Total Business Magazine

This Week’s 5 Must-Read Stories You May Have Missed

IBM axed 100,000 employees over the last few years to appear ‘cool’, Just Eat and Takeaway.com are in talks for a merger and Facebook is one step closer to its vision of letting people type with their brains.

We caught up with our columnist, business transformation expert, author of The Interim Revolution and founder and CEO of Sullivan and Stanley, Pat Lynes, to discuss the biggest news stories you wouldn’t have wanted to miss last week.

1. InterContinental Hotels Group to remove miniature toiletries

The owner of hotels including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn is planning to remove all of its miniature toiletries. It will be the first international hospitality brand to take this step, getting rid of its 200 million miniatures annually by 2021. The move to remove these little plastic bottles, including shampoo and conditioner, is in response to the environmental concerns around the excessive use of plastic.

The ever-growing changes to the environment are causing many businesses to step up and realise their impact. Only last week Waitrose also announced that it would be extending its no plastic scheme, which it launched in Oxford in June. It’s a move in the right direction and I hope more businesses will follow suit.

2. IBM axed 100,000 employees in the last few years to appear ‘cool’.

In the last couple of years, IBM has axed over 100,000 employees, in a hope to appear “trendy” like Amazon or Google. The people most impacted were from its older workforce, as it wanted to attract and demonstrate to millennials that the company was “cool”. In response, IBM has received several discrimination against older workers lawsuits.

Diversity isn’t about bringing just a younger group of people into a business. It’s about having a mix of people, with different backgrounds, levels of experience, as well as experts who can work together to drive a company forward. It’s shocking to see a business like IBM allegedly discriminating against a specific age bracket and losing a layer of invaluable knowledge, just to appear “trendy”.

3. Apple Card will launch in August

Following Apple’s quarterly results, it confirmed that it will launch its Apple Card credit card this August. Adding another string to its bow, the new Apple Card will be available in both a digital and physical form. However, what sets it apart is it won’t have a traditional card number, CVV code or expiration date. Instead, it will use tokenisation technology, which shares a randomly generated number during a transaction. This means terminals will be unable to store details or trace payments, so only Apple will have access to the details and habits of its customers.

The launch of this new card will not only see Apple get another foothold in a market, but it will offer its customers a full and frictionless service, all available on its devices.

4. Just Eat and Takeaway.com in talks on a merger

I mentioned the sheer volume of the UK’s takeaway market in last week’s column, so it’s no surprise to see Just Eat and Dutch Dutch delivery company, Takeaway.com, looking to tackle the £83 billion global market with a merger. The two companies, who are currently in talks, have a combined value of £9 billion. This deal would unite the companies 20 countries and 40 million customers, in a bid to increase the competition against UberEats and Deliveroo.

However, Deliveroo hasn’t let this news phase its growing business as it also announced last week that it had acquired Edinburgh-based software design and development company, Cultivate. This acquisition will see Deliveroo create a tech hub in Edinburgh, which will help to triple its workforce and develop new ways to improve its payment processes to restaurants and riders. It’s apparent the takeaway market has become a highly-competitive landscape, so it will be interesting to keep an eye on its further growth and innovation.

5. Facebook is closer to its vision of a brain-compute interface

Facebook has announced that is one step closer to letting people type with their brains. In conjunction with its research partners at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Facebook revealed that researchers were able to use participants brain activity and decode what was said in real-time onto a computer screen. The brain-compute interface, also known as BCI, is expected to work completely hands-free, with Facebook providing a set of Facebook-created AR glasses.

It is really the stuff of the future reading and hearing about these projects. However, it’s not even the first of its kind. Elon Musk revealed that a company he is funding called Neuralink is also working on linking brain activity directly with computer screens, by planting a chip in participants heads instead.

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