Celebrating Intersectionality & Allyship: Hispanic Heritage Month

Source: Samsung

Hispanic Heritage Month, annually recognized from September 15 to October 15, is a time to celebrate the influence and cultures of those from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The month consists of food and music festivals, community functions, art exhibits and much more to create a broader cultural awareness of the contributions from the American Latino community and various independence days taking place in September.
Samsung continued the celebration with the help of UNIDOS, the company’s Hispanic & Latino Employee Resource Group, which launched earlier this year. With the mission of empowering the community and its allies within our organization and promoting employee development and an understanding of multicultural traditions, UNIDOS hosted internal discussions and shared some of their favorite recipes and playlists. These fun and engaging activities included educational conversations surrounding intersectionality, allyship, and ways to grow Hispanic and Latino talent within the company.

Intersectionality has impacted me in a major way because it has given me a bigger lens to see the world through.
Joe Mingo
Retail Operations

As one of two companywide events, UNIDOS hosted “Afro Latinos: A discussion about Intersectionality & Allyship.” With 14.4 million Latinos identifying as Afro Latino, the term refers to Latin Americans of full or mainly African ancestry. In discussing the importance of this conversation, Richard Rosalez, Vice President of Litigation, said, “Education is one of the most important aspects of being a good ally and can help you understand and relate to others, especially when you can draw from shared experiences.” In an attempt to dive deeper into the multitude of backgrounds and cultures, a distinguished panel of three Samsung employees shared their personal experiences with intersectionality, allyship, and traditions.
Jon Mingo, Retail Operations, explained how the intersectionality of Afro Latino culture has impacted both him and his family, as his wife identifies as Latina. He explained, “Intersectionality has impacted me in a major way because it has given me a bigger lens to see the world through. I think one of the most beautiful benefits when you bring different ethnicities together is that you’re introducing a whole new world.”

In the journey toward a more diverse and inclusive workforce, Chris Lezama, Home Entertainment Product Marketing Strategy, explained the importance of acknowledging similarities among different cultures. He said, “Where I grew up in New York City, we have neighborhoods that you would consider Black or Hispanic, but largely they were blended. To everyone, everyone was family. We treated each other the same. Recognition of the similarities within heritages and cultures is key in driving more allyship.” The event demonstrated similarities by showing the evolution of different meals, music, and art among numerous Hispanic and Latino communities.
However, despite the many similarities and patterns between various countries, recognizing and celebrating differences is also necessary. In building a more diverse and inclusive workforce, the multitudes of backgrounds and perspectives play a significant role in forming new and innovative ideas.

Recognition of the similarities within heritages and cultures is key in driving more allyship.
Chris Lezama
Home Entertainment Product Marketing Strategy

Building on the topics of intersectionality and allyship, UNIDOS hosted a second internal panel discussion titled, “Empowering and Growing the Hispanic & Latino Talent at SEA.” In promoting the representation and advancement of the community within the company, panelists discussed the importance of Employee Resource Groups, the benefits of partner organizations and best practices to diversify teams.

With the Hispanic & Latino community forming such a huge pool of talent, Samsung recognizes the necessity of successful Employee Resource Groups within the company. Alvaro Maruenda, Strategic Partnerships, explained, “Having any ERG is imperative for two reasons: performance and corporate culture. ERG’s can influence and create best practices to ensure that Hispanic & Latino talent is attracted, educated, and promoted within our organization. When you look at our community within the corporate world, we face some unique challenges that others might not have to endure. For example, English is not my first language. It is important to recognize your community challenges and help them grow into strengths.”
In the journey toward a more diverse and inclusive workplace, Samsung has partnered with several organizations to assist in recruiting and retaining diverse prospects. In partnership with several organizations such as Prospanica and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Robert Bogart, Head of Talent Acquisition, explained how he and his team are working to “systematically change the way we find talent.” He explained, “The partnership piece is very important. I spend a lot of time working with the various ERGs and determining how to best tap into the talent within their community, cultivate the relationships, and further develop skill sets.”
As each ERG strives to encourage authentic representation and professional development, the organizations contribute to the broader Samsung community and the D&I journey. This influence allows for a larger sense of belonging and empowerment, from sharing best practices to educating on various cultures. We look forward to continuing to celebrate the number of brilliant communities driving change within the company and working toward a better future for all.
The post Celebrating Intersectionality & Allyship: Hispanic Heritage Month appeared first on Samsung US Newsroom.

[The People Behind Bespoke ②] Meeting the Needs of a New Generation of Consumers With Bespoke

Source: Samsung

 
Samsung’s Bespoke Home vision offers consumers a home that is beautifully designed, full of flexible features, seamlessly connected and inspired by its user. In this second installment of ‘People Behind Bespoke’, Hyesoon Yang, Head of Customer Experience for Digital Appliances at Samsung Electronics, discusses how the consumer experience inspires the customizable technology that makes up the Bespoke Home.
 
 
Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all when it comes to home appliances. With the new generation of Millennial and Gen Z consumers looking for appliances that go far beyond basic functionality, we have entered a customer-driven era in which users prioritize personalization and experience. This shift has challenged us at Samsung to think again, and pursue innovations that are truly consumer-centric as we ask, “how do people actually use their home appliances in their day-to-day lives?”
 
Since our consumers are all different and unique, we realize there is no one right answer to this question. No two homes are the same, after all. Going forward, flexibility is therefore a primary value we need to offer. And this is summed up in our new Bespoke Home vision – appliances designed for you, by you.
 
 
Flexibility Throughout the Home
Because of its importance in our day-to-day lives, the refrigerator is essentially one of the centerpieces of the home. However, conventional refrigerators traditionally only came in standardized sizes and colors, and offered little room for customization. With many consumers using their refrigerators for about a decade – enough time for many aspects of their lifestyle needs to change – they often end up stuck with the same refrigerator.
 
In 2019, Samsung brought flexibility into the kitchen with the Bespoke refrigerator, which makes it so that the fridge accommodates you, and not the other way around. Then, in 2020, the company launched AI-powered washers and dryers that leverage AI to customize cycles and deliver personalized laundry care solutions.
 
But that was just the beginning. In 2021, Bespoke will be expanded to the entire home to include a variety of solutions in the living space that include air purifiers, vacuum cleaners and laundry care products. The portfolio will also be offered in a wider range of color options to give consumers the flexibility they need to get the best out of their multifunctional Bespoke Home.
 
And what Samsung’s Bespoke appliances can do for your home is evident in the company’s laundry care solutions – namely, the washer, dryer and AirDresser. These products have revolutionized the previously unremarkable laundry space with sleek designs, Bespoke colors and the aforementioned flexibility.
 
More importantly, Bespoke harnesses AI, automation and connectivity to offer a one-stop laundry care solution. The Bespoke laundry care products recommend wash cycles based on your usage patterns, and automatically adjust the amount of detergent being dispensed and wash times based on the soil levels of your loads.
 
 
Blending Style and Sustainability
With the needs of consumers at different stages of life constantly evolving, the appliances in the Bespoke Home are innovative enough to fit a broad range of lifestyles and taste. Bespoke appliances come in modular designs that allow consumers to add to and modify products and alter color combinations whenever and wherever they see fit. This is underpinned by the fact that Samsung products are built to last, with their durability evidenced by the company extending the warranty on its Digital Inverter  motor and compressor from 10 years to 20.
 
The appliances that make up the Bespoke Home also allow consumers to make their lifestyles more eco-friendly without compromising on style or performance. In addition to coming with top-notch energy efficiency technologies, Samsung’s Bespoke Home allows you to simply change the panels on your appliances when you need a new look. This prevents you from having to discard the whole product and reduces your impact on the environment.
 
Take our Bespoke refrigerator the RB7300, which was given an A-grade energy efficiency rating under the stringent EU guidelines. The Ecobubble  feature on our washing machines also reduces energy consumption by providing powerful cleaning at low temperatures, while the Bespoke AirDresser’s AI Dry technology monitors the humidity of clothing to intelligently reduce drying time and electricity usage.
 
Samsung strives to minimize environmental impact by utilizing materials like eco-friendly refrigerants and plastics. The company also contributes to helping consumers work towards achieving more sustainable, ‘zero waste’ kitchens with optimized food storage solutions that keep food fresher for longer.
 
 
Elevating Home Experiences
With people spending more time at home these days, interest in the home and the experiences it provides is continuing to increase. Consumers want solutions that allow them to monitor and manage their homes conveniently. Hence, Samsung Bespoke Home appliances are IoT-integrated and equipped with services that provide a holistic experience in the home.
 
The AI Control feature in our washers and dryers uses AI and machine learning to remember your preferences and display your frequently-used cycles first. This gives you that personalized touch and removes the need to scroll through multiple menus each time you do laundry.
 
Aside from being able to navigate around objects and clean your home automatically, the Bespoke Jet Bot AI+ can also use its camera to help pet owners keep an eye on their pets while they’re away. The device can also be used as a security camera to give you true peace of mind while you’re away from home.
 
 
The Future of the Bespoke Home
For as long as consumers want appliances that are tailored to their unique lifestyles, the principles of ‘bespoke’ and ’flexibility’ will remain at our core as we drive future innovations.
 
Samsung wants to bring smarter, more efficient and more durable Bespoke appliances to every corner of the home. While minimizing our impact on the environment, we will look to create an IoT ecosystem that will deliver a new standard of services and reinvent life at home.

Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Upcycling at Home Program Recognized at the Reuters Responsible Business Awards

Source: Samsung

Samsung Electronics today announced that its Galaxy Upcycling at Home program is ‘highly commended’ for the Circular Transition Award at this year’s Reuters Responsible Business Awards.
 
Since 2009, the Reuters Responsible Business Awards celebrates businesses that showcase world-class sustainability strategies and deliver positive impacts on society and the environment. The Circular Transition Award recognizes innovations that help the world’s transition to a more circular economy.
 
Honored at a virtual award ceremony, Galaxy Upcycling at Home is an initiative that gives new life to older Galaxy smartphones by repurposing them into IoT (Internet of Things) devices with a simple software update. Through the SmartThings app, users can repurpose unused smartphones into convenient smart home devices such as a childcare monitor or a pet care solution.
 
Judges noted that Samsung’s upcycling solution is “A simple initiative with a basic idea, which helps shift the mindset on the value of old phones. A genuine closed loop versus recycling of e-waste with an innovative twist.”
 
This innovative program exemplifies Samsung’s global efforts to transition to a circular economy through greater use of sustainable materials, reusing resources and extending product longevity with added value and alternative purposes. Embodying Samsung’s determination to create a better world through promoting more sustainable production practices and consumer behaviors, Galaxy Upcycling at Home enables users around the world to make a positive impact and help build a better future for generations to come.
 
“Samsung is dedicated to finding new, innovative ways to minimize global e-waste and we’re proud to be recognized for our leadership in integrating sustainable practices into our product lifecycle,” said Sung-Koo Kim, VP of the Sustainability Management Office, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. “We invite the larger Galaxy community to join us in our mission to breathe new life into unused devices and increase reuse habits, and we hope our efforts will serve as a blueprint for a more sustainable and prosperous future for all.”
 
Galaxy Upcycling at Home is a part of Samsung’s continued commitment to use the power of technology to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Galaxy Upcycling at Home specifically focuses on Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production – by minimizing environmental impact and promoting eco-conscious habits. The program also supports Galaxy for the Planet, Samsung’s recently announced sustainability platform for its Mobile Communications Business.

Fold It or Flip It, Samsung’s New Foldable Devices Are Designed to Last

Source: Samsung

Samsung has given owners of its latest foldable devices, Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Galaxy Z Flip3 5G,
peace of mind for everyday wear and tear including a special launch offer
 
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – xx September 2021 – Samsung’s new game-changing Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Galaxy Z Flip3 5G foldable devices have clearly excited those wanting to unfold the future with these one-of-a-kind devices. Adding to the ground-breaking innovation, Samsung has incorporated some of its most durable technology and materials to ensure these devices hold their pristine design in any lifestyle – at work or play. For additional peace of mind, Samsung South Africa has included free Samsung Care+, Samsung’s renowned worry-free, accidental damage protection plan1, in its launch offer. When you pre-order or purchase during the 1 September to 20 October 20212, you will receive a complimentary gift, that includes the new Galaxy Buds2, the must-have Galaxy Smart Tag and 1 year FREE Samsung Care + screen protection – all valued at R5 200.
 

Designed to last – Samsung has introduced intelligently-crafted durability solutions to its foldable range including:
 

The world’s first IPX8 rating3 in foldable smartphones– The Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Galaxy Flip3 5G are the world’s first water-resistant foldable smartphones, and include the same level of water resistance as Samsung’s Galaxy S series devices. This makes it easy to take your device anywhere. What separates these devices from other water-resistant devices is the new technology applied to the hinge. On foldables, there are many moving parts designed to fold and unfold the device, and inevitably there should be a gap between. Samsung needed to start from scratch to make the impossible, possible. While keeping the tiny gaps between body and hinge, Samsung covered key electronic components with a rubber sealant, so it can be protected from the water entering the gap. When caught in a rain shower, you can now stay connected to friends and family, while keeping your device safe. Since the hinge is inevitably exposed to water, Samsung applied an anti-corrosion solution, and a lubricant that provides strong water protection so that the hinge wouldn’t rust even in conditions where it can get wet.

The strongest Aluminum on a smartphone yet – The new Armor Aluminum frames are 10% stronger4 than past Samsung aluminum frames on smartphones to provide more durable device. One of the key benefits of Armor Aluminum is its reliability against external impact and any force or drop of your device. It is applied on the body frame and hinge cover to ensure long-lasting quality however you use the device. You will feel more secure if you accidently drop your device.

Samsung’s toughest glass now on Galaxy Z series – The new Galaxy Z series devices feature Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus , which provides twice the scratch resistance and is 50% less breakable than the previous glass, Gorilla Glass 6. It is applied on the Cover Screen and Rear Glass, perfect for keeping your displays in their original condition.

More scratch-resistant protective film and optimised panel layer – The Galaxy Z series incorporates a new protective film on its display and optimized panel layer, which is 80% more durable than previous models4 It has stretchable PET5 (Plastic), instead of TPU (Urethane), which was previously used in the Z Fold2. This makes everyday use more comfortable when folding and unfolding the device.

Hideaway Hinge, Sweeper technology, and Folding Tests – Samsung continues its foldable device manufacturing leadership with refined operations and time-tested processes to create devices that remain reliable after years of use. Both devices are built on core foundational elements created over Samsung’s three iterations of foldable devices and enable proven foldable technology for long-term usage. The revolutionary Hideaway Hinge, first introduced on Galaxy Z Fold2, enables the devices to stay in place at any angle for innovative user experiences with Flex mode. And thanks to enhanced Sweeper technology, the bristles inside the Hinge are now shorter, helping to repel dust and other particles and maintain the devices’ durability and seamless user experiences. Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Galaxy Z Flip3 5G were also put through strenuous durability tests, resulting in a design that can be unfolded and folded over 200,000 times6. These results were backed by Bureau Veritas, the world leader in testing, inspection and certification services.

 
The integration of these incredible features clearly demonstrate the devices’ amazing durability, tailored for a new form factor.  The one year free Samsung Care+ plan available at launch simply adds to the peace of mind new Galaxy Z owners will enjoy. The complimentary Samsung Care+ plan will provide for a repair in case of accidental screen and/or back cover damage, and will include a battery replacement. You can upgrade to the Samsung Care+ Premium plan at an affordable cost, for additional cover, which includes liquid, motherboard and external casing damage.
 
Enjoy peace of mind with Samsung Care+. You’ll stay protected beyond the standard device warranty, with over 100 Samsung certified repair centers to choose from.  Whatever happens, our Galaxy experts will help to get your device back on track with Samsung genuine parts replacements. Registration for Samsung Care Plus is easy with immediate cover. Find out more about Samsung Care+ terms and conditions and sign up here.
 
1Users that pre-order the Galaxy Z Fold3 or Z Flip3 will get a year of Samsung Care+ protection.
Samsung Care+ for Z Fold3 and Z Flip3 requires a free registration within 30 days from the phone’s purchase date through Samsung Members or the Samsung care plus page. A R 999 repair fee will be charged per incident for the
Samsung Care+ protection on the Z Fold3 | Z Flip3. Protection coverage and availability may vary by market. Full information on Samsung Care+ is available at https://www.samsung.com/za/offer/samsung-care-plus/

South Africa’s On-Trend Influencers Showcase How Easy It Is to #SwitchToGalaxy

Source: Samsung

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – 15 October 2021 – Some of South Africa’s most dynamic influencers have seamlessly demonstrated how simple and ultimately rewarding it can be to switch to the Samsung Galaxy of game-changing devices. Melinda Bam, Grant Hinds, Dr Sivuyile Madikana and Kiara Kittner have not only discovered how easy it is to #SwitchToGalaxy but have also joined the foldable smartphone revolution. Moving to a ground-breaking device such as the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G or Galaxy Z Flip3 5G Galaxy from another device or OS isn’t difficult with Smart Switch. The app works with many devices, making the upgrade to Galaxy a seamless process for everyone. You can now slip into a brand new Galaxy and bring what you’ve collected along the way. Keep all your photos, calendar dates, alarms and even call history. The stars took to Instagram to showcase the effortless steps.
 
Melinda Bam enthusiastically exclaimed that flipping from an old device to a new one couldn’t be easier. She joked that she would no longer have to wait till someone with tech fingers or a degree in IT could do it. She added that the new Galaxy Z Flip3 5G gave her plenty of reasons to switch, from being a stylish accessory that actually fits into any clutch, to the variety of creative capturing modes to being any content creators dream.
 
Dr. Sivuyile Madikana was excited to make the switch from Galaxy Z Fold2 to the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, describing it as the thinnest and most pocketable Galaxy Fold yet and the toughest, thanks to its Amor Aluminium frame. He was impressed that he could carry all his data effortlessly and quickly thanks to Galaxy SmartSwitch.
 
Grant Hinds showed that you don’t need a tech guru to switch to a foldable future. He was also eager to try out a host of features that are only possible on a foldable device and experience ‘real’ multitasking made possible because of the bigger screen size and the ability to run up to 3 apps at the same time. Grant also reminded his followers about the Galaxy Z Series pre-order offer* which runs until 20 October 2021, where you receive the amazing Galaxy Buds2, a must-have SmartTag and 12 months of Samsung Care+ Service Plan – all worth R5200 – for free with your purchase.
 
Kiara Kittner glowed as she introduced the stylish Galaxy Z Flip3 5G which she described as perfect for her smaller handbags too.  She said that switching “to this beauty from my old device was super easy” with the SmartSwitch app and described the process as fast – and an absolute pleasure.
Galaxy SmartSwitch is clearly a simple and secure way to move your content to Galaxy. When making the switch to Galaxy, you don’t have to say goodbye to your old stuff. The content you were using before – your photos, settings and call history – get to stay with you on your new Galaxy. The intuitive Smart Switch app makes ditching your older device a snap. Just a few little clicks move your pics, contacts and favourite apps right to your new Galaxy. You can transfer, back up or restore whatever way fits you best. It’s simple to make a device-to-device connection wirelessly or with the USB-OTG adapter provided in-box, or use a backup file from external storage.
 
Samsung has made switching as easy as possible which is yet another of the many good reasons to #SwitchToGalaxy
 
Terms and conditions apply. The promotion period depends on retailer.
For Vodacom customers the Promotion Period will end 6th October 2021.
For MTN customers Promotion Period will end 30th September 2021.
For Cell C Customers Promotion period will end 17th October 2021.
For Telkom customers Promotion period will end 20th October 2021.
For Takealot customers Promotion period will end 30th September 2021.

Members pursue convergence for an IP COVID-19 response

Source: World Trade Organisation

Members appreciated the opportunities provided by recent small group and bilateral meetings to discuss issues related to the scope and implementation of the revised TRIPS waiver proposal first put forward by South Africa and India (IP/C/W/669/Rev.1) as well as the proposal for a draft General Council Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health in the circumstances of a pandemic (IP/C/W/681) from the European Union, particularly with regards the use of current TRIPS compulsory licensing provisions.

Some delegations said that the results of those discussions were “encouraging” and helped to identify “important points of convergence”. Others said that further conversations that move the TRIPS Council towards evidence-based and pragmatic solutions should be the next step guiding their discussions at this critical juncture, with only seven weeks left before MC12.

Co-sponsors of the TRIPS waiver proposal reiterated that this initiative should be an integral part of any successful MC12 outcome and urged members to move beyond the binary approach between the two proposals on the table and engage constructively to secure consensus. Members also underlined the importance of aligning the facilitation process under Ambassador David Walker of New Zealand and the work by the TRIPS Council chair, so that a comprehensive package on trade and health leading to a multilateral and horizontal response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be achieved.

Some members noted the consensus-based nature of the WTO and the complexity of the issues involved, and flagged the risk of not achieving an outcome unless delegations are able to make some real compromises. A positive and meaningful outcome at MC12 on the IP response to the pandemic would not only send a powerful message of global solidarity, but would also be proof that the WTO has the ability to respond to a major global crisis, these members added.

Ambassador Sørli highlighted the collective willingness to continue discussions and explore possible common ground to come to a substantive agreement in time for MC12, but was also cautious, as the TRIPS Council is not yet in a position to agree on a concrete and positive conclusion at this point. Consideration of this item will be suspended to allow for extra time to continue discussions and consultations, and the TRIPS Council will be reconvened at a later date in order to conclude on a recommendation to the General Council, which is scheduled to meet on 22-23 November, one week before MC12.

Moving forward, the chair anticipated a further round of small group consultations on 26 October and encouraged members to keep engaging and step up their efforts to involve the broader membership sooner rather than later, given the short time available before MC12.

Members noted the WTO Secretariat’s updated compilation “COVID-19: Measures Regarding Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights” that is available on the WTO website. This non-exhaustive list, compiled from official sources, represents an informal situation report and an attempt to provide transparency with respect to measures related to intellectual property rights taken in the COVID-19 context. The chair stressed that the list is updated continuously, even if the rate at which new measures are brought to the Secretariat’s attention is slowing down.

As requested by some delegations, the Secretariat provided recent data from different public sources on the number of voluntary license agreements regarding COVID-19 vaccine production, and the projected and observed volume of vaccine dose production under these agreements.

Women and IP

Continuing the theme of IP and innovation which has regularly featured on the TRIPS Council’s agenda since 2012, Australia, the European Union, Japan, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, the United Kingdom, and the United States proposed  a discussion on the topic “Women and Intellectual Property” (IP/C/W/685), an initiative also co-sponsored by Chile and Canada.

The proposal highlights that women entrepreneurs, creators, and innovators are a growing segment of economic activity. Encouraging their participation in the IP system can open doors to financing and business opportunities, and has benefit for society overall. in knowledge sharing and fostering innovation. Enabling women to play an equal role in the economy is essential to sustained economic growth and achieving gender equality, and will help lift millions out of poverty. More can be done to support and empower women in participating in the IP ecosystem, proponents stressed.

In terms of numbers, women’s participation in the IP system varies according to the type of IP. For example, a study in the US found that women- and men -owned businesses showed only minimal gender differences in copyright holdings (4.3% of women employers and 4.5% of men-owned businesses held a copyright). In terms of patents, however, men-owned businesses are twice as likely as women-owned businesses to have either a granted patent (1.5% vs. 0.7%) or a pending patent application (0.9 vs. 0.4%).

The paper also indicates that there has been some progress in the rate of women’s participation in patenting. Between 1998 and 2017, the proportion of female inventors worldwide almost doubled from 6.8% to 12.7%. Furthermore, the proportion of patent applications that name a woman amongst the inventors rose from 12% to 21% over the same period.

Taking these numbers into account, members engaged in a discussion about specific programmes for assisting or promoting women’s participation in the IP system, and on measures that have proven useful for supporting women entrepreneurs in participating in the IP system. They also exchanged experiences on how to raise women entrepreneurs’ awareness of the benefits of IP for their business activity, on the main challenges and specific barriers found for women entrepreneurs, and on economic sectors where women are particularly active and could benefit from the IP system.

Other issues

On TRIPS non-violation and situation complaints (NVSCs) the majority of members expressed their support for extending the moratorium on this issue, but no consensus was reached.  NVSCs refer to whether and under what conditions members should be able to bring WTO dispute complaints where they consider that another member’s action, or a particular situation, has deprived them of an expected advantage under the TRIPS Agreement, even though no obligation under the Agreement has been violated.

The chair noted that, given the lack of substantive movement in delegations’ positions and the short time left before MC12, another extension of the moratorium could not be ruled out. Ambassador Sørli circulated a draft decision text showing what such a decision would look like, based on previous decisions that extended the non-violation moratorium. This agenda item also remains open while the chair consults with members. If members indicate they are in a position to reach consensus, the chair will reconvene the TRIPS Council at short notice, so that a recommendation can be made to the General Council, and through it, to the Ministerial Conference.

In relation to the status of acceptances of the protocol amending the TRIPS Agreement, the chair recalled that the current period for accepting the protocol runs until 31 December 2021. To date, 133 WTO members have accepted the amended TRIPS Agreement, with pending acceptance from 31 members. The chair encouraged those members to complete their domestic procedures and deposit their instrument of acceptance with the WTO Director-General as soon as possible.

In this context, the Council agreed to recommend that the General Council once again extend the period for acceptance for another two years – until 31 December 2023.

The WTO Secretariat announced a further annual workshop in March 2022 on the implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement regarding incentives for technology transfer to LDCs. Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement calls on developed countries to provide incentives to enterprises and institutions in their territories for the purpose of promoting and encouraging technology transfer to LDCs in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base.

As on previous occasions, the workshop will comprise two days of sessions, and a reporting and review segment within the first TRIPS Council meeting of 2022. In preparation, the Secretariat circulated a survey questionnaire to LDC members and observers so they can indicate current areas of needs and priorities for technological development, projects that are relevant to these areas of technology transfer, and their general experience with projects reported under the Article 66.2 implementation and review process. 

Next meetings

The chair announced his intention to reconvene the formal meeting on 5 November in the hope that the TRIPS Council will be in a position to take a decision on the three agenda items that remain suspended (NVSCs and the two proposals by South Africa/India and the European Union) as members continue to consider what recommendations to make to the Ministerial Conference.

In 2022, TRIPS Council meetings have been scheduled for the following dates: 9-10 March, 8-9 June and 12-13 October.

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Qubit the dog on the big questions in quantum computing

Source: Google

This week we sat down for an interview with Qubit the dog, whose human Julian Kelly is one of our lead Research Scientists with Google Quantum AI. Qubit was born in 2012, right when Julian and team were first designing the qubits that now underlie Google’s quantum computers. He nearly received the honor of pressing the submit button for the team’s beyond-classical result published in Nature, but he was narrowly edged out by a human.

Qubit has never been interviewed before on such a range of technical and philosophical topics, so it was a privilege to have the opportunity — a transcript of the discussion follows.

Thank you for taking the time to sit down for this, Qubit. Given the complexity and depth of the topic, I was hoping we could jump right in. I first wanted to ask — where do you think we are in the “hype cycle” of quantum computing? Is this analogous to earlier hype cycles around ecommerce, AI, mobile technology or other major shifts where the hype may have led to “winters” for some time before the technology caught up and eventually surpassed the initial expectations about the significance of its impact on users and society, especially in terms on unexpected applications and feedback dynamics?

Okay, that makes sense, there does seem to be a certain unavoidable nature to that cycle that resolves itself naturally. But how should we consider investment in alternate veins of quantum computing research and development — for example, while there appears to be a viable roadmap for superconducting qubits, with evidence that error suppression can scale and enable a fully fault-tolerant large-scale quantum computer within the decade, does it make sense to also explore more speculative approaches such as photonics or spin qubits?

[Licks rear left foot]

Granted, that may all shake out in time as these technical milestones prove out. What, if I may ask, has led to Google being able to publish the series of verified empirical demonstrations that it has? We’ve seen a number of exciting firsts — the first demonstration of a beyond-classical computation of any kind on a quantum computer in 2019, the most impressive chemistry simulation on a quantum computer earlier in 2021, and most recently the first demonstration that errors can be exponentially suppressed with the number qubits. What about Google’s team or particular approach allows for this pace of breakthroughs?

[Smiles, pants amicably]

Qubit inspecting a dilution refrigerator for proper signal routing

Maybe that confidence is warranted. Of course, even if the technical path is reasonable, there are a lot of open questions about the eventual applications of quantum computing. Google’s group includes “AI” in its name — Google Quantum AI — so I assume you think quantum computing could eventually lead to more effective forms of machine learning? Or are you more excited about applications such as simulating chemical reactions and exotic materials, so we might develop better batteries and solar panels, or achieve efficient nitrogen fixation for farming fertilizer and save 2% of the world’s carbon emissions?

And do you subscribe to the “many worlds” hypothesis, and the notion that quantum computers’ power will come from essentially processing information in other parallel universes, or is this perhaps too far-fetched and unnecessary for understanding where the double exponential speedup, that is, “Neven’s Law,” comes from? Is a more conventional understanding all we need to grasp the implications of this new regime of compute space?

Rup [burps].

Thank you so much. One last question, and then I’ll let you go — what’s the deal with time crystals?

[Blinks twice, then trots off to get a treat.]

AT&T Helps Keep Austin Connected at Annual Music Festival

Source: AT&T

Keep Austin Weird…and Connected

During one of the largest music festivals in the country AT&T’s network stands out 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a little bit country or a little bit rock ‘n roll, an annual festival in the heart of Texas brings music lovers from all different genres together in one place. Over two weekends in the Texas state capital, tens of thousands of fans come together to listen to independent, mainstream and unique artists, which means selfies, videos and live streams galore!

That’s where we come in. We were the only wireless provider with 5G+ with millimeter wave in the park during the event, meaning fans could get ultra-fast speeds to share their content, search for the next artist and explore the venues. 

“It is essential to provide seamless connectivity, especially in events like the one in Austin, since the fans continuously upload pictures and videos, which can congest the network,” said Mohammad Rahman, principal RAN design engineer, AT&T. “We knew with close to half-a-million tickets sold in less than three hours for this event, our network would need to stand out.”

To help customers at the festival make calls and post videos and photos, our teams spent the last year planning for this event.  That meant finding the best place for our eight millimeter wave (mmWave) nodes inside the park making it possible for 5G+ speeds, three Cell on Wheels (COWs), and dozens of basebands (BBUs) and radios (RRU).

“Although our competitors deployed assets close to the park, they didn’t have any assets inside the park, unlike AT&T,” said Rahman. “As a result, only AT&T customers had access to millimeter wave (mmWave) from the center of the park during the event. It is a big win for the AT&T South Texas Team.”

“The South Texas team worked around the clock and up into the 11th hour to pull this event off!  The team overcame challenges to deliver the ultimate customer experience,” said Christopher Freyhof, Director of Access Construction & Engineering, AT&T.  “We were able to get into the park just two weeks before the first artist took the stage. But the team faced the music and successfully built, tested and launched our AT&T network.”

Amid the guitar riffs and drum solos, we wanted fans to enjoy the full experience. That’s why each COW was equipped with Band 14 spectrum antennas for FirstNet® – the only network built specifically for America’s first responders. 

All that work paid off. By the final bow this year, our network handled more than 66,625.54 GB of data. That’s up from the previous festival by almost 10%. That’s the equivalent of streaming the live concerts in HD (1080p) for eight hours a day, every day for 15 years!

“The team is happy when the AT&T customers are happy,” said Rahman. “We are successful when we can deploy the assets on time and optimize the network to offer the best possible service to AT&T users throughout the event.”

Walmart Selects Transcarent To Provide Go-to-Market Solution for Self-Insured Employers 

Source: Walmart

Headline: Walmart Selects Transcarent To Provide Go-to-Market Solution for Self-Insured Employers 

Bentonville, Ark., and Palo Alto, Calif., October 15, 2021 — Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Transcarent today announced they would be working together as go-to-market partners for self-insured employers across the country.  The agreement allows Transcarent, which offers employees and their dependents a new, different and better health and care experience, to share Walmart’s everyday low cost on pharmaceuticals and other services with self-insured employers and their employees for the first time.The collaboration makes it easier for millions of employees and the families of self-insured employers to access high-value care — no matter where they live — at affordable prices. This new offering will allow employers of all sizes to leverage Walmart’s health care size and scale to more easily provide their employees convenient care and cost-effective health and wellness options.Today, half of all Americans are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2020, the average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance were $7,470 for single coverage and $21,342 for family coverage. What’s more, employers have seen costs escalate year after year without corresponding improvements in the quality of care. And while many employers have tackled this challenge head on by offering access to many new and innovative health care benefits, employees and their families are often left overwhelmed and confused by a growing list of options that have yet to demonstrate an impact on health outcomes or cost.“We are committed to providing care to customers and the communities we serve through an integrated, omnichannel approach that improves engagement, health equity and outcomes,” said Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president of Health & Wellness at Walmart. “Most of America lives within 10 miles of a Walmart, which makes us uniquely positioned to deliver the right care at the right time in the right way. We are proud to bring our size and scale to make it simple to live healthier and leverage our collaboration with Transcarent to reach even more people where they live and work.”Walmart’s omnichannel offerings include Pharmacy services – retail and specialty, Optical services, national telehealth services that include a focus on behavioral health, OTC, Walmart health centers and low-cost fresh food. Through this range of services, the company focuses on Social Determinants of Health, personal behaviors and clinical care seven days a week. Walmart provides prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, a variety of immunizations and COVID-19 drive-thru testing in select locations. For those who receive their COVID-19 vaccination at Walmart and Sam’s Club, a Digital Vaccine Record is available for easy access of their vaccination record that can be saved, downloaded or shared with third-party verification apps. Walmart customers with a Walmart+ membership can also get free shipping on store purchases and medicines offered as part of the membership.The company’s recent launch of ReliOn™ NovoLog® vials and FlexPens®, which will save customers 58% to 75% off the cash price of branded insulin products, demonstrates Walmart’s commitment to improving affordability for chronic disease management. To learn more about wellness resources available at your neighborhood Walmart, visit walmart.com/wellnesshub.In addition to the high-value Walmart prescription benefits that will be available to employers, employees and their families, Transcarent’s health and care experience will serve as the on-ramp for self-insured employers and their employees to a 24/7 personalized health and care experience for virtually all of the most common and most challenging needs. Employees and their families will be able to easily engage Transcarent’s Health Guides and extended clinical team for unbiased information, trusted guidance to better understand care options and associated costs, and easy access to high-value virtual and in-person care — either through Transcarent digital offerings, Transcarent’s Centers of Excellence or Walmart’s in-community clinics. Employers have no up-front or per-employee-per-month (PEPM) fees, as Transcarent offers a fully at-risk model.  Transcarent also pays health systems up front for surgeries, yet another difference in the model that health care providers love. “Together, Walmart and Transcarent have the scale and innovation required to transform the way health and care are delivered and paid for across the nation, regardless of a person’s economic or geographic situation,” said Glen Tullman, chief executive officer of Transcarent. “Transcarent is putting employers and employees back in charge of their health and care. Employees can trust that Transcarent will focus on value and quality first, provide clear and unbiased information, offer a full range of choices and share the rewards with employees that their better health decisions generate.”About WalmartWalmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, approximately 220 million customers and members visit approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 48 banners in 24 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2021 revenue of $559 billion, Walmart employs 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at twitter.com/walmart.About Transcarent Transcarent is a new and different health and care experience company putting people back in charge of their health and care experiences. Using a combination of software, technology, Health Guides and data science, Transcarent empowers consumers with the kind of unbiased information, trusted guidance and access to high-value care that leads to better care, better outcomes, and more cost-effective decisions and allows Members to share in the benefits of their decisions. Transcarent believes that having the right information, tools, and incentives in the decision-making process can positively transform the way we all experience our health and care. For more Information, visit us at Transcarent.ai and follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn. 

Integrating Climate Action End to End

Source: SAP

Headline: Integrating Climate Action End to End

The climate emergency has reached a new peak. To help accelerate the transformation toward a low-carbon, circular future, SAP is embedding sustainability end to end in its portfolio, as well as across its purpose, vision, strategy, and business operations.

Climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying, with some trends now irreversible, according to the recent 6th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

The science is clear: unless immediate, fast, and large-scale action is taken to reduce emissions, the average global temperature is likely to reach, or cross, the 1.5° C warming threshold within 20 years. The alarming results are already with us, ranging from droughts and heat waves to wildfires and devastating flooding worldwide.

While much hope is focused on a green recovery, the window of opportunity is closing fast. The latest report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that energy-related carbon emissions are on course to surge again by 1.5 billion tons in 2021, an increase of nearly 5% year-over-year and the second-largest in history, taking us back to pre-COVID-19 peak levels.

The urgency to dramatically change course and accelerate decarbonization has never been higher. But only when businesses are moving beyond their siloed approaches, commitments, and climate pledges to fully embrace sustainability and embed these ambitions in an integrated way will we be able to drive the systemic change needed.

It is a journey toward embedding sustainability across everything we do.

Moving Away From Add-On to Core

Companies need to avoid thinking of sustainability as only an add-on to their strategies and operations. They need to integrate it across the business. Rather than defining a separate sustainability strategy, it is crucial to set a corporate business strategy that is sustainable.

A first step toward SAP realizing this was linking sustainability to our purpose of helping the world run better and improving people’s lives. The objective: create positive economic, environmental, and social impact within planetary boundaries with special focus on climate action, circular economy, social responsibility, and holistic steering and reporting.

This is reflected not only in the updated SAP vision to “reinvent how the world runs as a network of intelligent, sustainable enterprises,” but also in the executive compensation that rewards Executive Board members for customer loyalty, employee commitment, and SAP’s carbon impact, along with financial performance.

Enabling Climate Action Through Technology

The IPCC report has once again highlighted that harnessing the innovation power of enterprises has to be at the center of fighting climate change. For SAP, this means using digitalization to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), including #13, Climate Action.

In collaboration with customers and partners, SAP is working to optimize material, financial, and energy flows throughout end-to-end business processes in order to address planetary and social challenges. For example, the company’s multi-year Climate 21 program helps build analytical and transactional capabilities into enterprise applications that can help SAP customers understand and minimize the greenhouse gas footprint of their products and operations along their value chains.

During the SAP Sustainability Summit in April, sustainability management by SAP was introduced, providing an expanded portfolio of sustainability-specific solutions, including SAP Product Footprint Management, which has been available since September 2021. There is more to come with the releases of the SAP Responsible Design and Production and SAP Sustainability Control Tower solutions in the next months, as will be shown during SAP Sustainability Day October 28

SAP.iO Foundries locations Berlin and Munich are fostering startup innovation by setting up the Sustainable Future program together with Accenture. The equity-free program is designed to propel digital transformation in four target areas: carbon tracking and trading, resource efficiency, climate risk tracking and mitigation, and circular economy.

Setting Ambitious Targets

In addition to harnessing innovation, the climate emergency calls for bold targets for decarbonization. By mid-2021, countries representing around 65% of global carbon dioxide emissions and more than 70% of the world economy have made ambitious commitments to carbon neutrality. The U.S, the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and others — in total 126 countries — have pledged carbon neutrality by 2050; China says it will do so before 2060.

The private sector also needs to step up. More than 1,900 companies, including SAP in 2017, have set emissions reduction targets grounded in climate science through the Science Based Targets initiative.

In 2019, SAP raised its commitment and adopted a 1.5° C science-based emissions reduction targets aligned with a net-zero future. However, the journey started much earlier; back in 2009, SAP set the first goal of reducing its global carbon emissions to the year-2000 level by 2020. This target was met at the end of 2017, even though SAP grew more than fourfold over the period.

The next milestone is 2023, when SAP aims to be carbon neutral in its own operations – two years earlier than previously envisaged. This includes all direct (Scope 1), indirect (Scope 2), and selected categories of value chain (Scope 3) carbon emissions, such as business flights, employee commuting, paper consumption, and external data centers (co-locations and hyperscalers).

Monitoring and Reporting

It is essential to measure and monitor progress on the path toward achieving these targets. For example, SAP has increasingly embraced holistic steering and reporting because connecting financial and pre-financial performance leads to better management decisions and business success.

SAP’s sustainability and annual reports were merged into the SAP Integrated Report in 2012. Since then, both material and immaterial value creation have been at the center of the company’s reporting and have been placed on an equal footing. Besides key financial information, environmental progress, workforce information, and social investments have been made transparent. In addition, an internal sustainability dashboard allows employees to explore the key sustainability key performance indicators (KPIs), such as women in management and carbon emissions by their country, location, and line of business, with updates every quarter.

Our reporting shows that in 2020, SAP was able to overachieve by 43% on its target for net carbon emissions in 2020, generating 135 kilotons instead of the anticipated 238 kilotons. This trend continued in the first half of 2021, during which SAP’s carbon emissions totaled 45 kilotons compared to 90 kilotons in the first half of 2020 (-37%).

The low emissions level is a consequence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the introduction of Pledge to Flex, which enables a more flexible mix of remote and onsite work. SAP believes this trend will continue and has just announced in its 2021 half-year report that it has lowered its 2021 carbon emissions outlook from 145 kilotons to a range of 90-110 kilotons.

Taking Action: Measures of Implementation

To become carbon neutral in its own operations by 2023, SAP is following a three-pillar approach: avoid, reduce, compensate.

  • Avoid: Whenever possible, SAP aims to avoid the creation of greenhouse gases. This is a top priority, supported by, for example, using virtual telecommunication instead of business flights.
  • Reduce: If greenhouse gas emissions cannot be avoided, SAP aims to drive efficiency and reduce all types of emissions; for example, building efficiency, data center operations, carpooling and car sharing, and e-mobility.
  • Compensate: SAP has extended its compensation models for travel. For business flights, it has introduced an internal carbon price to offset related carbon emissions. If greenhouse gas emissions cannot be eliminated altogether, SAP aims to reduce them through innovations in the areas of building efficiency, data center operations, carpooling, and car sharing, as well as e-mobility. For example, SAP has powered its own data centers and facilities with 100% renewable electricity since 2014, implemented an environmental management system with ISO 14001 certification in more than 30 countries and ISO 50001 at headquarters, adopting green IT initiatives in order to foster sustainable IT equipment usage and promoting tools such as Ecosia as a default search engine.

In 2020, SAP implemented additional energy and climate measures within its operations, ranging from opening a new office with energy-efficient design in Australia and implementing more efficient data center technology in Germany to introducing a bike fleet at SAP Hungary as well as a flexible mobility budget in Germany and installation of photovoltaic systems in Austria.

For emissions that cannot yet be reduced or avoided, SAP thirdly invests in high-quality carbon credits. For example, SAP has been a long-term investor of the Livelihoods Carbon Funds (LCF) since 2012. SAP has also donated funds to restore ecosystems and improve people’s lives. In support of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, SAP recently joined the 1t.org corporate alliance, which aims to conserve, restore, and grow trees worldwide, with a pledge to plant 21 million trees by the end of 2025.

I am proud that SAP’s efforts to combat climate change and to strengthen its transparent reporting are externally recognized. The non-profit organization CDP included SAP on its A List 2020, thereby granting us the top rating for leading in environmental transparency and action.

Partnering

SAP recognizes that strong partnerships are an invaluable asset in tackling climate change. This is why we became a founding member of the European Green Digital Coalition and joined the World Economic Forum Stakeholder Capitalism Coalition and CEO Climate Leaders as well as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), complementing our previous engagements with the UN Global Compact, the We Mean Business Coalition, the Value Balancing Alliance, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and many more.

In addition, we signed the business letter to the G20 calling for greater climate ambition and we launched Chasing Zero, a new initiative that will feature executive thought leadership, best practices, and insights into a sustainability-related transformation of SAP and its global ecosystem to achieve zero emissions, zero waste, and zero inequality. The transition to a circular economy remains central to our vision for a world of zero waste and plastic free oceans by 2030. Consequently, we support stronger circular economy policies, such as the Worldwide Fund for Nature’s OneSource Coalition and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Extended Producer Responsibility endorsement.


Daniel Schmid is chief sustainability officer of SAP.