Industry vote of confidence in UK’s first esports degree

A trailblazing degree dedicated to the rapidly growing esports industry has received the backing of the UK’s leading industry experts.

Staffordshire University announced in May that it was launching the country’s first BA (Hons) Esports degree and has been overwhelmed with enquiries from prospective students from all over the world.

The University recently invited organisations including British Esports Association, Ukie, The National University Esports League (NUEL), Fast Web Media and Codemasters to make up an industry panel and help advise on modules making up the course which aims to supply skilled graduates to the global gaming industry.

Gaming Conviction.com: “Staffordshire to offer degree in esports”

This offers the opportunity of future collaboration and companies like Red Bull have already offered student work placements at their new esports studio in London.

Rachel Gowers, Associate Dean for Recruitment in Staffordshire Business School, said: “It is vital that the degree supports the needs of those working and recruiting to this specialist sector. The industry is driving the creation of new jobs and companies are looking for people who are both entrepreneurial and tech savvy.

“Our course focuses on the business and culture of esports from developing teams, communities and a fan base to hosting esports events. We are delighted to be partnering with the businesses and organisations who can help us to fine tune the course prior to launch in 2018.”

Joana Ferreira of Fast Web Media, a digital marketing company which played a major role in promoting the first esports industry awards, said she was delighted to be part of the process.

“Being a part of this panel is very exciting for me. Having worked within digital marketing for esports for a couple of years now, it’s fantastic to be able to help mould what future esports employees look like and what it takes to run an esports business. Staffs Uni is impressively forward thinking, and this esports degree is just another testament to that.”

The University has also won the high profile backing of Ed Vaizey MP and Vice Chair of the British Esports Association.

He added: “Staffordshire University’s decision to establish an esports course is visionary and far sighted. Esports is one of the fastest growing entertainment mediums in the world, and anything that can help the UK establish itself as a centre for this exciting industry should be celebrated.”

The new degree course is in direct response to the Ukie white paper on esports. Dr Bobbie Fletcher, Associate Professor of Games Education, said: “Plans to grow the UK as an esports hub brings huge opportunities and we are well placed as a University to respond to that. Connecting with industry in this way enables us to benefit from their expertise and exciting work experience opportunities.”

Prospective students are invited to visit Staffordshire University on Sunday 22 October for an esports taster event. Taking place between 11am – 6pm at the LRV on Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent (ST4 2DF), this is an opportunity to experience esports, get hands-on with the games and have a go at casting. It’s also a chance to find out about university teams and watch them compete in the Esports Varsity. Book here

 

Author: Maria Scrivens, Media Relations Manager

The economic benefits of a vibrant university and Business School

Dean of Staffordshire Dr Peter Jones reflects on the start of term and the economic benefits of a vibrant university and Business School in the region.

Last month the population of Stoke-on-Trent changed and transformed as the annual autumn migration to University got underway. Students both arrived and left the city and the region to start or continue their higher education. For Stoke-on-Trent there was a sudden influx of people from not just around the country but from around the world who bring a vibrancy, culture and diversity to the six towns.
This changing demographic is vital for the city and the region. Students and associated workers spending cash on renting property, in bars, eating food and even buying books – students are important for our economy. University students also provide a transient workforce providing casual labour to the region’s businesses. Importantly they will go on to become the qualified and educated future workforce. And this is vital for Stoke-on-Trent.

For a city like Stoke where we have high employment, but typically a low skilled and low wage workforce, a strong University is key and is vital in the economic growth of the city, county and region. This is not a situation that is restricted just to Stoke-on-Trent. In the late 1990s funding of the Northern Powerhouse cities resulted in massive urban repopulation and redevelopment. The growth of cities such as Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and also in the West Midlands / Birmingham meant that the smaller Midlands cities were somewhat overlooked and forgotten about.

However, the introduction of increased numbers of people entering higher education has to a greater or lesser extent be the saviour of many if these economically slowing towns and cities in the Midlands. Places like Coventry, Northampton, Derby, Leicester and Lincoln all now have growing economies where local and regional politicians work hand in with the local “new” university to invent themselves and their identity of place. With the changing role of councils and their declining budgets, the role of the university in developing place has become even more paramount.

I would argue that Business Schools have a key role in new universities as all businesses do business and, I would argue, need business graduates. Therefore, the key to the regional economic growth is a strong Business School. A Business School that is connected to the region’s employers and producing students who bring ideas and support innovation and growth by completing internships, placements and sandwich years with the region’s companies. In our digital age this input from millennials and generation Z is key for innovation and economic growth.

It is also vital that Business Schools are not just outward looking but also develop the business skills of students in other disciplines within their own universities such as entrepreneurship which will help them become the next generation of start-ups and business leaders.

Super Seven Skills in Esports 

On Friday 8 September our Associate Dean for Recruitment Rachel Gowers, set off on a trip to Bergen Norway to see esports in the classroom.  Rachel’s journey started off bright and early by flying to Bergen and then catching a bus into the City Centre, then catching a train, another bus which turned out to be the wrong bus before deciding to get a taxi to the Norwegian School… I would say she has definitely been on an adventure even before the esports fun commenced.

 

Once Rachel arrived at the school she was introduced by Petter Grahl Jonstad, who assisted in introducing esports to the school in 2016. Petter originally had a background in social science and used his research to find out the transferable skills acquired through sports and chess.  When creating the esports course his philosophy was to look at the whole student as well as provide general well-being. To do this he decided that students would have two hours a week of gym sessions, 1 hour of strength training and 3 hours of game play a week to make sure they had a good balance. Petter was very interested in engaging students who were non-academic and to do this he made the requirement that all students must pass all their other subjects, by doing this he has seen a general improvement in attitude, motivations, English language and overall improved communication.

Our focus is not only on the mechanics of the game, but also on how a team works, theory regarding motivation as a professional gamer and, last but not least, teamwork. Understanding the game is one thing, but if the communication does not work within the team, if the players can’t rely on each other, you practically have nothing in our opinion”
Petter Grahl Jonstad

Since introducing esports the school has become oversubscribed and students are even moving house to attend the college. The classes are taught by ex-pro gamer Sindre Rygg, who has competed in the second biggest area network called The Gathering and went to Korea to compete in The Masters of Cheon where they came fourth.

While in Norway Rachel got to meet the next generation of esports managers and players, this allowed Rachel to visualise what type of graduates will be coming out of Staffordshire Business School in the near future. Rachel spoke to three of the students studying esports and here is what they had to say:

‘Esports helps me to concentrate in other classes because I know I have to work hard.’
Christian Nilsen

‘Esports helps me to communicate and work in a team to achieve something’.
Henrik Flo Wilhelmsen

‘Esports practices your brain to think quickly and have fast reaction times.’
Jorgen Treit Brevset

Rachel has come back from Norway more driven and inspired to get the esports course ready for 2018 and cannot wait for it to be part of the Business School. She has also learnt the super seven skills that will be imbedded within the course. These skills are:

  • Decision Making
  • Multi-tasking
  • Problem Solving
  • Perception
  • Communication
  • Team Builder
  • Numeracy

Click here for more information on studying a BA (Hons) Esports degree at Staffordshire University

Joshua Lonsdale, Graduate Intern within Staffordshire Business School

Welcome to Staffordshire University!

Welcome week, more commonly known as Freshers’ week, is officially your first week at university and is the perfect opportunity for you to unpack, make new friends and find out more about your course. My advice would be to get involved with as much as you can to ensure you get the most out of this first week.

Your first day of your new independent life will begin on Saturday 16th September – Moving in day! All your hard work over the past year has paid off and now is the time for your new adventure to start as you move into your new home for the next year.

Before you can start unpacking you need to do your face-to-face enrolment in the sports hall – if you have been to one of our open days you may already know where this is but if not just ask one of our friendly Student Ambassadors and they will be happy to help. Here you will not only receive the keys to your new home, but you will also get your student card which enables you to get student discount in a wide variety of shops and restaurants!

When everything is unpacked and you have met your flatmates, it’s time to relax and have a bit of fun before your studying starts. The LRV will be hosting a ‘Moving In Party’ and this is your chance to meet lots of other first years from all different courses and enjoy yourself (please drink responsibly, DrinkAware have some hints and tips for staying safe).

On Sunday 17th September, there is a family fun day open to everyone where there will be stalls, street food, music and much more! It is also enrolment day for students who are studying off site which will take place in the sports hall.Monday 18th September is officially the first day of Welcome Week. Each individual course will give out their timetable and there will be welcome sessions where you will find out more information about your course. These sessions are important and I highly recommend that you attend – start how you mean to go on! In the sessions, you will get the following information:

  • A breakdown of your course
  • The plan for the year
  • Meet your tutors – Good first impressions are important
  • Reading/books list
  • Meet your course mates – you will be learning and working with these people so good to get off on a good start!

Wednesday 20th September is the Students’ Union Day and is the highlight of Welcome Week! This day hosts the ‘Freshers’ Fair/Commercial Fair’ (located in the LRV) where you can get your hands on lots of freebies, discounts, vouchers and food! The ‘Clubs and Societies Fair’ (located in the sports hall and Brindley outpost) is also held on Wednesday and gives you the chance to browse and join up to a number of the hundreds of clubs and societies that are run across the university.

On Thursday 21st September, the LRV is hosting a ‘Laser Tag’ event, 16:00-21:00 and entry is free!

Friday 22nd September is the last day of Welcome Week and is the launch of the LRV‘s new club night ‘Eclipse’.

Don’t forget to check out the wristbands available to purchase that will guarantee entry to the Move-In Party, special events and club nights. Click here to get yours!

For more advice on what to do and where to go during welcome week click here.

What Goliath can learn from David

In Business Schools all over the country and beyond we tend to focus on large and often multinational corporations, and the overarching focus on providing shareholders with the greatest possible return on investment has been identified as one potential contributor to the 2008 financial crisis (see for example https://www.forbes.com/sites/shawnoconnor/2013/05/15/the-responsibility-of-business-schools-in-training-ethical-leaders-2/#3102f64960bd). 

My current research leads to conversations with barbers, microbrewers, tattoo artists, baristas, tailors, street artists and denim heads who are participating in the resurgence of traditional trades rather than CEOs of multinational corporations. These entrepreneurs all have two things in common and that is the importance of having a trade and a purpose that goes beyond only making a living. They all refer to their colleagues as an integral part to their success, and they don’t define themselves as managers or leaders, but as master brewers or floor sweepers. They have an identity, authenticity and presence that go way beyond any suit and tie.

Talking with these individuals I am becoming more and more convinced that Goliath has much to learn from David. Whilst David believes in success with and through his people, Goliath too often believes in success despite of his people. Whilst David is acknowledging individual contributions, Goliath is often referring to staff as replaceable overheads. Whilst David is focusing on providing the best possible service or product, Goliath is more concerned about often meaningless and short term KPIs. Whilst David’s eye is on securing sustainable organisational success, Goliath’s is on personal short term success, sometimes at the cost of his very own existence.

Yes, David also needs to be successful and make a living, but he has a whole different approach to doing so which I believe Goliath can learn from.

Professor Rune Todnem By
@Prof_RuneTBy

Sustainable Supply Chains in the Tourism Sector

The fundamental principle of a Sustainable Supply Chain (SSC) rests on collaboration between companies and their suppliers, and their willingness to link their aims and essential operational processes to create unique, international, market satisfying resources that will satisfy their customers and help them gain competitive advantage.

Companies from various sectors have come up with different strategies and tools to influence their suppliers towards better environmental and social practices. All these companies believe that no enterprise can exist independently, and the success of every enterprise depends on its supply chain partners. The nature of the strategy adopted (collaborative or forced compliance) depends upon factors such as the type of business, levels of competition, and size and influence of buyer and supplier businesses.

The action

The most basic action that a company can take is to develop its own environmental policy or any other document with which the company can communicate its environmental goals and expectations to its suppliers.

The next common approach to SSC is gathering information that indicates the suppliers’ environmental compliance status, and on the existence and status of suppliers’ environmental management systems and the type or quality of materials used by them.

Tour Operations and SSC

Tour operators provide holiday packages comprised principally of accommodation, transport, excursion/activity providers, ground handlers, and food and craft production. A distinction is here made between mass-market and specialist operators. Mass-market operators typically sell standard beach holidays based holidays in mainstream destinations, and specialist operators typically offer niche products based on specialised activities in less mainstream destinations.

It can be argued that sustainability in tourism depends strongly on the development of better linkages between supply and demand. As intermediaries in the supply chain, tour operators are in a position to influence destination management on the supply side, and consumers on the demand side.

This requires management of environmental, socio-economic and cultural issues through the supply chain. Environmental aspects include sustainable transport development and sustainable use of resources; reducing, minimising and preventing pollution and waste (e.g. solid and liquid waste, emissions to air); conserving plants, animals, ecosystems and protected areas (biodiversity); and conserving landscapes, cultural and natural heritage. Socio-economic and cultural issues encompass a number of aspects, including contribution to the economic development and the well-being of local communities; preservation of cultural identity; respect for human rights local communities’ and indigenous peoples’ rights.

Some operators have built supply chain initiatives on the production and distribution of local sustainable food and crafts, but some work with local suppliers to promote local sourcing. For instance, local sourcing is often a key part of the product, and it also features as part of a portfolio of tourist attractions for mass operators in excursions and promotion of local bars and restaurants.

Most large hotels that have worked with local food producers have found it requires constant supervision and commitment, and success is often linked to championing of local sourcing by hotel chefs. It may also require training and technical support and investment in order to gather supplies from different producers that meet the quality and quantity required.

The key aspects in SSC initiatives depend on good working relationships with suppliers, organisational cultures that are supportive of sustainability principles, and organisational resources to invest in sustainability. Initiatives to date have focused more on setting environmental, rather than socio- economic criteria, and industry-wide approaches play an important role in encouraging and supporting implementation of SSC.


The Benefits

So why might a business wish to apply a sustainable tourism supply approach – what are the principal benefits?

All supply chains can be optimised using sustainable practices. Sustainability in the supply chain encapsulates a number of different priorities:

  • Environmental stewardship
  • Conservation of resources
  • Reduction of carbon footprint
  • Financial savings and viability
  • Social responsibility

Managing supply chains in a sustainable manner can help businesses in not only reducing their total carbon footprint, but also in optimising their end-to-end operations to achieve:

  • Improved credibility, visibility and brand reputation
  • Improved access to markets
  • Greater operational effectiveness leading to cost savings and profitability

We have created a free online tool to help you develop. Our training tool was developed by and with the tourism industry. This free online training covers 11 modules to complete with short quizzes at the end of each module. This tool helps you to design your own strategy in relation to your individual business needs.  All you need is an internet connection.

Click here to register and start your free online training today:  http://smartour.dcnet.eu/

Marzena Reszka

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References:

Davies, T. & Chaill, S. (2000). Environmental implications of the tourism industry. [Online] Available from: https://www.csu.edu/cerc/documents/EnvironmentalImplicationsTourismIndustry2000.pdf

BSR. (2003) Supplier Environmental Management. [Online] Available from: scholar.google.co.uk

Lippmann, S. (1999). Supply chain environmental management: elements for success. Environmental Management. [Online] 6 (2), 175-182. Available from:  http://www.sciencedirect.com

Miller, G. & Twining-Ward, L. (2005). Monitoring for a sustainable tourism transition: the challenge of developing and using indicators. Oxfordshire: CABI Publishing.

Crotts, J., Aziz, A., & Raschid, A. (1998). Antecedents of supplier’s commitment to wholesale buyers in the international travel trade. Tourism Management. [Online] 19 (2), 127-134. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261517797001040

Tapper, R. (2001). Tourism and socio-economic development: UK tour operators’ business approaches in the context of the new international agenda. International Journal of Tourism Research. [Online] 3, 351-366. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com

TOI & CELB (2003). Supply chain management for tour operators: a handbook on integrating sustainability into the tour operators’ supply chain systems. Paris, Tour Operators Initiative, Center for Environmental Leadership in Business.

 

Useful links

https://blogs.staffs.ac.uk/business/2017/04/10/service-quality-in-tourism-the-road-less-travelled/

Project website – http://www.smartourproject.eu/
Twitter @tourismsu   #SMARTOUR
Facebook page -Sustainable Tourism in Europe https://www.facebook.com/smartourproject 

Social Media and Marketing

Social media networks are incredible resources for businesses looking to promote their brands online and increase sale. The platforms themselves are free to use, but also have paid advertising options specifically for brands that want to reach even more new audiences. But just because your business should be on social media, that doesn’t mean you should be on every network. It’s important that you choose and nurture the social platforms that work best for your business, so that you don’t spread yourself too thin.

Social media itself is a catch-all term for sites that may provide radically different social actions. For instance, Twitter is a social site designed to let people share short messages or “updates” with others. Facebook, in contrast is a full-blown social networking site that allows for sharing updates, photos, joining events and a variety of other activities.

Become a social media maestro and grow your business

If you want to create a successful social strategy, you should familiarize yourself with how each network runs, the kinds of audiences you can reach on that network and how your business can best use each platform.

Social media can help you find prospective customer that are engaging in conversations relating to your business. Participating in those conversations can help you increase your business’s visibility and drive traffic to your website.  Especially when you are starting out, word-of mouth referrals on social media can be an effective way to direct prospective customers to your website and grow your business. Social media can help you receive feedback from your customers. Your quick and appropriate response through social media can help strengthen your brand, build trust, improve reputation and reinforce your credibility with current and prospective customers.

Why social media works

Social media fulfils a fundamental human need: to communicate. We are social animals. We like to communicate with each other. Social media facilitates this by helping us to communicate more easily, to more people, whenever we want. That is why social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and blogs are so successful. It simply lets customer communicate with each other and organisations communicate with customers (this incudes listening).

Use social media for your marketing

Nowadays, people use more and more TripAdvisor, Trivago, Instagram and other similar platforms as information sources when planning their trips, finding information on the destination, make decisions etc.  Social media platforms offer to small businesses a lot of opportunities to target and access markets at low cost, and achieve business sustainability goals.

Marketing doesn’t have to be left to the professionals charging large sums of money or commission for creative media. There are a few simple rules of how you market with extremely limited resources on social media.

You can create marketing strategies and select appropriate online and traditional marketing communications activities/customer groups, target markets and businesses, taking into consideration the size and type of that business.

We have created a free online tool to help you develop. Our training tool was developed by and with the tourism industry. This free online training covers 11 modules to complete with short quizzes at the end of each module. This tool helps you to design your own strategy in relation to your individual business needs.  All you need is an internet connection.

Click here to register and start your free online training today:  http://smartour.dcnet.eu/

Marzena Reszka, Staffordshire Business School


Reference

Smith,P.R.; Zook, Z. (2012). Marketing communications integrating offline and online with social media. 5th edition.

Useful links

https://blogs.staffs.ac.uk/business/2017/04/10/service-quality-in-tourism-the-road-less-travelled/

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Staffordshire Business School Gets Full Marks in National Student Survey

Staffordshire University are pleased to announce that they have received 100% in the National Student Survey 2017 for their Accounting and Finance 2 Year Accelerated degree.

Earlier this year the subject area was also ranked 1st for Student Satisfied with Teaching in The Guardian League Tables 2018 and in the Complete University Guide we were number 1 in the Midlands for student satisfaction.

Karl McCormack – Course Leader joined Staffordshire Business School in 2010, and is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and has expertise in forensic accounting and fraud risk management.

Karl said:
“It is really good to see that our accounting students are having such a great experience on their course and at Staffordshire University. Our strong personal tutoring programme, staff enthusiasm and promotion of the Staffordshire Graduate Attributes all play a crucial role in these results. It must not be forgotten though that the dedication of staff, both academic and support, shapes the overall experience.”

 

Acting Dean of Staffordshire Business School, Dr Peter Jones, added: “These results are testament to the great work that our Accountancy and Finance team does in producing a fantastic student experience. To be ranked number 1 in the UK is a real achievement.”

 

The measures for teaching on the course were as follows:

Staff are good at explaining things – 100%
Staff have made the subject interesting – 100%
The course is intellectually stimulating – 100%
The course has challenged me to achieve my best work – 100%

In fact the course attracted 100% satisfaction ratings in no fewer than 20 of the 27 categories.

For more information on our Accounting and Finance courses click here

The Importance of Employability Skills – Get Ready for Employability Challenge!

Without a doubt, one of the main challenges for students today is that different employers look for different sets of employability skills. However, it can be difficult for students to think about their employability skills whilst at university given busy schedules and pressure to meet assignment deadlines.

At Staffordshire University we take employability promise seriously. We want all of our students to graduate with the right employability skills and experience to enable them to follow their chosen career path. We promise our students to equip them with relevant employment skills and we deliver on our promise. We are proud about the fact that 97% of our graduates are in employment after graduating. When it comes to employability of our graduates, we are proud to be No. 1* in England for graduate employability. To achieve this, we work in partnership with many industry-leading organisations to help them tap into our home-grown graduate talent as well as helping students develop their employability skills through various initiatives and practices such as mentoring and work-shadowing. Global Entrepreneurial Week (GEW) event held at Staffordshire University every year plays the key role in equipping graduates with relevant work-related skills.

At Staffordshire University, we are committed to helping students maximise their employability and ultimately finding their dream graduate job, by offering a range of career-related events. In particular, GEW is an annual event at Staffordshire University that brings together a range of industry leading employers on campus during which students can meet and network with employers to find out about employment opportunities. Organised specifically for students, GEW and FutureFest event is designed to inform students about the future world-of-work. The Staffordshire University is committed to helping students maximise their employability, therefore the program is centred on topics that can help students succeed in every step of their career development process.

However, whilst we are committed to bringing leading business experts to share their expertise with students, there is also an expectation from students to actively participate in this event in order to get the most out of this unique opportunity for their career development. How to make the most out of this event? Network, network, network. Forward thinking students always have their CVs on hand to give out to potential employers. If you have never written a CV, you could get a professional help from the Career Office, who would assist you in writing a professionally looking CV, highlighting your transferable skills, and any work experience you have to date.

GEW and FutureFest event will provide students with an excellent opportunity to meet employers, discuss job opportunities, better understand career opportunities across various industries, get industry insights from recruiters, network with Industry leaders or simply get inspired. So, if you’re looking for your dream job or just looking to further enhance your employability skills, come along to GEW and FutureFest event held at Staffordshire University on November 13. We look forward to active participation of students in GEW and FutureFest 2017!

Dr Katerina Thomas, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School

www.staffs.ac.uk

 

*Joint with Bishop Grosseteste University, excluding specialist institutions. Source: DLHE 2017

Can we trust what we see?

What is ‘quality’- standards, atmosphere, experience, reputation, education, consistency and doing it right no matter what. In a forever changing environment how are businesses meant to keep up with quality standards, changing standards and awarding bodies. Ford cited in Andersen (2013) stated ‘Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.’  Is looking the same as seeing? And who can we trust when it comes to quality?

We have to get it right no matter- what, who, how many staff have phoned in sick or when the tea spoon fairy paid you a visit.  Quality is based on opinion and expectation rather than star rating, price or quantity. We have brand reputation and businesses are forever trying to encourage staff to not just meet expectations but to exceed! To stay on top you must stand out, and one way is to exceed customer expectations.

We are now living in a very ‘personal age’ it’s not just a burger it’s your burger. Your name is on products and services are tailored to your individual needs. Businesses need to get staff to understand what guest expectations are and to understand it’s the personal touch that guest will remember and share.

It’s really hard on a busy shift when we have to serve a guest, answer the phone and close the fridge door all at the same time! This is why is it harder than ever to actually see rather than just look! Guest have their own expectations and we have to try and surpass these without even knowing what they are! When I see a restaurant that has dirty plates on the tables, I think wow they’ve been busy. But others might see- staff aren’t being very efficient. Expectations and perceptions are different and very hard to manage.

If you want to try and understand how to manage guest expectations and find out more about quality and exceeding customer expectations  register and complete a quality module for free using our on line training tool. There are 11 modules to choose from: – Quality, Seasonality, Training and Energy Controls. Click here to register and complete for free: – http://smartour.dcnet.eu/

Tonia Barrett, Staffordshire Business School

 

Reference

Andersen, E. (2013) 21 Quotes from Henry Ford on Business, Leadership and Life. [Online] Available from: – https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikaandersen/2013/05/31/21-quotes-from-henry-ford-on-business-leadership-and-life/#5dd7a464293c [accessed 19.07.2017]

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