Zone’s Martha Green handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Salesforce picks up Slack, takes on Microsoft

In one of the biggest tech mergers in recent years, Salesforce has agreed to buy work messaging app Slack for £20bn. Described as a “match made in heaven” by CEO Marc Benioff, the union offers Salesforce the chance to expand beyond its core markets of sales and marketing, and put it in a better position to take on Microsoft.

Slack, founded in 2009, has seen its share price sink since launching publicly in 2019 and has missed out on the stratospheric rise enjoyed by other tech firms, such as Zoom, during the pandemic. It has suffered badly since Microsoft launched Teams in 2016, with Slack’s 12.5 …


Our front-end developer Fran Haines shares what she learned from joining the audience for a BBC News special celebrating the best women in technology…

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Over the past few decades women have come a long way in the workplace, and careers that were very male-dominated have become far more popular with women. However, women still make up a very small percentage of the technology sector and this is a common theme from around the world. Series such as the BBC 100 Women try to tackle this by featuring female role models who are breaking boundaries in their sector.

I recently took part in the audience panel for the BBC Click 100 Women Special: an episode which showcases pioneering women in technology. The guests were Nicola Mendelsohn, VP for EMEA for Facebook; Serene Ow, head of data science at Grab (the Uber of South-east Asia); and Erica Joy Baker — director of engineering at GitHub. United by gender and career choice, both the panelists and audience joined from all over the world to ask questions and share industry insights. Despite the geographical and cultural variation, it became clear that many of our experiences in education and work were similar and the insights shared were invaluable. Here’s what I…


Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Bots snapping up the stock on Black Friday

Happy Black Friday! But whether that phrase gets your pulse racing or just elicits a big sigh, there’s no doubt we’re shopping online more this year. And with in-demand items like the PlayStation 5 just released, that’s thrown the problem of bots — which can automatically buy a product the second it goes on sale — into the spotlight.

That’s why out-of-stock PS5s are available on eBay for hundreds of pounds more than the RRP. But it’s not just big-ticket electronics — everything from cuddly toys to film collectibles are seeing bots snap up the stock, while the most advanced bots were originally developed for the highly lucrative limited-edition trainer market. …


Zone marketing executive Martha Green discovers the importance of self-promotion in the workplace…

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After coming to the realisation that I was a closeted imposter syndrome sufferer at our last Women in Digital event, the #IamRemarkable workshop was the perfect follow-on for me. It’s a Google-founded initiative that empowers women and other underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond. One of its champions and workshop leaders is Kayleigh Ridd, senior front-end developer at Zone and newly crowned #TechWomen100 winner. Very remarkable indeed.

Back by popular demand, this was the second round of workshops led by Kayleigh. I found that my initial nerves calmed when I saw six familiar faces I hadn’t really seen since the Zone office days BC (before corona) — people I’d chat to in the kitchen, but our paths hadn’t crossed since working remotely. …


Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. New petrol and diesel cars banned from 2030

A ban on new cars and vans powered wholly by petrol and diesel will come into force in the UK in 2030, according to Boris Johnson. The prime minister added that some hybrids would still be allowed as he outlined a “green industrial revolution” to tackle climate change and create jobs in industries such as nuclear energy.

The 10-point plan also includes producing enough offshore wind to power every home in the UK, investing in zero-emission public transport and making the City of London the global centre of green finance. …


Zone’s James Tyson describes the three key elements for a clear and successful data strategy…

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With everything that has been going on in 2020, there has been an increase in the need for a clear data strategy in both the private and public sectors in the UK. Since the start of the pandemic the government have been turning to data to inform and underpin the decisions it makes, be it imposing lockdowns or lifting restrictions. …


Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. TikTok asks US court to intervene on ban

TikTok has begun a legal challenge against the Trump administration over plans to shut it down in the US. In August Trump signed an executive order to ban the app if it did not sell its US operations in 45 days. That deadline ran out yesterday and TikTok says it has received no feedback on its efforts to comply with the order.

Trump had issued the ban citing security concerns that the Chinese government could spy on TikTok users if the app remained under Chinese ownership (which TikTok denies). Of course, with Joe Biden due to take over the presidency in January, he may take a different view to Chinese firms working in the US. …


Zone’s Martha Green handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

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1. Glitch causes many to self-isolate for too long

A software error has caused more than 7,200 people to be told to stop self-isolating on the wrong date by the Test and Trace scheme. Those affected were told to isolate for too long, which I guess is better than being told to mix with others too soon. The Department of Health said most of those affected had subsequently been contacted.

It’s not the first software-based Covid-19 mishap, following last month’s scandal which resulted in nearly 16,000 cases going unreported in England. And it’s also been reported that a risk-score threshold used by the NHS Covid-19 app to trigger self-isolate alerts had been lowered weeks later than intended. …


Zone mental health first aider Lucy Griffiths gives tips on how to stay positive and productive during the pandemic…

In 2018–19, stress, depression or anxiety were responsible for 44% of all cases of work-related ill health.

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Now in 2020, we’re in a global pandemic that will undoubtedly exacerbate mental health issues. Sadly, there have been job losses across the UK and for those fortunate enough to still be in work, it has caused an unprecedented shift in how we’re all working. …


Zone’s Charlie Ivens hears advice and inspiration aplenty at Zone’s latest Women in Digital event…

The second of Zone’s online Women In Digital events was led by a panel of three mould-breaking female creative leaders, covering themes of creative leadership, returning to work after time away and male allyship.

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Ali Hanan, founder of Creative Equals; Resh Sidhu, executive creative director at Barbarian; and Sarah Plant, our own experience design partner; each brought their own unique experience to the wide-ranging chat, which shot from subject to subject at compelling speed.

The 70-minute session was enjoyed by upwards of 70 engaged participants of all genders, who contributed via Webex to the lively conversation, which was guided by Zara Powell, our client delivery lead and TechWomen100 winner in 2019. …

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