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Building a network of smart cities in ASEAN

Smart cities, while not dominating discussions at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Singapore earlier this month, was nevertheless talked about. Singapore, which chairs ASEAN for 2018 under the theme of innovation and resilience has been a strong advocate of a network of ASEAN smart cities to be formed as part of its chairmanship goals.

“The Ministers agreed on the need for ASEAN Member States to make use of innovation and technology to improve the lives of our people. In this regard, the Ministers expressed their support for Singapore’s proposal to create an ASEAN Smart Cities Network,” Singapore Foreign Minister, Vivien Balakrishnan said in his post-retreat statement.

Landscape of smart cities in the region

What makes a city smart?

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), what constitutes a smart city is vague. However, it is commonly held that smart cities represent a “drive for efficiency.” The rapid speed of urbanisation has led governments to think how to utilise resources more efficiently as citizen demand more of everything. Hence, they turn to more sustainable approaches to development, resulting in the eventual birth of smart cities.

So far, leading the smart city pack are Singapore and Malaysia. Under the Smart Nation initiative, Singapore aims to harness the use of digital and smart technologies to become a more economically competitive and liveable global city. The Smart Nation plan outlines several key enablers like an e-payment gateway, smart urban mobility and a national digital identification system which would help it fulfil its ambitions.

Besides that, the government has been paying emphasis on incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) technology into the daily lives of its citizens. It has also bundled together government services for delivery via an e-platform as part of its digitalisation of the government initiative. To bolster such programs, the government relies heavily on big data analytics to understand its citizens better and to fine tune these projects so that they better serve their constituents.

Malaysia, on the other hand, has turned to artificial intelligence to solve its urban congestion woes and to herald a new era of smart city development in the country. In a joint effort with Chinese tech giant, Alibaba, the country launched the Malaysia City Brain project in January 2018.

The project will essentially give authorities “eyes in the sky” as they leverage on Alibaba’s data mining and video and image recognition capabilities to track and optimise traffic flows. It is scheduled to be first launched in the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.

In the first phase of the project, data will be integrated from over 500 traffic surveillance cameras which will provide real time tracking and analysis of traffic patterns for authorities to use in order to improve traffic efficiency. The next phase will focus on integrating more data from different sources. Leveraging on Malaysia City Brain’s open platform concept, telecommunications companies and even ride hailing firms can feed their own data to the system which will only make it even more intelligent.

Smart city potential in ASEAN

The remainder ASEAN countries are not to be left behind in the smart city race. Indonesia, which aims to be the largest digital economy in the region is working to develop Jakarta into a smart city. Among the initiatives launched is the Jakarta One Card, a rubbish truck tracker and a smart street lighting system.

Thailand, in collaboration with tech giants Dell and Intel are combatting the problem of an ageing population via the Saensuk Smart City project. The country has a prevailing ageing demography and through innovations in healthcare is looking to derive solutions from this pilot venture.

Davao City in the Philippines alongside prominent tech player, IBM has implemented IBM’s Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC) to support public safety and security. It allows real time monitoring of city operations which improves the efficiency of emergency response.

The coastal town of Danang in Vietnam hopes to be the country’s inaugural smart city by 2025. It is currently in talks with IBM to leverage on the IBM Smarter Cities initiative. Areas of cooperation include the development of smart city infrastructure, efficient waste management and air quality control.

ASEAN is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, and with such rapid urbanisation, smart city solutions are a welcome proposition. Singapore, under its chairmanship of ASEAN has identified this immense potential. This could very well translate to ASEAN leading the smart city charge into the future.

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Suncor Gears Up To Roll Out Autonomous Vehicles, Cut Jobs

The future of autonomous driving has arrived in the form of 440-ton capacity Komatsu ore-hauling trucks at Suncor Energy’s oil sands mines in northern Alberta.

The company says the behemoths are safer and more efficient; however, the union fears the loss of up to 500 jobs with more to come as other oil sands mines copy Canada’s biggest integrated oil and gas company.

Ramanan Krishnamoorti, vice chancellor for research and technology transfer at the University of Houston, says automation is already transforming the oil and gas industry.

“There are three big trends that we are seeing in all of energy whether it is solar, whether it is battery storage, whether it is oil and gas,” Krishnamoorti said during an interview. These include digitalization, big data/analytics and automation. “Those three trends seem to have really picked up pace over the last five years in a way I don’t think anyone anticipated.”

Suncor began experimenting with autonomous driving technology for huge dump trucks four years ago. In late January the company announced the test was a success and 150 autonomous trucks would be introduced over the next six years, starting with its North Steepbank mine. The mine contains 659 million recoverable barrels of bitumen and is located 25 km north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.

Greater efficiency that leads to lower costs is generally a big driver of new technology adoption and the autonomous trucks don’t stop for restroom breaks or lunch, according to Suncor spokesperson Erin Rees. “The trucks run 24/7 and that means that they only stop for maintenance or to refuel, so that will result in a lower operating cost,” she said during an interview. “We don’t have specifics on it right now but I think the timeline speaks for itself there in terms of operating efficiency and running 24/7.”

Unifor’s Ken Smith, whose union represents the drivers, thinks the autonomous trucks are overrated and that the test was not a fair apples-to-apples comparison. For starters, he says, the driverless trucks require smooth surfaces and well maintained roads, while the regular trucks work on less than ideal roads.

“We’re not on an equal footing with these trucks right now. They’re driving on what I would consider tabletop roads where the rest of the mines are slugging through dips and dives,” Smith said during an interview.

Trucks drive along a pre-defined route, while other vehicles that enter the area are equipped with GPS location technology and are monitored from a control center.

“The trucks will react if there’s an obstacle in the way, but everything that enters the mine area is tracked and monitored and controlled,” Rees said. They are very reliable and predictable in how they operate.”

The company began evaluating autonomous trucks in 2013, and since 2015 every new truck has come equipped with autonomous capability, getting ready for the day when the fleet would be ready to drive itself.

Rees says increased safety is the principal reason Suncor is adopting the new trucks. While she didn’t have testing data available, the company is confident driverless trucks will lead to fewer accidents. “Autonomous haulage systems reduce interaction between people and equipment, which decreases incident rates and injury potential—helping us ensure everyone goes home safely at the end of every day,” Suncor COO Mark Little said in a press release.

Carol Howes of Energy Safety Canada says industry is increasingly concerned with “process safety,” which is removing workers from mechanical and machine-driven processes where they can be injured. “It’s not the human element as much as it is the [danger posed by the] actual mechanisms,” she said. “There’s definitely an increased focus on safety in the industry, and automation will increase the safety activities in that way.”

Gil Mcgowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, says the Canadian labor movement supports greater safety, but wonders whether eliminating jobs is the way to reach that goal. “There are all sorts of things you can do with automation and remote sensing,” Mcgowan said. “But at the end of the day, you can’t have really safe workplaces without the human element.”

Smith estimates that his union has between 400 and 500 members driving the trucks, but only 77 will remain and they will all be temporary workers, a contentious issue in the oil sands. “They started hiring these people two years ago so that when the reductions happened, they wouldn’t have to pay severances and they wouldn’t have pension or seniority or recall issues,” Smith said.

Drivers who lost their job will not be let go, but will be retrained to operate other heavy equipment at the mine, according to Rees. “Training programs are being designed to support the transition to the new technology, and we’re working with the union on strategies to make sure that we can minimize that impact to employees as much as we can.”

Smith disagrees. “We found out about the final job cuts at the same time as the press release went out. There has not been one solitary discussion,” he said. “That [press release] is full of misinformation.

Unifor worries that more layoffs could inflict more damage on the local economy. “Fort McMurray is not a retirement town; most people sell their homes and move on,” said Smith. “Home prices are down probably between 30% [and] 40% already. With these layoffs I think the bottom will completely fall out of that market. It’s the workers and the community that are going to suffer for this one.”

Suncor’s Little added, “To be the very first company to test these systems and implement them at a commercial scale in our oil sands mining operations speaks to our long history of embracing and implementing game-changing technologies. It’s simply part of our DNA.”

With more automated ore-hauling trucks likely to arrive at other oil sands mines over the next five to 10 years and automation of other tasks to reduce costs and improve safety on the horizon, local workers will be looking over their shoulders at more “game-changing technologies” on the way.

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Trelleborg Paper Focuses on Big Data for Maritime Systems

Trelleborg’s marine systems operation has released a new whitepaper that brings together the latest news and thinking on big data in the maritime sector.

The whitepaper, ‘The Use of Big Data in the Maritime Industry’, explores how the maritime industry can better understand the opportunities that big data offers, both now and in the longer term.

It also highlights how and where these technologies are being implemented and the key application areas that will deliver future operational efficiencies for ports and terminals.

The marine operation of the Trelleborg Offshore & Construction business area manufactures and installs bespoke fender systems, docking and mooring equipment, oil and gas transfer technology and vessel efficiency technology for marine environments globally.

The whitepaper also looks at the ‘SmartPort’ technology platform, Trelleborg’s own interface, which connects port operations, allowing users to analyze asset performance and apply data insights, to improve day-to-day decision making for optimized operations.

It seeks to improve safety, reduce costs, as well as lead to greater sustainability and increased revenue return.

View solutions from Trelleborg Marine Systems

Richard Hepworth, President, Trelleborg’s marine systems operation, said: “Big data has the potential to transform our industry.

“Through application and insights, big data is creating new opportunities to drive innovation and deliver tangible operational efficiencies across the shipping world.

“But the collection of information alone is not enough.

“It is the analysis of this data and the actionable insights it provides that will transform and increase the efficiency of day-to-day operations across the shipping industry in years to come.

“This is a time of huge change for our industry.

“The advancement of automation, and the exponential rise in data it brings, mean disruption on a scale that ‘shipping’ has never seen before.

“Those that invest now in the architecture that empowers collaboration between smart assets, will be best equipped to face the future.”

Hepworth will be speaking about big data at Port Technology’s Container Terminal Automation Conference in London during March 2018:

Automation and Optimisation , Automated Decision Making, Digitalisation, Process Automation, Robotisation, Cargo Volumes and Throughput, Container Handling, Containers, Finance, Global Economy/Trade, Politics, Port Governance, Ports, Security and Logistics, Shipping

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DiDi partners with SoftBank in Japan for platform services for taxi industry, launches open new …

Didi
A key element in DiDi’s strategy is building a smart transportation ecosystem to capture future opportunities, with global expansion through alliances with regional partners. Source: DiDi. Click to enlarge.

From its founding as a taxi-hailing business, DiDi has been building up a world-leading one-stop transportation platform since 2012. The company continues to apply its big data capabilities to increase taxi drivers’ work efficiency and income. With 2 million taxi drivers connected to the app, DiDi is now the world’s leading online platform for taxi-hailing. In 2017, taxi drivers completed 1.1 billion rides on DiDi. DiDi is also working closely with taxi companies to help them build intelligent IT and driver management systems. Currently DiDi has established partnerships with about 500 taxi operators in China.

Separately, in Beijing, DiDi launched its car-sharing platform. DiDi is partnering with automakers, new energy transportation infrastructure operators and after-sales service providers to build an open new energy car-sharing system. The network of strategic partners includes 12 top automakers including BAIC BJEV, BYD, Chang’an Automobile Group, Chery Automobile Group, Dongfeng Passenger Vehicle, First Auto Works, Geely Auto, Hawtai Motor, JAC Motors, KIA Motors, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, and Zotye Auto.

According to a study by GM Insights, the global car-sharing market is expected to grow 34% annually from 2017 to 2024, while the annual growth rate in China will exceed 40%. The first generation of large-scale, new energy car-sharing platforms are expected to materialize in core emerging countries such as China.

DiDi hopes to leverage on its AI strengths and national network to empower the entire automotive industry chain. The company’s data analytics capabilities enable smarter network management based on dynamic understanding of user distribution and attributes. Under the partnership, DiDi will open its platform to automakers’ own sharing services. The platform will introduce to individuals and corporate partners not only diversified models from automakers, but also auto-related finance and insurance services.

In addition to automakers, DiDi will also work closely with other car-sharing services, rental companies, infrastructure operators and after-sales service providers. As of August 2017, DiDi—which acquired Uber China in 2016—had built investment and technology partnerships with seven leading rideshare companies of the world, including Lyft, Grab, Ola, Uber, 99, Taxify and Careem.

DiDi believes the new program will reduce cost and enhance efficiency for the entire industry chain by integrating resources from cars, capital, parking spaces, charging points and refueling stations, to auto-maintenance and repair services in a new, open ecosystem of collaboration.

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Navy officer: ‘We would have preferred Egypt did not have German submarines’

A senior Israeli Navy officer commented at a military correspondents’ briefing Monday on the German submarines Israel purchased from German firm ThyssenKrupp, which stand at the heart of a criminal investigation into both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several of his confidants.

It marked the first time a senior officer spoke on the matter. In fact, the briefing was called to discuss the commencement of construction in Germany on the new Sa’ar 6-class corvettes, which are slated to arrive at the start of the next decade and are intended to defend Israel’s natural gas offshore rigs.

The officer spoke frankly on the Navy’s position, at least as it pertained to the deal reached between Germany and Israel on the sale of advanced submarines, as part of which Israel irregularly waived an exclusivity clause, thereby allowing ThyssenKrupp to sell four similar submarine to Egypt—according to publications not confirmed by the Navy.

The officer said the Navy's position was that all of the submarines procured from ThyssenKrupp were necessary (Photo: Reuters)

The officer said the Navy’s position was that all of the submarines procured from ThyssenKrupp were necessary (Photo: Reuters)

“Despite the fact Egypt is not part of the circle of threats Israel faces,” the officer said, “I would have preferred they did not have German submarines similar in capabilities to ours, as they comprise a significant improvement.”

The officer also stressed that while the Egyptian army had indeed been building up its force in the past decade, it was not considered a direct threat to Israel.

Yedioth Ahronoth uncovered this past July that in 2015 President Reuven Rivlin communicated the Israeli defense establishment’s concern to Germany over ThyssenKrupp’s intentions to sell submarines to Egypt.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded to Rivlin’s reservations by noting that Israel had already authorized the deal with Egypt to move forward—without the defense establishment or the president being made aware of the fact.

In a different meeting, German officials claimed that the person who authorized the exclusivity clause’s waiver was attorney Yitzhak Molcho, former envoy on diplomatic matters to Prime Minister Netanyahu who may soon face indictment for his part in the submarine affair—involving alleged impropriety by senior Israeli officials in the submarines’ procurement.

Molcho, PM Netanyahu's confidant, may face indictment for his role in the submarine affair (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

Molcho, PM Netanyahu’s confidant, may face indictment for his role in the submarine affair (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

Responding to a question on the number of submarines Israel needed, the officer—the person most knowledgeable on the matter—said, “The minimal number is five and the optimal number is six.”

He further elaborated the optimal number of six submarines would allow five submarines to be active in operations at any given time, while one underwent maintenance work.

In any event, the officer stressed, “no one intended for us to have nine submarines”—giving credence to reports that the Navy intended to procure three submarines to gradually phase out of service three existing subs, rather than expand their cadre.

“The (submarine probe) affair is present and we aren’t ignoring it,” the officer added. “We’re speaking to our people about it, but have no active role. The only question we ask ourselves is whether the submersibles are truly needed and whether they fit our operational needs. The answer is unequivocally yes.”

“The affair has an impact (on the Navy) by its mere existence, but we continue to carry out our duties with enthusiasm,” the officer further clarified.

Planning work on the new submarines was back underway with ThyssenKrupp, the officer said (Photo: AFP)

Planning work on the new submarines was back underway with ThyssenKrupp, the officer said (Photo: AFP)

On the advancement of the submarines’ procurement, the officer said the Navy had resumed planning work on the three new subs with ThyssenKrupp’s shipyards, following the German corporation’s announcement that the deal was suspended due to the suspicions aroused relating to its completion.

Replying to a question regarding former MK Erel Margalit’s claims that the submarines’ blueprints were stolen in a cyber attack on ThyssenKrupp, the officer said he was unfamiliar with such an occurrence.

On the topic for which the press originally convened—the Sa’ar 6-class corvettes—the officer divulged that four such defensive ships were purchased, along with dozens of interception missiles belonging to the naval Iron Dome system.

Each ship will also be able carry a payload of precision-targeted offensive missiles with ranges of dozens of kilometers, as well as electronic and cyber warfare systems and an enormous radar dish.

The first ship, slated to arrive in 2020, will patrol the waters around Israel’s gas rigs during routine operations. In emergencies, however, a ship will be stationed near each rig to defend them against Hezbollah’s own precision-targeted missiles.

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Cyberwarfare is taking to the skies, aboard drones

Uber uses a master algorithm to determine how much money its drivers make—and women are ending up with less.

The gap: In a study released today of over 1.8 million drivers on the platform, women were found to earn $1.24 per hour less than men. Women also earned $130 less per week on average, in part because they tend to drive fewer hours.

The cause: The study, which was carried out by researchers at Stanford and Uber and has not undergone peer review, attributed the difference in pay to fact that male Uber drivers:

—Are more likely to drive in higher-paying locations

—Drive faster

—Take on trips with shorter distances to the rider

—Chose to drive longer trips

All of these are variables in the formula Uber uses to calculate driver wages, and the study showed they all tilted in men’s favor (the study claims men earn $21.28 an hour, on average). Women also have higher turnover on the platform, and more experienced drivers tend to get higher pay.

Though it wasn’t covered in the study, one reason women may avoid higher-paying areas is that they don’t feel safe—they may opt not to drive late at night in certain places, for instance, or stay away from neighborhoods that are considered dangerous.

Closing the gap: The study shows there’s a persistent disparity in pay by gender, and Uber may have a hard time fixing it. Stanford economist Rebecca Diamond, one of the paper’s coauthors, says the researchers considered recommending taking speed out of the equation, for example. But as she says, “both riders and drivers would prefer to arrive at the destination sooner.”

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When Reconnecting to Disconnected Published Desktop, Session Hangs on the “Welcome” Screen For a Few Minutes

DisableGPCalculation, to avoid the GPO recalculation during the re-connections and give the user the best possible experience:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARECitrixReconnect

Name: DisableGPCalculation

Type: REG_DWORD

Data: 1

Note: For the first time this registry key was intrudced to XenApp 6.5 Hotfix Rollup Pack 2 (http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX136248) . Since then, it has been added to all the Hotfix Rollup Packs, for XA 6, 6.5 and in the XA/XD 7.X.

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NTU to conduct trials for Singapore’s first electric bicycle-sharing service

Furthering its Smart Campus initiative, NanyangTechnological University, Singapore (NTU) announcedthat it will conduct trials for Singapore’s first electric bicycle-sharingservice, in collaboration with Free2Move – French automobile giant, GroupePSA’s mobility brand.

NTU, Groupe PSA’s Business Lab and Free2Move brand arejointly heading up the pilot project.

The “Free2Move Bikesharing” service will have 20 PEUGEOTelectric bikes for use around NTU’s campus. The e-bikes have a 400 watt-hour(Wh) battery offering a range of up to 75 kilometres, enabling cyclists to makelonger and faster trips compared with traditional bikes. The e-bikes can bedropped off at any location on campus or at the two docking stations, which arefitted with solar panels to save energy while charging. NTU has partnered withPylonCity, a local start-up specialising in e-scooter charging stations andmonitoring systems, to install docking stations for the e-bikes that can alsowork with other personal mobility devices.

Users will be able to geo-locate the closest e-bike andcheck its battery level using a smartphone application developed by NTU andGroupe PSA’s Business Lab Singapore entity.

The pilot project which offers the service for free aims topromote an “active and green” means of mobility for the first or last kilometrearound NTU’s sprawling campus. The project also aims to assess users’motivations for using an e-bike and their riding preferences through big dataanalytics, which will help to optimise the location and number of dockingstations.

In addition, the study will look at improving communicationsystems between the e-bikes and the mobile devices, including exploring the useof renewable energy and cloud monitoring for charging stations.

Professor Lam KhinYong, NTU’s Vice President for Research, said, “NTU’s lush campus is notonly a living lab for cutting-edge research but it also hosts a wide array ofsustainable technologies ranging from building and construction, to mobilityand transportation. Coupled with NTU’s research strengths in sustainability andinnovation, our partnership with Groupe PSA will not only develop greenermobility solutions but also support Singapore’s drive towards becoming acar-lite society.”

“We are entering the bikesharing market with a smartelectric and connected bike solution for a seamless use thanks to advancedtechnologies. This highlights our Free2Move mobility brand’s ambition formaking the mobility easier with a wide array of solutions for getting around.We are proud to collaborate on this project with Nanyang TechnologicalUniversity,” added Brigitte Courtehoux,Executive Vice President of Mobility & Connectivity Services, Groupe PSA.

“Singapore is an incredible play-ground. The localauthorities promotes several initiatives for an active and green mobility; manyactors are deploying new mobility services. The ‘eco-campus’ project deployedwith NTU is one of them; it involves Groupe PSA and NTU’s team with highcompetencies” commented Gregory Blokkeel, Head of the Business Lab entity inSingapore.

Other recent mobilityinitiatives at NTU

NTU President Professor Subra Suresh his visionfor transforming NTU into a smart campus in January. Testing and implementationof cutting-edge transportation technologies is a key aspect of the smart campusplans.

On January 11, NTU signed acooperation agreement with Volvo Buses to collaborate on a research anddevelopment program for autonomous electric buses. One of the autonomouselectric buses will be used on Singapore’s advanced new test facilityfor autonomous vehicles, CETRAN (Centre of Excellence for Testing and Researchof Autonomous Vehicles), opened inDecember 2017. The second bus will be used for tests in the bus depot inpartnership with the public transport operator SMRT.

On January 22, NTU announcedtrials of an ultra-fast chargingelectric shuttle in collaboration with BlueSGPte. Ltd., a subsidiary of BlueSolutions, owned by the BolloréGroup. The fully electric vehicle only requires 20 seconds to recharge atstations which are fitted for its quick charging while passengers board andalight, enabling emission-free continuous operation.

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Business News: Arbella, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, IICF

Arbella Launches Free Safe Driving Mobile App

The Arbella Insurance Group, in partnership with Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), announced the launch of Wheel Focused, a telematics-based solution proven to change driver behavior through real-time feedback, personalized data and insights, and gamification. Participants in similar CMT programs have seen driving habits improve within 30 days of implementation, reducing phone distraction by 35 percent, hard braking by 20 percent and at-risk speeding by 20 percent.

Wheel Focused utilizes CMT’s platform, DriveWell, a complete telematics and behavioral analytics product, that includes battery-efficient drive detection, an industry-leading data collection and processing engine and big data analytics. The app provides feedback to drivers on five metrics: rapid acceleration, hard braking, sharp turns, speeding and phone distraction. It logs trips while in the background of a phone, providing the driver with feedback after the trip is completed, as well as helpful tips to improve safety.

Wheel Focused is available to download for free in the Apple and Android stores. The program is open to all residents of Massachusetts and Connecticut regardless of who their insurer is and where they purchase insurance.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions Opens Access to Global Telematics Exchange

In a major development for the global telematics market, insurance providers building their own customer-facing websites, apps and notifications for telematics programs can now simply and cost-effectively plug into the LexisNexis Global Telematics Platform and build innovative applications with the launch of one of the first Software Development Kits (SDK) for the usage-based insurance market.

IICF Announces Midwest Division’s Blazing the Trail Benefit in Chicago

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s (IICF) Midwest Division will host its 7th Annual Blazing the Trail Benefit on Thursday, March 8 at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago. With more than 400 insurance professionals from dozens of insurance companies in attendance last year, IICF is expecting another sell-out audience of the industry community and representatives from local nonprofits and charities, joining in celebration of the insurance industry’s longstanding commitment to philanthropy.

During the benefit dinner, IICF will honor Deborah Babcock of the Katie School of Insurance at Illinois State University, for her exemplary philanthropic leadership and exceptional service to IICF. Guests will also hear from featured speaker Mary Kate Callahan, member of USA World Championship Paratriathlon Teams, and advocate for Paralympic programming and international sports envoy.

Proceeds of the evening’s events will benefit the Midwest Division’s Community Grants Program, which help support nonprofit organizations focused in the areas of health, education and safety.

For additional information on the IICF Blazing the Trail Benefit, including registration and sponsorship opportunities, visit the 2018 Blazing the Trail website or contact Kelly Hartweg at (773) 991-2149 or khartweg@iicf.com.

Esurance Rideshare Coverage Now Available in California

Esurance announced ShareSmart is now available in California.

Typically, a rideshare company’s insurance covers drivers while they’re picking up a passenger or driving them to their destination. What it doesn’t fully cover is the time period when the rideshare app is turned on and the driver is waiting for a ride request. That’s where rideshare insurance kicks in. Esurance’s rideshare product, ShareSmart, aids in bridging the coverage gap for the period of time when they’re waiting for a ride request and accepting a ride.

If a rideshare driver has comprehensive and collision coverage on their personal auto insurance policy, they can add ShareSmart to ensure they’re covered in case an accident occurs while they’re waiting to accept a ride. The endorsement is available to all California rideshare drivers who qualify for an existing Esurance policy and is tied to the specific vehicle used for rideshare driving. Existing Esurance customers can add the endorsement to their policies at their next renewal. Esurance is evaluating rolling out rideshare coverage to additional states in 2018.

For more information about Esurance ShareSmart, please visit www.esurance.com/sharesmart.

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Nearing $1B valuation, Flexport triples ocean volume

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San Francisco-based digital forwarder Flexport has entered a very competitive sector – one that’s highly fragmented and with low margins.

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