16 October 2020\nThe European Committee of the Regions, an EU advisory body composed of locally and regionally elected representatives coming from all 27 member states, has called on the EU for support to stimulate private and public investment in artificial intelligence to meet the needs of local and regional ecosystems.\n\n*\n\nIdentity tech developer Okta has announced a new devices SDK. It will allow developers to enable passwordless authentication through branded push notifications with biometric capabilities, minimising friction for end-users and increasing security posture. The SDK will be available in early access from January.\n\n*\n\nRPS, a global professional services firm of consultants and service providers, has appointed Alastair Rutter as its new chief information officer. Prior to joining RPS, Rutter spent over three years as IT and digital director at Keepmoat Homes.\n\n*\n\nEducation Secretary Gavin Williamson has launched a \u00a3120 million-backed competition to establish the next wave of Institutes of Technology (IoT).\n\nIoTs are designed to transform higher technical STEM education across the country in key sectors such as digital, construction, advanced manufacturing and engineering, helping to improve skills, growth and opportunities. They are expected to play an essential role in helping to rebuild a post-pandemic economy.\n\n*\n\n\u201cAlarming increase\u201d in domains registered related to Amazon in the weeks leading up to Amazon Prime Day, the e-commerce shopping extravaganza on October 13th that raked in more than $7bn last year. According to a report by Israeli security company Checkpoint, there has been a 21% increase in domains registered containing the word \u201cAmazon\u201d, in the month leading to the event. More than a quarter of these domains (21%) have been found to be malicious and 10% suspicious.\n\n*\n\nAMD has revealed the first processor based on its new Zen 3 architecture, the Ryzen 9 5900X. This will offer a 19% performance bump on its predecessor, according to the chip maker.\n\n*\n\nThe Department of Health and Social Care has announced the completion of two contracts, together worth more than one million pounds, to Accenture and Fujitsu, for the \u201cprovision of data science and analytical support to the test-and-trace programme\u201d. Accenture has already been heavily involved in track-and-trace project. Fujistu is implicated in the government inquiry for its design of the IT in the Horizon IT scandal.\n\n*\n\nDigital technology initiatives top the list of strategic business priorities for board of directors (BoDs) over the next two years, a recent study by Gartner found. Sixty-nine percent of BoDs across the US, EMEA and APAC accelerated their digital business initiatives as a result of the pandemic. The 2021 Gartner Board of Directors Survey also identified 67% of BoDs expect budgetary increases in technology as a result of Covid.\n15 October 2020\nGoogle is making another attempt to park its tanks on Microsoft\u2019s lawn by bringing its office apps together under one brand.\n\nGoogle Workspace will encompass Gmail, Docs, Meet, Sheets, and Calendar, and includes a new "business plus" pricing tier offering more device management for admins, including audit logs\/control tools via a Security Centre (GA in coming weeks).\n\n*\n\nNHSX is looking for a deputy CIO to work with Sonia Patel, who was appointed CIO in February. The NHS\/gov't unit is dedicated to digital transformation of care. It has a \u00a31bn+ annual budget. Among the responsibilities for the successful applicant: modelling investment required over the next five years to deliver digital services for NHS staff and patients. Salary range is \u00a391,004\u2013\u00a3104,927.\n\n*\n\nToby Smith-Firth, group IT and central change director at Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate, announced today he will be stepping down in January after more than nine years in the role. The popular Yorkshire family company is now looking for a new group IT director.\n\n*\n\nSecurity researchers at Belgium's ironPeak claim that the T2 security chip on modern Macs have a vulnerability that means the "root of trust on macOS is inherently broken". They say they have tried and failed to responsibly disclose the bug to Apple, which last year launched an open bug bounty programme.\n\n*\n\nData centre firm Equinix has launched Equinix Metal, building on its integration of bare metal specialist Packet. The aim is to make private cloud deployments as fast as public cloud, using APIs. The blurb? "Powerful, single-tenant hardware in minutes"\/"physical infrastructure at software speed". CPO Sara Baack has details. \n\n*\n\nVeeam Software, the backup specialist, has bought Kasten, a Kubernetes backup and disaster recovery firm, for $150m.\n\n*\n\nVW and AB Dynamics, an automotive test systems supplier, say they have successfully synchronised eight cars in a "swarm test" of automated vehicles that manoeuvred at speeds of to 130kmh. Unusually, they used dual-band IP radio to transfer data from vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-base through secure mesh networks.\n\n*\n\nAWS has relaunched its AWS Architecture Center: a knowledge hub for cloud applications that aggregates reference architecture, security and compliance, and more into a single portal.\n\n*\n\nBank of America (BoA) has pushed three new APIs live. These support FX settlement, the retrieval of check images, and pulling reports. The launch comes as the bank faces rising demand for real-time information and processing in corporate treasury.\n\n*\n\nThe UK Department for International Trade (\u201cDIT\u201d)'s "Tech Rocketship Awards" are now open to European and Israeli startups, which can apply here. Winners will get "a tailor-made programme connecting them to the UK\u2019s world-leading growth ecosystem".\n\n*\n\nForensic Risk Alliance, a forensic accounting and data governance firm, has launched FRA Pulse, a new technology think tank that aims to connect technology entrepreneurs with corporate leaders.\n\n*\n\nWant to be included in the Tech Stack Wrap? Tell us your news in 20 words.