From the Editor

2020 hasn’t exactly got off to the most stable start. The coronavirus has spread rapidly around the world, upending businesses across the world of technology and plunging the stock markets into chaos. But while the future may seem uncertain, there is huge potential ahead.

In this issue of Verdict Magazine, we’re not avoiding the c-word, but we are looking beyond it, to the technologies, trends and companies that are changing the game both in the coming year and far beyond.

First, however, let’s talk about Mobile World Congress, which in any other year would have been the biggest event on the mobile industry calendar and a must-attend conference for companies across the technology and telecoms space. But this year, it became one of the first global events to fall victim to the coronavirus.

In recognition of this upheaval, we’ve put together a special report on MWC, exploring how it came to be cancelled, what would and could have happened if it had gone ahead, and whether digital conferences are the way forward in a future where pandemics are expected to become more commonplace. This is a must-read not only for anyone interested in the telecoms industry, but anyone who attends major technology events, as the cancellation of MWC is likely to have repercussions far beyond the immediate field.

“Yes, the world is in flux, and technology is suffering, but there are bright and challenging times ahead.”

Away from the coronavirus, and there really is a lot to be both excited about in the world of technology. We explore the serious and growing potential of low-code; consider how blockchain is moving from buzzword to business benefit and check out how one project is widening access to the growing field of speech recognition. We also explore the market potential of urban air mobility, in the first of a new animated series on nascent technologies.

There’s also trends that warrant serious consideration. Subscription models have been the silent backbone of much of the new products in tech, and there are growing signs that they could become a replacement for ownership in the future. But there is also a quiet yet rather malignant downside to them. We take a look at their benefits and their problems.

Meanwhile, we hear from some truly inspiring people and companies. In the next iteration of our regular CTO talk series, we hear from supercomputer pioneer and CTO of NVIDIA Steve Oberlin, who offers insight that is both fascinating and at times highly unexpected.

Plus, we also speak to two startups with one thing in common: they are taking technologies that were once merely in the realm of sci-fi into reality. We hear how Square Mile Farms is bringing vertical farming to office environments, and how Karakuri is using robots to make hyper-personalisation work for food.

Yes, the world is in flux, and technology is suffering, but there are bright and challenging times ahead. So read on to find out more in the latest Verdict Magazine.

Lucy Ingham