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Transforming customer segments

Airbnb and SolarCity provide incentives for hosts to install solar systems

Airbnb partnered with SolarCity to offer financial incentives for hosts that install a solar system in their properties being rented. Hosts that install a solar energy system from SolarCity will receive a $1,000 cash back from the company. The offer is valid until the end of March next year, after which the incentive will drop to $750 for the rest of 2017. Homeowners with solar panels already installed and want to join Airbnb can also receive a $100 gift card from the company. The decision may appeal to travelers, particularly Millennials, interested in staying at an environment-friendly home. It could also help Airbnb establish itself as an environment-friendly company. The company published a study that says home sharing saves the environment billions of liters of water, tons of waste and large amounts of energy.

Key Takeaway: 

Airbnb and SolarCity have partnered together to offer incentives for hosts to purchase a solar system from SolarCity, which can help to position Airbnb as a sustainable company as well as attract Milennial renters that are interested in environment-friendly homes.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2016

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

EU may fine Google for uncompetitive practice

The European Union could fine Google a hefty amount and order the search engine company to stop giving financial incentives to smartphone manufacturers that include its search engine on devices by default. The company is also under scrutiny for pre-installed Google apps on Android phones, which the EU calls an uncompetitive practice as they limit third party apps' chances to be downloaded by users, as well as perceived favoring of its shopping service over competitors. The amount of the fine could be a percentage of Google's Adwords revenue in EU countries or purchases made in the Google Play Store.

Key Takeaway: 

The EU is expected to stop and fine Google for providing smartphone manufacturers financial incentives to have its search engine on default and having pre-installed apps on mobile devices which may give the company's products unfair use advantage over other applications.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 3, 2016

AMD unveils more powerful Bristo Ridge Pro chips to rival Intel's

Advanced Micro Devices has launched the new Bristol Ridge Pro processors for enterprise PCs which could be a serious contender to Intel chips that currently dominate the market. The chips are based on a 28-nanometer architecture the company launched early this year. The highest-performing chip, the A12, offers a clock rate of up to 4.2 gigahertz, 1 gigahertz faster compared to the 3.2 gigahertz of Intel's i5 6500 CPU chip, and has eight Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). According to AMD, the new chips are 14% better at CPU performance than the previous generation of PRO processors and 22% faster at graphic performance, while using two-thirds the power. They are compatible with the upcoming Zen processors, which will allow enterprises to upgrade their computers without having to buy new units. AMD also added controls based on the DASH security standard to enable administrators to remotely wipe or disable machines if a breach has occurred. Said chips will be shipping in the next months, and can be found in new HP and Lenovo machines.

Key Takeaway: 

Advanced Micro Devices, a rival of Intel, has unveiled its new Bristol Bridge Pro processors which are faster and offer better graphics than predecessors; new features include compatibility with upcoming Zen processors that will allow companies to upgrade units easily and the ability to remotely wipe data or disable machines if necessary.

Market Disruptions: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 3, 2016

Ocean drones to monitor climate change, pollution and marine life

A company named Saildrone makes autonomous sailing drones that can be deployed into the world's oceans to collect climate data, monitor pollution and manage fisheries at a fraction of the cost of current methods. The company just raised $14 million which will be used to increase drone production. According to COO Sebastien de Halleux, a thousand of such drones can retrieve valuable data on climate change and the state of the planet. Current customers that buy data collected by the drones include NOAA, NASA and Stanford University. There is also demand for the company's services among renewable energy and insurance firms. The drones prove to be useful as scientists are increasingly monitoring acidification levels of the world’s oceans due to rise in carbon dioxide emissions from industrial and agricultural activities which affect marine life and habitats.

Key Takeaway: 

Autonomous sailing drones made by a firm called Saildrone provide a new, less expensive way to collect information from the world's oceans to predict climate change, monitor pollution and manage fish stock.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
September 16, 2016

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