All Change for Science and Technology

Written by Henry Martin on . Posted in In Focus

The United Kingdom’s science and technology sector is braced for change following the country’s recent vote in favour of Brexit. Just as for big business, it was an unwelcome outcome for the scientific community, since UK based researchers collaborate with their peers across the EU in large numbers, not only at a cognitive level, but also in having access to world-leading shared research facilities.

In addition, there is concern that a brain drain out of the UK will now hit science, with those remaining in the UK anxious that their ongoing involvement in international collaborations is now at risk. On the regulatory front, there is already talk of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), at present based in London, moving to mainland Europe.

The principal worry, unsurprisingly, relates to financial provision, with the EU currently responsible for a large slice of research funding through various grant programs and fellowships. To be precise, 18.3% of EU funds returning to this country go towards funding research and development, according to the Lords Science and Technology Committee, though it is also the case that universities, rather than businesses have principally benefitted from this arrangement. It is small wonder then, that UK universities are now lobbying hard to secure opportunities for students, staff and researchers to continue to be able to access pan-European programmes and utilise domestic facilities.

Cyber – A Boardroom Imperative in a Changing World

Written by Anu Khurmi on . Posted in In Focus

In today’s climate of unprecedented political and socio-economic change it is more imperative than ever that companies equip themselves for the uncertainty of the future. Unexpected outcomes such as the United Kingdom’s historic decision to vote for Brexit has stimulated controversy and speculation on what this means not just for the UK and the European Union, but also for the rest of the international community. Inevitably, the political debates and questions will continue to dominate for the foreseeable future, but one thing is certain: now more than ever the need for resilience in all aspects of business activity is essential for organisations to be successful in our brave new world.

Under the Hammer

Written by Natasha Harris on . Posted in In Focus

Auction house of the year, Fellows auctioneer









Birmingham-based Fellows Auctioneers is one of the UK’s most respected firms of auctioneers and valuers, offering a professional and friendly advice on all aspects of auction and valuation services. Over 100 auctions are held a year, selling antique and modern Jewellery, watches, vintage pieces, antiques and collectables. 

Fellows hold jewellery sales which include everything from statement diamonds to affordable items of jewellery on a fortnightly basis; Interesting and important jewels are auctioned monthly in The Antique & Modern Jewellery Auction. Featuring jewels from across the ages along with a fantastic range of designer and branded pieces, this is the auction to uncover unique pieces. Fortnightly auctions are tailored to meet varying needs of the broad jewellery market for both trade buyers and individual collectors. High quality costume jewellery and Silver pieces find their place in the eclectic Vintage Jewellery auction. Modern pieces of amber and coral jewellery are found alongside gems from the Victorian and Georgian eras, as well as pieces from Scandinavian, Chinese and other international heritages.

Addressing the Cyber Security Landscape

Written by Henry Martin speaks with Andrew Fitzmaurice and Anu Khurmi from Templar Executives on . Posted in In Focus







With cyber attacks increasingly coming to the top of the agenda for both the private and public spheres, cyber hackers have now started to target big conglomerates including prying on directors during the boardroom meetings. We speak with Andrew Fitzmaurice and Anu Khurmi from Templar Executives on how best to handle these threats 

CEO: Why do you think Cyber attacks have increased so dramatically in the last year and what are the most common type of attacks?

Templar Executives: Cyber crime is a lucrative business for criminals who are becoming better organised and deploying increasingly sophisticated cyberattack methodologies. A current example of this is ransomware; just two years ago few people had heard of this term and now its use is growing exponentially alongside older attack methods, many of which, as the TalkTalk breach demonstrated, still work. In addition, unprecedented advances in technology and the growing reliance on digitisation and automation to deliver efficiencies and innovation, mean organisations are becoming more vulnerable. This is particularly the case when it comes to the supply chains of large organisations. The supply chain is an attractive target because it is ‘rich’ in business intelligence and intellectual property and can be easier to infiltrate, thus becoming a route into compromising the organisation it is supplying to. Cyber attacks can be generated from anywhere around the world, instigated by a range of motivations. They are difficult to attribute and legislation is always struggling to catch up so criminals have little fear of being caught or prosecuted. Today we are seeing increasing attacks from phishing, ransomware, Distributed Denial of Services (DDOS) as well as malicious and non-malicious insider activity.

Hamburg Metropolitan Region: Northern Germany's trade and industry centre

Written by Dr. Rolf Strittmatter, Chief Executive Officer of HWF Hamburg Business Development Corporation on . Posted in In Focus

The concept of a strong regional alliance has proven successful, and the economic facts speak for themselves: with its innovative strength and economic expertise. The Hamburg Metropolitan Region does not only excel in Germany, but is also considered to be one of the strongest economic regions in Europe. The region’s economic potential and infrastructure continue to promise a favourable outlook for the future. Forward-looking industries such as aviation, renewable energies, life sciences, logistics and the food industry generate a growing labour market, qualified professionals and global repute.

International top brands such as Airbus, OTTO, Tchibo, Beiersdorf and Olympus characterise the region’s economic landscape and offer attractive jobs. But the Hamburg Metropolitan Region is also a key player in the science sector: the region is home to 36 universities, and its renowned research institutions employ more than 10,000 scientists

The Time to Invest is Now.

Written by Fergal Hogan on . Posted in In Focus

Dr Siamak Goudarzi, worked as a senior judge in Iran for many years, migrated to the UK to specialize in International Business Law at PhD level, formed and managed ILBS, International Legal and Business Solution Group in the UK. Now back to Iran, he is an international lawyer, Senior Partner of Afarin Law Firm in Iran, CEO of Open Iran Group. 

The group under his management is now concentrating on bringing international businesses to Iran, introducing investment opportunities to foreign companies, and assisting them in securing contracts. At the same time, Open Iran Group assists Iranian companies and organizations, including trade related government agencies to attract investment and technology to Iran.

The Future of the Diamond Industry: Man versus Nature

Written by Garrett Brandon on . Posted in In Focus

Whether out of thriftiness or ethics, more and more consumers are opting for synthetic, man-made diamonds over the real thing.

While the establishment maintains that man-made stones are nothing more than low-grade fakes that won't ever be serious contenders, industry observers aren't so sure. It's starting to look like man's genius has finally matched nature's brilliance.

Businesses drained by wasted time

Written by Jamie on . Posted in In Focus

New report reveals that business leaders are using technology as a productivity driver but laggards suffer

An independent international study commissioned by Planview and conducted by research company Loudhouse, reveals that business leaders identify that the most common cause of wasted time during the workday is inefficient processes and duplicated efforts. It shows that companies without tech-driven productivity strategies are suffering the most, which can severely affect customer satisfaction and employee retention.

The Powering Productivity research surveyed 515 business leaders and key decision makers, from senior management to CEOs, across the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany and the Nordics. The purpose was to explore the attitudes, challenges and opportunities businesses face when improving productivity, investing in technology and minimizing waste.

London tops European rankings as preferred hotel investment destination

Written by Celine Gordine-Wright - Deloitte LLP on . Posted in In Focus

London is the most attractive hotel investment destination in Europe, according to a new survey of senior hospitality industry figures by Deloitte ahead of the 26th Deloitte European Hotel Investment Conference.Over half (51%) of respondents rank the UK’s capital ahead of Paris (33%), followed by Barcelona (30%) and Amsterdam (23%).  However, views appear mixed on value with 52% considering London to be overvalued whilst 45% cite it as fairly valued.

European hotel transaction activity is expected to be dominated by international investors underpinned by North America (58%), China (53%) and the Middle East (52%) in 2015.  Continued low interest rates will reinforce traditional bank debt as the core financing option, albeit alternative lenders will be active and mezzanine debt is increasingly available. Against the backdrop of a stagnant European economy, upscale hotels (33%) are the preferred product segment.  However, midscale (25%) and budget (22%) are also attracting interest.  Additionally, survey respondents anticipate continued investment appetite from private equity, whilst trophy assets will be dominated by high net worth individuals.


Get Ready to Deliver Customer Service through Social Media in the Contact Center

Written by Alfredo Redondo; CEO; Altitude Software on . Posted in In Focus

In 2014, the average social media user spent 2 hours and 25 minutes per day using social networks (1).  

Social media continues to grow at a fast pace with active user accounts equating to around 30% of the world population at the end of 2014.  In 2014, active social media accounts grew 12% (adding 222 million more accounts), and mobile social accounts have grown 23%. In a decade, social networking has gained the attention (and time) of Internet users worldwide.  

In this new business environment, defined by digital disruption, increased consumer power and continuous conversations, what are the changes in customer’s behaviors? 

Accenture’s Global Consumer Pulse Research (2), now on its 10th year, highlights a steady erosion of customer loyalty worldwide. The tangible result is a growing “switching economy” that accounts for an estimated $6.2 trillion in revenue opportunity for providers across 17 key markets in 2014 - up 26 percent, from $4.9 trillion in 2010. In 2013, 66% of global consumers switched providers due to poor service, with 80% mentioning that switching could be avoided through better resolution.

Why Customer Service in Social Media?

This new reality brings new challenges and opportunities to companies aiming to build customer relationships and manage customer interactions. This environment requires from businesses a social media customer engagement strategy that can enable fast, relevant and appropriate responses to inquiries, complaints and other interactions in the social networks.

Current research shows that most companies still use social media primarily as a marketing channel, with messages targeted for product promotion and deals, with limited customer interaction. Statistics released by the Eurostat (4) show 73% of enterprises in 28 European Union countries using social media for marketing purposes. Only 50% report using social media to obtain or respond to customer interactions.

Engaging customers via social media should also be perceived as a key opportunity for improved customer service (as it also enables knowledge sharing and peer service); as much as for sales and business development; and to gain an early warning on emerging issues and opportunities in the market.


ImageAlfredo Redondo; CEO; Altitude Software

Why Social Media Customer Service in the Contact Center?

Customer service organizations, normally implemented within a contact center, have always been focused on achieving and developing a 360-degree view of the customer, and on providing a consistent experience across interaction channels – be it voice, web, chat or email. Social media, although it usually requires changes in technology, should be increasingly treated as another customer interaction channel, and integrated into the existing technology platforms, business processes and benefiting from established service levels.

In fact, the contact center is usually the only structure in the organization capable of handling and managing large volumes of interactions on a timely basis. Social media interactions, although qualitatively different, share a great number of characteristics with interactions in other communication channels such as voice and email. 

As consumers increasingly turn to social media to seek information and service and to express opinions, there is no question that organizations must engage with those channels to deliver appropriate customer care and to ensure positive experiences. 



(1) Digital, Social and Mobile in 2015 Report; WeAreSocial; January 2015.

(2) Customer 2020: Are You Future-Ready or Reliving the Past? ; Accenture; January 2015.

(3) 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer; American Express; November 2014

(4) Social media - statistics on the use by enterprises ; Eurostat; November 2013

About the Author

Alfredo Redondo is a seasoned technology executive with more than 20 years of executive management experience in large and mid-sized technology companies such as Alcatel-Lucent and Amper. He has also had significant activity as a consultant and advisor to technology investors and start-up companies in Europe and the US.  Altitude Software ( is a global provider of omnichannel solutions to deliver great customer experiences. More than 300.000 users in 1100 customers in 80 countries use Altitude uCI solutions to manage in real time enterprise functions like Customer Service, Telemarketing, Debt Recovery; Help Desk; Citizen Attention, etc.