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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

Amazon plans to open convenience stores and grocery drive-in centers

The Wall Street Journal reports Amazon may be planning to open small convenience stores that will sell consumer staples such as milk, produce and meat. It will also build drive-in stores that will serve as pick-up centers for customers who ordered groceries online. The retail stores will only be available to Fresh subscribers, said the report. By doing so, Amazon is competing head-to-head with Kroger, which is the largest operator of traditional supermarkets, and other food retailers. Geekwire reports Amazon may be building a drive-in store in Seattle. The concept may be the same with Kroger's ClickList online ordering and pick-up service which the company launched last year.

Key Takeaway: 

According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon is planning to build small convenience stores and drive-in centers for groceries which will be open only to its Fresh subscribers; the stores will compete with Kroger's service called ClickList as well as other traditional food retailers like Wal-Mart.

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Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 11, 2016

Study: More marketers are using proximity technologies

According to an Unacast research conducted in July, more than 50% of organizations in the retail, hotel and tourism, airports and sports stadium industries have used proximity technologies in their marketing efforts. From among such tools, beacons are most used, followed by GPS or geofencing, which marketers tap to collect data from customers or target their promotions. However, getting the best use of proximity technologies is still a challenge. In a February study on US retailers by Retail Systems Research, it was revealed that only 23% of the respondents were satisfied with adopting such technologies. Twenty two percent who have tried in-store beacons are now planning a change, while 32% have not even reached implementation. Among vendors of proximity technologies, 94% provide beacon services as of Q2 2016, with 54% offering GPS or geofencing solutions.

Key Takeaway: 

Proximity technologies such as beacon services, GPS and geofencing are gaining wider adoption in the US retail, hotel and tourism, airports and sports stadium industries with more than 50% reporting they have used some form as of July 2016, says Unacast.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
September 1, 2016

Samsung Pay makes 100 million transactions in first year

A year after its release in September 2015, Samsung Pay has reached 100 million transactions and is now present in seven countries such as the US and Korea. The payment system works with multiple payment readers including near field communications and traditional magnetic stripe cards for credit and debit cards. According to Gartner analyst Sandy Shen, a growth driver could include more support for the service from other apps as well as availability in more markets. So far, Samsung Pay makes a small portion of the $650 billion of total mobile payments globally and only applies to select Galaxy phones and its own app. Despite high growth in mobile payments, users have yet to see a service that works across different mobile platforms, says Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group. In December last year, 19 more bank card issuers began accepting Samsung Pay.

Key Takeaway: 

Samsung Pay has reached 100 million transactions on its first year due to the system's compatibility with multiple payment readers including traditional credit cards and an increased network of bank card issuers that support the technology.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
August 31, 2016

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