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Hammond’s budget plans focus on AI, technology and skills

Hammond’s budget plans focus on AI, technology and skills

In Chancellor Philip Hammond’s latest Budget, he announced plans to tackle the UK’s poor levels of productivity by investing extra funding in artificial intelligence, technological advancements and digital skills. Hammond launched the national productivity investment fund last year, but now he plans to increase this investment from £23 billion to £31 billion in order to kick-start productivity and efficiency levels in the UK. The productivity of the UK is measured by the economic output per hour generated by UK workers. Due to an inadequate rise in the rate of productivity in the UK, the economy will be severely impacted and prevented from growing rapidly in the next 10 years. Therefore, Hammond has put steps in place which he believes will assist in the rise of pay rates for British workers, which in turn should increase the amount of work they can do. During his budget, Hammond said ‘A new tech business is founded in Britain every hour, and I want that to be every half hour…’. Hammond plans to action this by increasing spending in the following areas: – Driverless car testing – Electric car charge points – 5G mobile networks – 8,000 additional fully qualified science teachers – Digital and construction skills training – Clean car purchases Although Hammond described the UK as a ‘world leader’ in cutting-edge technology, a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggests that top-cited scientific research and AI inventions are both decreasing. In addition, the OECD suggested that the UK was responsible for only 1.9% of AI-related patent applications between 2010 and 2015, whilst Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China were responsible for 70% of such developments. In the past, the UK government has faced criticism over the lack of secondary schools offering Computer Science as a GCSE option. Hammond made clear in his budget that they are taking steps to improve digital skills amongst the existing workforce and the next generation of workers by investing an additional £406 million in maths and technical skills education. What do you think about these new investments, is it a welcome step or is it too little too late?   Sources:

Will in-person age checks in supermarkets soon be a thing of the past?

Have you ever wanted to buy alcohol or another over-18’s item on a supermarket self-service till and lost precious time calling for a supermarket employee to come over and confirm your identification to the till?

Well, you might not have to much longer! Supermarkets are set to trial a facial recognition software which could replace age checks altogether, thanks to a pilot run by a British identity app.

The technology will remove the need for in-person age checks when customers wish to buy alcohol, knives and other age-restricted items at self-service tills.

It is hoped that this trial will remove a bottleneck at self-service tills where assistants are still required to check identification of individuals when they buy certain items. This will be actioned via an app called ‘Yoti’ on user’s smartphones.

To use the app, the user takes a photo and scans their driving license or passport so that the two combine together. Once at a self-service till, a QR code will be shown on the checkout screen which can then be scanned using the app. The app then confirms that the person at the till is the person’s identity via a simple selfie.

Yoti was founded by two entrepreneurs, Robin Tombs and Noel Hayden, who previously sold their online gambling company to Intertain for £426 million. So far they’ve invested £23 million into Yoti to get it off the ground and they’ve employed 180 staff to work on the app.

Yoti has joined forces with NCR, which make self-service supermarket tills, and they’ve already received the go ahead from two of the four big players in the UK supermarket industry. However, Yoti has said that they believe there are many other uses for the app, including tackling online fraud and ticket touts.

Yoti have announced that nearly 100,000 people in the UK have already downloaded the app during a beta test. Would you download it too?

Are Smart Factories The Factories Of The Future?

Manufacturing could be changing as we know it.

With the rates of demand rising, the need to produce more products in less time for less money is needed. Exploring ways to do this has ultimately led to technology saving the day once again.  Instead of using real people to press the buttons needed to keep the production line going, we could be seeing connected devices, intelligent insight and automated processes being used.

Manufacturing is set to see a facelift, the appropriately named Industry 4.0, is the 4th industrial revolution. The Industry 4.0 will see intelligent machines that can communicate and learn from one another with little to no human involvement.  Through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IOT) it will drive operational and financial gains through the roof.

So how is this smart technology going to affect the manufacturing sector?

The economic impact would be $630 billion by 2025, a figure which many manufacturing companies would be extremely happy with.

However, the installation and running costs of the technology could work out to be very expensive. New talent would need to be brought in to the workforce to run the technology and train the rest of the team, which would be more expense on top of the initial investment.

The technology also has the potential to be unsafe. The sensitive information of customers and the company could be compromised if there was a technology was hacked, and would the workforce know how to deal with such a breach?

Some argue that because our 21st century lives are already centred around technology, for example, our phones, laptops and tablets, surely it is just another step in humanity’s progression.

But before we can expect to see factories full of robots running production, there still needs to be actual people to run the technology and keep an eye on what is happening.

Will technology play a role in keeping us safe in the future?

With a number of high-profile individuals recently being named and shamed regarding historical abuse, it got us thinking about how technology could have the power to help, even potentially cure, the problem of abuse in the workspace and in general.

To some it might be scary to think that future technology will have these kinds of capabilities, but others believe that if tech could have these sorts of capabilities, it is our duty to properly apply them in order to decrease, even make extinct, the number of predators in our world.

It would be ideal if when there are claims of abuse in a workplace, the union would do its job properly and the victim be properly supported and happy to carry on in their role. Unfortunately, people often feel unable to report abuse, especially if it’s a manager preying on an employee. It has been reported that women often feel that making claims of abuse can be almost as bad as the actual crime itself, hence why they might decide not to report it to their HR department.

Could technology be the answer to this problem?

Analytics management

There are a number of technologies being developed or that already exist which could be applied to this issue. With analytics management, we are already able to see key trends, for example, if a certain gender is being paid less than the other. Therefore, HR departments could use these analytics in order to see any anomalies. For instance, if a large number of staff members have left a certain department, it could hint at there being an issue with existing employees in that department.

Augmented reality technology

How do you feel about people basically becoming a walking camera, thanks to augmented reality? This may seem intrusive, but it could give individuals the ability to record abuse against them or people around them. If a person was able to wear a piece of jewellery or specially designed clothing that could record the situation they’re not comfortable with, it would take away the classic he-said-she-said element that HR departments and the police are often faced with.

Would the thought of you potentially being filmed put you off committing an offence?

Personal assistants

Thanks to Amazon, Google and other big players, virtual personal assistants are becoming an element of everyday life. The ability to warn you of impending danger seems like the next logical step.

In addition to alerting you to danger, as the technology develops, behaviour modification could be a useful feature too. For instance, it could warn you regarding language which could contain questionable words. It could also inform you of intoxication or alert you to the behaviour of a person near you which could result in anything from a physical attack to being publicly embarrassed.

Virtual reality

In addition to warning you about impending danger or recording abuse, technology could help individuals to experience abuse and negative behaviour, in order to put them off doing this themselves and help them feel empathy towards victims.

Could this have the potential to benefit everyone from the people committing acts of abuse to HR professionals being able to understand how victims of workspace bullying feel?


Such advances in technology may seem like a violation of your personal space, but if they have the ability to protect company board members from being accused of abuse, mitigate liability and help individuals feel safe in their workspace and personal lives, do we have the power to stop these developments even if we wanted to?

Amazon adds augmented reality feature to app

Amazon has paired up with Apple ARKit to add a new Augmented Reality (AR) feature to its app, allowing customers to virtually place, overlay, move and rotate items in their household, before purchasing them.

Amazon is not the first household name to take on AR or partner with the brand-new Apple ARKit. Both Ikea and Target have released their own versions of AR on their brand apps, to mixed reviews and success.

Ikea faced criticism from users who wanted a search function, a button to filter products, improved area mapping and tracking and global availability. However, both Ikea and Apple have released the app’s AR feature one day before the release of the new iOS 11 and have not announced any plans for further development.

Likewise, Target followed suit in attempt to clone Ikea’s AR furniture placement. However, the app was met by overall negative reviews from critics, who tested the app and found the user interface to be clunky. The Target AR app does not render the item to scale, unlike Ikea, and all items need to be twisted or angled manually. This makes the process of ‘seeing’ what an item might look like more an estimation as opposed to a fully formed virtual placement.

Amazon has built on the progress and criticism of both Ikea and Target, and produced an optimised version to already rave reviews.

Fitted with a live camera view mode, customers can see how items will look and fit in real time. The feature is called AR View and can be launched through the Amazon app on your mobile device. By simply tapping the camera icon in the search bar, you can choose ‘AR View’ and select a product of your choice.

Similar to other touch screen movements, you can use one finger to mouse and item and two fingers to rotate.

Click this link to see how it works: 

The AR View feature is available on iPhone 6S devices and higher, running iOS 11.

Although Amazon has previously dabbled in AR with stickers, this is the first time any major retailer has pressed forward with AR implementations. Given that the app is targeted to ‘difficult items to buy online’, like furniture and household items, this new feature brings an entirely new level of customer service to the forefront of marketing.

Augmented Reality has the potential to change consumer behaviour from physical spaces to virtual realities in both ‘retailor finished rooms’ as well as the customer’s own personal rooms. This latest AR feature means that Amazon now has a number of ways for customers to shop beyond AR, including ‘Interesting Finds’, real-word ‘Treasure Trucks’ and through physical stores and shops.

What do you think of Amazon’s new AR feature?



Life saving drones deliver blood in Rwanda & Tanzania

Life saving drones deliver blood in Rwanda & Tanzania

As is evident from our previous blog posts, we really like talking about drones. But this story might just be our favourite use of the flying technology.

Last month in Rwanda, a woman started to bleed out after a C-section birth. The doctors did everything they could, but they were unable to stop the bleeding. Having already used the 2 units of matching blood they had, they were in a tight spot.

Doctors could have called the national blood bank in Kigali, but it would take up to 4 hours to order and receive the delivery from 25 miles away.

Fortunately, a distribution centre near Kigali had implemented drones to deliver hospital supplies. Clinic workers were able to load up several drones with the necessary supplies and within 45 minutes they were able to dispatch 7 units of red blood cells, 4 units of plasma and 2 units of platelets.

It took each drone 15 minutes to reach the hospital, and they dropped off their materials at a designated landing zone. Doctors were able to collect the supplies and stabilise the 24-year-old.

Severe trauma / haemorrhaging after childbirth is a frequent cause of maternal death in Africa.


The start-up, Zipline, was introduced in October, and has become standard practice in Rwanda. Now it’s expanding into Tanzania, where the government hope to make 2,000 daily deliveries from 4 distribution centres.

The first distribution centre is being set up in Tanzania’s capital early next year, with 3 more centres to follow. The goal is to create a network that will serve all 55 million citizens. Each centre will have 30 drones and make up to 500 deliveries a day to the 5,640 public health facilities. They will carry blood, emergency vaccines, HIV medicine, and other medical supplies.

Of the approximate 1,400 deliveries Zipline has made in Rwanda, a quarter of those have been emergencies. The drones are also used to deliver medical supplies to areas that vehicles have difficulty navigating, or during rainy seasons when roads are turned to mud.


75% of Rwanda’s roads are unpaved & frequently washed out during the rainy season.


The drones favour fixed wings over the more common quadcopters. Zipline founder and CEO Keller Rinaudo says the quadcopters “only operate in perfect weather, and tend to fall out of the sky unpredictably,” and “people do not wait for perfect weather to get sick or to have medical emergencies, so if we’re going to build something that’s useful, it has to be able to operate all the time.”


Zipline’s Drone Spec:

6-foot wingspan

70 mph cruise speed

Can carry 3 pounds of cargo

Battery life of 100 miles


How does it work?

A doctor or nurse requests supplies via text message.

A drone operator retrieves the supplies from a central warehouse, stuffs them into a

padded cardboard box, and places the delivery in the belly of a drone.

A fresh battery is clipped to the nose.

The flight plan is uploaded from an iPad, and you’re ready to fly.

A pneumatic catapult launches the drone & twin electric motors keep it there as it flies unmanned to the GPS coordinates.

The drone cruises at around 60 mph at an altitude of 300 to 400 feet

As it reaches its destination, the drone descends to 45 feet and releases its payload.

Sophisticated software is used to account for factors such as wind speed, allowing the drone to hit a target about the size of four parking spaces.


Not only is it incredible that Zipline is using drones to save lives, but they also train local engineers, health workers and flight operators. We are huge fans!



Is the logistics sector the first stop for self-driving vehicles?

In years past, you would get off a plane and immediately head to the rental car counter. You would find something that would get you from Point A to Point B, even if only for two days because a taxi was “simply too expensive.”

But the days of rental cars being the only form of vacation transportation are over. Now companies like Uber and Lyft are changing the game and making a commute to a hotel or business meeting ultimately affordable and astronomically more efficient. Rental car companies have been shedding cars like pounds on the Biggest Loser as a result of lower numbers.

So how do the rental car companies keep up? Logistics and artificial intelligence.

Hertz has now partnered with Apple to provide the tech to create automated driving technology in the next few years. The partnering of tech and car rental may seem silly, but in actuality, it could make business travel more efficient, if they can keep it affordable.

Affordability will be the way to truly outsmart the rideshare apps like Lyft and Uber.

“If you look into the future of autonomous driving, which I do think is eight to 10 years out…no matter what, you have to be really great at managing a fleet and you have to have the assets that make you really great at managing a fleet,” said Kathryn V. Marinello, CEO of Hertz. “And the good news for us is, the better we are around doing that and the more time and money we spend to invest in that, not only do we create enormous goodness within our current business, but it really does position you for winning down in the future.”

But ultimately, autonomous technology won’t save the rental companies on its own., however, it does show the companies in a light that they are moving forward with technology and looking towards the future. They’re going to have to step up a lot of things to stay afloat in the ever-growing automotive industry.

Larry De Shon, Avis Budget Group’s CEO and chief operating officer, said that; “We’ll be doing interior cleaning, exterior cleaning, oil changes, managing defective parts for them, replacing parts and so forth, storage of the vehicles, protecting the vehicles, and a host of other things,” he said. “And as that partnership hopefully grows, we’re certainly open to discussing anything else from a fleet management perspective that they would like for us to do. And we’re also taking a look at other opportunities to provide fleet management as a service going forward.”

Overall, rental car companies are sinking, that’s simply the truth. But their partnerships with tech companies could mean that they are on the rise. Ultimately, it comes down to efficiency. If automated technology can prove to be more affordable, as well as get people where they need to go, when they need to be there, then the rental car companies may be moving towards the light at the end of the tunnel. However, they need to get their logistics in order before moving into new and uncharted space.



Computer Science is becoming more diverse, but what about the problems?


We have reached a point where society has realised that maybe certain fields of work shouldn’t be segregated into “boy’s jobs” and “girl’s jobs”. A report from and the College Board has revealed that more high school aged girls than ever taking Advanced Placement computer engineering exams than ever.

With campaigns such as WISE inspiring girls to choose maths, physics, and computing and Made With Code: A Project by Google Encouraging Girls to Code, young girls have access to the education they need for the subjects they want to pursue.

For young women who aspire to build careers in computer science, early training is essential and can make a world of difference.

Hadi Partovi, the CEO and co-founder of, said, “Seeing these gains among female, black, and Hispanic students is a story of how we can bring opportunity to people who need it the most.”

Computer science, as a field, is growing so rapidly that it outpaces any other occupation in the US. Working in computer science is a great opportunity if you can land a position.

70% of students who take the AP exam reportedly want to work in computer science.

So what’s the problem? Well, it’s disproportionately white or Asian men who get the opportunities and high-paying jobs.

So, why is the computer science field so male-dominated?


The Pipeline Problem

Women and ethnic minorities are underrepresented in computer science and engineering programs. Ten years ago, only 18% of computer science exam takers were women in comparison to this years 27%. Additionally, “for nearly a decade, the proportion of young POCs who took the AP Computer Science exam stalled at 12 to 13 percent. But in 2016, 15 percent of exam takers were young people of colour—then that went up to 20 percent in 2017.”

Employers will often claim that there is a pipeline problem in the computer science industry; implying that they would hire women and ethnic minorities, but they will argue that “there aren’t enough of them graduating with relevant degrees and applying for tech jobs.”


Workplace “Boy’s Club” Culture

The pipeline argument will only get you so far. Women and ethnic minorities graduate at a much higher rate than companies employ them, and, according to Rachel Thomas, a deep learning researcher and advocate for diversity, “most major tech companies are revolving doors in which women and people of colour quit at similar rates to which they’re hired due to poor treatment, lack of advancement opportunities, and unfairness.”

Which implies that this is also a culture problem, not just a pipeline problem.

But, with more education opportunities and more people from diverse backgrounds entering the pipeline, tech companies will no longer be able to deny that the candidates are there, and they should begin actioning their public promises to address their workplace discrimination.



How blockchain is revolutionising logistics

What is blockchain? 

Blockchain technology allows computers in different locations to access the same information in real time. No single company has control, allowing for equal accountability and disclosure. Real time updates into the system reduce the need for companies to spend hours trawling through each others’ internal records.

“In a nutshell, this is a global system for mediating trust and selective transparency.” (Michael J. Casey & Pindar Wong).

The concept is similar to shared Google Drive or Dropbox folders, where everyone involved has access, can update information and can see what is happening live within the online sharing and storage cloud.

When companies are faced with a lack of transparency and accountability across complex supply chains, problems are hard to identify and address because it is difficult to monitor suppliers in real time.

So, what is blockchain doing about it?

Some companies are utilising this blockchain technology to transfer title and record permissions and activity logs so as to track the flow of goods and services between businesses and across borders.”

Blockchain allows users to attach digital tokens to goods that go through the production, shipment and delivery phases of the supply chain and the attached information is available for everyone to see in real time.

It also reduces the need for paperwork – which can be a huge cost for companies that have to share files by manually transporting them between locations.

How are different companies using blockchain?

According to Harvard Business Review, Walmart is following the movement of pork in China with a blockchain and BHP Billiton is using it to track mineral analysis done by outside vendors. South Korean business SK Group C&C has launched its own blockchain service to target supply-chain orientated companies and other businesses reliant on shipment.

A spokesperson from SK Group C&C discussed the reason blockchain is changing the face of logistics management:

“Currently, shipping companies and each land carrier have independent logistics systems that are often incompatible. In such a case, cargo management data needs to be reconfirmed and recorded every time the cargo is transferred to another sub-carrier, making the logistics process inefficient.” (Stan Higgins).

The Belgium-based Port of Antwerp, the second biggest port in Europe, is collaborating with a blockchain startup, T-Mining, to “speed up the interactions between port customers to prevent the malicious manipulation of data.” The biggest port in Europe, Rotterdam, is also getting involved in testing blockchain processes for logistics.

Maersk, a well-established Danish shipping company has recently completed its live trial of blockchain to test simplifying the shipping of trillions of dollars of goods around the world.


So it’s not just one type of logistics company that this benefiting from blockchain testing, which might suggest that it could be a global solution to a lot of logistical problems.

In our opinion, an increase in synchronised logistics can only be beneficial for the industry as a whole. Separate solutions what have no real-time interfaces have been a hindrance for companies for years, and have created issues that should have been long relegated to the history books.

We will always recommend a fully integrated solution such as the one blockchain advertises. Here at MoyaVox, we will continue to develop new applications and functionality that will continue to make this easier and cheaper to implement!

Are you a thought leader?

The term ‘thought leader’ is thrown around a lot in business, but why is it important to be a thought leader, and just what is one?

A thought leader is described as, according to Prince and Rogers (2012), a company or individual who is recognised ‘as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.’

Sounds good?

Well, of course it does! Who doesn’t want to be recognised as the ‘it’ person or company to go to in their specific industry, and this is just as important if you’re in the logistics industry. But how do you become a thought leader? And more importantly, are you already one without knowing it?

Let’s break it down into the necessary steps a good thought leader should go through:

  • Always Being Prepared To Network

Coker (2016) spoke to Elijah Ray (Executive Vice President, Customer Solutions, Sunland Logistics) who mentioned that ‘There is a culture centered on creating effective interactions with people and organizations’ which ties into this point: You need to be able to network with new and existing clients, and to have a strong, strategic relationship with those you work with.

  • Having a Strong Personal Brand

Is your website strong? Are you an active user of social networks (LinkedIn, Twitter etc.)? A good thought leader will not only have a strong personal brand, but would be able to use it to champion their own point of view, and therefore persuading others to relate, as well as bring people on board with their own ideas, which leads onto…

  • Bringing Big Ideas To The Table

As well as having a clear vision of the future for the company, or for yourself, after being well informed about the key trends in your own industry, you should be able to formulate and use your knowledge to create new ideas. Bringing forward new recommendations, with the necessary analysis conducted, will be beneficial to get recognised as an innovative ‘it’ company.

However, how does this tie into logistics?

Hastreiter (2017) states that ‘Logistics are the backbone of what makes our world tick. Without well-planned logistics, the world would erupt in complete chaos.’ And he’s not wrong.

Being a thought leader in a constantly changing industry is important because, not only will those in the industry need to be constantly aware of the possibilities for future changes, but thought leaders will stand out from the crowd due to being two steps ahead.

Are you a thought leader? If not, why not?



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