All posts by Bradley

About Bradley

Head of Innovation at Endava, although all the views in this blog are purely mine and not necessarily those of Endava.

A year in lockdown

Jeff Bezos with parcels
During lockdown, we’ve ordered so much from Amazon that I sometimes expect Jeff Bezos to personally deliver a parcel to thank us

12 March 2020 was the last time I worked outside my home. Except for a couple of days in the Endava office in October/ November (more on that later), I’ve been working from home since.

Sometimes it’s been too easy to mentally distance ourselves from the reason why we’re in lockdown. Personally, it feels that each time I’ve got into the new rhythm of working from home, I’ve had a dreadful phone call that someone I know has been moved to a ventilator in hospital or passed away.

Here are some of the highs and lows of the last year. Continue reading A year in lockdown

Book review: Human Kind

Rather than a dystopian future, in the UK were clapped in the street during Coronavirus. Source: Damien Walmsley on Flickr

When my children were younger, if they heard bad news I would reassure them that there are many more good people in the world than bad people. This is one of the reasons we have so few police compared to the population.

Human Kind, written by Rutger Bregman in Dutch and then translated to English, takes this view a few steps further.

The book explains, in lavish and often repetitive detail, how we are naturally a good-natured species, and it’s the media that makes everything sound bad.

Although we are good natured in our actions, it seems there’s a part of our brain that is attracted to and remembers bad news over good news.

Newspaper and news website headlines are an obvious example. Continue reading Book review: Human Kind

Book review: Radical Uncertainty

How did NASA send space probe Messenger on a successful space mission that took 6.5 years just to arrive, yet we can’t predict traffic in an hour’s time?

The fact this book was finished before Coronavirus was astonishing timing because the virus gave everyone in the world this very topic: radical uncertainty.

Radical Uncertainty was written by John Kay, a professor and director of several public companies, and Mervin King, the governor of the Bank of England from 2003 to 2013 – including the 2008/9 financial crisis.

I absolutely loved this book. Whilst writing this review I flicked through the book and ended up reading several pages again.

The book’s premise is simple: how can NASA send probes into space, due to arrive at their destinations several years in the future, and everything goes according to perfect plan, arriving at a specific point in space right on the predicted time; whilst we fail to predict tomorrow’s stock price or today’s traffic? The answer is that when humans are involved, we experience radical uncertainty. Continue reading Book review: Radical Uncertainty

2021 Technology & Business Predictions

Here are my technology & business predictions for 2021. I try to predict trends that are outside the mainstream, and with high expectations. It seems to get harder every year, and compiling this list for 2021 was by far the hardest yet.

Every year I score my own previous year’s predictions– see how my technology predictions fared in 2020 and work backwards.

Please share your feedback and thoughts on these predictions, either here, on LinkedIn or Twitter. I wish you a safe, healthy and prosperous 2021.

1. Microsoft Teams becomes the next operating system

The XBox was designed as a media device as well as a games console – even if it kept watching you all the time

Like them or loathe them, Microsoft manages to keep providing products for mass appeal during the the various stages of our digital lives. Microsoft keeps transforming these individual products into full platforms.

Examples include Xbox which wasn’t designed just a games console, it’s was also a set top box with full media capabilities; Internet Explorer (now Edge) isn’t just for browsing – it became so powerful for anything you browsed; Dynamics has turned from a straightforward CRM tool into an ERP platform; and now Teams has moved from a new version of Skype into our one-stop business productivity & communication platform.

Over the next year we’ll see Microsoft Teams appear as a consumer platform as well as a business tool. We’ll see more applications join the Teams platform, which will mean we’ll be able to do our banking, email, or pretty much anything inside of Teams. Continue reading 2021 Technology & Business Predictions

Review of my 2020 Technology Trends and Predictions

Many websites and blogs publish their predictions for the year ahead. Not many of them review their predictions at the end of the year though. Even fewer score their previous set of predictions.

It would have been difficult to forecast what happened this year. But let’s see how those 2020 predictions fared in the oddest of years.

1. Alerts from voice assistants

I said that “At the end of 2019, the Google Home device in our kitchen started answers requests with more suggestions of other skills.

Continue reading Review of my 2020 Technology Trends and Predictions

One way to liven up your running/ cycling during lockdown (beware, it’s addictive)

I really enjoy running but keeping all my running so localised during lockdown can be monotonous.

Here’s one answer: run every street, or as the founder called it, every single street.

The aim is simple – try and run all the streets in your local area, town or city. Instead of running you could skateboard or cycle the routes, or even walk them (but that would take a very long time). Continue reading One way to liven up your running/ cycling during lockdown (beware, it’s addictive)

Have you ever had a text message warning from your bank about a recent transaction?

Last week my wife told me she’d received this message from our bank:

Have you ever had a text message warning from your bank about a transaction?

Mrs H then replied with ‘N’, following the instructions.

A few minutes’ later her phone rang, and we put it on loudspeaker on my desk. Continue reading Have you ever had a text message warning from your bank about a recent transaction?

Would you click on phishing emails like these?

Google Unsafe websites detected per week April 2020
The number of unsafe websites detected per week has increased sharply. Source: Google

There has been an increase in scam/ phishing emails recently. And the biggest challenge is that they are looking increasingly genuine.

Someone in my immediately family clicked on one of the text messages, and we ended up having to change our debit cards.

Here are some that I’ve received in the last couple of weeks.

Stay alert for the following signs.

Creating an emotional reaction

This is the hardest to avoid. When I received the Thrifty phishing email below my immediate response was “I can’t believe I have to pay an overage for a car I rented last Summer“. I was almost tempted. The O2 text message below managed to convince my close family member because we were on holiday at the time and they thought “I don’t want my mobile to be disconnected while I’m away“. These emotional reactions cause us to stop thinking and start clicking.

Here’s how phishing emails create that emotional reaction.

Urgency

Very few companies need an immediate payment. The phrases “Don’t miss out!” and “valid until...” create urgency, which creates the emotional reaction in the point above.

Too good to be true

As always, if it’s too good to be true, it isn’t. This too, creates an emotional reaction for you to stop thinking and start clicking on those phishing emails.

Links in phishing emails

Banks and government agencies usually make a point of not including any links in their email and directing people to their official website. They recommend opening a web browser and making you typing in their web address, not clicking on a link. In the scams below:

  • The Thrifty email links go to a website that is clearly not Thrifty’s
  • The O2 text message is a NOT an O2 website, it is a subdomain made to look like the real O2 site.
  • The Argos link is a shortened bit.ly address.

Always be super, super careful about checking links because there are ways for companies to make a link look genuine to the naked eye.

Please be careful out there!

Recent examples of phishing emails

Phishing email example from Thrifty car rental
A fake Thrifty car rental email. Beware!!

 

Phishing email example from O2 billing
Fake O2 billing text message. Beware!

 

 

Phishing email example from Argos
A fake Argos text message – don’t click on it. Beware!

Life in December 2021

Amazon movers and shakers April 2020
Home video camera sales have increased over 18,500% this month. Why?? And what will happen in December 2021?

Every year I write an article to predict technology changes in the coming year. The article is one of the most read pages of this blog.

Thanks to Jonathan who came up with an idea to write an updated version due to the Coronavirus situation.

When thinking about and writing these types of articles, there are two easy traps:

  1. We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten”. Well said Bill Gates.
  2. When thinking of the future, we base it on history. No one (except Bill Gates again) would have factored in Coronavirus when planning 2020. Richard Watson, a futurist author who I’ve mentioned several times on this site, calls these unthinkable unknowns “critical uncertainties”. In February 2020 we thought 2020 would be a great year, with a great economy and record UK employment. In April 2020 it’s easy to fall into the trap of 2020 & 21 being REALLY bad years.

So here goes…

Bob. In December 2021.

Bob’s alarm clock woke him up for work.

“Good morning Bob, it’s Friday 10th December 2021 and this is your morning briefing”.

This new, 5am alarm was still taking some getting used to.

“Here’s your appointments for today” his alarm continued.

“OK Google…” He said loudly, trying to not to wake up his wife. “…shut up.” Continue reading Life in December 2021

Recovering from Coronavirus

I am recovering from Coronavirus, and it’s horrible.

I’ve written this article because when I started feeling better, I struggled to find out how other people were coping and recovering from it. Some background – I am male, 46 years old, usually very active (more than 200 minutes a week of intensive exercise), BMI of 25, no underlying medical conditions.

Friday

Coronavirus consultation over video call
Speaking to the NHS 111 consultant on day three.

My first symptoms were on Friday 3rd April. Until then I had been working from home and exercising at least once a day on Zwift or going for a run outside.

That Friday I worked in the morning and felt fine. At lunchtime I made a sandwich. I felt tired so I brought my sandwich into the living room. I don’t think I’ve ever done this before – I always eat at my desk or in the kitchen. But I just wanted to lie down. My wife suggested I go upstairs so I let some colleagues know that I was feeling tired and went to bed.

I woke up the next morning feeling exhausted. My eyes hurt when I moved them, and although I was drinking water, I didn’t want anything to eat. I ended up not eating anything for about 48 hours. During that time, I simply lay in bed sleeping.

Continue reading Recovering from Coronavirus