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Albertsons Companies to Join Blockchain-based IBM Food Trust Network to Pilot Increased Transparency for Romaine Lettuce

Vlad Poptamas

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Albertsons Companies, one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States, is joining the blockchain-based IBM Food Trust network and will begin piloting the technology to improve how food is traced from farm to store shelf. The addition of Albertsons Companies to the Food Trust ecosystem of more than 80 brands brings blockchain-based food traceability to more consumers and industry players – from producers to suppliers to retailers – by helping enable greater transparency and collaboration, and ultimately, a safer food supply.

Blockchain is a system of record that establishes a shared environment for food transactions in which all participants can collaborate in a highly secured and transparent way to build trust. Food Trust enables network members to share digital, distributed and immutable data, so that stakeholders across the supply chain can work together to trace and authenticate products or optimize supply chain processes. The solution creates a digital record of transactions or interactions – from a packaging date, to the temperature at which an item was shipped, to its arrival on a grocery shelf.

The growing number of participants using the technology helps address a broad range of food system issues, such as supply chain efficiency, freshness, waste reduction, sustainability and participants’ ability to verify certifications, such as fair trade and organic. It is being used to make the end-to-end food ecosystem more transparent and trustworthy, and has the potential to transform broad, nationwide food recalls into efficient, precise eliminations of recalled products. Already, more than five million food products digitized on the solution are on retail shelves.

Albertsons Companies, which operates nearly 2,300 stores across the U.S., will pilot Food Trust for tracing bulk romaine lettuce from one of its distribution centers, then will explore expanding to other food categories throughout its distribution network. Albertsons Companies plans to pilot the solution to help overcome the obstacles that have existed when a traceback is initiated for a product like romaine and is evaluating ways to use the technology to highlight the provenance of its extensive Own Brands portfolio.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to be transformational for us as we further build differentiation on our fresh brand,” said Anuj Dhanda, Chief Information Officer, Albertsons Companies. “Food safety is a very significant step. In addition, the provenance of the products enabled by blockchain — the ability to track every move from the farm to the customer’s basket — can be very empowering for our customers.”

“Multiple high-profile consumer advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration demonstrate the need to find more efficient ways of tracing products and identifying likely sources of contamination in a timely manner,” said Jerry Noland, VP of Food Safety & Quality Assurance, Albertsons Companies. “Consequently, retailers are exploring new technologies to improve the infrastructure that underpins the global food supply chain.”

A blockchain network is strongest when it includes multiple, diverse members that form a transacting ecosystem. That is why the solution can enable an ecosystem of companies from across the food industry to onboard and share data. Already, members are recommending or mandating that their supply chain partners, such as downstream suppliers, join the network. This is intended to bring a more complete view of the entire lifecycle of a food product.

“Establishing IBM Food Trust and opening it to the food ecosystem last year was a major milestone in making blockchain real for business,” said Raj Rao, General Manager, IBM Food Trust. “Today, we are focused on ensuring that the solution scales and is accessible to participants across the food ecosystem, such as Albertsons Companies. By bringing more members into the network and enabling them to share greater cross-sections of data in a secured environment, we believe our vision of a transformed food ecosystem using blockchain is closer than ever.”

By creating a transparent, secured information-sharing platform, the food ecosystem can benefit from greater efficiencies and lower barriers to critical information access to help make the food supply chain safer. Built on Hyperledger Fabric-based open source technology, the solution uses permissioning to ensure companies can set rules about who can see the data they upload to the solution and for how long, and that they maintain control of their data even after it has been uploaded to Food Trust.

Food Trust is one of the largest and most active non-crypto blockchain networks in production today. It is available as a subscription service for members of the food ecosystem to join. For more information on availability, please visit here.

 

SOURCE IBM

Artificial Intelligence

Personalized Learning Paths Offer Roadmaps to Dream Jobs

Vlad Poptamas

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When moving into a new career or field, determining how your strengths transfer and what additional skills you need to learn can be challenging; Forbes SmartAdvisor bridges this gap.

Experience the interactive Multichannel News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8716951-forbes-smartadvisor-personalized-learning-paths-offer-roadmaps-to-dream-jobs/

By utilizing three information points—users’ personality, their current skills, and the skills necessary for the aspirational role they selected—Forbes SmartAdvisor creates a customized learning path. This Learning Path is personalized just for you. It identifies which self-paced course from Learn@Forbes’ library of over 700 courses, specializations, and Learning Pathways in marketing, human resources, leadership, finance and accounting, entrepreneurship, sales, communications, customer service, and project management make sense for the career you’re aspiring to.

How It Works
Forbes SmartAdvisor, which is free, and takes just three minutes to complete. First, you will complete a brief personality assessment. Second, you select the aspirational role you want, and third, you upload your resume (which is optional).

Using Holland’s Occupational Model and Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence model, in moments, you will receive your personalized and unbiased results. Insights on your learning style(s), working style(s), attributes, and skills are provided in your custom report, as is a learning pathway that maps the Learn@Forbes courses that will teach you the additional skills you need to get the job you want. Each course on your personalized learning path is self-paced. And, you can take as many as you would like at a time.

Next Steps
Forbes SmartAdvisor users can save their results for future reference. Those who would like to start their personalized learning path can do so with a free 14-day trial. Learn@Forbes subscriptions start at $12.50 per month. For additional information, visit learn.forbes.com.

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Artificial Intelligence

MRA Group Develops Lab Spaces to Keep Up with Cell and Gene Therapy Demand in Philadelphia Region

Vlad Poptamas

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In response to the growing cell and gene therapy demand in the Philadelphia region, MRA Group (MRA) is pressing onward to deliver by year end, two specialized multi-tenant life science lab buildings: a 65,000+/-SF lab building in the city of Philadelphia and a 72,000+/-SF lab building at Spring House Innovation Park, just outside the city.

“Through this pandemic, we continue to see strong demand from growing in-market life science prospects and out-of-market entrants looking for high-quality lab space,” said Phil Butler, Vice President of MRA Group. “Prospective tenants value speed-to-market, and given the regional demand, we believe pushing forward is the right thing to do.”

While construction slowed due to COVID-19 mandated shutdowns, MRA remains on track to welcome tenants this year to newly developed, state-of-the-art, customizable, hard-to-come-by lab space in the region. Now that Philadelphia is a nationally recognized biomedical cluster, or a Big4Bio region, prospective life science companies attracted to the area have encountered a shortage of available lab space; a concern MRA Group is working to correct.

“A recent study found 98% of commercial lab space is occupied,” said Sam Woods Thomas, Director of Life Sciences and Biotechnology for the City of Philadelphia. “We are excited by and proud of MRA Group’s efforts to broaden our Life Sciences real estate pipeline. Philadelphia scientists and academic institutions are pioneers in innovation, but they need more space to continue,” Thomas shared. “MRA Group’s development efforts are essential pieces to this sector’s continued growth in our city and region.”

Spring House Innovation Park’s new 72,000+/-SF rentable lab building is within the BioLaunch611+ Keystone Innovation Zone and sits on the sprawling, 133-acre, Lower Gwynedd, Montgomery County campus owned and developed by MRA Group.

“When we acquired Spring House Innovation Park in 2017, we sought to create a suburban life science destination,” said Mike Wojewodka, Senior Vice President of MRA Group. “To date, we have approximately 150,000 square feet leased to nearly two dozen tenants, of which nearly half are in the life science industry.  We’ve recently welcomed AnPac Bio, a leading international biotechnology company, while later this summer a gene therapy company, Exegenesis Bio, will be joining our roster which includes Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing. Based on current leasing activity, we anticipate the 72,000+/-SF lab building being fully leased and occupied by the end of the year, which is why MRA remains focused and bullish on developing these much needed lab spaces for our region.” Companies interested in Spring House Innovation Park, visit  www.springhouseinnovationpark.net.

Additionally, MRA Group, on behalf of a local university, is developing a 65,000+/-SF scientifically advanced, multi-tenant wet and dry lab and office building in Philadelphia.

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Artificial Intelligence

Auto Theft Recoveries Soar During COVID-19 Lockdown

Vlad Poptamas

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LoJack®, a brand of CalAmp (Nasdaq: CAMP) and a leader in stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) and innovative automotive services, today announced auto theft recoveries in the U.S. jumped 15 percent in April 2020 over April 2019 and continued to grow in May, outpacing last year’s number at this time by 11 percent. The report indicates an increase in auto theft recoveries, and highlights changes from the same period last year to date, demonstrating that while auto theft is on the rise during the COVID-19 lockdown, consumers must stay vigilant and protect their vehicles.

While essential workers travel to and from work and others have sheltered in place, auto thieves continue to operate during a global pandemic according to LoJack’s U.S. Recoveries Trends report. The report found that the U.S. — during the rising spread of COVID-19 — saw a big increase in stolen vehicle recovery across the country in April 2020 compared with April 2019. In May, the following states saw a significant increase in auto theft recoveries:

  • California increased 35 percent
  • Colorado increased 20 percent
  • Washington State increased 25 percent

With the Fourth of July holiday approaching, LoJack and CalAmp urge drivers to take these simple precautions:

  • Try to park your car in well-lit areas or within range of security cameras
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your vehicle
  • Double check to make sure your vehicle is locked
  • Don’t leave windows or sunroofs cracked and don’t leave your car running unattended
  • Be mindful of where you leave your keys or key fob; don’t leave a spare key in the vehicle

“It’s clear that auto thieves have been hard at work during the pandemic,” said Justin Schmid, senior vice president, general manager of LoJack Global. “The cost of losing a vehicle to theft during a time like this where many people have lost their jobs and income builds on already elevated stress levels and an experience that no one wants to face. It’s important to LoJack and CalAmp that we share the facts and equip Americans with solutions that protect their families and bring peace of mind during an already chaotic time.”

Stories across the U.S., including a nurse in Boston who had her car stolen in April from her driveway while between shifts at the local hospital, remind us that no one is immune. With COVID-19 continuing to impact communities, auto theft should be the least of one’s worries, including frontline workers. Between their telematics-based connected car app SureDrive™ and the traditional LoJack® System technology, LoJack offers a variety of solutions to protect vehicles and provide additional support for drivers, with features including:

  • Stolen Vehicle Location Assist: Provides trained U.S.-based agents to coordinate directly with law enforcement to help track and locate a stolen vehicle.
  • CrashBoxx: Sends instant crash alerts to loved ones with trained U.S.-based agents available to help provide timely assistance and facilitate emergency response
  • Tripwire Early Warning: Enables proactive monitoring and alerts consumers of unexpected car movement, such as when towed or stolen.
  • Virtual Boundaries: Allows consumers to set easily configurable boundaries that send notifications when loved ones arrive at their destination.
  • Destination Search: Displays integrated and searchable landmarks such as emergency rooms, gas stations, car washes, or other key destinations.
  • Where’s My Car: Delivers real-time location of your vehicle, whether driving or parked.
  • Speed Alerts: Enables parents to set a speed threshold and receive alerts if a teen driver or other loved one goes faster than they should

The LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System consistently delivers a 90% plus recovery rate on cars, trucks, and SUVs, and over $1 billion worth of LoJack-equipped vehicles have been recovered in the U.S. alone*.

“We are committed to supporting families with innovative solutions that protect their vehicles and loved ones, consistent with the proven LoJack brand promise of safety and security for the road ahead,” said Schmid.

*LoJack® unit activation is contingent upon the vehicle being located within LoJack’s SVRU coverage area that spans counties across 29 states throughout the U.S. and the District of Columbia. You may find LoJack’s coverage areas at www.lojack.com/coverage or by calling 1-800-4-LoJack. Used car values are best estimates derived from NADA Guide web services values and clean retail value from NADAGuides.com for the make, model and year of the vehicle in the month it was recovered.

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