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
Internet freedom has declined for the 10th consecutive year as governments around the world are using the coronavirus pandemic as a “cover” to expand online surveillance, crack down on dissent, and build new technological systems to control society, Freedom House says in a new report.
The Washington-based human rights watchdog’s annual Freedom Of The Net report, released on October 14, said the authorities in dozens of countries have cited COVID-19 “to justify expanded surveillance powers and the deployment of new technologies that were once seen as too intrusive.”
As a result, Internet freedom has worsened in 26 of the 65 countries covered by the report, while only 22 registered gains.
And just 20 percent of the estimated 3.8 billion people using the Internet live in countries with a free Internet, according to the democracy research group.
Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, India, Ecuador, and Nigeria suffered the largest declines during the coverage period — between June 2019 and May 2020. Internet freedom worsened in the United States for the fourth consecutive year.
“The pandemic is accelerating society’s reliance on digital technologies at a time when the Internet is becoming less and less free,” Freedom House President Michael Abramowitz.
“Without adequate safeguards for privacy and the rule of law, these technologies can be easily repurposed for political repression.”
Freedom On The Net measures the level of Internet freedom in 65 countries, based on 21 indicators pertaining to obstacles to access, limits on content, and violations of user rights. Each country receives a numerical score from 100 to 0 that serves as the basis for an Internet-freedom-status designation of “free,” “partly free,” or “not free.”
China was the worst-ranked country for the sixth consecutive year.
The report said authorities “combined low- and high-tech tools not only to manage the outbreak of the coronavirus, but also
MADISON, Wis. — The COVID-19 testing site at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison temporarily closed Tuesday afternoon.
The Dane County Sheriff’s Office tweeted about the closure around 1 p.m. citing a computer issue.
About an hour later, the agency sent another tweet saying the computer system was up and running again, but slowly.
Testing resumed with the computer system back up, but long lines were reported.
Dane County deputies are allowing people to park and wait if they choose, the post said.
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This article is the first article of a three-part series on e-commerce addressing the merchant experience, improving consumer experience, and the next generation of technology
Covid-19’s impact on American retailers has been massive — not just in terms of lost income or jobs, but also the accelerated rise in e-commerce volume. Online retail, which had previously taken more than a decade to reach 16%, leapfrogged to 27% in the 2 months following the onset of Covid. Experts forecast this growth will only continue, magnifying the opportunity for e-commerce but also the challenges ahead.
For merchants, the rapid shift from in-store to online has made an e-commerce platform a business necessity. Retailers that had previously sat on the sidelines are now forced to reckon with a new reality. Meanwhile, those that already had strong web platforms are quickly working to improve them. Regardless of their prior embrace of the stage of e-commerce, all retailers now recognize that a dynamic online presence is critical to survival. They also recognize that shifting toward online comes with new complications.
That’s where software companies have an important role to play. This year has seen a surge of new software offerings aimed at modernizing, expanding and fixing shortcomings in merchants’ online platforms. Even though e-commerce technology remains a work in progress, the pace of progress has been brisk.
Take fraud for example, which becomes more complex and more prevalent as shoppers are no longer physically present at checkout. Credit card fraud is easier to execute online than in a store, making it a serious pain point for retail. And a costly one, at that. Merchants are responsible for fraud prevention and have to deal with the ultimate compromise of taking on more risk or tightening controls with the consequence of turning away paying customers. Fraud eats
Did COVID-19 steal your sales? This is how 9 Latin American startups successfully entered e-commerce
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Technological innovation and process optimization are booming. Changes and restrictions in physical interaction since the pandemic have forced companies to change the way they operate and do business, the recent McKinsey & Company survey “What 800 executives envision for the postpandemic workface ” conducted of executives of companies around the world, shows that a third of companies have accelerated the digitization of their supply chains, half have accelerated the digitization of their customer service channels, and two-thirds have more quickly adopted artificial intelligence and automation.
Undoubtedly, the pandemic has shown us that the digitization of companies of any size is necessary and that being prepared and being able to adapt quickly is essential. There has been an important evolution in consumer habits and in the adoption of purchasing through digital media, as mentioned in the eMarketer report, Latin America Ecommerce 2020 ( How COVID-19 will affect growth and sales in Argentina , Brazil and Mexico ), the region will have 191.7 million digital buyers and more than 10.8 million consumers will make a digital purchase for the first time this year.
In the region there are startups that are helping this entire process, standing out for presenting relevant innovations for sales processes, for promoting the digital transformation of companies through disruptive solutions that help them automate logistics and delivery processes, to increase productivity, for promoting customer loyalty and for allowing correct decision-making with the use of Big Data .
Here are some examples of these solutions, and the name of the startups that lead these changes, promoted by and belonging to Wayra , the Venture Capital of Telefónica