By Kate Holton
LONDON (Reuters) – The outgoing boss of Pearson hailed the wisdom of his lengthy and often painful battle to rebuild the education group for a digital generation on Wednesday after COVID-19 accelerated the switch to online learning.
John Fallon, who issued a string of profit warnings as students moved from expensive textbooks to digital learning, said the company would not have been able to cope with the rapid shift online during the pandemic had it not previously prepared.
While group sales fell in the first nine months due to cancelled tests and closed schools, global online learning jumped 32% in the third quarter.
Fallon said while he “owned” the profit downgrades and the shareprice drop – falling more than 50% during his tenure – he said he had also earned the right to ask where the company would be if he had not taken out costs and invested in digital.
“The future of learning is digital and as you can see from these trends, Pearson is going to play a very very big part in it,” he said.
Its shares rose 3% in early trading.
The company, which has appointed former Disney executive Andy Bird as its new CEO from next week, said group sales fell by 14% in the first 9 months, a slight improvement from the half-year, when group sales were down 17%.
Online learning sales jumped and it recorded growth in digital and subscription services in its historically difficult U.S. courseware arm.
Pearson remained on track to hit market forecasts, with analysts expecting the group to post adjusted operating profit of 332 million pounds ($429 million) in 2020. It had forecast profit of up to 490 million pounds in February and delivered 581 million pounds in 2019.
It also warned that larger than usual
Alteia Accelerates the Deployment of its Enterprise AI Solutions and Announces Global Alliances with GE Digital and Microsoft
Alteia, a spin-off company from drone manufacturer Delair, has entered into a worldwide alliance with GE Digital to develop and market AI solutions for Power and Utilities as part of the GE Digital analytics software portfolio.
Alteia, the leader in Visual Intelligence for Enterprise, lands two major partnerships with GE Digital and Microsoft. The Alteia platform combines the best of computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. It provides developers, data scientists, and business analysts one common and secure database for all of their visual data, enabling them to collaborate and rapidly develop, deploy and improve over time AI based applications. These alliances will allow customers to streamline the adoption of AI designed to address issues like inventory, energy management, predictive maintenance and equipment reliability.
Alteia enables GE Digital to introduce a Visual Intelligence Platform for utilities
With the combined expertise of GE Digital and Alteia’s platform, this alliance is designed to help fast-track the delivery of enterprise-scale industry and domain-specific AI applications, shorten the time to value and accelerate the scaling of mission-critical solutions.
“Predictive analytics and Network Digital Twins are changing the way digital utilities make business decisions as the benefits of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are recognized across the industry,” said Sean Moser, Senior Vice President of Product Management for GE Digital’s Grid Software business. “Management of vegetation in transmission and distribution corridors is key to providing a reliable supply of electricity to ensure public and worker safety. Our Visual Intelligence solution will provide data-driven insights to reduce operational costs of survey data management, increase reliability and safety, and reduce liability risk.” added Moser.
“The future of operation and maintenance on industrial sites is based on visual data,” said Michael de Lagarde, CEO of Alteia. “Alteia is thrilled to be the provider
AI Adoption Accelerates during COVID-19 Pandemic; 68% of US Businesses Increased Investment in AI Technologies
Use of AI technologies reached 81%, up 33 percentage points since 2018
AI investment and adoption accelerated during COVID-19 pandemic
86% of survey respondents believe that ethical considerations are a strategic priority in the design and implementation of their AI systems
AI is more likely to be used to increase efficiencies and worker productivity than to replace labor
US competitiveness in AI on the world stage remains a concern
The adoption of new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and further investment in existing AI technologies accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study released today by RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The study also reveals that overall implementation of AI technologies across the business landscape increased for the third consecutive year.
The 2020 RELX Emerging Tech Executive Report marks the third edition of the survey and provides a three-year overview of AI adoption. It features insights from business leaders across eight industries (government, healthcare, insurance, legal, science/medical, banking and agriculture) and covers AI’s impact on businesses’ success, the future of work, global competition, ethics, and the global COVID-19 response. More than 1,000 U.S. senior executives were surveyed.
COVID-19 Drove AI Technology Investment and Adoption
COVID-19 is the most pressing issue facing US executives today as it reshapes and disrupts industries across the US. The majority of respondents (68%) increased their investment in AI technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic with 48% investing in new AI technologies and 46% investing further in AI technologies already in use at their companies. Similarly, 63% of business leaders polled report that AI technologies had a positive impact on their business’s ability to stay resilient in the face of the pandemic.
For many respondents, the COVID-19 response effort underscored the importance of AI, with 77%