Timing & trends

Vancouver construction firm turns to robotics to address housing challenges

Robots are not taking to B.C. construction sites to build the next generation of homes. At least not yet.

But if one hears from a friend that robotic arms played a big part in the building of their humble abode, it may be closer to fact than fiction in the coming years.

“There’s just really no innovation in the construction sector for the better part of 75 years,” says Oliver Lang, founder and CEO of Vancouver-based Intelligent City Inc.

While advances in telecom have seen communications do away with rotary phones in favour of smartphones, no such analogue exists in the construction industry over that same period. In the meantime, climate change, housing affordability and housing supply have been heightening British Columbians’ anxiety levels.

“We’re trying to tackle all of these things at once and ask ourselves the question: Can we use technology to overcome these hurdles?” Lang told BIV…read more.

Global Stagflation Reminiscent Of The 1970s Is Forming, And It’s Bad News: National Bank

Dust off the disco ball and rolled up dollar bills, because the 1970s are back. At least the signs of 70s-style stagflation are forming, according to one of Canada’s Big Six banks. National Bank of Canada (NBC) chief economist Stéfane Marion warned clients of the rising risk of global stagflation. Rising oil prices, soaring food costs, and slow economic growth are all surfacing. This growing issue threatens to undermine the global recovery.

What Is Stagflation?

Stagflation is high inflation during a recession, when it typically shouldn’t be seen. In a healthy scenario, inflation is the result of rising productivity and a tight job market. It’s viewed as a side effect of too much success. During stagflation, inflation rises with high unemployment and slow growth. It’s often the result of lower confidence in a currency.

It might be obvious why this is an issue, but let’s just spell it out for everyone. Rising inflation for essential goods means diverting spending from other areas of spending. Diverted cash diverts revenues for certain companies, which can further slow growth…read more.

G-7 Ministers Set to Meet on Reopening International Travel

Transport and health ministers of the G-7 countries are due to meet virtually on Thursday to discuss ways to restart international travel, according to people familiar with the matter.

The meeting is being organized by the U.K., which holds the presidency of the Group of Seven nations this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified ahead of any official statement. It’s aimed at moving closer to a consensus on how to ease border restrictions.

While some countries, notably members of the European Union, have used so-called vaccine passports to successfully resume cross-border travel, others including the U.S. have held back on implementing app-based technology over concerns ranging from politics to privacy or fairness between people who have and haven’t received the shots. Another sticking point has been whether to recognize vaccines in countries where they haven’t been approved.

Airlines for Europe, the industry lobby group, called on the G-7 to promote the EU’s approach as a global standard. Citizens within the bloc are able to move between countries without Covid-19 tests if they can show they’ve been fully inoculated or have recovered from the disease. Travelers present a digital or paper-based bar code, and the EU and U.K. have granted reciprocal recognition…read more.

10% of early-stage startups working on blockchain: GSER 2021

With venture capital funding seemingly prioritizing emerging technology, the blockchain industry experiences a significant influx of capital from corporate backers.

According to the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2021 published on Wednesday, blockchain-based businesses account for 10% of startups worldwide.

The figure is part of a more significant trend that has seen emerging technology become a fast-growing sub-sector in terms of early-stage funding.

The report divides startups into growing, matured and declining sub-sectors. Unsurprisingly, blockchain technology is in the first group, where the average growth rate is 107%, along with agriculture technology (agtech) and new food, advanced manufacturing and robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, and fintech…read more.

Dishwashing robots are ‘better for the environment,’ Dishcraft CEO says

With climate change pushing companies to evaluate their sustainability practices, one startup wants to help food-service operators make washing dishes more environmentally friendly — by using robots and artificial intelligence (AI).

“When you automate, you can create much better efficiencies,” Linda Pouliot, CEO and co-founder of Dishcraft, told Yahoo Finance (video above). “We use only a quarter of the water and a tenth of the power that a traditional dish room would use. And so, it’s better for the environment. And it’s certainly better for the dining experience. And it’s also better for the operator.”

The Bay Area-based startup has received over $45 million in funding so far. Pouliot said that the service works “very much like a linen service.” Dishcraft delivers sanitized dishes each day to kitchens and picks up used ones, which are brought to a centralized hub where they are washed by robotic dishwashers…read more.