In a recent report for CBBC Newsround I explained the theory behind how contact tracing apps work to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.
When this report went to air in May 2020, contact tracing apps were seen by many as a key tool in helping communities regain some of their social freedoms following restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
However, at the time of writing this – June 2020 – the UK’s contact tracing app still hasn’t been fully released, beyond a trial on the Isle of Wight.
And today the UK government revealed that its NHS contact tracing app will now change how it works, favouring “decentralised” technology supported by Apple and Google.
The initial version of the NHS contact tracing app was based on a centralised model recommended by scientists from Oxford University:
The team of Oxford scientists argue the UK’s choice of a centralised app architecture will significantly improve the NHS’s ability to refine, improve and evaluate the app’s configuration; they suggest it will ensure the app can rapidly and effectively guide the right people to self-isolate whilst enabling most people to start returning to normal life.
However, this change of direction appears to have been driven in part by mounting concerns over privacy and security – which might reduce the number of people comfortable using the app – along with technical challenges with how accurately the bespoke app was able to detect other smartphones.
Other countries have made similar u-turns, but all will hope that favouring a technology supported by Apple and Google will ensure better public trust and accuracy.
One thing is for sure: the idea that a contact tracing smartphone app might be a silver bullet to tame coronavirus has fallen very flat.
What a super time at The Photography Show in Birmingham this week.
Tens of thousands of visitors, hundreds of cracking cameras and dozens of the world’s most inspirational photographers.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have worked on The Photography Show since it began in 2014. This year, as well as hosting the show’s pop-up TV channel, I was thrilled to be asked to deliver some workshops on mobile journalism and mobile content creation – an area I’ve also been involved in for a long time.
In one workshop I covered the basic principles of mobile journalism apps and workflow; in another I set up a mobile-only multi-camera studio, perfect to live stream blogs, podcasts, radio shows, panel discussions and more.
Yet my favourite parts of the show are the fireside chats with photographers; it’s a privilege to be able to speak with industry legends such as David Bailey, Martin Parr, Sebastiao Salgado and – above – leading fashion and beauty photographer and all-round inspiring person, Lindsay Adler.
Watch Photography Show TV on demand here.
Mobile World Congress (MWC) is where the world’s mobile industry meets.
An enormous event attracting over 100,000 visitors, MWC sets the agenda for the technology that impacts our lives the most.
This year, working with the show’s official broadcast outlet, we were challenged to produce a daily hour-long TV show that captured the energy, creativity and invention of MWC’s startup-focused event, 4YFN.
The result – The 4 Years from Now Show – achieved all that and more, with top quality broadcast output that surfaced the scale and spirit of the show.
We spoke with startups applying robotics, AI and blockchain to solve real-world challenges; we chatted biohacking, transhumanism and brainwave modulation with experts and practitioners; we even tried a sleep robot, a connected cat litter tray and a post-workout training shoe drying and sterilising device.
Individual packages from the show are now available on demand over at Mobile World Live TV.
If you’re in any way curious about the world around you then New Scientist Live could be one of the most exciting places in the universe to be this week.
Here in London, Nicki Shields and I have been presenting the New Scientist Live live stream, running around the venue’s five zones to interview some of the biggest brains in science, and get hands-on with as many experiments as we can.
Today I’ve been in conversation with Jim Al-Khalili, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, Bobby Seagull and Dr Rangan Chatterjee – I even spoke with an impassioned Clare Balding about the grandstand role that technology is now playing in sport. Yesterday, Nicki got to sit down and chat with astronaut Tim Peake.
Whether you’re into gene editing and quantum cryptography or good old spaceships and slime, I’m pretty sure New Scientist Live has something for you.
London Tech Week is the UK capital’s annual celebration of technology and innovation.
Once again, I’m hosting the online broadcasts for LTW’s flagship event, TechXLR8, live every day from 9am until 6pm.
We’ll be interviewing tech industry movers and shakers from around the world to learn how 5G, AI, blockchain – even space tech – will converge to have a profound impact on business and society in the next two to three years.
I’ll be speaking with Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock; with leaders from Oracle, Microsoft and Nokia, also with the only VC investing solely in space tech, Seraphim Capital.
London Tech Week is also a great platform for start-ups, and we’ll be covering as many as we can, including the Project Kairos start-up pitch-off competition at TechXLR8 on Thursday.
My ‘super cuts’ highlights packages for major tech product launches have become increasingly popular. In summer 2017, Mobile World Live commissioned me to produce video packages for the much-anticipated Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the Apple iPhone X smartphone launches.
Standing now on another packed commuter train, I glance up to see a carriage full of people staring down at their smartphones. In fewer places is it more evident how mobile technology has become central to our lives.
It’s no wonder then that smartphone launches from the likes of Apple or Samsung attract significant attention from the media as well as the public, all eager to learn about the newest devices and their features.
That why quick-turnaround highlights packages – like those I’ve been producing over the last couple of years – have become very popular online and shareable on social media.
The full Apple press conference clocked-in at just under two hours, the Samsung Unpacked event at just under sixty minutes. Yet, shortly after each event, I’d edited and voiced crisp broadcast-spec packages capturing the most important moments and the energy from the entire event.
Similar items I’ve produced for media outlets have performed very well, capitalising on speed of production and the thirst for information on the latest mobile hardware.
Head over to Mobile World Live TV to see the full Apple iPhone X or Galaxy Note 8 stories, or take a look at some of my previous packages for MWL TV and International Business Times. And do drop me a line if you think a quick-turnaround package might work for your outlet or brand.
Recently, I joined Autocar Magazine at the Paris Motor Show, to report on announcements from Spanish car giant SEAT.
As well as getting a first look at the SEAT Ateca X-Perience concept SUV, I spent some time with SEAT president, Luca de Meo and presented a stand tour film:
These quick-turnaround shoot-edit videos were destined for the SEAT-sponsored Autocar Paris Motor Show 2016 blog, alongside photos and regular news nuggets from the show.
I have now taken the reigns of its Inspect-a-Gadget column, where my remit will be to cover where emerging technology meets with business IT. Or, less elegantly, what the latest gadgets and consumer tech mean for the workplace.
Among my recent stories there, I have looked at how the all-new Bluetooth 5 standard ups the ante for the Internet of Things, got an early hands-on with the QWERTY-equipped BlackBerry KEYone smartphone, and visited London Tech Week to meet a UK startup that claims to have cracked Siri for the office with its UMA conversational AI:
Earlier this week, I began looking at some new entries to Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2017.