Over the past few years, bank and building society branches have been disappearing from our high streets at a frightening pace. Banks say that this has been driven by a rapid increase in online and mobile banking, and a rapid decline in the use of physical branches. Which? has been tracking bank branch closures since 2015. In this guide, you can find out exactly what the state of play is, which banks have closed the most branches and the areas hardest hit. And our bank branch closure checker allows you to find out which of your local branches closed recently.
Today, IBM, a leader in AI for business and AI-powered customer care, entered into an agreement with McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant company, to further accelerate the development and deployment of its Automated Order Taking (AOT) technology. Under the agreement, IBM will acquire McD Tech Labs, which was created to advance employee and customer facing innovations following McDonald’s 2019 acquisition of Apprente. As part of McDonald’s strategic growth plan, “Accelerating the Arches,” the company is committed to innovation across Digital, Delivery and Drive Thru. This agreement will accelerate McDonald’s efforts to provide an even more convenient and unique customer and crew experience.
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A surge in pricing for silicon metal may become a big issue for Apple and other major manufacturers, with production cuts in China shooting up the price of the material by 300% in less than two months.
Silicon is an important part of the technology landscape, being used for chip production as well as in other industries, including glass production and even concrete, as well as silicone products. However, it seems that the supply of the material is getting extremely tight, despite silicon being abundant enough to make up 28% of the earth’s crust.
While issues ranging from higher chip demand and water shortages have impacted device vendors so far, in what is termed the global chip shortage, silicon itself is a growing problem area. In a report by Bloomberg, production cuts in China has forced up the price of the material to triple what it was two months previous.
Three more U.K. energy companies were pushed out of business by sky-high natural gas prices, bringing to more than 1.7 million the number of customers who have lost their supplier and adding to pressure on the government to step in.
Igloo Energy Supply Ltd., Enstroga Ltd. and Symbio Energy Ltd. announced their collapse on Wednesday, representing a total of about 233,000 households. Those customers will be allocated another supplier by energy regulator Ofgem. Since the start of August, 10 utilities in the country have gone under.
The latest failures increase the chances that government intervention will be needed. The crisis is building even before the start of winter, when power and gas prices typically increase due to demand for heating. Rising costs are making it difficult for larger suppliers — which have already taken on thousands of additional clients — to absorb even more, absent government support.