Monthly digest: October's tech news

We finally did it. We tried to hold off as long as we could. There was hesitation. There was denial. There were tears. And no matter how inevitable it always is, it's never easy. We pressed the 🔆 button on the Kyan Towers air conditioning this week. October's tech news — here it comes.

Monzo seem to be hogging the headlines lately, and rightly so. £85m in additional funding, making them a UK tech unicorn with a valuation of over £1bn. Across Europe, officials are discussing new legislation that would mean tech companies pay tax on revenue by region rather than on profits. Noticed more press around Bitcoin lately? (Is that even possible?) That's because it turned 10 this week — Vice's Motherboard delve deep into blockchain and talk to some influential people who know some fairly big words.

The front pages...


Rails news, and a little something on JS too

Rails 6 will see a brand new framework called Action Text. What is it? Many things. In DHH's words "It’s an integration between the Trix editor, Active Storage-backed file and image processing, and a text-processing flow that ties it all together." Here's a short video to show how it works. Also mentioned in the update... we may see a Rails 6 beta as soon as early 2019.

Reports indicate that the Node.js and JS foundations are considering a coalition. After feedback from the community, the two foundations will consider whether the merge takes place. And community is the word here — with both groups striving for greater collaboration across the ecosystem. "Joining forces will not change the technical independence or autonomy for Node.js or any of the 28 JS Foundation projects such as Appium, ESLint, or jQuery. JavaScript is a versatile programming language that has expanded far beyond its role as a backbone of the web, entering new environments such as IoT, native apps, DevOps, and protocols."  


Hiyacar aim higher with £5m in additional funding

Hiyacar are a London-based car sharing startup founded in 2013. If you own a car but don't use it often, you can hire it out for a few days or even months. Think Airbnb for cars. With the average British car being driven les than 5% of their lifetime, Hiyacar have tapped into an interesting little niche, and that's turned the head of Japanese investor Itochu, who bought Kwik Fit in 2011 for a rubber burning £637m. Itochu's buy-in means that Hiyacar can seamlessly work with Kwik Fit to service and maintain cars rented out through the service. Uber predict a fall in car ownership in the coming years (with autonomous vehicles being the obvious replacement), but Hiyacar founder Graeme Risby says that car sharing has a firm place in the future of personal travel.


Numerous big names continue to embrace opening banking with a wave of new services

It's a triple whammy this month; Lloyds have allowed Iwoca (a short-term loan company for business) to securely connect their services so that Iwoca can retrieve customers' transaction history. IBM used Australian finance fair Sibos to introduce their new open banking platform, which will bridge the gap between legacy systems and hot new API setups, whilst keeping an eye on requirements such a PSD2 throughout the process. And Nationwide are investing £3m into a 'Open Banking for Good' challenge — the development of apps to help improve the lives of financially squeezed UK households. One in four homes (or 13m people) are saddled with debt or money problems and Nationwide believe open banking is a great opportunity to help.

"The future of banking isn’t just about modernisation or churning out apps. It’s about re-thinking banking models to create new approaches that are open, intelligent and agile. The IBM Open Banking Platform provides a risk-managed path to digital transformation, so you can achieve fast time to market and stay ahead of regulatory requirements."

— Tom Eck, CTO at IBM


London's Northwick Park Hospital pilots 'Uber for A&E staff'.

Northwick's emergency department are trailing an app that allows patients to hail a porter using their own mobile phone. The new technology replaces the pre-existing procedure of filling out a two-page form and is instantaneousStaff can also real-time updates on patients' locations (plus additional medical info) either on their handheld devices or 'iPad stations' situated throughout the hospital. The trial will run for one month with more than 400 clinical staff and 60 porters having access to the app. The ultimate goal of the technology is to reduce the amount of waiting time and assist in patient flow throughout the hospital network. If successful, the app may be rolled out across Ealing and Central Middlesex hospitals.


'Suggested Changes' is GitHub's latest and greatest feature

Like Ronseal, it does exactly what it says on the tin in the title. When collaborating on repositories with active pull requests, reviewers can take a look at that request and suggest changes, leave feedback or add improvements as a comment. Authors can accept with one click. Comments themselves are not a new feature, but what is new here is being able to write the suggested change in code format and the author being able to implement it without the need of any copy and pasting or other acrobatics. It's currently in beta but is available to Developer and Business Cloud plans.


And in case you missed it...

We were incredibly proud to bring home the 'Rebrand of the Year' trophy from the Wirehive 100 Awards, whilst our CEO Laurent celebrated the runner-up position in the Agency Leader category. We held our first digital health Campus event at our home-from-home, Eight Club in Bank — read all about it right here. Olly, our Head of Partnerships, imagined a world where car leasing was entirely disrupted and what that may look like. And I kicked off the first in our Tech Tales series with an interview with Megan Caywood, CPO of Starling Bank.

That's your lot. We're off to squeeze in some Red Dead. 🏹