US Senate Backs Bill to Gain a Competitive Edge over China
On Tuesday the U.S. Senate passed one of the largest industrial bills in U.S. history, in a bipartisan effort to ensure the U.S. remains competitive with China.
The Innovation and Competition Act, which passed the chamber 68-32, commits US$190bn for U.S. technology research, US$54bn for semiconductors and telecommunications, and US$29bn over five years for a new technology division at the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The bill would also fund a grant programme managed by the Commerce Department that would match financial incentives offered by states and local governments to chipmakers who improve upon or build new factories.
“Senate passage of USICA is a pivotal step toward strengthening U.S. semiconductor production and innovation and an indication of the strong, bipartisan support in Washington for ensuring sustained American leadership in science and technology,” said John Neuffer, CEO of the SIA. “Enactment of these investments would help strengthen America’s economy, national security, technology leadership, and global competitiveness for years to come.”
Impact on Chinese owned tech
The act would also bar government agencies from buying drones manufactured by Chinese companies and federal employees from downloading TikTok, the popular Chinese-owned video app, on government devices. In addition to this, President Biden has revoked a Trump attempt to ban Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat, substituting an executive order mandating a review of apps controlled by foreign adversaries to determine whether they pose a security threat to the U.S.
The bill directs the US secretary of state to publish a list of all state-owned enterprises in China that have used either intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers. It also takes steps to strengthen America's partnership with allies in the region, like Japan and Australia, to stop importation of goods made with stolen intellectual property.
The legislation also expresses that the President should use the full range of his authority to impose sanctions against people or entities that have stolen US trade secrets or benefited from such theft, as well as sanctions against foreign entities or people that have supported or engaged in cyberattacks or otherwise undermined US cybersecurity on China's behalf.
Speaking about the act, President Joe Biden said in a statement: “It will empower us to discover, build, and enhance tomorrow’s most vital technologies — from artificial intelligence, to computer chips, to the lithium batteries used in smart devices and electric vehicles — right here in the United States. By strengthening our innovation infrastructure, we can lay the foundation for the next generation of American jobs and American leadership in manufacturing and technology.”
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”