WELCOME TO THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF SALIENCE
This week we cover the UN’s work to create waterborne cities, new investment into the healthtech sector and the perfect British bolthole for your staycation. Plus, the race against time for the high street ahead of Christmas, and the AI behind Google Maps’ route planning software.
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Floating cities – The UN’s solution to land scarcity
Although it may sound like the setting of a science fiction novel, thriving, floating cities might not be too far-fetched after all. In fact, the UN is behind a new research effort into how building on the surface of our oceans could revolutionise the way we think about sustainability and resource-use.
New healthtech fund launches
Healthtech has attracted lots of headlines in recent months – especially during the pandemic. But is the sector attracting enough venture capital? Crista Galli Ventures (CGV) think not, and have just created a new healthtech fund of €55m. And with CGV founder and managing partner Fiona Pathiraja boasting previous experience as an NHS consultant radiologist, she believes they are just what the doctor ordered.
Best of British
The pandemic and has of course forced many of us to cancel foreign vacations and instead holiday in the UK. But that needn’t be a disappointment. One of Sapience’s favourite places is the Burgh Island Hotel in Devon. Set on a tidal island, the hotel has an art-deco heritage that has attracted plenty of notable guests, including Agatha Christie (who took inspiration from the hotel two of her most famous novels). Today, the luxury bolthole offers a blend of escapism and glamour for those seeking a break from working at home. We’re tempted to pack our suitcases right now…
A race against time for the high street
With footfall in August for non-food stores falling 34.8% nationally, but online retail increasing by 10% (to account for 30% of all consumer retail spending), traditional retailers face a challenge as we approach the Christmas shopping season. But many bricks-and-mortar retailers are in fact retooling their businesses to compete more effectively with e-retailers. Whilst time will tell how successful they are, one thing is clear – the race is on to capture the festive pound, and for many high street retailers it’s a race that their survival might well depend on them winning.
How Google’s AI predicts your journey
According to Google, its Maps software is used to drive more than 1 billion kilometres of road each day. It’s no wonder then that the tech giant has developed systems to help its users avoid congestion. But cleverer than that, Google is using AI tools from DeepMind to aggregate data from not only Android devices, but also local government information and data concerning road quality to create ‘supersegments’ which provide the best route possible for your journey. Let’s hope that includes working out a way to avoid parking tickets.