Portugal’s burgeoning ‘Sharing Economy’ to redefine lifestyle of future generations, according to experts

Portugal’s burgeoning ‘sharing economy’ has unlimited potential to enhance and redefine the lifestyle of future generations – but demands new solutions to promote long-term financial security, according to experts.

A brainstorming ‘think-tank’ hosted by the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce (BPCC) brought together international business leaders from the co-living, co-working, construction, property and international investment sectors. It involved delegates from Russia, Australia, Germany, Tunisia, Brazil and Angola alongside British and Portuguese counterparts.

The debate considered the pros and cons of the ‘Sharing Economy’ and short-term usage verses long-term ownership.

The ‘Sharing Economy’ is a term used to describe new methods of distributing goods and services, which differs from traditional models involving corporations hiring employees and selling products to consumers. In the sharing economy, individuals rent or ‘share’ things like cars, homes and personal time to other individuals in a peer-to-peer fashion. Further ‘commercial business models’ see companies providing a mobile app that suppliers and customers use to buy and sell goods or services.

While many positive developments were discussed, experts also cautioned for greater governance and control as the nation adapts to new and emerging trends. Delegates in particular warned that a proliferation of ‘sharing schemes’ could lead to generations of possession-less people lacking long-term financial stability.

Pedro Clarke, Partner at A+Architecture, said a major risk with new movements including co-living and car-share schemes is the creation of life-long ‘service users’ without assets. “The risk is that people are becoming decapitalized because they are renting everything,” he said. “This could lead to issues later in life if they need to retire or raise cash. Traditionally, people have sold or traded their assets, but this will no longer be possible if people are no longer accumulating wealth. There is no doubting the immense benefits of the sharing economy, with 1pc of the global population consuming more than the remaining 99pc. I am supportive of the concept but clearly a balance must be struck. We must carefully consider the long-term effects and implications of future generations potentially having no financial stake in society.” 

The sharing economy has disrupted many traditional business models most notably affecting tourism, hospitality, working, living and transport sectors across Portugal.

Event sponsor Luis Silva, founding partner at Pedra Silva Arquitectos Lda, said the new movement is being fuelled by advances in technology along with economic and social change. “In recent years digital and creative start-ups have flourished in Portugal and disrupted the marketplace. They have capitalised on rapid changes in consumer behaviour and created new platforms geared towards greater choice and flexibility through shared assets. Within our industry we have witnessed major change in the way people are using space within the built environment. Co-living and co-working are two prime examples which continue to grow in popularity as people combine resources for greater experiences. Sharing maximises the use of an asset which is better for our planet, but also allows access to assets that otherwise would less accessible if the sharing concepts did not exist. This means the younger generation can kick start their businesses early by having access to shared workspace which can fast track business growth. The sharing economy is a fundamental part of Lisbon’s broader ‘smart city’ strategy to become more sustainable, competitive, participatory, creative, innovative and’ citizen centric’. Lisbon has drafted an urban development strategy for the coming decades committing more than €300million in related projects. Key objectives include attracting more inhabitants by improving the quality of housing, smart living services and smart ageing opportunities. The strategy also aims to drive growth, wealth and job creation by attracting more entrepreneurs and broadening access to higher education. While we already witnessing the positive impact of the sharing economy within this wider plan, it continues to hold huge potential to improve quality of life through increased energy efficiency, mobility, social cohesion, local regeneration and citizen participation.”

Liam O’Donnell from DNN said new generations are crying out for flexible solutions but they will need to be driven and implemented largely by the private sector. “People no longer live or work in one place or one city,” he said. “There is a growing demographic of people who don’t buy their first property until their mid-30s, with others choosing to live with parents until later in life. Given this backdrop people are looking for flexible solutions to live in their own space, without having to worry about long rental contracts. The sharing economy has great potential to provide solutions to these people. However, we need the right sort of investors who can supply capital to support new concepts. We cannot simply rely on government and public sector funding. We need serious players who believe in the concepts and can roll out ideas which have been successful elsewhere around the globe. One of Lisbon’s greatest assets is its growing international expat population bringing high-level skills and services. It’s a special place with all the raw materials to attract the top talent to drive new and emerging trends. The ‘sharing economy’ will play a major role in the future helping elevate and improve the lifestyle of younger generations. It will also play a fundamental role in the business community helping entrepreneurs take necessary risks without incurring huge cost.”

The debate led to a closer examination of the precise definition of the ‘Sharing Economy’. There are two main types of sharing economy enterprises. Firstly, ‘commercial business models’ in which a company provides (for a fee) a mobile app that suppliers and customers use to buy and sell goods or services. Secondly, ‘Not-for-profit initiatives’ usually based on the concept of book-lending libraries, in which goods and services are provided for free or for a modest subscription.

Humane City Live Founder Alexander Pichugin said there is a controversial aspect to the sharing economy. “There are certain platforms under the sharing economy umbrella which could be considered exploitation of the poorest segments of society, who essentially cannot afford to buy assets,” he said. “There remain questions surrounding ethics and sustainability as those that do not own assets tend to pay more for the same products over the course of a lifetime.”

Meanwhile, Besma Kraiem of IBK Partners said we are witnessing a paradigm shift within ownership. “Much of the sharing economy appears to involve people acquiring assets or part of the value chain and using them to provide services to other people who can’t afford them,” she said. “This is not the definition of sharing in its truest sense. My understanding of sharing is where people exchange goods or services for little or no cost. What we are discussing here is a completely new form of economy, and one which will require the development of new methods and solutions to protect people potentially without assets in the future. We cannot expect traditional models of wealth generation and security, which have been used to protect people in past, to be applicable in the future. We will need new solutions in response to new forms of economy.”

While cost is recognised as a key driving force powering the ‘Sharing Economy’ delegates also pointed out a series of other ‘lifestyle’ motivations steering new generations to flexible, short-term solutions.

 Williams Johnson Mota of B-Hive Living said: “The sharing economy is not only about reducing the burden of cost. We have found that people are making this choice for other reasons including social interaction, to be part of vibrant, international communities. Co-working and co-living spaces for instance attract people from all over the world. The transient nature of the modern working world means people may travel and work for many years before settling down. There is now a population of people who know where they wish to settle down later in life, however they want to work elsewhere perhaps for many years before doing so. They are doing this for life and work experience. These people need flexible living solutions until that time while retaining a sense of community and belonging. While sharing economy has transformed lifestyle options for many people, offering greater choice and flexibility there are still concerns surrounding governance and control. The industry has suffered scandals largely because it is susceptible to issues which do not affect normal business operations. This means there is a constant requirement to review legislation to tighten rules and regulations.”

As Lisbon’s co-living scene continues to boom, delegates agreed that Portugal’s large influx of international expats were making conscious choices to benefit from ‘sharing economy’ services. Many users are making specific ‘lifestyle choices’ based on short-term flexibility, despite having capital to invest in long-term ownership.

The debate was staged shortly after the release of an extensive report from Coliving Insights exploring co-living as an innovative future housing solution. The 72-page study highlighted work involving several delegates. To read more follow the link https://drive.google.com/file/d/1O268kXR_hvT1oUpmvDlQgW02xaVxo30z/view

CoWorkCentral founder Tom Davis said Lisbon’s ‘digital nomad’ scene is showing no sign of slowing down with a thriving start-up scene and expanding tech sector. “Lisbon is adapting rapidly to this changing landscape,” he said. “However, people’s needs and expectations are constantly changing, and the market must respond to that. Digital nomads are continuing to flood in on Schengen Visas for 3 months, briefly leaving and then moving back across. Lisbon is well and truly on the global co-working map and has an excellent reputation for high quality communal workspaces. With added profile from the likes of the annual Web Summit, the market is only likely to expand.”

New enterprise OneSpace – Capsule & Desk was recently set up in Lapa. Investor Helder Hussaine from Capital Holding said the co-work, co-live space was developed due to market demand. “We invest in a broad portfolio of property assets around the world, including Angola, Mozambique and Brazil,” he said. “We were very interested in the Portuguese market but didn’t want to opt for a conventional model. After researching in greater depth and listening to growing demand for co-living and co-working spaces we opened a 62 bedroom ‘Capsule & Desk’ site near the Assembleia da República in Lapa. It’s a vibrant area providing guests with flexibility to live and work on short term contracts.”

 BPCC CEO Chris Barton said the debate marked the seventh outing of the BPCC’s ‘think-tank’ series. “The BPCC started these thought-provoking events earlier in 2019 to isolate important topics which affect our members and create space for deep discussion,” he said. “I find it enormously satisfying that we were able to attract such a talented group representing a diverse cross-section of perspectives regarding the ‘Sharing Economy’. As with previous editions we were able to unite large enterprises and key industry players with SMEs and small business owners, in a more intimate environment where they would not ordinarily meet. This creates a fascinating debate where delegates can share their perspectives from across the spectrum. It is also hugely valuable from a networking perspective for our diverse membership base. Due to the positive response we expect to revisit and reassess the ‘sharing economy’ topic again in 2020.”

For more information on the BPCC visit the website www.bpcc.pt phone: (+351) 213 942 020 or Email:

[email protected]  New companies which join now will avoid a fee increase coming into effect on 1 January, 2020 and will also benefit from a “free December”.

Text by Sam Pinnington of Pressing PR

Moneris com novo posicionamento digital

Há muito que a Moneris prossegue uma estratégia de inovação e transformação digital, que assenta na contínua adoção de novas práticas, novas linguagens, novos canais, novas ferramentas e tecnologias que permitem um foco no cliente e uma constante capacidade de adaptação e resposta às novas necessidades e exigências do mercado.

Em 2019, fruto deste renovado posicionamento, a Moneris avançou com um processo de rebranding e reforçou a sua presença nas redes sociais LinkedIn e Facebook, com uma pegada digital assente na partilha de conhecimento e valor acrescentado

Foi também lançada uma nova Intranet, uma ferramenta corporativa interna onde é partilhado com transparência tudo o que acontece na Moneris.

Foi ainda um ano de aposta na qualidade e integridade da informação, assim como de consolidação da automatização de vários processos administrativos e burocráticos, que permitem libertar recursos para um acompanhamento mais focado no cliente.

Neste final de ano, a Moneris apresenta ao mercado o seu novo website – https://www.moneris.pt – com uma imagem mais leve e simples, mais moderna e dinâmica, que transporta a visão abrangente, global e inovadora desta organização.

No novo espaço digital da Moneris, são disponibilizados mais e melhores conteúdos e a presença online é consolidada com a possibilidade de integração direta dos conteúdos nas redes sociais.

A Moneris está no caminho da inovação, da modernização, da digitalização, da transformação digital e promete ter novidades muito em breve.

Siga a Moneris:

Hotel brand Inspira to develop projects in Alfama and Santos

Investoc, the ‘family office’ company that owns the Inspira hotel brand is to develop two hotels in the historic Lisbon neighbourhoods of Alfama and Santos.

Filipe Osório de Castro, CEO of Investoc, told online tourism news agency ‘Publituris’ that the company purchased two hotel assets being developed in 2018.

One is located in Avenida Dom Carlos I in Santos which will become a 65-room three-star hotel. Still in the planning permission phase, the €14 million project aims to be different from competitors in the market.

Opening at the end of 2020, the hotel will be positioned in the market as a ‘lifestyle hotel’ aimed at young people.

The other hotel will be located in the historic centre of Lisbon’s Alfama district, in front of the Sé Cathedral and the church of St. Anthony of Alfama.

“We closed the deal in the last quarter and involves a building in Alfama which will become a 50-room five-star hotel. Still on the drawing board phase, the project has a view over the Tagus River and the city as well as “fantastic exposure to the sun,” says Osório de Castro.

The expected investment is €18.5 million with opening expected for 2021.

Ombria Resort wins ‘Best Sustainable Residential Project in Portugal’

The Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort has picked up the ‘Best Sustainable Residential Project in Portugal’ award at the European Property Awards.

The award for a new category ‘Sustainable Residential Development’ was handed out during an award ceremony which took place in London on the 24 October.

The Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort is a 65 apartment development with one and two bedrooms which is managed by Viceroy Hotels & Resorts and forms part of the resort in Loulé, Algarve and which is anchored by a 5-star hotel, the Viceroy at Ombria Resort.

Ranging between 70m2-173m2 of GIA, the apartments are totally furnished with fixtures, furniture and fittings of the same quality in the hotel.

The owners will have access to the hotel premises and services, including the use of concierge and property management and rental while the owner is not using the apartment.

The resort is located in the heart of a 150 hectare estate in the interior of the Algarve.

The European Property Awards are recognised globally as the biggest and most prestigious awards in the real estate sector. The ‘Sustainable Residential Development’ category presented for the first time this year reflects the importance of sustainability in the real estate sector, evaluating projects according to economic, environmental and social responsibility. The Ombria Resort won hands down with excellent practises in all three areas.
Julio Delgado, CEO of Ombria Resort says, “We are really pleased to have won this prestigious award and for leading the way in sustainable residential developments. Over the past decade we’ve seen a change in what potential buyers want. They are much more focused on sustainability and a respect for nature which is at the heart of what we do and it really is an honour to get this award which recognises our efforts.”

 

Talent shortage and Coopetition

On Wednesday, 24th October, another lively ‘think tank’ lunch took place at the Oporto Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club in Porto. Guests from a diverse range of businesses, talent and professions were invited to generate a friendly but meaningful exchange of opinions on the topic of ‘Talent Shortage and Coopetition‘.

Each person had an opportunity to introduce both themselves and their respective professional interest before tucking into the delicious lunch. Business cards were eagerly exchanged and networking exchanges both before and after lunch opened up new possibilities for everyone. Inês Castelo Branco then opened the ensuing discussion with her perspectives on the main topic, and there followed a fascinating debate which led all present not only to contribute their own thoughts, but also to appreciate different points of view, and rethink established ideas.

The success of these meetings lies in part to the variety and mix of invited guests, thus ensuring such a stimulating and animated debate, and a deeper mutual appreciation of the challenges involved in Portugal for entrepreneurs at every level and in all sectors. The lunch was both rewarding and inspiring and much appreciated by all attending.

Hotelaria Vs Alojamento Local

Kindly sponsored by:

 

Local accommodation — can hotels compete?

According to estimates local accommodation such as AirB&B, guest houses and hostels in Lisbon now account for more than 50% of all tourist bookings in the capital.

In fact houses set aside for local tourist accommodation in the borough of Lisbon which has around 500,000 inhabitants has the capacity to accommodate 102,000 visitors.

The statistics come from Lisbon City Council which also remarks that in March 2019 there were 18,000 local accommodation establishments, a growth of 80% on 2018, a growth trend that has increased on previous years.

But how is this competition affecting the traditional hotel sector in the city and is the mushrooming phenomena of guest houses creating unfair competition or can the two co-exist happily?

This was the question on the table at a debate last week entitled “Hotels v Guest Houses and areas of contention: competitive rivals or complementary alternatives” co-organised by the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce (BPCC), the French, Belgian-Luxembourg and German chambers of commerce with panel with Ricardo Amantes (Commercial & Investments Director of Coporgest/Lisbon Best Apartments) Miguel Garcia ( Director of the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade) and moderated by Vítor Norinha, journalist (Megafin).

The first issue raised was if there was a certain tourism phobia in Lisbon with the spectre of the city becoming a tourist Disneyland like Barcelona, Berlin or Venice.
Ricardo Amantes said that while there wasn’t evidence of a phobia towards tourists in Lisbon, tourist numbers had grown exponentially over the past four years and Miguel Garcia pointed to the need for better public transport infrastructure and services to cater for the growing numbers.

“If Lisbon and Porto are not better prepared for this demand and given that we don’t have a second airport up and running yet, the city will need more infrastructure, services and better quality ones.”

“Today we see local accommodation not so much as a competitor but complementary to existing offer and vital for the development of cities like Lisbon and Porto,” Amantes added.

In fact, the Portuguese are well known for being hospitable and having the art of welcoming visitors and being good hosts, a phenomena seen up and down the country.
“I think we are one of the few countries in the world who know how to welcome visitors and make an effort to do so in English. We have room to grow and develop but must do so in a sustainable way” he said.

Crunching the numbers Vítor Norinha said in Lisbon there were 18,000 local accommodation premises but 15% offered a poor service and many of these in area of contention such as the central Lisbon historic neighbourhoods. Local accommodation — and these numbers have been disputed — represent 50% of all tourist accommodation in Lisbon and Porto, others sources say 33% while around 63% of beds in Lisbon are for local accommodation and 37% for hotels. In 2018 there were 56,000 beds in hotels and apart-hotels while in the first half of 2019 there were 25-5 million visitors which means the same amount of tourists as in 2018.

Some 92% of the license holders of local accommodation own between one and three premises which means it is a relatively small business with area of contention representing 20% and relative areas of contention (15%).

Regulations scare of investors

Ricardo Amantes said he was “very critical” of regulations aimed at controlling the number and nature of local accommodation that has been approved but currently awaiting publication and are designed to protect the lifestyle of local residents in historic neighbourhoods and maintain the traditional and authentic character of them.
“It seems to me that the real reason for introducing these regulations is not so much to ‘put the house in order’ but to try and resolve the problem of a lack of affordable housing in Lisbon since reading the memoranda to do with the regulations the aim is to ‘preserve the social reality of the neighbourhoods and residents and safeguard the fundamental rights to housing against the growth of local accommodation and the pressure this demand puts on rising property and rental prices.

“For me there does not exist a direct relationship between local accommodation and a lack of housing in these historic neighbourhoods. If it wasn’t for local accommodation, there would not be a number of buildings that have been done up and local trade and business that has sprung up and we would have continued to witness what we had experienced before 2014 where a large number of these neighbourhoods were run down with buildings that were abandoned or in ruins, a population that was very elderly while local accommodation had already existed anyway.”

Miguel Garcia said he had a “different view” of local accommodation which was that it was complementary. “I agree that it has to be controlled and regulated to preserve local traditions and authenticity. To preserve our history and the elderly with their washing lines hanging from windows really is part of our culture and history.”

“If you are a tourist and see hoards of tourists in the traditional neighbourhoods you completely lose the effect of the authenticity of these “bairros” and local accommodation must result in creating a genuine experience in the location, avoiding situations that have happened in Greece and Italy” he said adding that Lisbon rank the risk of approaching a Disneyland situation.

It was also pointed out that investors had bought up property to turn into hotels or guest houses and were now, because of the regulations, left with either potential white elephants on their hands or were facing restrictions making it difficult to have a good return on their investments. “These government rules have been passed regardless of the current investments underway” he said adding that so far the Government had not given a positive reply to concerns over investments already earmarked in Lisbon.

“From the point of view of overseas investors who have and want to invest in Portugal it sends out a bad sign that investors cannot trust the government because it chops and changes the rules,” he said.

Hotels v Local Accommodation

So, with local accommodation already overtaking Lisbon’s hotels on mid-price average stays (city-breaks), can the hotel sector compete and coexist with the more affordable competition that is attracting so many younger people to stay in the city?
It largely depends on the type of trade you are looking at. According to the Lisbon Tivoli boss, if I’m looking at the Tivoli Avenida (five-star) we perhaps have competition from the first stay tourists make in the city. What I call curiosity visitors,” he said.
“But for people that want services, history, brand and class then the expectation is completely different for a certain type of traveller that wouldn’t be expecting the same in local accommodation,” he added.

“But it we look at our three and four-star hotels, then I would agree that we have a greater competition.”
The answer could be to become better and more competitive at three and four-star level, strengthen its core business which in hotels means service whole local accommodation has a lot of growth to do in these areas.

Some bed and breakfast guest houses that are members of city hosting platforms can so offer some services but the kind of tourists that book into local accommodation are not the same kind of visitors who want to stay in hotels.

“I think there is room for both, but we at Tivoli in terms of mid-price strategy believe that local accommodation could become a competitor since value-for-money is very important and more so than the classification of three or four star classifications,” said Miguel Garcia.
“I think one way or another local accommodation will need become more self-demanding to become competitive and many in the hotel sector so see this as a big threat that we have to battle against, but today I see it has a complement to existing offer,” he said.
The overall conclusion was that there was a percentage of local accommodation providers offering bad or limited services and or conditions currently in the market while it was likely that within the sector itself there would be fierce and growing competition reflected by some local accommodation providers upping their game in terms of conditions and services offered, putting them effectively on a par with small residential hotels.

By Essential Business

United Lisbon International School

Admissions Suite ready to receive registrations for September 2020 start

As a new international school in close proximity to the Park of Nations, the United Lisbon International School will open its doors to the first students in September 2020. United Lisbon will be a modern and innovative school, with its curriculum based on US-standards and leading to the internationally acknowledged International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, in combination with the “Advanced Placement” (AP) program, administered by the American College Board.

In September 2020, United Lisbon International School will open its doors to the first select group of 150 students from Early Childhood (3 years) to Grade 9 (14 years). A year ahead of the opening, the admissions process has now been officially launched. The newly opened admissions office – to welcome prospective families for individual meetings – is built to be a model space for the educational philosophy of United Lisbon as a transparent, agile and collaborative space.

After more than a year of planning, the renovation of the school campus, at Avenida Marechal Gomes da Costa, about a 10-minute drive from central Lisbon, is underway and will be completed in summer 2020. The first phase of construction focuses on the main building, with spacious classrooms, open-space learning hubs, state-of-the-art science labs, a maker space area and art studios. Around the building, the school’s outdoor sports facilities and playgrounds are also to be completed for the opening in 2020.

Chitra and Roman Stern, founders of the Martinhal Group and investors in the United Lisbon International School say: “We are excited to be starting the admissions process for the first intake now. The team has worked hard in developing the school concept and preparing the rehabilitation of the existing university site into a modern school campus. A significant part of the 200 families enquiring to-date has been from those wishing to relocate to Lisbon already for some time but were not able due to the lack of spaces in international schools for their children.”

United Lisbon school will be operated by International Schools Services (ISS), based in Princeton, USA. In over 60 years of history, ISS has successfully, supported launched and built more than 110 schools around the globe and is at the forefront of international school education. Already a year in advance of the opening, the school has successfully taken the first steps to accredit and authorize its educational programs at the national and international level:

  • The Portuguese Ministry of Education has issued the initial license for the school;
  • The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) has awarded Candidate School Status to United Lisbon for the authorization of the IB Diploma Program;
  • The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), one of the main US standard setters, has confirmed the eligibility for accreditation of the school after its opening.

“United Lisbon will offer modern education inspired by and fit for the 21st century and beyond, building on globally established educational standards such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program and Advanced Placement (AP). To enable students to grow through learning experiences that matter in the world into which our students will graduate, we create a forward-looking ecosystem for active, student-driven learning: applying new standards in pedagogy; creating open, agile and collaborative spaces; and a seamlessly integrating modern technologies,” says Dr. Nils Remmel, Founding Head of School.

Dr. Paul Johnson, ISS Senior Leadership Executive states: “Working to launch the United Lisbon International School has been an invigorating and inspiring experience. The team in Lisbon possesses the vision and drive to make United Lisbon an exciting school preparing students to face challenges of a rapidly changing world. Combined with the professional resources available through ISS, the school is positioned to be a leader in international education. It is exciting to be part of such a forward-thinking group of people.”

With its vision “to empower and inspire the young generation for a sustainable world”, United Lisbon will set itself apart through rigorous academic programs, a strong focus on the skills and values the next generation will need to be successful in tomorrow’s world, as well as supporting longer-term sustainabl Lisbon, puts it in a unique position to enrich student learning through experiences beyond the classroom building on partnerships and collaborations with local institutions and corporations.

All details on the admissions process are published at the school’s website: www.unitedlisbon.school

 

Contact for inquiries:
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +351 218 370 973
Address: Admissions Office,
Avenida Marechal Gomes da Costa nº 19B,
1800-255 Lisboa

 

About Martinhal Resorts  

Martinhal Resorts are four hotels in Portugal located in the most prestigious and privileged locations – Sagres and Quinta do Lago in the Algarve, Cascais and Chiado in Lisbon. The brand is completely focused on the luxury market for families. The developers, Chitra and Roman Stern, are working on their fifth property, Martinhal Residences (www.martinhalresidences.com), in the Park of Nations in Lisbon.

 About International Schools Services (ISS)

International Schools Services (ISS) works with more than 500 international schools and thousands of educators each year, creating the largest global footprint in international education support. Since its inception in 1955, ISS has launched and managed more than 110 international schools; placed approximately 50,000 educators; and developed ground-breaking learning programs, such as the World Language Initiative and Level 5 Creativity & Innovation Hubs. With its headquarters in Princeton, USA, ISS currently owns or operates nearly 20 international schools around the world and promotes innovation and best practices for global education through its core services that include founding and managing student-centred, future-oriented schools. ISS staff has extensive experience in all aspects of international education, with most senior leaders having served as Heads of Schools across a variety of continents.

AI is disrupting the Industry in so many sectors. True or False?

The BPCC regularly organises invitation-only brainstorming think-tank lunches where we gather a diverse group to exchange perspectives around a topic which impacts on the evolving workplace.  On 17 September, generously sponsored by Deloitte, we debated the potential benefits and detriments of Artificial Intelligence.  Amongst our guests was Fabio Rodrigues of U5 Marketing who had recently joined the Chamber as a Member, so we invited him to give his feedback on what he was able to take away from the event:

“AI is disrupting the Industry in so many sectors. True or False?”  

I started my career in the telecommunications industry in 1999, only twenty years ago; at that time, there was no such thing as data services on regular people’s mobile devices. Small initiatives — e.g. WAP and Bluetooth — were, however, emerging as revolutionary promises. They were presented at technology meetings as huge innovations, albeit dependent on yet-to-come technology, bandwidth and even hardware.

On these occasions, a futuristic imagery of a parallel world, with technological situations and solutions akin to those only existent in films, was brought to life through state-of-the-art videos. One such content was that of a man’s appliances reacting to their owner’s presence by starting to function once he entered his home: a reception contingent on his Location-Based Services Device — or, as it is known today, Bluetooth. Incredibly, in the time span of merely three to five years, an overwhelming amount of this kind of technology was being brought to regular customers at certain events, such as the World Mobile Conference, which focused on the main industry; and even more surprisingly, these same commodities were already becoming obsolete, as was the case of WAP (Wireless Access Protocol, or “data’s grandparent”).

In a welcoming and delightful environment, Mr. Chris Barton from BPCC gathered eighteen experts on the topic (a group in which I was very generously included), to discuss whether or not artificial intelligence has the necessary tools and abilities to partially, or maybe even fully, disrupt the telecom industry. Those present seemed to come to a general agreement that this particular change will not be based on a specific event, nor is it only one launch away from happening; it is an ongoing and ever changing process: a frightening, yet exciting notion for one to contemplate. After all, according to the aforementioned perspective, technological development and advance is constantly happening around us, including at this very moment.

With the thought-provoking question of whether process automation should be considered a type of artificial intelligence, our sponsor for the day, Mr. Pedro Tavares from Deloitte, was the one to start off our discussion. The topic was soon followed by a debate about the role of telecom companies in the environment in which we now find ourselves. A consensus in favour of these companies was reached, as we perceived them to be an indispensable technology integrator.

Over two hours and a delicious lunch, prepared by the award-winning Santiago de Alfama Boutique Hotel, most of the invitees had come to terms with the idea that soon enough we would be living in a world in which people will seamlessly interact with self-driving cars, unmanned drones, nanotechnological anti-tumour pills, as well as other high tech developments which only three years ago could only have been found in the movie theatres.

Kindly sponsored by:

Text: Fabio Rodrigues and Maria Eduarda Castro
U5 Marketing – Designers as a Service

Photo: Rolando Oliveira
Redux Consulting

Matthew Shribman

Matthew Shribman on Climate Change.

Youtube ecology sensation Matthew Shribman was in Portugal in September for an event organised by the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Greene’s Tutorial College on the greatest challenge of our century – Climate Change Emergency

International scientists, some world politicians and several multinational companies now recognise that manmade climate change is a fact.
The finest minds in the field stress that the time for a ‘business as usual’ approach is well and truly over. No one can now doubt climate change and claim it does not affect them. We all have to deal with it and change the way we live.
The Earth’s climate is changing at its fastest rate in 60 million years — when the Dinosaurs became extinct. In fact, we could be on the verge of an extinction event again not seen since the “Great Dying” 250 million years ago when 70% of land and 90% of marine species vanished from the earth forever.

Hurtling towards disaster
Famous for his ‘Science in the Bath’ talks on the environment on Youtube, Matthew Shribman says that we live in a societal system of “ingrained beliefs” and despite scientists and environmentalists warning that we are hurtling towards disaster, we are not changing course.
Shribman stresses that he is “anything but anti-capitalist” since capitalism has massively benefitted science and powered human progress.
“Success in a capitalist society is something that generates more money, but humans have much more complicated needs. From a scientist’s point of view, the system we are living in is driving destruction very rapidly and its not turning around,” says Shribman.
“This is because business and corporations are designed to optimise production to maximise profits. Deforestation, overfishing, mass farming and extraction are perfectly legal in many countries in order to promote the activities of corporations,” he adds.
So, why does mankind continue on its path of wilful blindness? Shribman says it is partly because the threats we have evolved to face are very different to climate change. It is why behavioural psychologists are so interested in people’s reactions to climate change and finding ways of making people take it seriously and worry about it.

Shocking statistics
Every second 300 kg of plastic enters the oceans, absorbing pollutants which marine mammals, fish and plankton eat those pollutants which work their way back to humans in the food chain.
Global top soil — vital for agriculture — is now between one-third and one-half degraded (40%). It takes 1000 years to regain one centimetre of topsoil. “We are running out of topsoil and fertilisers simply aren’t enough,” he says.
Since 1950, 50% of temperate forest has disappeared, mostly to replace the exhausted topsoil that is no longer fertile to grow crops. “We have three trillion trees left on Earth and need to plant an equal number to restore the balance,” says Shribman.
The oceans are 30% more acidic than they were a few years ago because of dissolved carbon dioxide, which is why coral is dying and with it the ecosystems it supports, including oxygen generating phytoplankton which, if that dies, will result in “our suffocating to death in an unbreathable CO2 atmosphere”.
Just some of the worrying scientific facts to join to the global extinction rate which is now 1000 times higher than ‘background rates’, i.e., the normal rate at which creatures become extinct without the stresses of manmade invasion of habitats and pollution with one-quarter of all species at risk of pollution and insect populations down by 40% in some parts of Europe.
“We are really fragile as a species and I think that is something that we don’t appreciate a lot of the time.”
In fact, the consequences of not acting drastically to counter global warming now will be crop failures, droughts, floods, mass displacement of people and imploding economies — and these are from conservative models made by scientists.
Says Shribman: “We are dangerously underestimating how much trouble we are in. We have 12 years remaining of CO2 budget that we can continue using in the same way as before after which we will not be able to prevent a rise in the global temperature of 2ºC”.
At best the world has just eight years to change before it reaches a tipping point of no return and yet we are still aiming for 2050 which is “not fast enough”. “We are well on track for 5ºC warming by 2100” he warned.

Speed of change
Climate deniers point out that climate change has happened regularly in the planet’s history and that’s true. What is different now is the speed at which these changes are happening — all within 60 years instead of several hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
Most of this change, including freak weather changes, is driven by the energy sector and farming, in particular beef farming.
“Every 10 years of food imports results in tropical forest the size of Portugal being lost forever,” says Shribman.
“The one single thing that ordinary people can do to make a difference is to stop eating beef. If the world cut out beef, it would have a greater impact on reducing CO2 emissions than if we banned all motorised vehicles.”
“Mass extinctions have happened before and there is no reason that it won’t happen again. It is time to stop pretending that things are going to be ok. We need radical thinking where people at the top in governments and corporations start a revolution because otherwise it will be too late,” concludes Shribman.

Portugal not immune
Filipe Lowndes Marques, partner at lawyers Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Partners who is President of the Board of Directors of the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce said that Portugal was not “immune to the issue of climate change. “Over the past quarter of a century there has been a significant increase in both the hottest and coldest temperatures recorded in Portugal.
“The Portuguese environmental agency has forecast an increase in maximum temperatures of three degrees in the summer in coastal areas and seven degrees inland. “If we have the horrible problem of forest fires now, imagine what it is going to be like with an extra seven degrees!” he said.
Models also foresee that Portugal is expecting a reduction in annual rainfall by 20-40%, mostly in the south of Portugal (Alentejo and Algarve).
On the other hand, Portugal is expected to have a much larger number of days with heavy rainfall, with its impact on agriculture and the wine and olive oil production industries. “We are well on the road to having the worst of both worlds,” said Lowndes-Marques stressing that: “action has to be taken quickly.”
At the Chamber of Commerce many of its corporate members have taken the issue of climate change seriously. EY offers services to help companies evaluate the risk arising from climate change and sustainability issues. Lexus, the car manufacturer, has been improving fuel efficiency and promoting fuel diversification.

A net zero carbon economy?
The British Ambassador to Portugal, Chris Sainty, said that climate change had “rocketed up the agenda” and had gone way beyond speeches and conferences and articles by politicians, journalists and academics.
“It has now found its way into our lives. The climate change emergency has become a personal thing for all of us. Particularly for young people across the world who know that they will be the ones who pick up the pieces when the rest of us have passed on,” he said.
The British Embassy, for example, has stopped using single-use plastics at internal events, saving the use of thousands of plastic water and coffee cups, plates, bowls and cutlery.
“Like Portugal we have set ourselves the ambition of becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2050. In the UK we are going to achieve that by legally-binding climate change legislation and a clean growth strategy in business, housing and transport,” said the ambassador.

Legislation-driven change
Legislation in various countries, including Britain and Portugal is going to drive social, cultural, business and technological change across the world over the next 30 years.
Internationally, the UK is ambitious over climate change and together with Italy will host the 2020 Global Climate Change Summit “COP26” in Glasgow.
The Deputy Mayor of Oeiras – a Greater Lisbon borough that has its own climate change programme – Dr. Francisco Rocha Martins quoted US President John F. Kennedy who in 1963 at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis said: “Our most common link is that we are all inhabitants of this climate, we all breathe the same air and we all look out for our children’s future.”
“The clock is ticking and although the planet has always found a way of renewing itself, it is now facing desperate times. If we want to save our oceans and forests we have only one option ahead: to take climate change action.”

Text and photos: Chris Graeme
Essential Business

Portugal Confidential Travel and Minor Hotels Partner Hosts Major Luxury Travel Company in Portugal

Portugal Confidential Travel, the Algarve-based luxury destination management consultant, together with Minor Hotels, hosted a familization trip for eight travel agents of Frosch International Travel in May 2019. The aim was to promote Portugal as a destination able to accommodate Frosch’s preferred clients, leisure and business travelers, and to showcase many luxury service providers in Lisbon, Algarve and Sintra.

“The number of American tourists to Portugal has increased considerably in the last two years,” says Portugal Confidential Travel Co-Owner Cathy Leibman. “We really wanted Frosch to indulge in the Portuguese culture, as well as understand that the luxury hospitality business is prepared to welcome their clients.”

Accommodations and many of the meals for the Frosch agents were provided by Minor Hotels. The group stayed two nights each at the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade, Anantara Vilamoura and Tivoli Palácio de Seteais.

“It is important that Frosch agents experience Anantara and Tivoli properties in Portugal, and get a sense for the high level of service we offer,” mentions Frederico Ayala, Director of Luxury Sales at Minor. “We were pleased to coordinate this activity with Portugal Confidential Travel.”

Throughout the trip, transfers in V-Class Mercedes were provided by VIP Chauffeurs Algarve.

The itinerary of unique experiences created by Portugal Confidential Travel included dinner at José Avillez’s BECO Gourmet Cabaret, private tours of Lisbon and Sintra by Blue Collective, lunch at Louro Restaurant at Conrad Algarve, a yachting excursion by Liv Lux, followed by a Benegil cave exploration with Taruga Tours, an evening at VILA VITA Parc’s Fine Wines & Food Fair, lunch at Tivoli Évora and dinner at Casal Sta. Maria winery.

“From start to finish, the Frosch agents were very impressed with the high level of service and abundance of luxury activities available in Portugal,” offered Portugal Confidential Co-owner Greg Boegner.