Business and Technology Articles Contributed by UWA Students

Month: December 2017

How Blockchain Technology is Transforming the Real Estate Industry


In a recent study, it was revealed by International Real Estate Adviser, that the Global Real Estate Market was valued at $217 trillion.

To put things into perspective, here is a comparison of some other sectors:

  • Gold – $8 Trillion
  • Cryptocurrency – $150 Billion
  • Stock Market – $67 Trillion

We are now all familiar with the Blockchain technology by now. Blockchain technology has significant potential to drive transparency, cost savings and efficiency. This technology is being used in the business, health, logistics and financial sector. However, more recently the Real Estate industry is beginning to explore with the technology.

Normally, Real Estate interactions and dealings take weeks to months to conduct in person, with more than one party involved. This is usually the norm in methodology when dealing with exchange of assets of high value. Blockchain technology now wants to change this process by digitalizing the financial exchange across the industry. It was only a matter of time that the Blockchain technology was going to leave its mark on this industry as well.

Thanks to Blockchain technology, investors and owners don’t need to be present to broker or obtain a sale. It will all be done digitally, with transparency and high security.

So how will Blockchain Technology change things in the Real Estate industry?

  • Smart Contracts- Smart contracts are now becoming admissible records in the American Court system, raising their overall credibility and familiarity. The process used to be complex and quite lengthy, but now with Blockchain it becomes a secure, efficient and transparent transaction. You can complete this transaction from anywhere in the world with the simple use of your computer or handheld device.
  • No more Intermediary- Another benefit of implementing Smart Contracts is that it cuts out the middlemen, such as agents, attorneys and banks. By eliminating these liaisons reduces costs, because it eliminates commissions, service fees from the equation of a deal. Therefore, registration, taxes and inspection fees become entirely neutralized during the procedure. In addition, buyers and investors can participate in real estate auctions on their own with this technology. Blockchain Technology and Smart Contracts are able to take on the processing of payments, listings, legal documents, simplifying and expediting the entire process.
  • Affordability- You don’t have to be a millionaire to own equity in a new construction project, whether it’s a commercial, residential or an existing property. Any amount can be invested, without a minimum entry threshold requirement, and simple attain ownership. This technology allows entry to almost everyone with different financial background to participate in deals. New technologies such as Blockchain will allow a large group of investors to combine their assets to purchase any size of property, saving time and money for the seller and bringing new investment opportunities to the buyers.

 Blockchain Technology will provide the opportunity to assets such as real estate and land to be quantified as cryptocurrency and traded, bought and sold with convenience, security and transparency. Purchasing businesses, commercial and residential properties will become less tedious and affordable for everyone in the comfort of their own home, office or holiday.

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Addressing the global skilled labour shortage

Shortage of skilled labour is common across the world. A google search using the words “skilled labour shortage” followed by the name of a random country is likely to throw up thousands of search results.

According to the Hays Global Skills Index 2016, one of the main reasons for the skill shortage across the globe is the chasm between academia and industry. Given the speed at which technology is evolving, the inability of the education system to cope with the rapidly transforming requirements of the industry is likely to worsen. However, the following measures can help address the gap:

    1. Industry-academia collaboration: The academic curricula of the universities need to be regularly updated to keep them relevant to the industry. To this end, businesses can collaborate with universities in designing the syllabus.Additionally, businesses can provide students extracurricular support. For instances, guest speakers with industry expertise can be called periodically to share practical insights with students. The interaction can be taken further by assigning students mentors from the industry. Fortunately, potential employers have already begun to play a proactive role in this regard.
    2. Updating skills of faculty: It is not the students alone, but even the educators whose knowledge and skills need to be periodically updated to ensure that they are better placed to impart their students the knowledge and skills relevant to the industry. This could be achieved through a combination of training programs and interaction with industry experts.
    3. Employee Training: Another possible way for employers to get around the limitations of the academic systems is through training, be it in-house or using the services of an external service provider. Candidates with potential can be recruited and then given the necessary training to make them industry-ready. This would be particularly relevant in developing countries, where the shortage of skills is usually dire due to inadequate or outdated education infrastructure.Employers have already startedworking in this direction, at least in developed countries. The idea is still at a nascent stage, but the results so far are encouraging, and it is likely that this will be the way forward for the industry to bridge the skill gap.
    4. Upskilling through alternate education: Due to the speed at which technology is evolving, the employability challenge persists even after getting employees work ready, since their existing skills may become irrelevant. Fortunately, upskilling existing employees does not require a significant investment in terms of time or money and good quality courses are easily available. For example, Apache Spark and Scala Training require just over thirty hours at no extraordinary cost.
    5. Workplace Exposure: Internships are an integral part of most management courses globally. In addition, students can be required to undertake part-time projects with companies. This will give them insights into the skills relevant to the industry as well as the ‘soft’ skills required at workplace. From the point of view of the industry, it can help identify potential employees and groom them so that they are ready to be employed by the time they graduate from university.


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Why UWA Comp Sci Students Should Learn Scrum Developer Training

In addition, they must become specialized through a Certified Scrum Developer Course. This course is generally offered over a period of a few days and allows the professionals to be fully encased in knowledge. These three days are generally conducted in a classroom setting to ensure there are no distractions while they learn how to implement the tactics it takes to be a Scrum developer.

These programs are specifically designed to target people who are already in the field, but want to showcase or expand their skill set. The learning environment enables them to learn from people around them and learn as they go. It also enables the same professionals to take what they have learned back to the companies that they work for, making it a solid investment for all parties involved.

It also enhances the projections and ability to design new goals for the company. The Scrum Developer is an essential role in the company. They help the Product owner (one who has product knowledge) take that idea and turn it into reality by following the proper protocol. That is because they are taught through a Waterfall methodology.

Each area of the topic is fully condensed and placed together so the professional student can understand how the process works, and why it is important that it cannot go backwards. That is because each area of the project needs to follow a linear path to the end product with minimal room for error. Since there is minimal room for error, the production must remain in a constant phase of testing. This constant testing will allow for mistakes to be caught quickly with a decrease to that same caught mistake causing a larger issue for the overall product.

This is why a Scrum developer is so essential. They understand how a product needs to be completed and the developer builds and designs the product until completion. The Scrum developer is a broad and deeply knowledgeable person that covers all areas of the project from the analyst to the system engineer. This person connects with every person at every aspect of the project to keep them on task and identify issues as they arise.

They are also able to identify when changes need to occur, or how they should happen. Finally, the Scrum developer is a dynamic person who is worth investing to send for certification. This will increase their capabilities to lead the team and connect with all members of the project.

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Ransomware: 2018’s top cybersecurity concern

Earlier this year the business world was rocked by the ransomware attacks WannaCry and NotPetya. Companies were affected across the globe. Every industry felt the sting, chocolate factories in Australia, shipping companies in the Netherlands, even the UK’s National Health Service fell victim. The attack caused hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to both government and industry.  

In 2015, the global damage caused by ransomware attacks was $325 million US dollars. By the end of this year, that figure is expected to exceed $5 billion.

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to a computer or the data on a machine, and then demands money for its release. Hackers made out with hundreds of thousands of dollars as individuals and some corporations affected by the malware gave in to demands and paid up to $600 in ransom to unlock their machines and regain their personal data. WannaCry used worm functionality to spread the malware, and NotPetya spread through a software update mechanism in an accounting program that companies working with the Ukrainian government are required to use.

But ransomware is just one part of an already global problem. Malware is one of the most prolific and adaptive cybersecurity issues. Within the third quarter of this year alone, over 400 million malware incidents have been detected world-wide. Ransomware proving to be a particularly tricky and growing problem for businesses right now. Twenty-six percent of ransomware attacks in 2017 directly targeted companies. 2018 is only going to see these threats and large-scale attacks increase.

The Internet of Things is only going to contribute to the risks, with a greater range of devices connecting to the internet, such as medical devices. The greater connectivity means more accurate data and analytics and presumably, better patient care, but it will also fuel new data security concerns surrounding patient information and their legal rights.

Cybercriminals will target and exploit security software directly, targeting trusted programs. Hackers will exploit security products, like your anti-virus or a website malware removal service  by intercepting and redirecting cloud traffic, or even directly subverting the agent on the endpoint, that is the human being sitting in front of the infected machine. Attackers will also leverage growing technologies, like blockchain and machine learning, to act as a smoke-screen against traditional cybersecurity protections.

Every year, we see both the sophistication of hacks and data breaches reach new heights in costs, both loss and damages, and the news headlines are becoming all to frequent.

These events are a cause for concern for those in the business of cybersecurity. Hacks like the Equifax hack in September of this year contribute to a risk in the deterioration of public perceptions regarding the effectiveness of security software and anti-virus solutions. The good news is destructive attacks like those seen in 2017 have made the importance of effective cybersecurity obvious.

Now the task is to ensure that 2018’s solutions evolve with these trends and provide businesses with multiple layers of protection against damaging malware attacks.

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