Author: Catalina Sparleanu

Working with top experts to identify how the latest innovations and disruptive technologies will impact businesses, industries, and society. I have an academic background in social science (Ph.D. in Sociology), an MBA degree, and experience in private companies and NGOs.
Solar Energy - solar cells - Supertrends

Harnessing Solar Energy With Power-Generating Windows

Solar cells – semiconductor devices that use sunlight to produce electricity – are considered one of the main technological innovations that will help humanity generate electricity in a sustainable way. Due to recent developments in solar energy related to perovskite and semiconductor technologies, solar cells have managed to reach average visible transparency of up to 70 percent. A research team at Tohoku University in Japan has succeeded in developing a near-invisible solar cell, with transparency of over 79 percent, that could be used to transform windows, agricultural sheds, glass-based...

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Revolut Takes 'Buy Now, Pay Later' Trend a Step Further in Europe - Supertrends

Revolut Takes ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Trend one Step Further in Europe

Revolut, a British fintech company offering digital banking services, has announced the rollout of a new “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) service across Europe. The offering will first be made available in Ireland and then gradually extended to other European countries, with deployment in Poland and Romania planned by the end of 2022. BNPL is a short-term financing model that allows clients to purchase products and pay for them at a later time, usually in installments and with no interest fees. Unlike traditional credits, BNPL services are easy to qualify for, manageable via an app,...

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Biometrics: facial recognition in banking services

Biometrics: Facial Recognition in the Banking Sector

One of the biggest challenges facing the banking systems today is the security of transactions. By identifying and confirming the identity of users based on their physiognomy, biometrics such as facial recognition can support the banking and financial sector in identifying fraudulent transactions, increase the security of payments, and enhance customer experience. Face recognition algorithms can be used for user authentication procedures, the automated opening of checking accounts, authorization of financial transactions, and performing payments. As our society becomes increasingly digitalized,...

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Banking as a Service – Accessible Finance

Banking as a service (BaaS), often used interchangeably with the concept of embedded finance, represents the provision of financial tools and services by non-financial providers. After hitting US$22.5 billion in revenue in 2020, this model is expected to reach approximately US$230 billion by 2025, causing significant disruption in the traditional banking value chain and processes. According to traditional models, purchasing high-end goods and services requires an additional step, usually related to obtaining financing either through loans, insurance, or investments. The BaaS model streamlines...

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6G – The New Frontier in Information and Communications Technology

While the efforts to implement and increase the adoption rate of 5G technology are still at the starting line, researchers and players in the communication industry are already setting their eyes on the next frontier: 6G. Even though this technology is still in the research phase, it has the potential to propel the IT sector to a new level, allowing for very high processing speeds, low latency, and increased bandwidth. Moreover, adopting this technology will support the IT sector in aligning with societal goals (e.g., high-speed services available anywhere, anytime), satisfy increasing market...

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Sustainable Investing. Going Beyond Environmental Targets and ESG Ratings

In the societies and business worlds of today, “green” or ethical investment has become a key benchmark. However, the lack of standardization and knowledge as well as a plethora of regulations in this area make it difficult for investors to assess the sustainability of an organization. In an interview with Supertrends, Kristina Touzenis shares some insights regarding the current situation and the challenges that sustainable investment poses. Sustainable investing, also referred to as socially responsible or ESG investing, has become a hot topic due to the growing awareness and global prioritization...

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Make it Rain: Innovative Technology Transforms Desert into Agricultural Land

Jordan’s climate varies from a Mediterranean one, in the uplands, to steppe and desert, towards the south. Rising temperatures, a constant decrease in average annual precipitation, and deforestation are some of the main problems the government has been fighting for decades. The installation of a network of emitter stations based on ionization technology on the ground has led to a 27 percent overall increase in rainfalls over a period of three years, the extension of the rainy season, and rainfall volumes of hundreds of millions of cubic meters. In an interview with Supertrends, Dr. Helmut...

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sustainable digital fashion

The Avatar’s New Clothes: Digital Design for Greener Fashion

When we think about fashion, we tend to think of material objects such as colorful textiles, cutting tables, scissors, sewing needles, or pins. However, the future of this industry will be shaped just as much by high-resolution screens, blockchain, 3D modeling, virtual and augmented reality, holograms, and artificial intelligence. While it is a natural concept for those now in their 20s, digital fashion might require a certain mindset shift for those who grew up in an analog world. However, in a future where our main priority will be to preserve our natural resources, virtual fashion is certain...

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Algorithms for Fashion. How Machine Learning Makes the Apparel Industry More Sustainable

In the fashion industry, return rates – sometimes referred to as “the plague of eCommerce” – are skyrocketing. Besides placing a burden on the companies’ budgets and logistics, this behavior is also detrimental to the environment. However, innovative software programs based on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have the potential to reduce return rates, leading to a more sustainable industry. The fashion industry is frequently accused of unsustainable practices, with its high carbon emissions, consumerism, high water consumption, toxic effluents and materials, child labor, and...

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Quantum Computing in Banking and Finance – Threat or Opportunity?

What do companies such as J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo, Barclays, Mitsubishi Financial Group, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, or Caixa Bank have in common (besides being banking and financial giants)? They have all started to invest in and experiment with quantum computing applications. Even though it is an emerging technology that still needs to mature in many ways to fulfill its wide range of promises, quantum computing has already started to make its way into various industries. The business world now faces steady pressure to familiarize itself with the technology, assess its potential, find specific...

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A Stepping Stone Towards a Sustainable Company: Gathering the Right Data

As a Senior Management Consultant at IBM, Anja Juhl Jensen has been working with digital innovation and disruptive technologies for more than 16 years. Currently, she supports IBM customers in the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain to set a sustainable course for their organization. In an interview with Supertrends, she calls attention to an essential step in achieving a sustainable organization: proper data collection and analysis. Anja Juhl Jensen has extensive experience working with disruptive technologies that drive sustainability. Other areas of expertise...

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Accountant reviewing documents

The Future of Accounting is Digital

The financial services industry is evolving rapidly, propelled by the rise of new technologies and software. Accounting is also stepping up its pace, striving to implement and extend the usage of electronic invoice systems. Once rolled out on a larger scale, electronic billing has the potential to save costs, speed up transactions, and ease the environmental burden. Serial entrepreneur, author of ten books, and fintech enthusiast Werner Valeur strongly believes that the future of accounting is digital. From automated data capture, direct data transfer between transaction participants, and...

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3D model of material

Towards the First Demonstration of Quantum Advantage in Material Discovery

New materials can bring tremendous benefits across all industries, from agriculture and construction to telecommunication, aerospace, medicine, the food industry, and the energy sector. However, most of the methods currently used for material discovery are based on trial-and-error procedures that require a significant amount of resources and take plenty of time to develop and implement. A hybrid approach using both classical and quantum devices along with machine learning and artificial intelligence tools – has the potential to bring material discovery to a new level of efficiency and...

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Flying Qubits and Quantum Transistors – One More Piece in the Quantum Computing Puzzle

Developing components and systems for quantum information processing is a major task with a significant impact on the future of quantum computing. We are at a point where avid research is taking place in multiple directions; every little progress has the potential to shape the future of this industry. Within CEA Grenoble, Dr. Eleni Chatzikyriakou is working on simulating the operation of transistors, thus improving their functionality and performance.  Along with efforts focused on building qubits and increasing their coherence time (the time spent by qubits in superposition), scientists...

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