Take: While Google comes a little short when it comes to its hardware portfolio compared to Samsung or Apple, that does not stop the company from opening its retail store in New York City this summer. The shop will showcase its smart home products from Nest as well as mobile devices and FitBit products. The time seems interesting to open a physical store amidst the pandemic, however, this push on retail strengthens Google’s ambitions at getting more competitive in the mobile devices market.
Take: Snapchat is taking Spectacles to another level. The company has acquired WaveOptics that makes lenses and other parts for AR glasses. And recently, Snap announced their new Spectacle AR glasses, which enable users to see computer-generated imagery overlaid on their field of view in the real world. While Apple and Facebook are also working on their own devices, Snapchat seems to be taking the lead as the Snap app itself uses many AR features.
Take: That’s a long list to cover, but here are the highlights from Google’s flagship technology event I/O: With the new Android 12, the devices will be more responsive to the external interactions and personalized with private computing cores with AI processors. Google’s LaMDA is a new language processing technique that handles exceptions better, making the interactions with bots more human-like. Remote meetings are here for stay, and Google knows it. Project Starline, Google’s futuristic 3D video calling booth, uses high-tech 3D video set-up to create avatars for the people on the call to “create a genuine face-to-face talk”.
Take: A paralysed man agreed to take part in a study of an experimental system called BrainGate2. It allows people who are paralyzed to control computers and other devices using only their thoughts. After the success in the experiment, the Stanford professor Krishna Shenoy wanted to experiment on writing. The result is a device that enabled that man to construct sentences on a computer screen by imagining to handwrite the intended message. The reports concluded that the device had %95 accuracy and the man typed 90 characters per minute. This breakthrough could enable decoding more brain activity to control over devices.
5. Colonial Pipeline CEO Tells Why He Paid Hackers a $4.4 Million Ransom
Take: The hack on Colonial Pipeline is being seen as one of the most significant attacks on critical national infrastructure in history. The pipeline is the biggest in the United States and transports nearly half of the east coast’s fuel supplies. A new ransomware hacker group called DarkSide claimed responsibility for the attack. While the FBI suggested Colonial to not pay the ransom, the company paid $4.4 Million to the group to restore the control over the plant and as they could not assess how much of the system was compromised. The incident raised concern over the security measures of mission-critical operations nationwide.
Take: Streaming war is going on! Telecom giant AT&T is merging its WarnerMedia with Discovery to create one of the biggest Hollywood studios to compete with Netflix and Disney on a $43 billion deal. On the other front, Amazon is trying to charge its streaming ambitions with a potential acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, however neither parties have officially commented so far. While the competition is getting fierce, Netflix is still dominating with more than 200 millions subs worldwide, and the closest streaming service is Disney with just a 100 proves that there’s some way to go to challenge Netflix’s throne.
Take: Shein recently took the crown from Amazon to become the most downloaded shopping app on IOS and Android in the U.S., according to App Annie. While the company generally flies under the media radar, Shein is reportedly valued at $15 billion and dubbed as the “TikTok for e-commerce”. This comparison is drawn from Shein’s highly digitized and integrated production chain that “allows the company to churn out hundreds of new products tailored to different regions and user tastes at a daily rate.” The company seems to be the flagbearer of personalization in fashion and e-commerce.
Take: Ford’s pushing big in the Electric Vehicle market with one announcement after another. The company just announced the new F-150 Lightning, the company’s first all-electric pickup truck and the second EV in its portfolio. Ford also recently announced a big partnership with Google to have Android as the operating system in its cars. While the chip shortage made Ford cut %50 of the production this quarter, CEO Jim Farler expects a stronger and promising year ahead.
Take: Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stand on what some call it the biggest antitrust lawsuit of the decade: Epic vs Apple. Epic accuses Apple of running its App Store as an illegal monopoly because it only allows in-app purchases by Apple’s own payment system that typically charges a 30% commission on every purchase. Epic estimates Apple’s profit from its App Store’s fees is nearly 80%. Cook played ignorance to the monopoly allegations by indicating that they are not assessing the financials of Apple Store as a standalone business, but rather as a component of a bigger structure.
Take: Europe’s most valuable start-up, the Swedish payments company, Klarna Bank AB is eyeing an IPO in London, however post-Brexit regulations on financial services pose a threat in the process. Klarna’s CEO Siemiatkowski desires rules that allow customers to “shift banks in the click of a button.” Singapore has embraced such regulations to nurture innovation in financial services and enable such start-ups like Klarna to compete with traditional banks. While the where could be a question mark, Klarna’s IPO is not as the company spokesperson announced that they are also considering other alternatives.
Digitopia’s Final Take
Technology is not just about data, applications, and infrastructure. True digital maturity requires a lot of strategizing and empathizing with business units. You must understand the priorities of your leadership and motivate your IT teams to become as productive, creative and collaborative as possible. Once you achieve this, you’ll enjoy the outcome. Which of this month’s Tech News have resonated with you? Let us know, we would love to hear from you.