December just wouldn’t be December without a Christmas special.  So, in a break from our usual format, we thought we’d follow suit and give Our Week in Digital a festive feel.  This week your favourite tech round-up has taken a nostalgic glance back over the last 12 months.

We’ve had lots of fun looking back.  There was certainly masses to choose from!

In fact, it was really difficult to just pick just a handful of highlights. Eventually, though, we did manage to narrow it down.

We hope you enjoy our choices!  

Algorithms, not AI.  Software to make hiring fairer

Back in October, it was reported that London’s progressive start-up Applied was awarded $2m in seed funding to help them realise their ambitions where fairer hiring is the goal.  In short, Applied’s software uses a host of algorithms which both scores candidates and anonymises applications.  This practice serves to strip away the potential for bias and presents numbered candidates in a random order.  It allows companies to ‘see’ applications from candidates they may have formally overlooked.

Here at Ignite Digital Talent, we are incredibly passionate about employing a fresh, diversity sensitive approach to recruitment.  This is the ethos that we have created, built and maintain. It is one of the fundamental pillars of our practice. We had to choose a story which underlines this mission…one which could help to make recruitment a fairer space.  

For the full story, hit this link to read all about it!

UK has pole position in the driverless car race.

We were excited to read in the autumn that the UK is winning the race when it comes to the development of the driverless car.  

You are able to read the full story here, but in short, it is not only the UK tech which is giving us the edge!  Next time you curse our potholed roads, swear as you have to sit at yet another red light or get caught in a blustery storm without an umbrella you may like to remember that it is just these adversities which are our secret weapons!  Experts have suggested that our bad roads and poor weather conditions are in fact what gives us the edge over our Silicon Valley rivals!

Oxford-based autonomous car developer Oxbotica are heading up the tech featured in this story.  They are of the belief that cars trained on our roads and in our varied weather conditions will be robust enough to be exported anywhere else in the world.

2019 looks set to hold many more exciting twists and turns in the autonomous car market.  We can’t wait to see what happens next!

Amazon opens Fashion Pop-Up

2018 has been somewhat of an ‘annus horribilis’ for bricks and mortar high street retailers.  House of Fraser, Toys R Us and Coast are just a few household names who have fallen victim to the rise of eCommerce and our love of online shopping.

However, flipping this 180 degrees was Amazon.  In late October, Amazon trialled a pop-up fashion boutique on London’s Baker Street. The first of its kind in Europe.  Looking forward, they have said “never say never” to physical fashion stores and as we know they are always plotting to monopolise the next big thing.  

Amazon always play their cards close to their chest, so to date we are unsure what their plans for 2019 will hold.  What we do know however is that they rarely put a foot wrong when it comes to retail strategy. They ceratinly have the know-how and the deep pockets to research and fund projects…not to mention the infrastructure and logistic support!

Who knows what next year holds for the retail giants?

It’s Tough at the Top

Our next pick is not so much a story, but a saga!  2018 has seen a long, drawn-out race between the big guns as to who will become the worlds most valuable company.  

Back in August, Apple became the world’s first trillion dollar public company beating Amazon to the landmark valuation as it’s shares hit just over $205.  

Then in a November edition of Our week in Digital, less than 6 months later we reported on the rise of Microsoft.   Microsoft had made a storming comeback and had taken over Apple.   This was a long time coming for the software giants who lost their crown in the wake of the dot-com crash.

The battle to be the best is hard to win, but even harder to maintain.  Will Microsoft retain the crown in 2019, or will they have to be content with silver or bronze? One thing’s for sure, the race for gold will be bloody and hard fought!

Watch this space…we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop next year!

IBM launch mind-reading coffee drones

What has got you through those mid-morning slumps 2018 has thrown your way?  Maybe it was your 11 o’clock coffee break. Whether you enjoy a latte, cappuccino or flat white, IBM has got you covered.  

At Ignite Digital HQ we are big coffee enthusiasts so back in the summer we were bouncing up and down in caffeine induced state of excitement!  In an August edition of Our Week in Digital, we were able to relay that the great minds at IBM have filed a patent for an army of coffee bearing drones.  These futuristic baristas would fly around large office complexes, identifying those workers who are displaying signs of needing a caffeine fix!

Looking forward into 2019, this could revolutionise the age-old office debate about whose turn it is to put the kettle on!

Gitlab valued at over $1billion

We couldn’t hazard a guess at how many developers our team of recruiters have placed over the years! Needless to say…it’s a lot. So, when Our Week in Digital was able to report in in September that online Git – repository managers, GitLab had secured a new series D funding that took their valuation to over $1 billion we were thrilled.  

This latest round was worth $100million, and it seems like 2019 holds exciting plans for this investment. The plan is to use the funding to revolutionise the whole DevOps lifecycle; tackling everything from planning to monitoring.

Repositories such as GitLab are vital for the developer community to learn from each other and share projects.  Any improvements that can be made by strengthening the DevOps lifecycle can only be welcomed.

Starship Technologies launch world’s first robot delivery service.

How were your online Christmas orders delivered this year?  A courier in a van maybe, or even Santa and his elves??? Or maybe, if you happen to live in Milton Keynes it was a little more exciting!  

An edition of Our Week in Digital we published early in November highlighted the launch of what was the world’s first commercial rollout of autonomous, on the ground package delivery.   Start-up Starship Technologies was to provide the vehicles and Milton Keynes was to be the location. Hundreds of robots from Starship were to be deployed, delivering packages straight to consumers’ front doors.

Although the service was pioneered in the Buckinghamshire town, the plan was to bring the scheme to the Bay area of the United States before the end of this year.  

Up until this point, only a few locations around the globe have enjoyed food delivered by robots.  It seems that developments from organisations such as Starship look set to remedy this in 2019. Indeed, it could be argued that substituting human couriers for robots is the next step in company growth.  It’s a truly revolutionary service, and one we would love to see hitting the streets of Bristol soon!

So, these robots bring this final instalment of Our Week in Digital to a close.  We hope you have enjoyed the little round-up of Our Year in Digital!

2018 has left an exciting legacy, and there is a lot to look forward to in 2019.

We are really looking forward to trawling through all the news next year, bringing you all the highlights from the dynamic and ever-changing tech and digital world.

In the meantime, however, Tony, Nicola, Danny, Peter, Yusuf, Alex, Becky and Stefan wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

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