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2 posts from December 2019

09 December 2019

Seeing is believing: Why Germany is set to lead the European VR / AR revolution

by Ryan Hamilton Economist, Strategy&, PwC United Kingdom

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are already transforming several sectors in many countries around the world - largely improving processes, enhancing job roles, creating efficiencies but also reimagining how we communicate and visualise information.

The US, China and Japan are the three markets which have taken these technologies under their wings the most. These three economies account for over 50% of the impact on GDP that is expected globally by 2030 from VR/AR. This confirms perceptions that these countries have more rapid adoption rates and are primed to benefit from these new technologies.

In Europe, there are also some very interesting trends. VR/AR applications in Healthcare are expected to have the biggest impact across the UK ($17.7bn), France ($13.1bn) and Finland ($2.0bn) by 2030. Whereas, Germany will reap the largest economic benefits from product and service development of $27.1bn by 2030.

One thing I find most intriguing are the ratios of total GDP impact versus the number of jobs enhanced. Germany ($103.6bn and 400,368 jobs enhanced) and France ($50.4bn and 202,500 jobs enhanced) have similar ratios of GDP impact versus the number of jobs enhanced by VR/AR. However, the UK seems to be an outlier in Europe. It is expected to see over $30bn less in GDP terms than Germany, yet see a similar level of jobs enhanced by 2030. So how can this be?

One explanation of this is the difference in the sectoral make-up of each economy. For example, the UK’s economy is one of the most service intensive globally, with around 80% of jobs based in service activities versus the likes of Germany at 70%. These differences are important, because one of the fundamental assumptions underpinning the analysis is that certain sectors will benefit more (or less) from VR/AR technologies than others.

In a European and Global context, we found that one of the biggest drivers of economic value across all economies is the category of product and service development. Manufacturing is the sector across the economy which is anticipated to be transformed most from these applications and in particular advanced manufacturing activities. In Europe specifically, Germany has a much greater concentration of employment in manufacturing (19%) than the UK (9%). In addition, Germany has a much stronger focus on higher value added manufacturing - helping explain why aggregate GDP impacts are much larger in Germany yet the number of jobs enhanced are more similar.

I think you will agree that the differing impacts of VR/AR technologies across economies is interesting. But, if we are to truly see these benefits, then there needs to be collective buy in from government, businesses and people. As with all new transformative technologies, the potential economic wealth they bring is hugely dependent on our ability as people to adapt and adopt these exciting technologies in our day to day lives.

Interested in learning more?

Our report includes five clear tips for getting started with VR and AR. The most important of which is simply getting stuck in and seeing for yourself how these technologies have evolved and what they can do for you, or your organisation.

Click here to download our ‘Seeing is believing’ report to;

  • explore the economic data for yourself
  • enjoy the AR experiences we’ve included using your mobile phone
  • read up on the insights and opinions of our technology and industry specialists

Seeing-is-believing

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by Ryan Hamilton Economist, Strategy&, PwC United Kingdom

05 December 2019

How blockchain can help build trust in the education sector

by Samar Singh Global Blockchain Driver, PwC United Kingdom

by Chris Clements Senior Development Manager, PwC United Kingdom

Educational institutions have come some distance in their pursuit of becoming more digital, but most would acknowledge there is some way to go. An example of this would be the issuing, verification and sharing of educational qualifications and professional certifications which is still a largely centralised, manual and paper-based process. It’s time-consuming, inefficient and open to abuse and fraud.

Why it’s time to rethink the credentials process

The revocation of paper certificates is one significant issue – people can still hang a paper certificate for a revoked qualification on the wall or present it to potential employers. Quality control is another issue. If a university has affiliates in other countries, for example, there is a lack of control over the issuing process and the authenticity of the certificate.

The issuing process for certificates and qualifications is manual and time consuming for institutions. Similarly, verifying a paper certificate has many of the same challenges too. And for an organisation wanting to check someone’s qualification, the process involves intermediaries and a range of third parties for attestation, verification and to act as custodians of the credential. It is time-consuming and costs an average of £12 per verification, according to Crowe UK. The laborious process also means only 5-10% of credentials are actually verified.

There is a significant cost associated with credentials fraud today:

Meanwhile, the student or person who has received the qualification wants control and independence over how they use, share and revoke access to that credential in future.

In today’s digital, app-driven world people also want access to their data immediately at anytime or anywhere.

How blockchain creates secure and trusted credentials

Blockchain has the potential to transform this process for the education sector. That’s why we have developed Smart Credentials, a blockchain platform that allows a person’s qualifications and credentials to be securely issued, verified and shared digitally, instead of having to rely on paper-based versions. The platform also has the ability to include both formal and non - formal achievements so that an individual’s lifelong achievements are at hand in a trusted, secure and portable way. It drives a culture of authenticity and accountability outwards and auditability inwards.

Blockchain brings certain inherent advantages of immutability lined with security, resilience and irreversibility, helping to replace any middlemen or agencies which increase trust and provide a single source of the truth.

The future that blockchain promises in the issuance process is the end of the line for paper certifications. It also means moving beyond digital certificates, which don’t address the challenge of disintermediation and the need for third parties in the process.

Today, blockchain for credentials is predominantly about enabling educational institutions to issue them in permanence. This brings quality and trust into the process, particularly in the example of institutions with affiliates or accreditations overseas. Institutions can be confident they are issuing a genuine certificate, which is authenticated and instantly verifiable. And that also brings cost reductions through improved efficiency and it helps eliminate fraud.

Blockchain in action today

We are already working with institutions today using this technology. A pilot project in one of our own country offices enables employees who come out from the university there to be issued their smart credentials in permanence using the Smart Credentials platform.

We have also partnered with one leading university, which is already issuing digital credentials to its entire student population. With Smart Credentials we are enabling a wallet capability and personalisation for the students. This gives them the ability to control and share their credentials through the wallet – for both formal qualifications and non-formal credentials such as vocational or sports certificates and even birth certificates.

The future of blockchain and credentials via tokenisation

Beyond today’s use cases of issuing credentials in permanence, the future of blockchain and our Smart Credentials platform in the education sector will explore areas of automatic recognition and attribution or transfer of credits, verifying accreditors, lifelong records of learning, student grants and funding and also leveraging sovereign identities for verifying students and even educators.

Tokenisation of educational credentials over blockchain will bring to life some of these use cases. Although it's still a long way off in terms of maturity of the technology and it’s adoption. We believe there are also many other opportunities for organisations to exploit blockchain around credentialization in various industry sectors like aviation, healthcare, government departments and registries, HR and supply chain. And this is just the beginning.

Get in touch to find out how our Smart Credentials blockchain platform could help your organisation.

Our Blockchain team have been nominated in this year’s Reimagine Education Awards in London, demonstrating how blockchain can transform the future of education. Winners will be announced later this month.

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by Samar Singh Global Blockchain Driver, PwC United Kingdom

by Chris Clements Senior Development Manager, PwC United Kingdom