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SportsLedger: The 4th Industrial Revolution Comes to Sports Industry

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We stand on the brink of a technological revolution, known as the 4th Industrial Revolution, empowered by the emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automation, Deep Learning Technologies, Internet of Things (IoT), Social Networks, Cloud Computing, Blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT), Tokenised Business and many others. It is the first time in history that technology has progressed so much and their impact is of exponential order. These technologies will tremendously alter the way we live, think, work, and relate to one another.

Among all these celebrated technologies, Blockchain seems to be the one with the most potential and impact on all aspects of humanity, applied at economical, technological, societal and political level. According to Harvard Business Review as stated in the article “The Impact of Blockchain Goes Beyond Financial Services”,  The technology most likely to change the next decade of business is not the social web, big data, the cloud, robotics, or even artificial intelligence. It’s the blockchain…“.

What is Blockchain? Blockchain is a shared, append-only and distributed database shared among the participants of a network. It is the backbone of the Bitcoin protocol as firstly described by the unknown author Satoshi Nakatomo of “Bitcoin: An electronic peer-to-peer electronic cash system”. A celebration of the cryptography that will constitute the backbone of the future payment systems.

Why is it Important? Appending on the blockchain is approved by the whole network in a very democratic way (in case of a public Blockchain) and no intermediary or trusted third parties are required to oversee the transactions. The power is given to the network and encoded in a way to work fully democratically. All nodes maintain the historic transactional data and thus the whole setting is fully transparent. It is the first time in history we have a technology that can be used in order for a whole network to come into an agreement for a given scenario and all data being publicly available without the need of third parties for overseeing the system.

Have the community and society realised its potential? It seems that the technology is well embraced and the whole community is researching it with the aim to apply it across different fields and applications. According to Gartner, “$176B in added business value by 2025; that total reaches $3.1T” and “More than 2,500 patents have been field in the last three years” according to the World Bank. This proves extensive research and applications of Distributed Ledger Technologies.

Which fields do benefit from Blockchain Innovation? Blockchain is currently being investigated to be applied in many different fields. Celebrated and successful examples are supply chains, smart (incl. Legal) contracts, Land Registry & Tax Collection (see Dubai 2020 Initiative), Crowdfunding via Initial Coin Offerings, Business Tokenization (via security tokens), Digital Rights Management (DRM) industry frameworks and many others. Through Blockchain and smart contracts, we can achieve fair distribution of revenues and guarantee of data ownership and creation for the data owners.

Sports Industry, even though it is projected to reach $73.5 Billion by 2019 according to Forbes, is still based on legacy systems, has a potential to be refaced via the emerging technologies and evolve dramatically. Imaging an ecosystem in which sport-related data will be available and approved on distributed file systems (such as IPFS), anyone can contribute and ownership and reward will be granted by smart contracts that are automatically triggered under certain approved terms and conditions, predictive analytics could be applied to get better predictions regarding sports-related events, scouters can use them to do smart profiling of players, companies can use them for marketing purposes and users are always rewarded and have the opportunity to be stakeholders of this community by contributing with data regarding their favourite teams and sports.

Sports Ledger aims to combine all the recent advancements in emerging technologies and give it to its fans! Their team comprises by well-known experts across all sectors required to make this project a great success. Be part of this community by joining this constantly growing family.

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Proof-of-Green: Blockchain Technology to Revolutionize the $1.35T Clean Energy Sector

By:

Dr. Theodosis Mourouzis (Cyprus International Institute of Management, UCL CBT)

and

Dr. Kyriacos Pavlou (Cyprus International Institute of Management, UCL CBT)

 

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Renewables and clean energy production are increasingly gaining ground on traditional fossil-based production methods. Governments and organizations are starting to embrace environmentally-friendly energy policies and are actively investing in Research and Development (R&D) that will lead to the creation of clean and renewable types of energy. Statistics reveal that the U.S. Clean Energy market cap was $200B for 2017, while the corresponding global market reached $1.35T, exhibiting an exponential growth over the years that signifies a marked advancement in this sector. At the Business of Blockchain conference organized by MIT Technology Review and the MIT Media Lab in April 2017, an Accenture survey was quoted stating that 69% of consumers were interested in having an energytrading marketplace, and 47% said they planned to sign up for community solar projects. This great demand in the renewables energy sector, has spurred various companies to begin developing blockchain applications for the energy sector. None of these, however, have moved beyond the concept or pilot stage yet, with the sole exception of a trial run in Brooklyn, New York, which in April 2017 facilitated the selling of generated solar energy directly from one neighbor to another via a blockchain system. Despite the fact that there have been many investments towards building efficient and green energy grids, many inefficiencies still remain due to the large topology of said grids and their inefficient management. Current power grid systems worldwide have become outdated and inefficient, incapable of handling multiple energy types simultaneously. The transmission and distribution of energy over large distances are very inefficient with a 5% loss incurred between power plant and residential area transmissions.

More importantly, current grid infrastructures do not provide any solution for the massive environmental pollution and carbon dioxide emissions produced during energy production. Moreover, no substantial incentives are given to individuals and organization to switch to green energy. The dream of each home becoming carbon-neutral is currently unrealistic due to the high costs involved in buying and installing the appropriate equipment. The solution appears to be a decentralized model that facilitates greater local interaction and incentivizes direct P2P exchange of renewable energy, which at the same time exploits the massive data available to make smart and informed decisions. Blockchain technology, the backbone of cryptocurrency transactions, seems to be an ideal candidate solution to the above problem. It has the potential to create decentralized energy systems in which energy supply contracts are made directly and executed automatically between energy producers and energy consumers. Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger with many desirable properties: it is transparent, immutable, secure, with no-need of third party intermediary acting as a trusted authority. Blockchain enables consumers to directly trade the energy they produce with other consumers in a peer-to-peer network with all the data and transactions being automatically available and guaranteed by smart-contracts. The mounds of data generated by these transactions, if leveraged correctly through analytics, can lead to great improvements in efficiency and cost. Furthermore, the application of blockchain to the energy sector can guarantee the energy origin, can certify that the energy produced is indeed renewable, can keep historical records of ownership and state of energy assets, can certify emission allowances, as well as, monitor of the metering and billing of electricity consumption. Thus, such a blockchain infrastructure can create a system that would reward users based on a proof-of-green scheme that has the potential to shape better, eco-friendly communities. These properties and capabilities described above coupled with the fact that blockchain can act as a common framework that solves interoperability issues sets up blockchain as a valuable tool for the green energy sector. Greeneum, an Israeli startup is working towards generating a new gateway for green energy, utilizing the decentralized architecture of blockchain technology. A blockchain-based energy-trading token, named GREEN, aims to empower individuals and communities to easily manage produced renewable energy, giving the option to buy services and products and trade on the GREENEUM network. The Greeneum network aims to leverage a tokenized economy in order to enhance the generation and consumption of renewables while at the same time facilitating decentralized energy trading between utilities, producers, grid operators, and consumers. Specifically, it facilitates the exchange within a community of renewable energy produced by solar panels belonging to members of that community. This occurs without any restrictions and results in the reduction of grid management overhead costs. In addition, the Greeneum network is built to be smart; equipped with the necessary tools and methodologies required to achieve full efficiency and peak performance. Data is “the oil of the 21st century” and the members of the Greeneum team have demonstrated they fully embrace this notion by building into the platform tools that allow optimized energy distribution. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning algorithms can help the network managers gain a deeper knowledge of the entire clean energy life cycle. These tools will provide insights into real-time energy trading and projected production/consumption. Consequently, producers, consumers, businesses and organizations will be in a better position to trade globally and locally products and services on the Green Market Place. The Greeneum platform is the first solution that addresses all challenges faced by the energy sector, such as lack of efficiency, energy type interoperability, lack of incentives to go green, lack of proper network infrastructure and lack of data-driven strategy. The combination of blockchain technology with advanced analytics are the future of the clean energy sector and Greeneum is poised to deliver both.

Cyprus Blockchain Technologies joins the ISO/TC 307 as Participating Member

 

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The Cyprus Blockchain Technologies Ltd. is a non-profit organisation established as a collaboration among academic institutions, including University College London Centre for Blockchain Technologies (UCL CBT) and Cyprus International Institute of Management (CIIM),  banks (including Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic Bank), as well as local regulators, financial institutions and technology associations and  companies.

The aim of the centre is to conduct research as well as organise transfer of knowledge sessions and executive education on Blockchain and Distributed Ledger technologies (DLT) by bringing prominent academics and professionals from leading organisations from around the world. In addition, the centre will release whitepapers and research papers on applications of DLT on different sectors and what are their implications.

Recently, the centre was approved by the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) to be a Participating Member on the new standard to be developed for the standardisation of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies, working with ISO/TC 307 Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technical Committee. This is a great opportunity for the centre and Cyprus in general to express their interest and contribute scientifically to the formation of new industrial standards. The new ISO technical committee promises to take it to the next level, having now defined areas for future standardisation work.

 

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Blockchain is a decentralised, global public (or private) distributed ledger or database running on millions of devices, where not just information but anything of value – money, titles, music, art, scientific discoveries, intellectual property, and even votes – can be transferred and stored privately and securely. Trust is established through mass collaboration and a clever code that makes Blockchain withstand modification, fraud or other types of attacks. Blockchain ensures integrity and transparency and has big implications for business and the corporation.

How the Telecom Industry Could Benefit from Predictive Analytics

* Dr Theodosis Mourouzis is the Programme Director of the MSc in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics at the Cyprus International Institute of Management (CIIM) and a Research Fellow at the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies.020161013174245

Data Mining is the science of uncovering insights, patterns and correlations and discovering meaningful information from mounds of data that exists in various forms, structured and un-structured. It employs techniques from a diverse set of scientific fields including computational statistics, machine learning, deep learning, mathematics, data processing, visualisations, business intelligence and many others. Data science or data art could be characterized as an attempt to shift away from the traditional empirical-based reasoning to a formal, scientific, data-driven way of thinking and operational tactic.

The research firm IDC’s estimate of the size of big data market for last year, 2016, was $136B and this is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years with more and more companies deploying data science related projects and more and more data-based startup companies rising. Data science has already proved itself and its values is realized and appreciated across many different sectors and industries such as retail, banking, financial services, security, telecom, healthcare, shipping and many others.

The McKinsey’s Global Institute had conducted a global survey in which they have interviewed 50+ experts from the Telecom Industry, regarding their views on the applications of big data analytics techniques to their industry. It was found out that analytics and machine learning techniques have great impact on the Telecom Industry, as indicated in the Figure 1 below.

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Figure 1: Machine Learning applications across different use cases (source: McKinsey Institute)

In addition, they have reached to a consensus that the benefits are tremendous for the Telecom Industry and across different application domains:

  • Predict lifetime value and risk of churn for individual customers using predictive analytics
  • Optimize complex investment across network using advanced resource allocation and optimisation techniques.
  • Personalise strategy to target individual consumers based on multi-model data (mobile, social media, location, etc) using radical personalisation and clustering techniques.
  • Optimize call-center routing for individual calls, leading to fewer agent-handled calls, using predictive analytics.
  • Discover new trends in consumer behavior using mobile data and other relevant data using advanced data mining and anomaly detection techniques.
  • Predict failure and recommend proactive maintenance for fixed and moving equipment using advanced big data predictive analytics techniques.
  • Optimise micro-campaigns and short-term promotions using price and product optimisation techniques.
  • Predict regional demands trends for voice/data/other traffic using forecasting techniques
  • Replicated financial planning and other costly back-office functions using predictive analytics
  • Optimize field-force labour allocation using advanced resource allocation and optimisation techniques.

Telecom industry would start competing on analytics and embracing the new science of winning by investing in data science capabilities within their enterprise. The ideal candidates to drive this revolution are the so-called data scientists. Among the responsibilities of a data scientist is empowering management and officers to make informed and potentially better decisions, direct the actions based on trends which in turn help in goals definition, promote best practices in the fields of business intelligence and data governance, transform the decision making capability into a quantifiable data driven procedure, quantification and redefinition of the enterprise’s strategy and deployment of analytics models within the enterprise’s pipeline.

CIIM’s MSc in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics is a unique and innovative-by-design postgraduate degree that combines both managerial and technical aspects around the data science field and it is designed to equip the candidates with the necessary knowledge and a diverse set of skills required throughout the data analytics lifecycle. This skillset includes business data requirements, data acquisition and integration techniques, data storage, data processing, data analysis, insights derivation, and ultimately, the business deployment of derived insights in a meaningful and efficient manner. If you are interested, you can apply here.

How Big Data Analytics Will Transform the Shipping Industry

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* Dr Theodosis Mourouzis is the Programme Director of the MSc in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics at the Cyprus International Institute of Management (CIIM) and a Research Fellow at the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies.

Big Data Analytics is the science of uncovering insights, patterns and correlations and discovering meaningful information from mounds of data that exists in various forms, structured and un-structured, using techniques from different scientific fields such as statistics, data modelling, machine learning, mathematics, computer science, neuroscience, visualisations, business intelligence and many others. It could be characterised as the process of turning data into insights and insights into meaningful actions, enhancing in this way the decision making capabilities of a company and as a result reducing costs and improving upon performance.

Data science or data art could be characterized as an attempt to shift away from the traditional empirical-based reasoning to a formal, scientific, data-driven way of thinking and operational tactic. The research firm IDC’s estimate of the size of big data market for last year, 2016, was $136B and this is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years with more and more companies deploying data science related projects and new startups that offer products based on data rising. Data science has already proved itself and analytics are extensively applied across many different sectors and industries such as retail, banking, financial services, security, telecom, healthcare, shipping and many others.

Data analytics is driving incremental value for ship owners and charters by influencing decision across different business, tactical, operational as well as strategic functions of the marine industry. As more and more data are collected, stored and analysed, shipping companies are beginning to appreciate and thus aim to utilise the value of this data in order to make informed decisions, managing in this way the company in a better and more efficient way. The shipping industry is inevitably undergoing a massive but beneficial change driven by Big Data capabilities across different areas:

  • Fuel consumption: Combination of the appropriate sensors and optimisation techniques can be applied in order to understand under what conditions a given ship has optimised fuel consumption at maximum performance. This can be translated into huge savings.
  • Route and supply-chain optimisation: Advanced analytics and optimisation techniques can be applied on the data related to the routes followed by the ships in order to derive an optimal strategy related to the order of the different destinations across different routes to be followed.
  • Operational efficiency: Optimize marine operations, manage staff time efficiently and identify cost savings through comprehensive maritime data that include information about ships, ownership, builder, company, ports and route details.
  • Threat management: Identify companies that pose credit and security risks, with extensive ship, company and Automatic Identification System (AIS) data.
  • Market size and competition: Understand the world fleet, ship and ship ownership information, as well as new markets.
  • Maintenance prediction: Through sensors on the ships combined with advanced predictive analytics techniques can be applied in order to identify which areas of the ship need priority in terms of maintenance. This will ensure that maintenance is considered at the optimum moment, preventing delays, increasing efficiency and reducing the time required for a ship to be in maintenance mode.
  • Cargo tracking: A big problem in shipping industry is that many shipping containers are lost every year due to different factors. This costs a lot of amount of money and time for investigation. A solution is to apply data analytics on a datasets related to these lost containers and derive some special characteristics or features about those containers and their environment. This might help to reduce similar problems in the future and thus avoiding extra costs due to losses.
  • Regulatory compliance: Use ship and ownership/registration data to determine any connection to sanctioned countries or countries posing legal or financial risk.

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Shipping industry would start competing on analytics and embracing the new science of winning by investing in data science capabilities within their enterprise. The ideal candidates to drive this revolution are the so-called data scientists. Among the responsibilities of a data scientist is empowering management and officers to make informed and potentially better decisions, direct the actions based on trends which in turn help in goals definition, promote best practices in the fields of business intelligence and data governance, transform the decision making capability into a quantifiable data driven procedure, quantification and redefinition of the enterprise’s strategy and deployment of analytics models within the enterprise’s pipeline. A data scientist shall have skills spanning across many diverse fields such as statistics, software engineering, machine learning, data analytics and mining, data visualisation and very importantly communication skills. It is important that enterprises and organisation interested in competing on analytics to promote data-drive culture within their organisation and invest in educating their existing employees with respect to this field.

CIIM’s MSc in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics is a unique and innovative-by-design postgraduate degree that combines both managerial and technical aspects around the data science field and it is designed to equip the candidates with the necessary knowledge and a diverse set of skills required throughout the data analytics lifecycle. This skillset includes business data requirements, data acquisition and integration, data storage, data processing, data analysis, insights derivation, and ultimately, the business deployment of derived insights in a meaningful and successful manner. If you are interested, you can apply here.

The Blockchain Evolution: A short survey on the top-management’s perception

The Blockchain, the whole mechanism around the distributed public-ledger as introduced in Bitcoin architecture is an undeniably ingenious invention. Since its introduction, it has evolved rapidly and has been considered to be applied in many different industries including cross-border payments, regulation/compliance, digital identities, passports, digital voting, healthcare, asset management, insurance, governmental applications and many others.

At the Cyprus International Institute of Management (CIIM), we have conducted a survey in order to collect information and understand the perspective of Executives, members of top management board and IT Decision Makers, from around the globe, regarding their perception towards Blockchain technology, as well as what are their thoughts regarding challenges and adoption of this new technology.

As a preliminary survey, we have interviewed in total 42 people from the above mentioned groups and below we present a short summary of a small subset of our findings. Note that an extensive and detailed overview of our research will be submitted to an academic business journal in the coming months, as well as the disclosure of the datasets for further research.

Short Summary of Findings

Regarding the question, in which technologies does your organization plan to invest in the future, Blockchain appeared first with a 74% percentage, followed by the data-science related technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (45%), data mining (33%) and predictive analytics (33%). This is possibly due to the fact that data science technologies are already very mature and have been more extensively applied within the enterprises rather than Blockchain technology which is more at speculator/research stage.

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Next, we have asked them about what are the expected benefits of Blockchain applications for the organization. They have responded that high quality data, durability-reliability-longevity, lower transactions costs, dis-intermediation, empowered end points are all equally important.

Regarding, the challenges they expect to face while trying to implement a Blockchain project, the greater majority expressed that issues of scalability (42.5%) and lack of support and documentation (40.0%) are the top issues that an organization needs to solve while implementing a Blockchain solution. Surprisingly, a high enough percentage of the order of 35% expressed their concerns about the security and as expected a high percentage expressed their concerns on the cost of consensus mechanisms.

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According to our survey, the most popular Blockchain framework seems to be Ethereum (35% declaring themselves very familiar with this framework), followed by Hyperledger and IBM Open Blockchain Initiative. Lastly, most of our responders expect that Blockchain technology will start making a serious impact after the 2019-2020 period.

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