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Hello, this is the Co-op Digital newsletter - it looks at what's happening in the internet/digital world and how it's relevant to the Co-op, to retail businesses, and most importantly to people, communities and society. Thank you for reading - send ideas and feedback to @rod on Twitter. Please tell a friend about it!

[Image: Oregon wild fire - climate disaster is here.]


Signing a will on video

“The Ministry of Justice has granted a concession allowing video technology to be used to witness wills being signed. The measure is backdated to January 31 2020, covering wills that were witnessed by video under lockdown, and will remain in force until January 2022. However, the MoJ says it should be used only as a last resort when the person making the will - the testator - cannot meet people outside their household.”

Video wills: Leaving a legacy moves into 21st century (that link is to some search results which should provide access to the Financial Times article). The article features some online will services, and obviously other (and excellent) will services are also available!


Good retail news 

Bookshops are doing well

Lego set to open 120 new stores despite pandemic

And, closer to home, Co-op creates 1,000 jobs and opens 50 new stores in UK.

(The usual links to bad retail news will resume soon.)



Ocado halted deliveries to staff members amid order backlog - too busy.

Ocado, we’re leaving. And we’re taking the quinoa”: meanwhile, Waitrose is carefully highlighting its break up with Ocado, perhaps because Ocado has been well understood as Waitrose Online for many years. Maybe M&S/Ocado will do a reaction advert, “This isn’t just home-delivered food, it’s [etc]”.

Ocadobots shyly meeting their colleagues on their first day on the grocery grid at a new Kroger fulfillment centre’s grocery grid. 


Social distancing: mind the gap

Mind the Gap: Network Rail trials a social distancing app - the app “uses inaudible ultra high frequency sounds and Bluetooth to calculate the distance between mobile phones” and alert staff to stand further apart.

Want an Uber? Send a selfie proving you are wearing a mask: “it will apply to riders who have previously been reported for not wearing a mask”, but maybe it should apply to all riders? (Related, last week: taxis that prove that they’re Covid-safe.)

Elsewhere in mobility: "We don't just want people to pay for rides. We want them to go to places. We want the transaction at the end.... to participate in those transactions." - a scooter/bike mobility company. And you could imagine self-driving mobility cos might try moving the transaction inside the journey (your taxi ride is in a shop with wheels).


Office work vs remote work

Some good reads on whether work goes remote if it can, and whether the office is over:

There are clear advantages and disadvantages to both office working and remote working. But it is unclear (and too early to know) what the best way to work in the years After Virus. You can see that remote work definitely has a future. A hybrid of “some time at the office and some time elsewhere” might offer the best of both, or the worst. Maybe committing to either office or remote is better, because you only have to get really good at one of them. (Obviously, many jobs don't allow the luxury of that kind of choice: they have to be done on site.) 

Offices have been around since at least the 1770s, but there are still disadvantages to working in them. This suggests that “the best way to work” remains a hard and human problem to solve.


Various things

Why are there so few black tech entrepreneurs? - investors in tech start-ups "go by their gut feeling, and that's where bias creeps in".

Amazon withdraws job adverts for union 'spies' - that would have been illegal and was hopefully a one-off mistake.

UPS can see itself using a hub-and-spoke model for last mile delivery using vans and drones.

Apps for children must offer privacy by default - 12 months until new code of practice from the Information Commissioner's Office comes into force.

A company that makes burger-flipping robots seeks investment from individuals. Part of the pitch: it can reduce kitchen labour costs 65%, which hopefully means “better kitchen productivity” and not “job losses” .


Co-op Digital news and events

Free of charge events at Federation house (and elsewhere): 

Freshrb CIC is hosting its first YouTube Premiere for a short film ‘In Their Eyes’ which sheds light on the impact dementia has not only on sufferers but also on carers. This short film was written by two Manchester students under the Silent Elephant Project Summer Programme. The story looks into the life of a stoic, hardworking single mum who is forced to look after her dementia suffering mother, but she fears what that entails. Join them at 12pm on 21 September for the premiere. Click here to subscribe and set a reminder! 

Other free of charge events:

Paid for events:

  • Invisible Cities - Online Tours of Manchester or Edinburgh – Various Dates & Times 
  • Mandala Yoga – Online Yoga Sessions - Various Dates & Times 
  • Tech Ethics – Meet Up – Various Dates & Times 

More detail on Federation House’s events.


Thank you for reading

OK, that was a lot of links.

Thank you friends, readers and contributors. Please continue to send ideas, questions, corrections, improvements, etc to @rod on Twitter. If you have enjoyed reading, please tell a friend! If you want to find out more about Co-op Digital, follow us @CoopDigital on Twitter and read the Co-op Digital Blog. Previous newsletters.

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