Slide 1

The Irregular Newsletter of Z/Yen Group Limited

Catch up with current projects, new ventures and see some very bad puns (Editor: bad metaphor) via Z/Yen's blog or the eagerly awaited newsletter.

To receive your copy electronically, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A lovely contrast of old boat and new tech greeted seventeen Distributed Futures Forum members.  This was perhaps our most participative event so far with a range of 'kit' from the HTC Vive SteamVR headset and computer rig, to Bushra Kelsey-Burge's Haptic Wear, and a Microsoft HoloLens.  At points the surreality of people next to you experiencing a completely different, immersive reality such as "Trials On Tatooine", fighting off quixotic windmills perhaps, provoked a fair amount of laughter.  And all the while we were on a 1923 Thames Sailing Barge, Lady Daphne.

Bushra Kelsey-Burge, is a designer and educator exploring body-centred interactivity. Her recent projects have explored VR and AR. She has degrees in Biochemistry from Imperial College, Fashion Design from London College of Fashion and Applied Imagination from Central Saint Martins and has had careers in technology in finance, sustainable fashion and lecturer of marketing at London College of Fashion as well as more recently working as a product developer on interactive projects in advertising.  She presented “Second Skin - Portal To The Illusion Of Touch: Wearable Haptics In VR”.

Her argument was why leave out the largest sensory organ we experience the world with - the skin?  VR has evolved from film media, so naturally visuals and sound have been the focus with all the other senses as a bolt on after thought but this is actually a divergence away from the way we experience the world.  Having come from fashion, her natural approach has been from a second skin body-centred angle. She has been working on haptic projects the last few years to integrate with VR using soft circuits embedded into fabrics wherever possible.  She explained her ElectroMuscleStimulation project and how it was iterated with gamers and feedback from tech shows.  She also another VR project explaining dark matter with interactive costumes and 360 film.

Bushra put people into her Haptic rig and then showed how she controlled their arm muscles, forcing wearers to clench and unclench their fists.  All agreed, "weird"!!!

Tom Price, works as an Assistant Director at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, where he specialises in helping to support transformational businesses seeking to develop and adopt both new business structures and emerging technologies.  His professional background complements a personal, and perhaps more esoteric interest in the effect of technology on our economy and society, and an enthusiasm for some of the more extraordinary and speculative ventures in this space. Tom's presentation was “Seeing The Reality – Can VR Cross The Trough Of Disillusion?”  His argument ran that Virtual Reality faces its first major test – can this transformative technology survive the approaching trough of disillusionment, and what will it look like if it does?  Tom gavet personal reflections on the global virtual / augmented / mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) industry, its relevance to the UK economy, and industry prospects over the next five years, including an exploration of the challenges the technology seems likely to face over that period of time, and how it might adapt and change in response to them.  VR/AR/MR systems have the potential to change our world in ways that we are only just beginning to understand, but they may have to weather a storm of scepticism before their transformational effects can be realised.

All agreed, VR/AR/MR may be over the trough, but were divided on whether VR or AR had the upper hand.  This divide was highlighted by the divide in affection for the HTC Vive (VR) and the Microsoft HoloLens (AR), about 50:50 all round.

We then adjourned for dinner and more fun & games, kicking off with our tradition of a relevantl cocktail, in this case what else but a Divine Delusion.  We were joined by the Hyperion Club of polymaths for a great dinner discussion divided into three sections:

  • I have a problem - where Philip Bond led a discussion on detection.
  • I have a dream - where Caleb Sawade shared his thinking on the very positive things AI could mean, particularly for friendship and emotions.
  • I have a theory - where Mike Halsall explored the idea that crowds might be wrong about crowdsourcing for prediction markets.

Security Forward Risk & Intelligence Forum’s Autumn Meeting was held on the Thames Sailing Barge Lady Daphne at St Katherine’s Dock in the City of London on 28 September 2016.  The meeting began with a presentation from our guest speaker Brian Dillon MSc BSc (Hons) FCMI FSyl FICEM.  Brian is Director of Rubicon Resilience Limited that specialises in counter-terrorism contingency planning, exercising, and crisis management.  Previously he was the operational head of New Scotland Yard’s Specialist Firearms Command and led London’s armed response police and a national counter-terrorism intervention capability.  His previous work included developing strategies to deal with armed attacks, multi-agency interoperability, and security at high profile events and places.  Brian entitled his talk "Dixon Of Glock Green? Terrorism Response & Intervention". He gave a fascinating talk outlining the history of armed police in the UK and how changing circumstances have influenced how we respond in new environments.  As we operate under the Chatham House Rule, Brian was able to discuss some specific cases with us. Brian then took questions and there was a lively interactive session which extended into the coffee break. 

After the coffee break we were joined by Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli, Chairman of the Z/Yen Group who gave an impromptu talk about the Lady Daphne and the history of Thames Barges.  As he had not been warned that he might be asked to do this, his talk was all the more impressive. 

After our usual ‘round robin’ session to identify key issues in the ‘in tray’ at present, we gave the floor to our ‘Speaker in Residence’ Lt Colonel Crispin Black, MBE, MPHIL, who is an independent expert on terrorism, intelligence and security.  His presentation was entitled "The Sun May Be Setting On The Age Of Wealth And Freedom May Be Ending", taken from an article by William Hague in the Daily Telegraph over the summer.  He began by stating the obvious - that in terms of population growth, and possibly wealth creation and consumer spending, the world is tilting away from the ‘Old West’ towards Asia in particular.  The great advantage likely to be retained by the west is that most of its countries are reasonably stable democracies, under the rule of law, where the basic procedures of legitimate government are accepted by the population - at first sight, at least.  But as Brexit and the ongoing US presidential election, regardless of its outcome, both show, post-WWII political consensus is fraying badly under the pressures of globalisation, mass immigration, and a sense that many heavyweight and solemn establishment judgments are merely the prejudices of a sheltered and wealthy minority.  Both the political and expert elites have lost the case with electorates.  Political turbulence is already with us.  Instability may lie ahead.

Following the meeting we dined at The Guoman Tower Hotel in St Katherine’s Dock.  Our dinner speaker was travel writer Harry Bucknall, who was great company, having spent twelve years in the Coldstream Guards and worked in Security for some time before deciding to become a writer.  Harry lightened the mood with a very witty and amusing description of his latest book "Like a Tramp, Like a Pilgrim", a signed copy of which was presented to each of the participants.  His talk covered the vagaries and rewards of long-distance walking and pilgrimage, and was greatly enjoyed. As always, the networking opportunities resulted in much exchanging of cards and we know that many of our Members are in regular contact with each other which adds value to their Security function.  Future Meetings are scheduled for 7 December 2016, 16 March 2017, 13 July 2017, 9 October 2017, 4 December 2017, and 22 March 2018.

Z/Yen have been working in South Korea for the last seven years, helping Seoul and Busan enhance their competitiveness and reputation as international financial centre.  Seoul has made great progress in the Global Financial Centre Index and Busan is gaining ground as an acknowledged leader in maritime finance.

Z/Yen was delighted to be able to ensure that Busan was included in the Lord Mayor’s itinerary during his visit to South Korea.  Several events were held during Jeffrey Mountevans' visit to Busan on 17 and 18 July 2016.  The Lord Mayor and his delegation visited the Prelude FLNG construction site at Samsung Heavy Industry in Goeje island.  The Korea Maritime and Ocean University held a Conferment Ceremony of Honorary Doctoral Degree for the Lord Mayor.  There was a Busan-London business forum at BIFC, where 48 VIPS from London and Busan sides debated on the restructuring of Korean shipping and shipbuilding industries;  potential areas for business cooperation post BREXIT, particularly in shipbuilding marine and financial services industries in Busan. 

A very successful visit for the visitors from London and further publicity for the maritime centre of Busan.


Michael attended SIBOS in Geneva again, but this time, in addition to four presentations and two television interviews in two days, they decided to stitch him up as a panellist on "A Question of Finance" - the Sibos quiz show.  It was billed as:

“Following its great success at Sibos Singapore in 2015, the second annual Sibos quiz show partners university academics with financial industry professionals for a battle of wits.  The quiz will feature two teams of experts answering questions on their own areas of expertise, as well as other areas where they may not be so well versed. Each team will be led by a captain of academia, with two supporting "stars" from the financial industry.  Just how smart are academics and financial industry professionals?  Come along and find out!”

The 45 minute format is similar to the famous UK University Challenge.  On Michael’s team were Damian Petit, Head of Payments Operations, RBS and Brian Bonar, Head of Payments, Industry & Risk, ANZ.  They faced off against Bruce Weber, Dean, and Professor of Business Administration, Lerner College of Business & Economics, University of Delaware, Michael Cole-Fontayn, EVP & Chairman of Europe, Middle East & Africa, BNY Mellon, and Jette Simson, Head of EURO1/STEP1 Service Maintenance, EBA Group.  The quiz was moderated by friend of Z/Yen by day and stand-up comedienne by night, Julia Streets, Founder & CEO, Streets Consulting Ltd.

Those of you who know Michael will be surprised, as he is so uncompetitive (what?!?, ed), that he appeared to have hair trigger responses on the buttons and questioned the moderator’s answer at one point.  Z/Yen staff were on the edge of their seats through 10 rounds, but relaxed at the end.  He was going to be in a good mood as his team won 64 to 48 and took home a chunk of glass.  Whew.  But it would be good in future if they didn’t flub questions such as “what does SIBOS stand for?” and “what does SWIFT stand for?” [SWIFT International Banking Operations Seminar, Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication]  If you’d like to see SIBOS TV interviewing the winners - (starts at 02:00).  You really couldn’t bear watching the quiz.