solutions for companies and benefits society. At the same time, sustainability plays an important role at DTU.

In the GREENFORCE project, the two departments expect a lot from the project, which provides an opportunity to try new things, says Professor at DTU Management David Pisinger:

“DTU Compute and DTU Management are experts in artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and optimization. In the GREENFORCE project, we will combine the three areas in an innovative way that has not been seen before, and develop a research area with huge potential. This is equivalent to connecting three motors together. If we can get them to collaborate, the research will be flying.”

CO2 neutrality in 2028

In recent years, TDC NET has worked with data and automation to optimize the planning of a total of 3,500 daily tasks and 1,200 daily customer visits. This work must be further intensified through the project, which plays an important role in TDC NET’s ambition to become climate neutral in 2028, measured by the CO2 emissions, hereunder the car fleet.

“As a provider of digital infrastructure with one of Denmark’s largest car fleets, we have a shared responsibility for continuously thinking new and developing solutions that can improve our technicians’ everyday lives, the customer experience we deliver, and the imprint we make on the world around us. All the elements the project can contribute to, and we, therefore, look forward to getting started with the development and testing the new solutions in our daily work,” says Christian Duer, Executive Vice President, responsible for TDC NET’s technicians and fiber rollout.

About GREENFORCE

  • In a four-year Grand Solution project, QAMPO, DTU Management, DTU Compute, and TDC NET will develop new solutions and software that can improve the intelligent management of car fleets
  • The total budget is DKK 30 million, of which the Innovation Fund Denmark contributes DKK 15 million
  • GREENFORCE gives DTU the opportunity to employ two PhDs and 3 postdocs
  • Already today, TDC NET collects and uses a number of data about e.g. duration of different types of service tasks, GPS data from cars, historical data, etc. The data must now be used even more and even smarter by developing new solutions through the project
  • Using artificial intelligence and decision science technology, data must be processed and analyzed, after which the software solution helps to plan the technicians’ tasks to carry out the most efficient and with the best possible customer experience.
  • By streamlining the automated transport planning and by enabling the technicians to solve more customer problems from a distance, the project expects to be able to limit the number of kilometers driven at TDC NET by 25%. This corresponds to TDC NET’s CO2 emissions in 2025 is reduced by 3000 tonnes compared to 2020
  • As part of the project, the developed software is also expected to be disseminated to other relevant companies and institutions with large car fleets.

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How to improve company culture in the throes of snap lockdowns


While we’re not in full lockdown globally, we are seeing snap lockdowns. Company culture has been strained at this time. Employees are feeling stressed and strained while business owners are trying to solve multiple new problems at once in order to minimise losses. We haven’t even mentioned the difficulty in adapting to remote work as a team. Is it any surprise that company culture has been bumped to the bottom of the company’s priorities?

It’s now time for employers to implement measures that nurture company culture again. The repercussions of unengaged employees directly correlate with a decrease in productivity and the overall income generation of the business. Improved company culture will also help businesses to reduce staff turnover and brighten the atmosphere surrounding the business, translating into better lenient retention or increased return business.

Here are four tips for nurturing your company culture when you’re trying to survive snap lockdowns

1. Stay connected (but not too much)

Regular meetings will help your team to stay connected and discuss any workflow issues that pop up. Host frequent Zoom check-ins to discuss the projects at hand. A detailed to-do list for each attendee will clarify the duties that need to be completed by the next Zoom call. Alongside this, create a channel for colleagues to use during the course of the week should they need to check in with a manager. Make an authoritative figure easily reachable for help at all times.

2.
Maintain a “safe” working environment

The definition of safety changes when the
workplace is no longer at work. A safe environment would welcome work-related
questions and concerns from employees, provide the tools needed to perform well
in these circumstances, make emotional support available, and enable employees
to report matters like online sexual harassment, which has been a growing
concern during lockdown.

Employees also need to experience job security and be reassured that their concerns will not result in the loss of their livelihood. Employers need to realise that productivity will slow down because many people may not have the ideal working conditions or the tools they are used to having.

3.
Redefine the basics

You’ll need to go back to the drawing board
with regards to working hours, lunch breaks, annual and sick leave as well as
HR processes like reporting misconduct.

This is a time for flexibility. Research has shown that throughout this pandemic, flexible work opportunities have led to an increase in productivity. So maintaining flexible work options and policies is vital if you want to maintain productivity while being able to easily adapt to potential snap-lockdowns. It might also be wise to reassess your sick leave cycles.

While we have become accustomed to zoom calls, don’t discount the value (and ease) of picking up the phone. Normalising a quick phone call to check in on a project or ask a simple question breaks down that formal barrier that is sometimes created through zoom calls, and makes getting on with tasks easier.

4.
Reward results

Are your teams getting on with work and
solving new problems on their own? Are your teams managing to achieve their
goals and complete their work tasks?

This may not have warranted reward before, but
considering the number of new obstacles in place, recognising hard work and
dedication from workers despite the state of the world is essential. Workplace
culture must take a human-first approach.

Rewards might include online vouchers,
recognition in the form of a certificate, or even an extra day off. However,
verbally thanking employees with genuine appreciation on a regular basis will
boost morale substantially without costing the company a cent. Take the time
during meetings to acknowledge individual efforts.

virtual meetings, remote

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Linktree the latest tech company to block users for spreading misinformation


University of Queensland Associate Professor Stan Karanasios has researched the use of social media to spread misinformation, which he said was a growing concern.

“I think we’re in a period of a new world disorder in many ways when it comes to misinformation,” he said. “It’s really interesting that companies themselves are the ones who are taking the steps to shut down groups and because of this they control the conversation.”

Mr Karanasios said this regulation and policing of users by companies such as Linktree was happening because of the failings of broader policy regulation and users own inability to self police consumption of misinformation.

“We are in a strange position now where the organisations themselves are controlling the conversation,” he said. “While it may be black or white on something like Parler and violent protests, there could be areas where they control the conversation, which is not conducive to society. There is a very interesting debate to be had about who should be in charge of monitoring and controlling the conversation around important topics.”

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Mountaineer and skier Mollie Hughes joins East Lothian adventure company



Record-breaking Mollie Hughes, who last year became the youngest woman in the world to ski solo to the South Pole, has been appointed as a director of Scottish adventure company Ocean Vertical.

Thirty-year-old Ms Hughes, who was born in Devon and is based in Edinburgh, will “help run and shape” the East Lothian adventure company, Ocean Vertical co-founder Adrian Boot noted. 

Ocean Vertical offers “sustainable” sea, coastal and mountaineering experiences.

East Lothian-based Ocean Vertical was founded in 2018 by professional instructor Stevie Boyle and former international architect Mr Boot. Its small team of instructors specialises in “immersing individuals and small groups in wilderness experiences like coasteering, surfing, paddle-boarding, climbing and mountaineering”.

The ethical adventure business also offers summer and winter mountaineering experiences in Glen Coe and the Western Highlands.

Ms Hughes, an experienced mountaineer, climbed Mount Everest from the south side aged 21 and returned to summit from the north side aged 26 – achieving the world record by becoming the youngest woman in the world to do so.

Ms Hughes said: “I was raised in Devon where swimming and surfing nurtured my passion for the sea and where my dad is a kayaking instructor. While in recent years, the mountains have been my focus, I’ve always had an affinity with the sea. Like Stevie and Adrian, I love the sense of freedom, mental and physical challenge and simple joy that comes from being immersed in the wilds.”

She added: “As part of the Ocean Vertical team, I really look forward to bringing my own outlook on the outdoors and skill-set in planning and communications to the business. In particular, I’m sure there will be the opportunity to help encourage many more women to share in wilderness experiences, for I know its power in nurturing greater self-confidence and improved physical and mental wellbeing.”

Mr Boot said: “Mollie is an inspirational young woman with a phenomenal track record of achievements in the world of exploration. It’s fantastic to have her on board to help run and shape the Ocean Vertical business. Her skills and personal outlook on the benefits of sustainable adventure will be a tremendous asset to the team as we commit to sustainably grow and attract more customers to experience the joy of immersion in Scotland’s coasts and mountains.”  



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Public housing shortage a ‘much bigger problem than people imagine’ but Brisbane Housing Company has big plans


Ms Mitchell is a pensioner and knew finding something suitable they could afford could prove almost impossible.

“The difficulty on the Gold Coast is it’s virtually impossible to get anything at all, certainly for affordable rent,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Some of the things that are affordable rent, you really wouldn’t commit to — the streets would be a better option.

Ms Mitchell recalled the first time they tried to put their names down on the wait list for public housing.

“There were people in there — women who’d been sleeping in cars with their children,” she said.

“On the Gold Coast, it’s impossible to get anything — they said ‘look, you’re better off going to Brisbane’.

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Darwin Port lease to Chinese company should be reviewed: Former PM


Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the federal government should conduct a national security review of the Darwin Port lease to a Chinese company. Jano Gibson reports.

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Travel company Transat AT reaches $700M aid deal with Ottawa


Travel company Transat AT Inc. says it has reached a deal with Ottawa to borrow up to $700 million.

The money will come through the federal government’s Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility, the same program used to help Air Canada.

Transat says $390 million will be used to help support its business, while $310 million will be used to provide reimbursements to travellers.

Transat has endured a tough year, suspending all flights following the federal government’s request in January to stop travel to Mexico and the Caribbean due to the pandemic.

Air Canada and Transat announced earlier this month that the two Montreal-based companies had agreed to call off a deal that would have seen the country’s largest airline buy its smaller rival.

Initiated two years ago, the takeover was priced at $720 million before shrinking to $190 million as COVID-19 pounded the transport sector.

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Network security company Proofpoint goes private in $12.3B deal


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Private equity firm Thoma Bravo has announced plans to acquire cybersecurity company Proofpoint in a deal worth $12.3 billion.

The deal serves as further evidence, if any was needed, that demand for cloud-based security is at an all-time high, driven in large part by the continued embrace of cloud computing and the rise of remote work, which necessitates robust network security.

Founded in 2002 by former Netscape CTO Eric Hahn, Proofpoint was originally known for an email security product that helped businesses identify spam, viruses, and other electric correspondence that might contravene company policies. In the subsequent years, the Sunnyvale, California-based company has expanded its scope to include an array of cloud-based security products designed to protect enterprises from targeted threats.

Proofpoint went public back in 2012, with its shares initially trading at around $13 — these have grown steadily over the past decade, hitting an all-time high of $140 earlier this year and giving it a market capitalization of more than $7 billion.

Thoma Bravo has a track record of taking publicly traded cybersecurity companies private, having done just that with network security company Barracuda in a 2017 deal worth $1.6 billion and with Sophos last year for $3.9 billion. The Proofpoint deal, which is expected to close in Q3 2021, sees Thoma Bravo paying a 34% premium on Proofpoint’s closing price at the last full trading day (April 23), with shareholders set to receive $176 for each share they own.

It’s worth noting that the $12.3 billion price tag positions this as the biggest cybersecurity acquisition of all time, putting it ahead of the $7.68 billion Intel shelled out for McAfee 11 years ago. And by VentureBeat’s calculations, the Proofpoint acquisition represents one of the biggest overall technology acquisitions ever, putting it in the top 20, alongside megadeals that include Dell’s $67 billion EMC purchase, IBM’s $34 billion Red Hat deal, and Salesforce’s impending $27.7 billion Slack acquisition.

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Company director behind tourism ‘mecca’ dream slapped with 20-year ban


A bid to turn a small beachside area into Australia’s next tourism mecca is all but over with the man behind the scheme banned from fundraising and advertising financial products for 20 years.

The Mayfair 101 group purchased a resort on Dunk Island in 2019, as well as almost 200 properties in the town of Mission Beach, 2.5 hours drive south of Cairns, as part of a plan to turn them into holiday rentals.

The company launched a slick advertising campaign and threw several lavish parties on the island and in Mission Beach, promising investors high returns.

But the plans unravelled as the cyclone-damaged island was repossessed and several legal challenges were launched by investors, some of whom lost their life savings.

In a Federal Court judgement on Monday, Justice Stewart Anderson said Mayfair 101 founder James Mawhinney had engaged in “misleading and deceptive conduct” and had a “total disregard for the Corporations Act and the ASIC Act”.

“And as a consequence, places the public at great risk of financial loss should Mr Mawhinney not be restrained,” Justice Anderson said in his judgment.

Justice Anderson also expressed concern about what had become of the funds invested and whether Mr Mawhinney “stands to benefit personally from those schemes”.

But he noted Mr Mawhinney had not been the subject of a criminal conviction, nor was there any evidence that the alleged had engaged in “conscious dishonesty or an intent to defraud”.

He banned Mr Mawhinney from advertising investments and seeking or accepting funds from the public in connection with financial products for 20 years in Australia.

ASIC deputy chair Karen Chester said the judgement demonstrated “firms need to do the right thing by their investors”.

“The online advertising is misleading by claiming to offer products that involve less risk, when in reality, investors could lose some or all of their investments.

“Advertisements also claimed investors could get their invested money out when they wanted but that was not the case.”

The ABC understands Mr Mawhinney is living in a unit at Mission Beach.

For sale signs now line the town’s streets, as houses that were initially sold to Mayfair 101 are re-listed through various receivers.

Retiree Nick Stipis sold two South Mission Beach properties to Mayfair 101 — his private residence and a holiday home.

The latter deal was honoured, but the sale of his residence was never settled, so Mr Stipis terminated the contract after multiple requests by Mayfair 101 to extend.

Mr Stipis said he was one of the lucky ones because he had not been left out of pocket.

“We have heard of people that are involved in bridging finances and sales fallen through — more than a dozen people that I know of that have done it tough,” he said.

“Most of them are elderly who were looking to downsize or sell out and move closer to family.”

Mr Stipis said there was initially a sense of “euphoria” when Mayfair 101 came to town, but that’s now changed.

Mayfair 101 was last month found guilty of making false, misleading and deceptive statements while advertising its investment products.

A penalty hearing in that case is scheduled for July.

The ABC has contacted Mr Mahwhinney for comment.

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