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Information technology

China’s quantum link from Beijing to Shanghai is near completion

Researchers from the University of Science and Technology in China are about to finish a 2,000 kilometer fiber optic link which will be used to connect quantum networks in four cities in the country. The link will start from Beijing and end in Shanghai and will be intended for secure communications that cannot be hacked theoretically. The process to be accomplished is called quantum key distribution (QKD), which creates shared cryptographic keys, sequences of random bits, that can be used to encrypt and decrypt data. A quantum science satellite has already been launched in August that will test the distribution of keys beyond China's borders. QKD technology has already been used in 2007 to secure the sending of votes from an election in Sweden. It was also accomplished by a firm in the US called Battelle to transmit information securely from a company's headquarters to its production facility.

Key Takeaway: 

China’s quantum link, a 2-kilometer fiber optic link which will serve as the backbone for secure quantum communications and will run from Beijing to Shanghai, is near completion.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 26, 2016

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

Apple’s revenue experiences first annual drop since 2001

Apple’s revenues had its first annual drop since 2001 after seeing a decline in iPhone sales. For the fiscal fourth quarter 2016, which ended in September 24, the company saw its revenue decline 9.8% to $46.9 billion and profit down by 23% to $9 billion. Sales of the iPhone dropped 13% year-over-year to 45.5 million units. Mac sales decreased 17% to $5.7 billion. Revenue from the iPad were more stable due to the new iPad Pro line. Its services division which includes Apple Music saw a 24% growth to an all-time quarterly high of $6.3 billion. Apple’s China market is not growing as fast as before, posting a 30% year-over-year decline in the fourth quarter. The company expects revenue for the December quarter between $76 billion to $78 billion, higher than what analysts are forecasting. The company will introduce new Mac products at its launch event Thursday.

Key Takeaway: 

Apple posted its first yearly drop in sales since 2001 after reporting its fourth quarter results which saw iPhone and Mac sales drop as well its China market decline; its services unit, however, grew double digits to a quarterly high of $6.3 billion.

Transforming Business Models: 
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Publication Date: 
October 25, 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

Former mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to get cities ready for driverless cars

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to develop policy recommendations for cities to get them ready for the coming of self-driving cars. His philantrophic arm Bloomberg Philantrophies and the Aspen Institute will reach out to mayors, academics and experts to talk and plan about the future of autonomous vehicles. As a start, five cities will serve as testing grounds, including Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville, Buenos Aires and Paris, with five more cities to be announced by the end of the year. According to The Washington Post, key issues cities need to look at are road maintenance, workers' training, institution design and land use planning. It is also an opportunity for cities to address pedestrian safety, carbon reduction and economic mobility, said James Anderson of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Key Takeaway: 

Former mayor and philantrophist Michael Bloomberg plans to have a discussion with mayors, the academe and experts to talk about policy recommendations cities can adopt as more driverless cars are expected on roads in the near future.

Market Disruptions: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2016

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