The Top 10 in Tech News – May 2021

Digitopia is proud to present The May edition of Top 10 in Tech News. A monthly curation of newsworthy happenings in the global digital universe.

Emir LiseContent Editor

February 5, 2021
5min read

1. What Coinbase’s IPO Tells Us About The Future Of Cryptocurrencies

Take: The IPO that broke the internet on April 14th was Coinbase, described as “crypto’s coming out party” by The New York Times. The largest crypto-asset exchange platform was valued around $65 billion. The IPO is a big step in the legitimization of cryptocurrencies and an interesting take on the future of the free market as completly virtual companies with no physical assets (not even Headquarters); valued in very big numbers.

2.    Uber and Lyft Have a Driver Shortage Problem, and it’s Costing Them a lot of Money

Take: Gig economy is against an unexpected downturn. Both Uber and Lyft recently announced stimulus and incentives to attract more drivers to the platform as the number fell down %40 in the U.S. Just the same with Airbnb, the CEO Brian Chesky stated that the platform needs more than millions of  hosts to meet the demand surging with the revival of the travel industry. The demand is there, but gig workers are having a hard time with hygiene and safety compliances.

3.    Kroger Launches its First Ocado-powered ‘Shed’, a Massive, Robot-filled Fulfillment Center in Ohio

Take: Looking for ways to collaborate since their partnership agreement three year ago, Kroger finally launched its customer fulfillment centre, a colossal warehouse with a giant grid built on the floor called “the shed”. The warehouse features 1000 robots and 400 employees to process the sales equivalent of 20 brick-and-mortar stores.

4.    Microsoft is Acquiring Nuance Communications for $19.7B

Take: Microsoft recently announced that it’s acquiring the speech-to-text company Nuance Communications that specializes in healthcare. Microsoft launched its Cloud for Healthcare last year, and Nuance seems to be filling the gaps for Microsoft to create industry-specific cloud strategy and offerings. The acquisition will also help Microsoft improve its Cortana digital assistant services.

5.    Walmart Helps Push Cruise’s Latest Investment Round to $2.75B

Take: As a brick and mortar retailer in transformation, Walmart was struggling due the pandemic and its restrictions to take on the e-commerce giants. To relieve the pressure, the company saw the future in low-cost, autonomous grocery delivery. Walmart has already partnered with other names such as Waymo, Nuro, Gatik, Udelv as autonomous vehicle developers and the next in line is Cruise.

6.    Jeff Bezos Says Amazon Needs to Change to be “Earth’s Best Employer”

Take:“World’s most customer-centric company” now aims to also be “Earth’s best employer” as Jeff Bezos stated the vision for the company in its last shareholder letter. Struggling with the union crisis, the company already started taking initiatives in investing its people. Amazon unveiled its next headquarters in Arlington called HQ2, creating 25.000 jobs and serving as an alternative working area for the employees.

7.    Huawei to Invest $1 Billion on Car Tech, Surpassing Tesla

Take: Huawei joins the tech giants such as Apple and Xiaomi to enter the EV market. Chairman Eric XU just stated that “Huawei’s autonomous-driving technology has already surpassed Tesla’s in some spheres, for instance by allowing cars to cruise for more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) without human intervention”. As impressive as that be, the company is entering the world’s biggest EV market which is at its peak competition at the moment with NIO and Xpeng viciously fighting for the slice.

8.    NASA Has Just Flown a Helicopter on Mars for the First Time

Take: The first time an aircraft was flown on another planet. The Ingenuity flewed up the three meters of Mars’ surface and hovered for 40 seconds. The flight was such a challenge for the engineers with an incredibly thin atmosphere, %1 of Earth’s. The conditions required Ingenuity to be light with faster and bigger rotor blades. Tackling this challenge will enable us to rethink our current aeronautics models.

9.    Fatal Tesla Crash In Texas: What We Know And What We Don’t

Take: One Tesla Model S has crashed to a tree in Houston, resulting in the death of two men. But the story starts from there after. While police stated that there was no one in the driver’s seat, Tesla refuted with the real time logs of the crash concluding that Autopilot was not involved in this accident. It is still a question mark whether the logs or the police statement is further from the truth, but the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the case.

10. Discord Walked Away from Microsoft talks, May Pursue an IPO

Take: After a month of talks about a possible acquisition, Discord walked away from the table to stay independent, possibly eyeing an IPO. As its stock only gets hotter with doubling numbers for the last six months, Discord has no rush to such a deal. Some analysts declared that one of the possible reasons why Discord walked away is to keep its distance to the antitrust reforms against the tech giants.

Digitopia’s Final Take
Digital transformation is not an option, it’s mandatory. You have to do it. The questions are when, how, how much, with whom, and probably most importantly why or differently articulated, for what purpose?

Yes. Investing in digital is sometimes expensive, sometimes even very painful. But not investing may harm or even cannibalise your company. Now it’s up to you. We hope you get the point. Customer analytics, profitability, dashboards and data visualization don’t have an immediate pay-back. But, if this is your reasoning not to engage with digital, will you be able to compete against your peers who know where they are on their digital journey?