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Jaguar Land Rover to create 150 new jobs in Ireland

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The UK automobile giant is to open a new software engineering centre in Shannon, Co. Clare, Ireland, which will create 150 new jobs. (Pictured: Dr Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover)

Shannon is seen as a great business link for the firm globally and the new centre will look to hone in on Jaguar Land Rover establishing the company’s plans for electric and automated vehicles development through new, innovative technologies.

The development of the next generation of electric vehicles at Shannon is supported by the Irish Development Agency.

The news also correlates with Jaguar Land Rover teaming up with the online education provider Udacity. This education firm specialises in courses revolving around automated driving, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and data analytics.

The Minster of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, said: “This is a great boost for Shannon, Co. Clare and the Midwest Region. Jaguar Land Rover are iconic brands which have endured through innovation and staying ahead of their competitors. This new software engineering centre will bring 150 new high-quality jobs to Shannon. The region has much to offer with qualified and talented people and I wish Jaguar Land Rover and its team well in its endeavours.”

Nick Rogers, Executive Director of Product Engineering, said: “Technical innovation lies at the heart of Jaguar Land Rover and our innovation is continuous. The new facility provides an exciting opportunity for us to pioneer future autonomous and electrification technologies. The heart of our business will always be in the UK. The creation of a team in Shannon strengthens our international engineering capabilities and complements our existing team of more than 10,000 engineers based in the UK.”

Read it on businessandfinance.com

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Over 1,000 jobs to be cut at GE

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1,100 jobs are set to go at General Electric’s power infrastructure business as part of a European cost-cutting strategy.

The move is due to a fall in investment and a drop in demand for new power stations.

The 18,000 staff in Rugby and Stafford will be affected and the company plans to cut around 12,000 jobs across the world.

Mark Elborne, Head of GE UK & Ireland, says the company remains committed to the UK and will remain one of Britain’s top five industrial companies even after the cuts.

Group taking Google to UK High Court for violating iPhone privacy settings

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‘Google You Owe Us’ is taking Google to court for the way it obtained data from people’s iPhones.

The BBC states that Google is being taken to court in the UK for harvesting data from 5.4 million users in the United Kingdom to deliver ad targets.

The group ‘Google You Owe Us’ is led by former Which? director Richard Lloyd. He states that each user could get “several hundred pounds” if the case is won, and according to the BBC, he is supported by law firm Mishcon de Reya.

The group also says that Google placed ad-tracking cookies throughout 2011 and 2012 that can pinpoint which websites users have been to on Safari devices. The Safari browser blocks cookies by default.

The case will reportedly be held in the High Court around spring 2018.

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Bitcoin reaches $10,000 mark

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The cryptocurrency made history and crossed the $10,000 mark for the first time today, reaching $10,044 at 1:45am UTC.

Bitcoin‘s incredible rise continues after the virtual currency was trading at $1,000 at the beginning of 2017. It first reached this number in late 2013, before dipping and rising again.

The total Bitcoins in existence now are valued at over $167 billion with many experts saying it can go much further, while others are sceptical about the rise because of dips along the way.

Bitcoin was first introduced in 2009 and took a few years to be noticed as a viable ‘alternative’ to ‘traditional’ currency.

Bitcoins are created via a process known as ‘mining’ where the connected networks of individuals solving maths problems are awarded coins for their efforts. Security and reliability are huge issues facing the concept with many sceptical on how safe the ‘virtual wallet’ system really is.

With this current position, Bitcoin is up more than 900% on a year-to-date basis, with prices climbing 230% since a low of $3,000 in the middle of September.

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Virgin Trains to auction first class seats via app

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East Coast train line operator Virgin Trains is to allow passengers to bid for first class tickets via a smartphone app, in a move it describes as a global first.

The Seatfrog app will enable passengers to bid for upgrades up to 30 minutes before departure, with upgrades potentially costing as little as £5, according to the operator.

“We have a strong record of innovating for the benefit of our customers and we are really excited to be partnering with Seatfrog to offer customers more opportunities to experience first class,” said Suzanne Donnelly, commercial director at Virgin Trains on the east coast.

“Our innovative partnership with Seatfrog means passengers can get last minute upgrades to first class seats from as little as £5 and there are real deals to be had. Plus, the live bidding element means you can decide at the last minute if you fancy treating yourself and, if you do, bidding to bag a bargain is great way to go about it.”

Seatfrog is available on Android and iOS, and the company has offices in London, Sydney and Tokyo. Its CEO, Iain Griffin, said that “modern travel is full of rules and regulations that can make getting to our final destination a frustrating experience.

“Everyone loves an upgrade, but the excitement of it and the ability to just change your mind at the last minute is suffering because of the many complicated processes that exist today. Seatfrog is giving passengers the power to upgrade easily and transparently, in the palm of their hand.

“Plus, because we are firm believers that it should never be too late to change your mind, you can upgrade right up to 30 minutes before you go. We’re delighted to be bringing Seatfrog to Virgin Trains’ passengers and to be helping more people than ever to enjoy the perks of First with zero hassle.”

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Jaguar launches I-Pace one-make racing series

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Luxury carmaker Jaguar has announced a one-make racing series based around its electric I-Pace sports car, with the first race taking place next year.

The series, known as the I-Pace eTrophy, will use an ‘arrive and drive’ format for 20 drivers at each race with full technical support, spare parts and equipment. The modified electric I-Paces will use technology from the manufacturer’s I-Pace SUV, which will go on sale later this year.

“With 20 identical specification production based I-Pace eTrophy race cars going head to head, it comes down to the drivers and their individual driving styles to be crowned champion,” the company said. “Held over ten races and in some of the world’s most celebrated cities, the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy promises to be the next chapter in our Race To Innovate.”

The new series will appear on the supporting bill of the all-electric Formula E world championship, which Jaguar Racing joined in 2016. The company recently announced that all its new road cars will be electric or hybrid from 2020 onwards.

“Jaguar returned to racing in 2016 with the mission ‘Race to Innovate’,” explained Gerd Mäuser, Jaguar Racing chairman. “With the launch of the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, we’ve strengthened our commitment to battery electric vehicles, international motorsport and Formula E. As a British team, we’re proud to announce today the launch of the world’s first production battery electric vehicle championship. We’ve always said we want to prove our electrification technologies on the track – this is the proof.

“I’m looking forward to seeing a full grid of Jaguar I-Pace race cars in late 2018, soon after the first Jaguar I-Pace hits the road in Europe. Ultimately, this innovative series will enhance the technology in our future electric vehicles and benefit our customers. Formula E has grown exponentially since we joined as the first premium manufacturer last year, with recent commitments from Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche,” he said.

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Evo Payments and AA announce new partnership and brand

Brian Cleary, managing director, Evo Ireland and UK.

Dublin-headquartered Evo Payments international has announced a deal with the AA in the UK to provide card pay technology to UK merchants under the new CardPay brand.

The deal is the first of its kind for the AA, which is moving into B2B financial services on the back of high consumer trust research rankings.

The service will be managed from Evo’s Dublin HQ where it operates under the BOI Payment Acceptance brand, a collaboration between Evo and Bank of Ireland.

“We are very excited to announce this new partnership with the AA,” said Evo Ireland and UK managing director Brian Cleary. “BOIPA only entered the payments market in early 2015, and in a very short space of time we have been hugely successful in delivering a superior payment service and value proposition for businesses across Ireland.

“From small corner shops and online traders to some of the country’s large corporates, Irish business owners have been quick to recognise the obvious benefits of our products, including the ability to process more transactions, experience reduced banking costs, and less exposure to theft and the misappropriation of cash.

“Applying these same principles to the UK market felt like a logical next step, and in partnering with the AA we are joining up with a universally trusted brand that prides itself on its market-leading financial products and first-class customer service.”

The deal follows a jobs announcement earlier this year, with 50 new roles created amid a €9.1m investment and the opening of a new Irish HQ – bringing the company’s headcount to 120 serving Ireland, North America and Europe.

AA Financial Services director David Searle also welcomed the news.

“From roadside emergencies to home insurance and savings, the AA has always been trusted to stand by the consumer’s side, whatever happens, and campaign for a better deal. With nearly a fifth of our members also running a small business, we have for some time been looking at what we can do to help, particularly given the current economic climate.

“UK small businesses are the bedrock of the country’s economic confidence. The challenges many SMEs have with payment terminals, often relating to opaque pricing tariffs and surprise add-ons, need to be put right and the status quo needs to be disrupted.

“Our partnership with EVO allows us to become a force for change in the UK card payments market, to bring greater simplicity, trust, and fairness for our members – which is at the heart of everything we do.”

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Amazon doubles London R&D headcount with new head office

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US multinational online giant Amazon has opened a new head office for its UK operations, in a move that grows its London R&D staff from 450 to 900.

The company has announced that it will take all 15 floors of its new London Development Centre in Shoreditch, taking its London corporate and R&D headcount to over 5,000 across its three facilities. It has invested over £6.4bn in the UK since 2010, and will add 5,000 UK jobs this year as its UK workforce will reach 24,000.

According to its UK country manager, Doug Gurr, “London is one of the world’s truly great cities and home to some of the most talented, creative people on the planet, and we are delighted to provide our teams of innovators with a new, purpose-built workplace.

“While we open a new development centre to house today’s innovators, we also want to help foster the next generation of inventors by funding a million healthy breakfasts to give schoolchildren the fuel to learn, and expand our bursary programme to help more women get university educations for high tech roles.”

The news was also welcomed by Minister for Digital Matt Hancock and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

 

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£150m aviation investment announced at Rolls-Royce

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Aircraft engine giant Rolls-Royce has announced £150m of investment in its civil engineering facilities in the UK.

The development at new and existing facilities is intended to provide for a plan to double engine production and will come onstream over the next few years, with the company developing and testing the next generation of aviation engines.

“This investment comes at a time of unprecedented growth in Rolls-Royce, said Eric Schulz, Rolls-Royce president. “We are doubling the production of new engines at the same time as introducing three new engines to the market.

“With this investment, we are creating the capacity and flexibility to deliver on our goals, while committing to sustain employment in the UK and I would like to thank the unions for their support in delivering this important package of investment.”

The group employs over 22,000 in the UK and the bulk of the investment will be formed by a civil aero engine testing facility at Derby. Derby’s maintenance repair and overhaul facility, its Derby manufacturing facility and its Nottinghamshire factory are also in line for investment, and the company announced a reversal of previously announced plans to close its Derby precision machining facility.

The news was welcomed by business secretary Greg Clark and Unite negotiator Simon Hemmings.

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British tech firm Imagination for sale amid Apple dispute

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UK computer processor firm Imagination Technologies Group is on the market and has received takeover interest from a number of parties, the group announced in a statement today.

The company, which designs and makes graphics and processing chips for products such as Apple’s iPhone, said that following approaches from potential buyers “the board of Imagination has therefore decided to initiate a formal sale process for the group and is engaged in preliminary discussions with potential bidders”.

Imagination’s share price collapsed in April after Apple said it would no longer use its licensed technology in 15 months’ to two years’ time. “Apple has not presented any evidence to substantiate its assertion that it will no longer require Imagination’s technology, without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information. This evidence has been requested by Imagination but Apple has declined to provide it,” the company announced at the time.

“Further, Imagination believes that it would be extremely challenging to design a brand new GPU architecture from basics without infringing its intellectual property rights, accordingly Imagination does not accept Apple’s assertions.

“Imagination has reserved all its rights in respect of Apple’s unauthorised use of Imagination’s confidential information and Imagination’s intellectual property rights,” it said in April.

The company “remains in dispute with Apple Inc”, today’s statement also said.