Why pay isn’t rising even with high employment; Mobile trends for 2017; A robot snake to roam the seas

1 Why pay isn’t rising even with high employment (Larry Elliott in The Guardian) To say the least, it is unusual for an economy to be nearing full employment with absolutely no upward pressure on wages. There are record job vacancies in the UK and reports of skill shortages, both of which would normally increase the bargaining power of employees.

There are a number of possible explanations. One is that the economy is still quite a way from full employment. The labour market expert John Philpott believes the jobless rate could fall to 4% before wage pressure starts to build.

Another is that there is a difference in wage growth between those workers who move jobs and those who remain with the same employee. The movers are able to negotiate better pay deals than the stayers. A third is that the 1% pay limit for the public sector – which accounts for about one in six employees – is dragging down overall earnings growth.

Whatever the explanation, the squeeze on real wages will continue and intensify. Inflation is going to hit 3% later this year and will comfortably outpace earnings growth. The current period of falling real wages could hardly have come at a worse time for Theresa May, since it coincides with the start of two years of hard bargaining to thrash out Britain’s departure from the EU. Those negotiations will take place against a backdrop of people feeling poorer.


2 Mobile trends for 2017 (Christopher Bergey in Khaleej Times) Storage performance and capacity within smartphones continued to increase significantly as smartphones have become the go-to devices for consumers globally. As such, mobile manufacturers around the world have nearly doubled device storage capacity on an annual basis as high-end smartphones now offer more capacity (256GB) than some laptops.

As for mobile trends in 2017, a faster 5G standard, even larger storage capacities for smartphones, and more prominent edge-to-cloud storage models are at the top of this list.

5G closer to reality: Though smartphones are the most connected devices that we use, as it relates to 5G, it is actually more about connecting to “other” Internet devices with sensors. 5G will go well beyond smartphones and into computing devices that are embedded into everyday objects enabling them to capture, send and receive data.

1TB capacity is coming: Today, 256GB of embedded storage is now available in smartphones. That’s a lot of storage capacity, which a few years ago may have been deemed as excessive and unnecessary. However, consumers today never expect to delete content from applications, images, videos, documents or games. The industry is not far away from having 1TB storage capacities in smartphones and know that consumers will not only want, but demand, terabyte capacities in their mobile devices.

From 5G becoming reality to mega-smartphone capacities to edge-to-cloud storage models, 2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year for data storage in the mobile industry. In fact, given the emphasis that OEMs are now placing on differentiating the CMOS sensor in mobile devices to produce superlative imaging, storage is now at the top of mind for many consumers who have become more conscientious that their mobile devices have adequate storage for storing and sharing.


3 A robot snake to roam the seas (Zoe Kleinman on BBC) In the near future, ocean search-and-repair specialists won’t need arms or legs, according to one vision. In fact, they are destined to be much more slithery.

What started as a university robotics research project in Norway 10 years ago, has become a commercial prototype – and it is unavoidably snake-like. It’s designed to inspect structures on the sea bed and carry out repairs, and is currently being tested on oil rigs.

The flexible, self-propelling, tubular device has a camera at each end and is kitted out with sensors. Because it has a modular design, its parts can be switched to suit different tasks, with swappable tools including a grabber and cleaning brush.

The design allows the robot to work in confined spaces that might be inaccessible to other vehicles, as well as to wriggle its body to stay in place in strong currents. And because it is designed to connect itself to a seabed dock when not in use, it can be deployed at any time whatever the surface conditions.

It isn’t yet on the market, but was recently on show at the Southampton’s Ocean Business trade fair. Future plans already include a cheap 3D-printed model and another which can operate in very deep water.



About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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