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Connections - Internet of Things/connected devices

Intel’s venture capital firm to invest $38 million in startups

Intel Capital is investing $38 million in a dozen startups focused on autonomous machines, data and connectivity, sports and health, and virtual reality. One of the robotics firms, Chronocam, is creating computer vision sensors and systems that are like the biological human eye. Embodied is making socially assistive robots while Perrone Robotics is developing a software platform for autonomous vehicles and robots. Among the four startups focused on data and connectivity, two are China-based: Eazytec which provides IoT technologies for monitoring the water and air in China and Grand Chip Microelectronics which offers connectivity solutions for WLAN, Wi-Fi, cellular and IoT. The two others are Paxata, which is working on a business information platform that turns raw data into meaningful information for enterprise and IT users and StealthMine, which is securing data encryption for enterprise applications. Sports and health firms Cubeworks, Kinduct and L4Connect are developing tiny millimeter-sized wireless sensors, a data and analytics platform, and dashboards respectively. Virtual reality startup Dysonics is working on solutions that will enable people to capture 360-degree sounds for live VR experiences. Lastly, InContext Solutions is helping manufacturers and retailers simulate their products and services in virtual reality.

Key Takeaway: 

Intel Capital, Intel’s venture capital firm, is investing $38 million in 12 startups focused on robotics, IoT connectivity and data analytics, sports, health and wellness, as well as virtual reality, with technologies that are ground-breaking and could be useful for various customer markets such as the enterprise, health and wellness organizations.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2016

Wal-Mart adopts blockchain for first time to track pork supplies

Wal-Mart has partnered with IBM to use the latter's blockchain technology to track its pork supplies in China. This is the first time that Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world, is adopting blockchain technology. Tracking pork is just a start for the company. If the project is successful, it could also expand to include other commodities. Wal-Mart wants to be able to monitor where the meat goes in its supply chain using serial numbers and record systems. The retailer giant is also partnering with Tsinghua University for academic research on the project. The news is reported as a significant development for the growing blockchain as a service (BaaS) industry.

Key Takeaway: 

Retail giant Wal-Mart is adopting blockchain technology through a partnership with IBM to monitor the pork supply chain in China, which could be the beginning of a new solution for tracking commodities and food supply chains.

Transforming Business Models: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 19, 2016

Singapore will pilot autonomous buses and real-time monitoring of rail system

The Singaporean Land Transport Authority in partnership with the Nanyang Technology University will test the use of two driverless buses within the Jurong Innovation District to improve road safety, reduce vehicle congestion and pollution, and address manpower challenges. The autonomous buses will be driving along a pre-determined route and will be recharged at bus stops. Heavy focus is being placed by LTA on road safety as the project announcement came a day after a crash incident involving nuTonomy, which was testing its autonomous cars in the One North Business District. The two parties will also develop a real-time monitoring system for its national rail network to identify potential defects without disrupting operations.

Key Takeaway: 

The transport regulator of Singapore in partnership with the NTU will pilot the use of autonomous buses in the Jurong Innovation District to address transportation-related issues.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 19, 2016

New sensor for driverless cars is smaller and cheaper

Quanergy, a startup based in California, has created a lidar for self-driving cars that is not only half the size of existing lidars but also cheaper. Its small size and cost can make better driverless cars. Called the S3, the new lidar is smaller than a camera with a weight of less than 11 ounces. It is also more advanced - it can scan objects and areas in higher resolution and greater range than other lidars. At a commercial price point of $250, the S3 is 32 times less expensive than a traditional lidar, and can produce half a million point-cloud data points a second. The sensors will be used in prototype cars next year and in commercial vehicles by 2018.

Key Takeaway: 

A new lidar system invented by Quanergy, which is more advanced, half the size and 32 times cheaper than existing lidars, can enable new designs for autonomous cars and develop smarter, more cost efficient vehicles.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 16, 2016

Amazon introduced its own music streaming app

Amazon introduced a music streaming service competitor to Spotify and Apple Music called Amazon Music Unlimited. Monthly subscription fee is same as Spotify, at $9.99, but for Amazon Prime Customers, the price is cheaper at $7.99. Amazon sees the connected home as the next battlefront for music streaming, after desktop and mobile. The company hopes to get customers to switch to its streaming service with AI features that enable users to play songs by quoting lyrics, mentioning the period when the song was released or through the use of adjectives such as playing happy songs on Echo using voice or through the Music Unlimited app. Echo users also get a discounted price of $3.99. It will be initially available only in the US. Aside from Spotify and Apple Music, Echo competes with the recently released Google Home, a smart speaker that also streams music from Google Play.

Key Takeaway: 

Amazon launched a new music streaming app called Amazon Music Unlimited which also works with the Echo device to play songs with artificial intelligence; the service is a direct competitor to popular streaming services Spotify and Apple Music as well as the newly released Google Home, a smart speaker, that streams music from Google Play.

Market Disruptions: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 12, 2016

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