Speed camera ahead: Google Maps adds photo radar warnings for drivers

By Colette Derworiz

THE CANADIAN PRESS

EDMONTON _ Drivers using Google Maps are getting a last-minute warning as they approach some photo radar camera locations.

The feature, which is currently being rolled out by Google, allows users to see speed limits, speed cameras and mobile speed cameras on the map before they leave.

It also gives a verbal warning an automated voice saying “speed camera ahead” when drivers are near a fixed camera location.

Police in Alberta say the feature is helpful to them.

“The biggest thing we love … is we place those (cameras) by collision statistics,” said Sgt. Joerg Gottschling of the Calgary Police Service traffic section. “If we do a new site, if we are going to install a new camera, the next site is always selected by the next highest crash site.

“Our intersection locations are all determined where we are trying to eliminate collisions.”

Gottschling said they’ve had up to a 50 per cent reduction in collisions in some areas where those cameras are stationed.

With Google Maps, he noted, all drivers approaching the fixed camera intersection get the warning.

“That camera is only facing one way,” said Gottschling. “Let’s say it’s only facing northbound, but you can approach southbound or eastbound … you are still going to get Google telling you caution.

“So you’re going to go slowly and cautiously through there which, lo and behold, is actually what we want.”

Sgt. Kerry Bates with the Edmonton Police traffic division agrees.

“If it slows people down and they know it’s there, that’s good,” he said. “It’s fine. It does the trick.”

Bates said there are about 70 fixed camera locations in the city and they will be adding others in the near future.

Google said in an email that there will also be an ability for android users to report mobile speed cameras and stationary cameras.

The technology company said there’s no plan to merge Google Maps with Waze, a community-based traffic and navigation app that allows drivers to share real-time traffic and road information.

The Alberta government is making changes to prevent photo radar from being used as a  “cash cow” by municipalities.

As part of the changes, which are expected by June, radar will be banned at spots where the speed limit changes on highways. It also won’t be allowed on high-speed, multi-lane highways unless there is documented proof of safety concerns.

Gottschling said there will still be photo radar on busy roads such as Deerfoot Trail and Stoney Trail in Calgary.

“We will be on those roadways because of the secondary justification of speed, collision and difficulty in traditional enforcement,” he said. “There’s no better way to enforce Deerfoot than with photos.

“We also have to take into account where can we safely position ourselves.”

Insurance Companies Use Emerging Technologies & Business Models to Shake Up Competition

Led by insurtech disruptors, novel business models are causing disintermediation in the insurance industry and altering power dynamics. The rise of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and smart devices is placing the spotlight on flexible services based on usage-based insurance, on-demand insurance and Prevention-as-a-Service models, which are redefining the role of insurance in people’s lives. These models will especially appeal to Millennials and Generation Z, the newest buying groups.

Lines of business such as liabilityproperty, and casualty will especially gain from models such as Prevention-as-a-Service,” said Lauren Martin-Taylor, Visionary Innovation Principal Consultant at Frost & Sullivan. “Even though insurtechs and start-ups are leading in addressing shifts in social, mobility, and technology trends by pioneering innovative business models, traditional insurers often back them or play an integral role.”

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, The Future of Insurance, analyzes emerging insurable markets and business models, evolution in operations and the value chain, as well as disruptors and opportunities in various lines of insurance. It also covers technologies such as AI, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), blockchainwearablesimplantsself-healing materials, and automation. An overview of the trends and challenges in each market is presented along with industry best practices, notable activity, and case studies.

Forward-thinking insurers will look to realign their business strategies to tap the growth opportunities presented by:

  • Medical advances, wearables, and growth of the elderly population.
  • Rise in urban population density, particularly in Asia and Africa.
  • The largely untapped low-income demographic in developed countries, which holds huge potential for microinsurance and automation advances.
  • Biological augmentation technologies, which can transform the markets for life insurance and reinsurers.
  • High levels of digitization, increasing data breaches, and cyber threats.

“The auto insurance industry will be one of the most affected by the rising adoption of advanced technologies, as connected and autonomous vehicles will generate real-time data and improve underwriting accuracy,” noted Taylor. “In due course, the focus will shift from insuring drivers to insuring the vehicle, systems, and technology.”

The Future of Insurance is part of Frost & Sullivan’s global Visionary Innovation (Mega Trends) Growth Partnership Service program.

About Frost & Sullivan

For over five decades, Frost & Sullivan has become world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success

Michael Litt: The misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding our digital industries are killing our economic potential to move ahead as a nation

Read more

License to operate overtakes digital effectiveness as top risk in mining & metals sector

License to operate rocketed from seventh to first position in the EY Top 10 business risks facing mining and metals in 2019-2020 report, with over half of survey respondents listing it as the number one risk.

“The stakeholder landscape is changing and miners need to adapt,” says Iain Thompson, EY Canada Mining & Metals Advisory Leader. “Rising societal expectations, the impact of new technologies and the desire for greater collaboration are all pushing mining and metals companies to rethink their approach to license to operate. It’s time to move beyond social and environmental issues, and address license to operate more holistically with a purposeful commitment to community, government, employee and environmental needs beyond the mine.”

License to operate climbed the ranking from seventh position in 2018, moving digital effectiveness, maximizing portfolio returns and cybersecurity back a notch.

  • Digital effectiveness is still challenging the mining and metals sector. While miners have begun making headway in using digital tools to improve productivity, they need to apply these solutions across the entire value chain to create a digital mine that can truly transform and emerge as a dominant player in the market
  • Maximizing portfolio returns is becoming more of a balancing act. Higher commodity prices and rising cash flows are pushing miners to assess their capital allocation to ensure highest future returns. Beyond building or acquiring new mines, companies need to consider boosting investments in innovation and transformative technologies
  • Cybersecurity is a growing concern in an increasingly connected world – and the attack surface is only getting larger across physical assets, digital infrastructure and business processes. Cyber spending has increased, but now the focus should be on how cybersecurity will support and enable enterprise growth

“Many of the top risks remain the same going into 2019, but digital disruption is adding new challenges into the mix. Disruption, future of workforce and fraud all entered the ranking for the first time this year,” says Thompson. “To get ahead, miners will need to use capital and collaboration to their advantage as they transform and protect themselves from steady and upcoming business risks.”

Access the full Top 10 business risks facing mining and metals in 2019-2020 report at ey.com/miningrisks.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

For more information, please visit ey.com/ca. Follow us on Twitter @EYCanada.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

SOURCE EY (Ernst & Young)

Deloitte Expands Into Canada With Blockchain Insurance Consortium RiskBlock

By Leslie Ankney | Forbes

In an announcement on September 25, auditing and consulting firm Deloitte announced a plan to help The Institutes RiskBlock Alliance expand into Canada. In November, RiskBlock announced it would also chair blockchain standards for ACORD, the global standards-setting body for the insurance industry. These moves could signal significant steps toward product development and international growth for blockchain-based insurance applications.

RiskBlock is a blockchain consortium of more than 30 insurance companies looking to boost efficiency and reduce fraud via blockchain technology. RiskBlock’s vice president, Pat Schmid, explained that its role as a non-profit keeps self-interested parties out of development. He said, “Blockchain is a network-based technology that will only be harnessed with a strong network already in place. The Institutes already has a broad network and, as a well-respected not-for-profit, has no stake in the game.”

As one of the largest global accounting organizations and the largest professional services network in the world, Deloitte’s work with blockchain may be an early signal of industry reform. Over past few years, Deloitte has been ramping up blockchain strategy formation, prototyping, and production for its clients.

Ted Epps, a principal with Deloitte Consulting, said Deloitte and The Institutes have been collaborating with regulators since the start of their partnership. “RiskBlock is hosting a workshop with state regulators in November that we are helping to facilitate. In Canada, we involved regulators from the beginning to gain support for forming a consortium. We are taking similar approaches to other geographies as RiskBlock contemplates global expansion.”

Deloitte is currently working on two insurance-based blockchain applications that could help streamline some aspects of the rigmarole involved with filing a claim. The first is a proof of insurance application that shows customers have paid their premiums and are eligible for benefits. The other is a subrogation tool that helps collect member payments and improves claims processing and accounting. The subrogation tool could help those filing claims get paid faster through the use of smart contracts that automatically disburse funds after the insurance company gets the proof of loss needed to process a claim.

While Deloitte’s expansion may be promising, it still faces a bevy of domestic and international regulatory hurdles. In the US, regulations vary widely from state by state. These state-specific rules, especially around forms and documentation, mean a lot of hurdles not just for blockchain firms, but for any company wishing to provide national or international insurance.

“The hard part is going to be figuring out how you ring fence things at a state-by-state level to get regulatory approval that satisfies really old-fashioned but pro-consumer regulations,” says Stephen Palley, an insurance coverage lawyer.

Palley, who chairs the blockchain and virtual currency practice group at his firm, Anderson Kill, also expressed some concern over Deloitte’s subrogation application. When someone files a claim, he or she doesn’t always know which policy should handle it, and submits it to everyone. Palley said this can lead to the quandary of who should be paying out on the policy: “How does [Deloitte’s] tool solve that?”

Though Deloitte and The Institutes are launching a collaborative effort with regulators and are developing what are perhaps some of the first tools for their industry, the benefits for consumers and their future success with regulators remain to be seen. Will these new moves bring consumers faster resolution of their claims or fairer payouts thanks to blockchain?

I write about decentralization, regulation, and cryptocurrencies from Bitcoin to zk-snarks and stablecoins. It’s important to me to bridge finance, economics, and tech to address the “what ifs” and “so whats” about crypto. I have written for several cryptocurrency news site

A review of five family friendly video games for the holidays

By Curtis Withers

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Video games are sure to be at the top of the wish lists of many Canadian children once again this holiday season, but parents may be concerned that some of the most sought-after titles are too much of a time sink, too violent or both.

Here are five suggestions from The Canadian Press on games that children and young teens can enjoy, and for parents looking for an alternative to the “Fortnite” craze.

NINTENDO LABO

Platform: Nintendo Switch

ESRB rating: E (all ages)

Price range: $80 (robot kit) to $90 (vehicle kit, variety pack)

A solid entry-level gaming choice for younger children, Nintendo’s Labo kits are essentially cardboard toy construction sets and video games rolled into one. The Labo debuted in April with the variety pack, and robot kit, and a vehicle kit that came out in September added steering consoles for car, submarine and airplane games. The car steering wheel and pedal can also be used as a controller for the popular racing game “Mario Kart 8,” and it works pretty well.

While building the kits is certainly enjoyable, the real gem of the Labo system is the basic object oriented coding language that kids can access to learn the fundamentals of programming while adding more functionality to the toys. It’s packaged as an under-the-hood extra in the kits released so far, but has excellent potential as a learning tool if Nintendo features it more prominently in a future release.

SUPER MARIO PARTY

Platform: Nintendo Switch

ESRB rating: E

Price range: $80

Nintendo’s bread-and-butter has long been family-friendly games, and this year was no different. “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” and the “Pokemon: Let’s Go” games could also have made this list. But for sheer family entertainment that appeals to gamers of all ages, “Super Mario Party” has the edge.

The casual mini-games that make up the heart of the game are fun, particularly with a full complement of four players. And playing the board game modes is a must for any family whose holiday get-together includes a heated round of “Monopoly.”

OVERCOOKED! 2

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows/Mac

ESRB rating: E

Price range: $25 (digital) – $50

Another chaotic family-friendly multiplayer game, “Overcooked! 2” is a game that stresses co-operation and teamwork as a group of chefs are tasked with cooking and serving an increasingly complicated array of dishes within a time limit. As the dishes get more complex, so too do the kitchen layouts the chefs must work in. Without some planning and co-ordination, you could be spending time putting out fires and searching in vain for clean dishes as the timer mercilessly ticks down.

The attractive price point and availability on a wide variety of platforms makes “Overcooked! 2” one of the more accessible holiday gaming recommendations.

FORZA HORIZON 4

Platforms: Xbox One, Windows

ESRB rating: E

Price range: $80

The latest entry in the “Forza Horizon” series takes place in an open-world rendition of Britain, where players vie for supremacy in high-speed races to earn enough money to add more vehicles to their ever-expanding garages.

It’s a game more suited to older kids, as the driving mechanics can get a little complicated, and of course the thought of recklessly driving through the streets of Edinburgh might be a turnoff for parents with smaller children. But with the amount of vehicles available and the variety of racetracks on offer, “Forza Horizon 4” will offer plenty to keep young, aspiring gearheads busy.

SPIDER-MAN

Platform: PlayStation 4

ESRB rating: Teen

Price range: $65 (used) to $80 (new)

Spidey’s latest foray into video games highlighted a big year for the wall-crawler: Peter Parker had a big role in the blockbuster  “Avengers: Infinity War” (we all know he’s coming back from “the snap,” right?) and multiple versions of the hero will appear in the anticipated animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse.”

The latest “Spider-Man” game exists outside his film counterparts, with an excellent original story serving as the backbone of the title. It may not be suitable for younger children due to a few intense scenes and some mild language, but any kids who can handle the Marvel films won’t have any problems with the content here.

While there is some cartoonish violence in the game, Spider-Man’s moral compass stays true. His fisticuffs with the forces of evil are never lethal, and when he’s not facing off against The Kingpin or The Rhino he even has time to clean up some of New York City’s pollution.

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