Monthly Archives: July 2014

Mechanical Turk?

I went into a Barclay’s Bank last week. My wife asked me to pay some money into her account.

I know she normally insists on dealing with counter clerks and shuns the various machines they have in the foyer for paying in, paying out, getting statements, etc.

I thought I might try the machines, but was swooped on by one of these ‘Eagles’ Barclays have to get technophobes to start using the technology. This was a rather young eagle, and possibly more an eaglet because she told me more than I think she should.

We went through filling in a paying in slip (how quaint) and putting the money and the slip into an envelope. I was given the couterfoil for the paying in slip and then the envelope was placed into a slot in the paying in machine.

Then the Eaglet said; “And now Stuart will process that payment”. Stuart? Is that the name of the machine.

No, Stuart is the person sitting at a desk right behind the slot. It wasn’t a machine. It’s a mechanical letter box.

So, after the Eaglet filled in the paying-in slip, Stuart then handles the money again, counts it again, verifies the paying in slip and then enters the data into the bank system.

And they want to teach people how to use technology?

Surely Barclays, you need to reduce the human processes, not increase them? My wife thought it laughable. If she’d walked into the bank and deposited the money with a counter person, the data would have been entered into the computer system by a single person.

Or does it actually print it out somewhere and a clerk with a quill pen update your own ledger with the transaction?

Oh to be in England…

Yesterday I went to this briefing event in Cambridge. I quote:

“The Technology Strategy Board, with Tech City UK Ltd and Cambridge Wireless, are to invest up to £1m to support micro, small and medium-sized businesses working on the Internet of Things (IoT).”

Apparently the ‘competition’ for the grants started on the 16th. June 2014. There is a process, all explained in great detail with plenty of friendly advice and one contradiction (No Prototypes). Pitches happen 19th. November 2014, with possibly funding sometime in the new year.

One advice from the Lead Technologist was that the awards were not ‘cash flow’. Winners would have to submit claims and payment arrives as soon as possible after the claim. 

  • From announcement to pitches – 5 months.
  • From announcement to money coming into the organisation – possibly 8 months.

Meanwhile you can’t start anything; yet this is for innovative research projects.

Rather than use a government department to manage ‘innovation’, why not give the £1m to one of 300 plus incubators or accelerators. I’m sure some teams would have started by now.