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In this week’s episode of the Computer Weekly Downtime Upload podcast, Brian McKenna, Caroline Donnelly and Clare McDonald talk about some of the week’s biggest stories in tech, including the introduction of an Alexa skill that enables users to search for medical advice using voice, the technology behind historical British tea company Whittard of Chelsea, and the importance of listening to employees for driving retention.
- Caroline tells the team about the most recently added Alexa skill, which allows users to use voice commands to search the official NHS website. While there is discussion about some of the potential risks of this – including not wanting others to know about your health-based search history – the aim is to make NHS information more readily available to those with accessibility needs.
- Caroline talks about her interview with Cambridge Cognition’s chief technology officer (CTO), Ricky Dolphin, who is using server monitoring principles to help prevent suicide. Clare composes a theme tune for a fictional show where Dolphin puts technology to uses it was not originally designed for.
- Clare talks about some of the technologies used by British brand Whittard of Chelsea, including a combination of Qlik, Cegid and Salesforce Commerce Cloud, for services such as click and collect, data analytics and e-receipts.
- Clare also refers to a recent chat with Deborah Kirkman, the CEO of games testing firm Pole to Win, who made the decision to home school her daughter so she would be able to take her on business trips, leading the team to discuss whether more firms and conferences should offer childcare facilities.
- Brian talks about a feature written by Cath Everett, entitled Forward-thinking companies are listening to employees, which discusses the use of sentiment analytics to take employee feedback beyond a once-a-year survey and tackle the business problem of employee retention.
- The team wrap up by covering some of the week’s remaining news stories, including the ICO fines issued to British Airways and Marriot as a result of data breaches.