The Coupon Bureau and Hedera Hashgraph Move to Next Phase in Delivering Universal Digital Coupons

DALLAS, Sept. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Coupon Bureau (TCB), a non-profit, industry managed coupon data exchange technology platform that works with many of the largest consumer product goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers, has moved into the next phase of development of its Universal Positive Offer File, which will leverage the Hedera Consensus Service (HCS) to create a universal digital coupon for the retail industry. The new universal digital coupon will provide a standardized and secure mechanism for coupon distribution by utilizing a singular centralized database of offers, which can be used across paper, mobile, or online commerce.

Hedera Hashgraph (PRNewsfoto/Hedera)

“The COVID-19 outbreak has required the coupon and retail industry to find innovative ways to meet consumers’ changing behavior, especially in the context of dramatically rising e-commerce sales and online deliveries,” said Brandi Johnson, CEO of The Coupon Bureau. “There has never been a more urgent need for a universal digital coupon that crosses retail mediums, verticals and purchase environments, to provide consumers and retailers with the added layer of trust to serve their needs. Today, we are proud to roll out the roadmap for sunsetting old coupon formats, and delivering a cohesive couponing experience for both retailers and consumers.”

The universal digital coupon will feature a new coupon application type, known as AI (8112), that will enhance coupon security and reduce fraud. Every coupon generated will have a digital fingerprint on the Hedera Consensus Service. When a coupon is redeemed, it will also be recorded on HCS, so it cannot be used again or reproduced. This allows for online couponing, not currently available under the current standard. In addition, the activities of the centralized data exchange (UPOF) all pass through HCS for verifiability. More information on how the integration works can be found at

The move to a new universal digital coupon standard will see the phasing out of the existing legacy coupon type AI (8110) based on barcodes, once a majority of retailers are compatible with the AI (8112) type format. The sharp rise in touchless commerce since the COVID-19 outbreak is expected to hasten retailers’ plans to become 8112 compatible. The Coupon Bureau is projected to be integrated with upwards of 70% of grocery retailers in 2021.

“Working with The Coupon Bureau has made clear the benefits of implementing a standardized framework for coupon usage that puts innovation and security at the heart of the coupon industry. Their work to deliver a standardized universal digital coupon across the industry will increase the accuracy of offer validation and increase efficiency through the centralized data usage,” said Mance Harmon, CEO and Co-founder of Hedera Hashgraph. “We are delighted that they have selected to use HCS, the only service capable of delivering the throughput, visibility and security features the industry needs to deliver this next-generation of coupons to customers.”

About The Coupon Bureau

The Coupon Bureau’s mission is to connect manufacturers, retailers, and consumers through technology and community, to build solutions to the issues of real

South Orange-Maplewood Schools Prepared To Move To Hybrid Model

MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – After more than a month of remote learning due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, South Orange-Maplewood school officials began a phased-in educational model this week that will lead to students returning to the classroom next month.

As New Jersey’s coronavirus positivity rate remains at 3 percent, the district remains on target to begin its hybrid model of learning beginning on Nov. 12, superintendent Ronald Taylor told school board members Monday night. The phased-in approach, he said, allows for a thoughtful and strategic return to help provide some normalcy to students, teachers and school administrators.

The district has scheduled a Town Hall meeting for Monday night to provide Pre-K-8 families with information about the reopening plan before a second meeting is scheduled for Columbia High School families. The district has also set an Oct. 28 deadline for preference forms for both Pre-K-8th grade students and those attending Columbia High School. The deadline allows district officials to plan for how many students will be participating in the hybrid model, Taylor said.

Taylor said Monday that the district has made upgrades to its buildings to ensure the safety of students and staff members, including the installation of HEPA air filters in every classroom. The district has also made an investment in technology that will allow educators to have more success in reaching students.

Teachers returned to school this week on a voluntary basis to begin broadcasting virtual classes, which began Phase 2 of the district’s reopening plan. Taylor told board members during the presentation that district officials feel confident moving forward out of the all-remote phase as positivity rates have remained steady over the past month. According to Taylor, both Maplewood and South Orange have each reported 11 confirmed positive cases of the coronavirus since the beginning of October.

He said that district officials remain in daily communication with local health officials and will continue to monitor positivity rates, which would determine if the district needs to make any adjustment to its current plan.

Under the phased-in approach, district teachers would return to the classroom on a mandatory basis on Nov. 9, three days before the hybrid model is set to begin. On Nov. 12, Pre-kindergarten through second-graders will begin hybrid learning as will sixth-graders at the middle school level, Taylor said. During Phase 3, students would also return to Columbia High School with no more than 500 students being at the school at one time. Students will be placed into two cohorts and will attend classes in-person two days a week with Fridays being designated as an all-district, all-virtual day.

Phase 3 will run until the Thanksgiving holiday and the two-week period will allow the district to evaluate the success of its hybrid model, Taylor said. Following the break, Phase 4 will begin when all students at the elementary and middle school levels would begin hybrid learning with the exception of those families that have chosen to remain in the all-virtual model throughout the

Marblehead Schools Aim To Move To Full-Day, Hybrid Model

MARBLEHEAD, MA —Marblehead Public Schools are looking to bring back all students currently in the hybrid system to full-day, in-classroom learning at least two days a week within the month.

Marblehead Superintendent of Schools John Buckey announced that “should (coronavirus) conditions remain the same as they are” kindergarten and first grade students will transition to full-day learning on Nov. 2, second grade will transition on Nov. 9 and third grade through high school students will transition on Nov. 16.

Under the new schedule, Cohort A students will be in school for a full day on Mondays and Thursdays, while Cohort B will be in school for a full day on Tuesdays and Fridays. Wednesday will be a rotating day between the cohorts.

(Editor’s Note: This is a clarification from an earlier version of this story.)

“We know that families need time to plan for this kind of change, and we want to give as much notice as we can,” Buckey said in a letter to the school community. “At the same time, working with too much lead time opens us up to the potential mercies of the public health metrics — the world could look very different a month from now, subverting our planning efforts.

“So, we remain as flexible as we can be, working with cautious optimism and keeping families’ needs in mind as we go. Thank you for your patience.”

While Marblehead has had very little coronavirus transmission for the past two months, the town did show a significant bump in the most recent state data released on Wednesday.

The town’s cases per 100,000 residents — the metric the state uses to determine virus spread in a community and its ability to ease business restrictions — rose to 4.1 in the state’s latest weekly report. Last week, Marblehead reported just 1.9 cases per 100,000 residents.

“I am assembling a Superintendent’s Advisory Committee and a health metrics dashboard, both of which will help my team make decisions about how shifting metrics affect learning models,” Buckey said. “In the coming weeks I plan to walk everyone through how this functions. Please be patient. We’re building this from the ground up as responsibly as possible, in partnership with the Board of Health, and learning from what’s been successful in other communities.”

Buckey asked that students and families do whatever they can to adhere to coronavirus-related protocols —especially when it comes to Halloween — as not to put the return to full-time, in-classroom learning in jeopardy.

“It has come to our attention that some in our community are planning Halloween parties,” Buckey said. “The potential impact of these choices to our learning models and potential expansion to full days cannot be understated.”

Here are the Marblehead Board of Health’s Halloween guidelines and recommendations.

Related Patch Coverage: Marblehead Sees Spike In Coronavirus Numbers

This article originally appeared on the Marblehead Patch

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Q&A: Inside Andela’s move to a remote, contractor model for developers

Tech talent company Andela has gone through wrenching change over the past year, not only due to the pandemic but also because it’s evolving from its initial incarnation as a company that hired and trained raw recruits, to a platform that connects remote, independent and experienced contractors to software development jobs with major companies around the world.

The company, formed in 2014, is backed by an all-star cast of investors including Mark Zuckerberg and is one of the most internationally recognized African startups. It’s also one of the most globally prominent impact sourcers — outsourcing organizations whose business model is based on placing people from low-employment or developing economies with jobs for businesses internationally.

The coronavirus has forced most enterprises to go remote temporarily, but Andela has made the decision to go remote from now on, and has closed its facilities in Africa. In addition, it is moving to a contractor system.

At the moment just about 30 of its 750 developers are contractors but about 65% of the full-time employee engineers have requested to convert to contractor status and that conversion will take place on November 1, the company says.

The company had 1,575 programmers on staff before its first big round of layoffs, in September 2019, which eliminated junior developer positions. Subsequent layoffs followed, and last month the company placed 150 developers into its Talent Network on  unpaid status, to be  placed on future engagement as contractors. The company no longer employs engineers in training.

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