Hunt for Life in Mexico Fuels Demand for Tech to See Past Rubble

10/3/2017 Bloomberg

At 6 a.m. on Thursday, Rafael Ortigosa stood atop the collapsed Alvaro Obregon office building in Mexico City and called a halt to his company’s search and rescue efforts.

It wasn’t the result Ortigosa, South America sales manager for Leader, a French maker of ultra-sensitive listening equipment and cameras, had hoped for. Although 28 people escaped the toppled seven-story building following a 7.1 magnitude quake on Sept. 19, by the time Ortigosa and his team arrived on the site more than a week later, no more survivors were being found. In all, 35 bodies were discovered at the site and at least eight more remained unaccounted for.

If he’d gotten there sooner, Ortigosa said, maybe a few more could have been saved. The first 72 hours after a natural disaster are crucial for bringing in rescue dogs and search equipment like the systems made by Leader, he said.

“That’s when you can still detect people alive,” he said. “After that, it is very difficult.”

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New Publication | Building on Early Success: Next Steps in U.S.-Mexico Educational Cooperation

By Angela Robertson and Duncan Wood

USA and MexicoLaunched in 2014, the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research (FOBESII) seeks to “expand opportunities for educational exchanges, scientific research partnerships, and cross-border innovation to help both countries develop a 21st century workforce for both our mutual economic prosperity and sustainable social development.” It aims to promote binational cooperation in higher education and research, especially regarding important areas for innovation in the United States and Mexico, by promoting programs for student mobility, academic exchange, research, and innovation in areas of common interest to contribute to the competitiveness of the region.

Cultural and educational exchanges help to create connections between the people and institutions of the United States and Mexico via exchange programs, scholarships, grants, and joint research.  Increasing educational exchanges and strengthening workforce development and innovation, particularly in STEM areas, will allow the United States and Mexico, and North America as a whole, to compete in global markets. Thus, FOBESII has the potential to build a more prosperous future for both the United States and Mexico.

Nonetheless, this short paper argues that, while FOBESII has done much to expand educational exchanges, increase joint research, and promote innovation, it has yet to achieve its stated goals and continues to face serious challenges. We argue that to overcome these challenges, future initiatives must focus on advancing private sector engagement, workforce development, and improving public communication and outreach. FOBESII continues to be a relevant and important initiative, but it is in urgent need of restructuring and redirection if it is to make a significant contribution to bilateral affairs and regional competitiveness.

Read the paper…

How Mexico City Became A Hotbed For Startups

11/30/16 Forbes

mexico_city_at_night_2005On the corner of corner of Moneda and Licenciado Primo Verdad streets in Mexico City sits the first printing press in the Americas, established in 1539. Not far from that historic site of innovation is the Zona Rosa, one of many neighborhoods in the city center known for its trendy restaurants and bars – and increasingly – a lively startup community.

That’s near where WeWork is located, a shared workspace that many young entrepreneurs call home. Based in the Bay Area with offices all over the world, the Mexico City outpost looked like any Silicon Valley shared workspace with its casually hip young crowd, micro-roasted coffee and micro-brewed beer on tap — and even a few dogs.

It also turned out to be the perfect locale for a recent innovation event hosted by SAP and Endeavor, where a panel of young startup leaders discussed how their companies are using technology to digitally disrupt everything in Mexico; from the mid-range furniture market to domestic cleaning services.

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“Uber Is Launching its Own Debit Card”

10/24/2016 Fortune 

Uber UBER 0.00% has partnered up with MasterCard MA 0.14% and Mexican online bank Bankaool to launch a debit card in Mexico.

According to Business Insider, the UberCard will only be available in Mexico where many card providers don’t allow their customers to use their cards for online payments, which is what Uber generally relies on. Luckily, because of MasterCard’s role in this collaboration, UberCard payments aren’t only relegated to the Uber app, but can be used anywhere that MasterCard is accepted.

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Mexico’s TV Giveaway Spawns Questions

09/29/2016 The Wall Street Journal 

typing on computer keyboardMEXICO CITY—Mexico, long considered a free-market bastion in Latin America, recently carried out one of the region’s biggest government giveaways: a $1.3 billion program to hand out close to 10.5 million flat-screen television sets to the country’s poor.

The government touted the program, aimed at low-income mothers, senior citizens and other welfare recipients, as a model of social inclusion and the best way to push the country forward from analog signals into the digital age. The number of televisions given away was equal to twice the sets Mexicans normally buy in a single year.

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Border students are shaping the future with technology and innovation

09/06/2016 The Huffington Post

Social-media-communicationExpanding access to clean water and other natural resources. Ending gender violence. Improving physical and mental health. Increasing educational attainment for all students. These are some of the pressing challenges we face and will continue to face unless we decide to do something about it.

Here is a thought: how about we ask our young people to use the latest technology and innovation to solve these problems? After all, these are problems they will inherit should we fail to solve them now.

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Thousands flock to Mexico City streets for Pokemon Go

08/21/2016 Reuters

pokemon.jpgThousands gathered in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park on Sunday (August 21) to play Pokemon Go and celebrate the worldwide app phenomenon.

Mexicans of all ages, some in costume, descended on the park early in the day, phones and tablets in hand, ready to capture Pokemons.

Pokemon player Julio Cesar said he wasn’t a fan at first.

“When the app came out, the truth is that I spoke very badly of it as did those who play conventional video games. But I had the chance to try it and it is very addictive and I like it a lot and I see that it can bring people together to meet each other,” he said.

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