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Transactions Made Easier With Digital Payment Wallet

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Access to, and use of financial services will be made easier with the use of the digital payment wallet, Lynk.

Digital payment wallets are the platforms used to facilitate transactions of the Bank of Jamaica’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

The CBDC is a digital form of central bank-issued currency and is legal tender that can be exchanged dollar for dollar with physical cash. Jamaica’s CBDC is called Jam-Dex, which stands for Jamaica Digital Exchange.

Lynk is currently the only approved wallet provider of the BOJ’s CBDC and is available through the National Commercial Bank (NCB).

Chief Executive Officer of TFOB (2021) Limited, a subsidiary of NCB Financial Group Limited, Vernon James, said Lynk is just like using regular cash, except it is in a digital form.

“Lynk will be everywhere, it’s easy to use, you’ll be able to use it in all the ways you use money now, except you don’t need to go to get it. You don’t have to go and get cash; you can just use it. It’s contactless, phone mostly…” Mr. James said. He noted that the company has done its due diligence to ensure that the platform is safe.

“Lynk is as safe as any other electronic platform, but in particular, the very best. What you would expect from an NCB platform in terms of safety and security, you will get that with Lynk. We built the platform to be simple, easy to use. I’m going to go a little further, it’s going to be a joy for you to use; we want you to enjoy the process of doing your transfers and making your payments,” Mr. James added.

He pointed out that Lynk is built on three platforms, safety and security, ease of use and a simple onboarding process. Onboarding refers to the process of familiarising a new customer or client with the products or services of an organisation.

“Lynk is easy to onboard. It’s a digital onboarding process, you don’t need a bank account; it takes five minutes to onboard and create an account with Lynk. We use QR codes primarily, so you’ll be able to make your transfers instantly using your QR code. It’s as easy as sending a text message. No need for cash, no need to join lines, just transfer electronically and that is the future of business,” Mr. James said.

To use Lynk, persons will need to download the Lynk app to their smart phone. The next step is to verify your identity with a Government-issued identification card. This is then followed by the last two steps, which is to connect your bank and deposit your money into your Lynk account.

Then you can send and receive money with Lynk.

During the recent Budget Debate, Finance Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, demonstrated in Parliament how he could pay his barber using Jam-Dex on the Lynk platform.

Mr. James noted that Lynk will partner with merchants across Jamaica so that persons can pay for services.

“Regardless of which merchants, you should be able to go and use your CBDC. Now that’s a big benefit. Because instead of using cash, you can transfer your CBDC payments to these merchants seamlessly,” he added.

Mr. James said that another added benefit of Lynk, is that persons will be able to move from Jam-Dex to cash.

“Although we want to move away from cash, you’ll be able to go from CBDC to cash easily at any of our ATMs, and from cash to CBDC easily. But if you do need cash, you can easily cash in and out at any one of our ATMs,” Mr. James told JIS News.

A key milestone to be accomplished by Bank of Jamaica and the Government during the first quarter of the financial year is to bring legislation to Parliament to facilitate Bank of Jamaica being the sole issuer of Jam-Dex and for it to be recognised as legal tender.

The BOJ expects to add four more wallet providers by June.

Businessuite News24 International

Social Media Copycats – Short-form video is the hottest thing on the internet right now!

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“Short-form video is the hottest thing on the internet right now, and the market leader in monetizing the format is TikTok. The platform, owned by Beijing-based Byte Dance Ltd., has more than 1 billion active users of its AI-curated content. Its success is compelling competitors to copy its formula.

But imitation is proving hard, Parmy Olson discovered in a conversation with social-media consultant and industry analyst Matt Navarra. Facebook-owned Meta Platforms Inc., for example, has spent years delivering content to its users based on their social networks, and is now shifting to letting algorithms decide what people might like. Parmy argues that the pivot to video will make content moderation much more difficult, because it’s harder for computers to scan moving images for nasty content than text. Matt reckons that users will remain stuck in their silos and resistant to alternative viewpoints. “It’s one of those problems that social media is never really going to solve,” he says.”

Source: Bloomberg

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Subscription Software Now At The Core Of Apple’s Future.

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Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has made subscription software core to Apple’s future. He’s moved the company deeper into fitness apps, news bundles, television and music streaming, and gaming and cloud services, all marketed as platform supplements that’ll generate and sustain interest in iPhones, iPads and watches. In the last 12 months, paid subscriptions jumped by 165 million, with services revenue leaping 17% last quarter, to $19.8 billion. On Apple’s April 28 earnings call, Cook spent less time talking up the company’s M1 chips than he did boasting about the “CODA” Oscar win and TV+ securing broadcast rights for some Major League Baseball games.

Source: Bloomberg

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Entrepreneurs Encouraged To Remain Cognisant Of The Importance Of Market Research In Identifying Customers’ Needs

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Business operators and entrepreneurs are encouraged to remain cognisant of the importance of market research in identifying customers’ needs, as this will inform how and when new products are introduced to the marketplace.

Speaking at a recently held ‘Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Virtual Biz Zone’, Head of the Business Competitiveness Unit at the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) based in Dominica, Kareem Guiste, said entrepreneurs need to first understand their global landscape.

He shared that the global market for “big” data services is expected to increase from 162 billion to approximately 264 billion over the next four years.

Mr. Guiste said: “Once we look at that massive revenue-generating opportunity for big-business data, it tells you, as an entrepreneur, that there are people paying to learn more about your business. The basic idea of the appreciation of the market is to first understand who your customers are.”

Speaking under the theme ‘Using Research to Identify New Market Needs’, Mr. Guiste advised entrepreneurs and business operators to ensure that they are doing enough to stretch their “rubberband” towards success.

“In the Caribbean, we have a culture of not wanting to embrace risk taking. We need to be more inclusive in our approach and support of driving small businesses towards achieving greater success,” he advised.

Mr. Guiste said that we are to be deliberate in helping businesses understand how they can better position themselves, thereby identifying the current market in which they operate and the ones that they would like to expand into.

He reminded business operators that data gathered through research “allows for the enabling of better management, which leads to the development of a more refined and proactive approach to business.

The webinar is a two-part series that will continue on Tuesday (May 17) at 10:00 a.m. under the theme ‘Innovation: Funding new Business and Product Ideas’ and will be facilitated by Manager, Investor Relationship at the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), Paul Chin.

He will focus on the varying financial solutions available through the DBJ and the approved financial institutions (API) that are accessible to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) at all stages of growth and development.

Persons interested in participating in the session may join via Zoom using the Meeting ID 884 4051 8393. Questions and queries may also be sent to communications@jbdc.net.

Source JIS

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Businessuite News24 International

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi Outlines New Road Map To Achieving Profitability On A Free Cash Flow Basis

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Read the email CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recently sent to employees

Team Uber —

After earnings, I spent several days meeting investors in New York and Boston. It’s clear that the market is experiencing a seismic shift and we need to react accordingly. My meetings were super clarifying and I wanted to share some thoughts with all of you. As you read them, please bear in mind that while investors don’t run the company, they do own the company—and they’ve entrusted us with running it well. We get to set the strategy and make the decisions, but we need to do so in a way that ultimately serves our shareholders and their long term interests.

1. In times of uncertainty, investors look for safety. They recognize that we are the scaled leader in our categories, but they don’t know how much that’s worth. Channeling Jerry Maguire, we need to show them the money. We have made a ton of progress in terms of profitability, setting a target for $5 billion in Adjusted EBITDA in 2024, but the goalposts have changed. Now it’s about free cash flow. We can (and should) get there fast. There will be companies that put their heads in the sand and are slow to pivot. The tough truth is that many of them will not survive. The average employee at Uber is barely over 30, which means you’ve spent your career in a long and unprecedented bull run. This next period will be different, and it will require a different approach. Rest assured, we are not going to put our heads in the sand. We will meet the moment.

“Investors finally understand that we are a completely different animal than Lyft and other ridesharing-only platforms”

2. Investors finally understand that we are a completely different animal than Lyft and other ridesharing-only platforms. They are incredibly excited about the pace of our innovation, how quickly we are rebounding, and huge growth opportunities like Hailables and Taxi. While they acknowledge that we are winning, they don’t yet know the “size of the prize.” Their questions run the gamut from, “Has anyone other than you made money in on-demand transport?” to “Ridesharing has been around for awhile, why isn’t anyone else profitable?” They see how big the TAM is, they just don’t understand how that translates into significant profits and free cash flow. We have to show them.

3. Investors are happy with Delivery’s growth coming out of the pandemic and see that we have performed better than many other pandemic winners. I must admit that was a bit of a surprise for me because I firmly believe Delivery should be growing even faster. The primary questions were: “Is Delivery a good business and why?” and “What happens if we enter a recession?” We need to answer both of these questions with undeniably strong results.

4. Investors who asked about Freight love Freight. However, less than 10% of them asked about it. Freight needs to get even bigger so that investors recognize its value and love it as much as I do.

5. Meeting the moment means making trade-offs. The hurdle rate for our investments has gotten higher, and that means that some initiatives that require substantial capital will be slowed. We have to make sure our unit economics work before we go big. The least efficient marketing and incentive spend will be pulled back. We will treat hiring as a privilege and be deliberate about when and where we add headcount. We will be even more hardcore about costs across the board.

“The market is experiencing a seismic shift and we need to react accordingly.”

6. We have started to demonstrate the Power of the Platform, which is a structural advantage that sets us apart. As you know, our strategy here is simple: bring in consumers on either Mobility or Delivery, encourage them to try the other, and tie everything together with a compelling membership program. The advantage here is obvious, but we have to show the value of the platform in real dollar terms. We are serving multi-trillion dollar markets, but market size is irrelevant if it doesn’t translate into profit.

7. We have to do all of the above while continuing to deliver an outstanding and differentiated experience for consumers and earners. Whether someone is booking rides for a summer trip with friends, or a new parent relying on Uber Eats for everything from groceries to dinner and diapers, it’s on us to make every interaction excellent. The same goes for anyone who comes to Uber to earn. We responded to the pandemic by becoming earner-centric in a way we’d never been before. We are innovating for earners, thinking deeply about their experience, and putting ourselves in their shoes—literally—by driving, delivering and shopping ourselves. Because of hundreds of improvements in this area, people who want to earn flexibly are now coming to Uber first, where they benefit from our scale, diversification, and commitment to treating them with respect.

I’ve never been more certain that we will win. But it’s going to demand the best of our DNA: hustle, grit, and category-defining innovation. In some places we’ll have to pull back to sprint ahead. We will absolutely have to do more with less. This will not be easy, but it will be epic. Remember who we are. We are Uber, a once-in-a-generation company that became a verb and changed the world forever. Let’s write the next chapter of our story, working together as #OneUber, and let’s make it legendary.

GO GET IT!

Dara

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Symptai Sounds The Alarm – Cyber Attacks Are Happening In The Caribbean, And Most Companies Are Unprepared.

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Symptai Consulting, thought leaders in cyber security and data protection, hosted the first staging of its webinar series ‘Building For The Future: Strengthening Caribbean Businesses Against Cyber-attacks’ last week for business leaders in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.

The free webinar saw Rory Ebanks, Director of Cyber Security at Symptai Consulting, discussing the cyber threats affecting Caribbean companies, noting that companies within the region are not prepared for attacks.

Many business leaders in the Caribbean believe that cyber-attacks are not imminent and do not pose a direct threat to their business. On the contrary, many Caribbean companies are exposed to malicious exploitation as penetration testing, and security assessments have revealed their vulnerabilities.

Displaying statistics and graphics, Ebanks shared a report by FortiGuard lab noting that there were 289 million cyber-attack attempts in 2021, representing a 600% increase from the prior year within the Caribbean and Latin American region, accounting for 10% of the global threats. Of that number, reports show that there were 60 million cyber-attack attempts in the Caribbean.

Ebanks continued to sound the alarm as he shared that small businesses are not likely to recover from cyber-attacks as the cost of the breaches is irreconcilable. “Over 60% of businesses that have
experienced any type of phishing and other social engineering attacks may go out of the business as the average cost of a data breach is $US 3.9 million”.

In his plea to the business leaders in attendance, Ebanks advised that businesses must build cyber into their business strategy and urged them to ensure they are scheduling penetration testing and vulnerability assessments annually as first steps to protecting companies against attacks.

A 2019 study reported that the human factor accounts for 70% of all cyber-attacks. Often, actions
deemed minuscule have a disastrous outcome regarding cybersecurity lapses. The global pandemic has seen a surge in cybersecurity breaches as businesses adopted a partly remote work model without the correct tools to protect themselves against cyber-attacks.

With the right cyber protection, business leaders can empower their businesses on digital platforms and allow for safe spaces for their employees, customers, and stakeholders.

As we embrace the digital age, Caribbean businesses and consumers are now more vulnerable to being victims of cyber-attacks and cybercrimes. The next staging of webinars aimed at building awareness in the Bahamas, Bermuda and Cayman markets will provide a unique space to communicate with the Cyber Security and IT leaders as they explore vulnerabilities and provide information to remediate breaches.

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