Colors: Purple Color

West Midlands 5G (WM5G) Limited has appointed Suvo Datta as Finance Director to lead the financial management of the UK’s first region-wide 5G testbed. The organisation, set-up to deliver the UK’s first region-wide 5G testbed, is backed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to accelerate the deployment of 5G networks and  scale new 5G services across the West Midlands.

Datta joins the business as it enters full delivery to build the UK’s most connected 5G region as well as testing, proving and starting to scale major new 5G services to accelerate economic and social recovery in the region. This includes the launches of the UK’s first 5G Accelerators in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry, the UK’s first 5G Transport testbed and the continued success of WM5G’s 5G network acceleration programme – working in partnership with local authorities and mobile network operators.

The new appointment brings more than 15 years of experience spanning across senior leadership roles in finance, sales and general management in large multinationals, including Telefónica UK (O2), Vodafone and Deloitte. Most recently he was the General Manager of Smart Insurance at Telefónica UK (O2) and previously held multiple senior leadership roles in finance, marketing and digital functions within the organisation.

In his new role as Financial Director, Datta will assume responsibility for leading and developing WM5G’s strategic business plan, annual budget and liaising with public and private funders. He succeeds Laurence Goldberg, who has acted as Interim Finance Director since December 2019.

On his appointment, Datta said: “I’m thrilled to be taking on this role at such an exciting time for WM5G. This is a truly innovative organisation, driving digital transformation across the West Midlands.

“Having developed and delivered financial and strategic plans, long-term investment strategies and key partnerships at both Telefónica and Vodafone, I hope I can bring a wealth of expertise to WM5G and help to enhance its operations, strengthened by efficient financial management.”

Robert Franks, Managing Director at WM5G, added: “I’m delighted to welcome Suvo to WM5G’s leadership team as our new Finance Director. Suvo brings extensive financial, telecoms and leadership experience and will support our strategic plan as we look to ramp up our delivery and collaborate with more organisations of all sizes at a regional and national level.”

The Electric Scooter Championship (eSC) is the world’s first-ever international electric race scooter series. The championship, which will hold its first event in 2021, will race specially developed high-speed electric scooters in the heart of major cities, and has been developed to make international motorsport more accessible, affordable and sustainable than ever before.

Conceived as an all-new electric sporting category, the series will also promote the cost, convenience and sustainability benefits of micromobility within the rapidly changing electric mobility landscape.

The series – officially the eSkootr Championship™ – has been co-founded by a group led by motorsport entrepreneur CEO Hrag Sarkissian and COO Khalil Beschir, a he  

The business is further supported through its collaboration with Formula E racer and UN Ambassador Lucas di Grassi, and former F1 driver Alex Wurz, who is also eSC Safety Ambassador.

di Grassi said: “The concept of a new series, operating on a global scale with professional participants, yet running with a carbon-zero footprint and offering solutions for a better, more mobile society is a fascinating glimpse toward a more accessible and sustainable way to go racing.

“As we’ve already seen with Formula E, there is considerable scope for disruption within the electric mobility space – both on and off the track. And, as the discussion around micromobility grows, the Electric Scooter Championship is perfectly placed to amplify the benefits of clean, sustainable transport solutions within our everyday lives.

“This is the start of real – and important – growth for micromobility within motorsport”. 

Wurz added: “The world is changing, and everything in our society reflects that dynamic change – whether it is anticipated or unexpected. Of course, motorsport is not removed from that conversation, and we’ve already seen ways in which the sport has started to develop in order to better serve both its competitors and its audience.

“With eSC, we’ve taken that scalability to an extreme, creating a series that can operate from a tiny footprint yet still work as an accelerant for meaningful change within the world’s leading cities”.

The inaugural eSkootr Championship season will kick off in 2021 at a series of specially designed urban venues in some of the world’s most cosmopolitan and progressive cities. 

Professional eSC teams and riders will use high-speed, purpose-built race scooters capable of speeds reaching 100km/h (60mph). The eSC has already partnered with a recognised high-technology provider on the spec of its first race model and will reveal the prototype later this year.

The category’s affordability removes the high barrier to entry seen in most other motorsport series, and its versatility means the series can recruit from a truly diverse cross-section of competitors – including racing drivers, cyclists, skaters, snowboarders, motorcyclists, and even esports racers. 

At the heart of the eSC is the central belief that micromobility is perfectly suited to our times. 

For young people and those on a budget, it provides an affordable transportation solution with zero emissions. In a post COVID urban landscape, micromobility offers an escape from congestion, an escape from pollution, and an escape from car dependency.

The eSC will champion safer, smarter and more sustainable micromobility choices. 
At each venue city, the series will bring together representatives from government, industry and civil society to help define policies and practices to build a more sustainable and deliverable vision of future urban transportation.

It will show how densely populated areas can efficiently build protected, sustainable city networks where escooters, ebikes and bicycles all share space together. And it will introduce a fresh mobility landscape to city commuters who have spent decades travelling clogged and congested routes by motor car.


DIY beauty trends popular on TikTok could be dangerous and harmful, healthcare groups have warned.

Examples include applying bleach to whiten teeth, removing moles at home, and using eyelash glue to make lips appear larger.

When these videos went viral, they encouraged others to copy the so-called "beauty hacks", which could cause permanent harm, the groups warned. TikTok saide videos did not violate its community guidelines.

However, the British Association of Dermatologists, the British Dental Association and the British Skin Foundation - who viewed the videos - have today issued warnings about copying these treatments on social media.

"It is important to remind people that social media should not be used as a primary source for dermatology issues," the British Association of Dermatologists said.

"When it comes to skin, it can lead to unnecessary fear or panic where it is not needed, wasting of resources such as money on products unable to treat medical problems, potential delay in treatment, as well as potentially worsening one's psychological health.

A government spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said it was "concerned by reports of dangerous and misleading cosmetic beauty 'hacks' circulating on social media."

Some videos were seen to promote using chemical or physical ways to remove moles. Experts advise all moles be checked by a professional before removal.

"There is no 'safe' way to remove a mole at home," Dr Ross Perry, NHS GP and medical director of Cosmedics skin clinics, said.

"This needs to be done by a qualified doctor or dermatologist who is trained and knows what they are doing. Using chemicals or attempting to 'scrape' off a mole could lead to infections, bleeding, scarring and deformity of the area."

One peculiar method recommends applying eyelash glue to skin.

British Skin Foundation spokesman consultant dermatologist Dr Adil Sheraz said doing so to create a plumping effect could lead to scarring or permanent disfigurement.

"Eyelash glue contains cyanoacrylate which is known to be a contact allergen," he said.
"Applying a potentially allergenic chemical to lips could result in a severe reaction."

Meanwhile, some cosmetic surgeons said they had also seen social-media videos of at-home Botox or lip-filler kits.

TikTok videos with the hashtag "teethwhitening" have amassed about 284 million views. Some recommend applying bleach to teeth, to avoid "expensive" over-the-counter treatments.

Under UK law, teeth-whitening products can be sold directly to the public only if they contain no more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide. And anything above this level should supplied, or used, under the supervision of a dentist.
Household bleaches may also contain other bleaching compounds.

The British Dental Association said administering the wrong products at home could cause "permanent damage. The BDA is concerned about the DIY trend to whiten teeth with levels of hydrogen peroxide that are higher than that permitted in over-the-counter products," a representative said.

"Using higher concentrations unsupervised, as some videos advocate, raises the risk of damage to teeth and gums, including burns to the mouth, tooth and gum sensitivity, as well as irritated or inflamed gums."

One viral video copied throughout TikTok suggests a way of applying sun cream to create a contour affect.

"Skin cancers affect all areas of the face," Dr Vishal Madan, of Stratum Dermatology Clinics, said. "Using sunscreen on certain areas and missing others to create a pattern may be trendy - but the UV damage to the tanned area will invariably increase the risk of skin cancers in that site.

"Not only that, repeated exposure to UV light in these areas will make them age prematurely, so, in time, the skin will appear mottled and uneven."

Some cosmetic-mask treatments promoted in TikTok videos could also be harmful, Adonia Medical Clinic founder and medical director Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme said.

"It is dangerous to put citrus fruits on to the skin and then go into the sun," she said. "It can cause inflammation of the skin expressed in burning, redness and blisters."

The videos were shared with medical experts and TikTok, but the firm said these videos did not break their rules.

"Keeping people on TikTok safe is a top priority," a representative added.

"Our community guidelines make clear that we will remove content promoting dangerous behaviour or activities that might lead to serious injury or physical harm.

"We are continuously evaluating our policies and processes to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our users safe."


The terms are frequently used in programming codes which originated decades ago.
US bank JPMorgan has also announced a similar move as more companies address racism following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

Replacing the terms could cost millions and take months, according to experts.

In programming speak, "master" refers to the main version of code that controls the "slaves," or replicas. "Blacklist" is used to describe items that are automatically denied, typically forbidden websites.

Twitter's engineering division tweeted out a set of words that it wants "to move away from using in favour of more inclusive language". The list includes replacing "whitelist" with "allowlist" and "master/slave" with "leader/follower".

Last month, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey donated $3m (£2.4m) to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick's Know Your Rights Camp to "advance the liberation and well-being" of minority communities.

JPMorgan said it is also dropping the outdated coding terms as the Black Lives Matter movement ripples through the corporate world. It said the terms had appeared in some of its technology policies and programming codes.

Last month, GitHub, the world's biggest site for software developers, said it was working on changing the term 'master' from its coding language. The firm, owned by Microsoft, is used by 50 million developers to store and update its coding projects.

Google's Chromium web browser project and Android operating system have both encouraged developers to avoid using the terms "blacklist" and "whitelist".

Global brands are also looking carefully at their product logos and names to avoid racial stereotyping. In recent weeks, a number of well-known brands have said they will be changing or reviewing their branding including Quaker Oats which is renaming its Aunt Jemima line of syrups and foods.

At the same time, social media platforms are also under pressure to tackle hate posts, with Facebook facing a widespread ad boycott from the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. Ford, Adidas, Coca Cola, Unilever and Starbucks have all added their weight to the campaign, aimed at removing hateful content on social networks.

She was only 13 when she decided she would one day build a global business. Today Shahrzad Rafati, is the founder of internet video technology firm BroadbandTV (BBTV)

Now the 40-year-old run the company that helps firms around the world secure advertising revenues from videos on YouTube, Facebook and other websites and apps.

The native Iranian arrived in Canada in 1996 with just one suitcase, and only a limited grasp of English.

At the age of 17 her drive and confidence managed to persuade her parents, Iranian authorities and Canadian immigration officials to let her move by herself to Vancouver to go to university.

"I couldn't communicate what I wanted to say [when I arrived], and I think that was probably the biggest challenge," she says. "But I was determined to make a success out of my life."

Launched in 2005, BBTV’s high-profile clients include everyone from the National Basketball Association, to Sony, Warner Bros and Disney. Canadian newspapers have speculated that the business is worth more than $1bn (£760m).

"It's important for entrepreneurs to think as big as possible," she says.

Shahrzad was born into a family of business leaders in Tehran in 1979, the year of the Iranian revolution. Her mother ran a textiles firm and her father owned a property company.

"Iran was at war for eight years, and a lot of my family's success had been taken from them," she says. "I knew that I needed a different future, and a life where I could make a difference, and where equal was equal." So when she became a teenager she was determined to move abroad.

In Vancouver she enrolled at the University of British Columbia to study computer science.

She didn't know much about computers, nor did she have one to begin with, but she was passionate about maths and technology.

Graduating in 2000, Shahrzad then studied French at the Université Paris-Sorbonne, and leadership at Oxford University's Said Business School.

She says that she was interested in how Apple was disrupting the music industry, and the way people consumed music, with its then iPod player and iTunes service. She realised that video would inevitably follow suit, and be streamed over the internet.

In 2005, at the age of 25, and the same year that YouTube was born, she founded BBTV.

Initially it was a hardware company making a set-top box that enabled users to watch internet videos on their televisions. But not popular with buyers - people are happy to watch online videos on their computers - within just three months Shahrzad decided to change the company's focus.

"You need to fail fast, and learn from your mistakes quickly," she says.

To pivot the company, Shahrzad says she noticed that internet users were pirating videos and uploading them to online platforms, such as the new YouTube. The copyright holders, the movie or TV companies, would then move to rapidly get the videos removed.

That's when she had her big idea - to create software that would allow these firms to profit from advertisements put on all that content, rather than seek to take it down.
BBTV's software tracks uploaded video content, such as the highlights of sports games, or clips from films.

It does this through audio and video recognition technology, and adverts are then placed on the videos. The advertising revenues then go to the firms or sporting bodies affected, with BBTV taking a percentage.

Only two years after its creation, BBTV landed one of its first major clients - the NBA - with whom it continues to work to this day. "I was in my 20s and I was very nervous, but I really believed in our solutions," says Shahrzad.

To help grow the business, she gained a number of investors, including Canadian tech businessman Hamed Shahbazi. Then in 2013 European entertainment group RTL purchased a 51% stake for $36m.

RTL has subsequently increased its stake to 57.3%, but Shahrzad continues to have one of the largest individual shareholdings. RTL does not release separate financial data for BBTV, but its "digital activities" division, which includes the Canadian firm and two other businesses, had revenues of €452m ($539m; £408m) last year.

BBTV now also produces software to help make online videos, and its services are available to individuals as well as companies. It claims that videos connected to its various technologies were viewed 429 billion times in 2019.

Stephania Varalli, chief executive of Women Of Influence, a Canadian organisation that promotes businesswomen and other female leaders, says that Shahrzad's secret is her ability to evolve with the industry.

"She has constantly pivoted, which has kept her ahead of the game," says Ms Varalli.


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced the four winners of the 10th nationwide BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition. This year’s winners, selected by a jury of industry experts, were revealed at the first-ever digital ceremony today, hosted by presenter Aoife Wilson. 

BAFTA YGD discovers, showcases and supports Britain’s young games talent by providing access to some of the most creative minds in the industry, through a year-round programme of mentorship, workshops and networking.

This year’s cohort of 53 talented finalists were competing across four categories: two for YGD Game Concept, celebrating the best original game idea from the 10-14 and 15-18 age groups, and two for YGD Game Making, rewarding the coding skills used to create a prototype game in the same two age groups. Entries were judged on gameplay design, creativity and suitability for the chosen games platform. 

The 2020 BAFTA YGD winners include four aspiring game creators aged between 10 and 18: 

Cameron Crosland, Strung Up - Game Concept Award (10-14 year old category)
Evie Sanger-Davies, Fruit Frenzy - Game Concept Award (15-18 year old category)
Alex Robinson, Complicated Co-operation - Game Making Award (10-14 year old category)
Michael Ballantyne, Contramotion - Game Making Award (15-18 year old category)

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “We are proud to be celebrating the tenth anniversary of BAFTA YGD, an initiative focused on recognising and championing young talent in games. We are so impressed with the amount of skill and creativity showcased by our 53 finalists, from all over the UK, and wish to extend a huge congratulations to our four brilliant winners! I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the educators across the country who continue to support this important initiative and inspire their students through the power of games.”

In light of government restrictions and advice in relation to COVID-19, tonight’s BAFTA YGD Awards took the format of a pre-produced digital show, streamed as-live on BAFTA’s YouTube and available to watch afterwards. The ceremony was hosted by Aoife Wilson (writer, presenter and producer for Eurogamer), with notable industry figures congratulating this year’s deserving winners, including Abubakar Salim, Alysia Judge, Julia Hardy, Elle-Osili Wood, Austin Wintory, Troy Baker and Siobhan Reddy. 

The ceremony also featured a highlights reel looking back at the last 10 years of BAFTA YGD, including appearances from previous winners, Dan Pearce and Rhianna Hawkins. Rhianna Hawkins was winner of the Game Concept Award in 2014 and Dan Pearce was the winner of the first ever BAFTA YGD competition in 2010. Dan has subsequently gone on to receive a BAFTA Games Award nomination in 2014 for his game, Castles in the Sky. 

In addition to the prestigious BAFTA YGD Award, winners will be given the chance to build on their games ideas through a robust mentorship scheme with leading figures in games, as well as an insight into a career in games, and the industry as a whole. As well as support for further development of their game, winners also receive a host of prizes, including workshops, games, software subscriptions, merchandise, and many more. 

Supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Creative Assembly (SEGA), Criterion (EA), Jagex, PlayStation, Tencent, Ubisoft, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.