1. Atlassian acquires US-based AI chatbot vendor Percept.AI
Take: Last Friday, Atlassian announced that it has acquired Percept.AI, an AI company that specializes in virtual agent technology based on a proprietary AI engine for natural language understanding. The company plans to integrate the technology into the Jira Service Management system, reinforcing Atlassian’s frontline support capabilities and offering customer and employee support at high velocity. Head of project management of Atlassian Edwin Wong believes that “Every company, regardless of size, needs to offer responsive, personalized, high-quality 24/7 virtual support to customers and employees.”
2. Tesla is now selling karaoke microphones in China
Take: Tesla-mic is already a hit with customers in China, selling out in under an hour of going online. Last week, Tesla launched a microphone exclusively in China called the Tesla-mic designed for its in-car karaoke system. The company also introduced a Chinese New Year software update that includes a more complete karaoke system, Leishi KTV, which works with the Tesla-mic.
3. Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone, across every device
Take: Gaming is now the most popular and fastest-growing type of entertainment, with almost 3 billion actively enjoying this form of entertainment. Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard for $69 billion is an enormous shift in industry superpowers, helping Microsoft’s gaming business grow across its platforms while providing the building blocks for presence in the metaverse as the company believes that gaming will have a significant impact on the metaverse platforms as well.
4. Lamborghini releases its first NFT, which is the most Lamborghini thing ever
Take: Lamborghini has become one of the first companies to embrace NFTs. In collaboration with the artist Fabien Oefner, the company has developed five pieces consisting of physical and digital elements, an NFT component, to be auctioned this week. The NFTs are unique as they include tangible parts, pieces of the carbon fiber that have been to space as a part of a research project the company joined. The company also aims to test the world of NFTs to explore financial opportunities while maintaining the brand’s integrity.
5. Apple to Rival Square by Turning iPhones Into Payment Terminals
Take: Apple is planning a new feature that will let merchants accept payment directly through their iPhones, which shortly means turning iPhones into a payment terminal. According to the report, the company is working on this feature with a Canadian startup Mobeewe which was acquired by Apple in 2020. The feature will enable Apple smartphones to accept payments with the tap of a credit card. The functionality will come with the software update and it is uncertain if Apple will let other apps use the technology, or require the use of Apple Pay. The decision will definitely determine the future of other payment providers in the sector.
6. Baidu’s electric car brand Jidu closes $400M Series A round
Take: Baidu’s electrical vehicle arm Jidu raised nearly $400 million from Baidu and Zhejiang Geely in a Series A funding round. The company is accelerating the process of growth in a comparably short time by using a simulated prototype car for the smart cockpit and autonomous driving systems instead of testing each piece of hardware on a mass-produced vehicle. According to the company, Jidu can perform autonomous driving in many situations in urban and highway traffic without the need for human interaction and we could expect to see the mass-production of Jidu’s “robot” cars in 2023.
7. Last-mile delivery startup Paack raised $225 million in a round backed by SoftBank
Take: The market for sustainable last-mile delivery is set to boom in Europe. Another e-commerce delivery platform focused on virtual transformation, Paack, raised $225 million in a Series D round led by Softbank. Paack aims to make the process of delivery more sustainable and efficient, delivering all parcels with zero carbon emissions and using electrical vehicles.
8. Meta’s new learning algorithm can teach AI to multi-task
Take: Today, an AI model can converse in its natural language and another AI model can identify an object accurately, however, none can excel in both. This is a major obstacle for creating a multi-tasking machine, and the aim of Meta’s AI team is to overcome this obstacle. Meta has developed an algorithm called “Data2vec” that enables a neural network to learn three skills, recognizing text, speech, and image, but only one skill at a time. The next step is to use the same algorithm for training networks to use the three skills at the same time and the team’s aim is toward that, giving an AI multiple skills at once.
9. Intel to build 2 Ohio semiconductor factories worth $20B
Take: According to an announcement, semiconductor giant Intel is investing $20 billion into two new factories in Ohio to meet the surging demand for advanced semiconductors. Intel aims to build one of the largest semi-conductor facilities in the area and overcome supply chain issues and shortages, ultimately seeking to regain leadership in the industry
10. FAA approves more 5G towers at US airports
Take: CEOs of major US airlines expressed their concerns over the implementation of 5G technology at airports and the impact on aircraft equipment earlier this month, claiming that it could cause planes to be grounded. Last week, after wireless companies submitted more exact data on the position of wireless transmitters, the FAA has allowed telecom providers Verizon and AT&T permission to install more 5G cell towers at several of the country’s most important airports.
Airlines have begun cancelling flights into US airports due to these concerns.