Our digital future will be shaped by increasingly mobile technologies coming from China

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Since the dawn of the internet, the titans of this industry have fought to win the “starting point” — the place that users start their online experiences. In other words, the place where they begin “browsing.” The advent of the dial-up era had America Online mailing a CD to every home in America, which passed the baton to Yahoo’s categorical listings, which was swallowed by Google’s indexing of the world’s information — winning the “starting point” was everything.

As the mobile revolution continues to explode across the world, the battle for the starting point has intensified. For a period of time, people believed it would be the hardware, then it became clear that the software mattered most. Then conversation shifted to a debate between operating systems (Android or iOS) and moved on to social properties and messaging apps, where people were spending most of their time. Today, my belief is we’re hovering somewhere between apps and operating systems. That being said, the interface layer will always be evolving.

The starting point, just like a rocket’s launchpad, is only important because of what comes after. The battle to win that coveted position, although often disguised as many other things, is really a battle to become the starting point of commerce.  

Google’s philosophy includes a commitment to get users “off their page” as quickly as possible…to get that user to form a habit and come back to their starting point. The real (yet somewhat veiled) goal, in my opinion, is to get users to search and find the things they want to buy.

Of course, Google “does no evil” while aggregating the world’s information, but they pay their bills by sending purchases to Priceline, Expedia, Amazon and the rest of the digital economy.  

Facebook, on the other hand, has become a starting point through its monopolization of users’ time, attention and data. Through this effort, it’s developed an advertising business that shatters records quarter after quarter.

Google and Facebook, this famed duopoly, represent 89 percent of new advertising spending in 2017. Their dominance is unrivaled… for now.

Change is urgently being demanded by market forces — shifts in consumer habits, intolerable rising costs to advertisers and through a nearly universal dissatisfaction with the advertising models that have dominated (plagued) the U.S. digital economy.  All of which is being accelerated by mobile. Terrible experiences for users still persist in our online experiences, deliver low efficacy for advertisers and fraud is rampant. The march away from the glut of advertising excess may be most symbolically seen in the explosion of ad blockers. Further evidence of the “need for a correction of this broken industry” is Oracle’s willingness to pay $ 850 million for a company that polices ads (probably the best entrepreneurs I know ran this company, so no surprise).

As an entrepreneur, my job is to predict the future. When reflecting on what I’ve learned thus far in my journey, it’s become clear that two truths can guide us in making smarter decisions about our digital future:

Every day, retailers, advertisers, brands and marketers get smarter. This means that every day, they will push the platforms, their partners and the places they rely on for users to be more “performance driven.” More transactional.

Paying for views, bots (Russian or otherwise) or anything other than “dollars” will become less and less popular over time. It’s no secret that Amazon, the world’s most powerful company (imho), relies so heavily on its Associates Program (its home-built partnership and affiliate platform). This channel is the highest performing form of paid acquisition that retailers have, and in fact, it’s rumored that the success of Amazon’s affiliate program led to the development of AWS due to large spikes in partner traffic.

Chinese flag overlooking The Bund, Shanghai, China (Photo: Rolf Bruderer/Getty Images)

When thinking about our digital future, look down and look east. Look down and admire your phone — this will serve as your portal to the digital world for the next decade, and our dependence will only continue to grow. The explosive adoption of this form factor is continuing to outpace any technological trend in history.

Now, look east and recognize that what happens in China will happen here, in the West, eventually. The Chinese market skipped the PC-driven digital revolution — and adopted the digital era via the smartphone. Some really smart investors have built strategies around this thesis and have quietly been reaping rewards due to their clairvoyance.  

China has historically been categorized as a market full of knock-offs and copycats — but times have changed. Some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies have come out of China over the past decade. The entrepreneurial work ethic in China (as praised recently by arguably the world’s greatest investor, Michael Moritz), the speed of innovation and the ability to quickly scale and reach meaningful populations have caused Chinese companies to leapfrog the market cap of many of their U.S. counterparts.  

The most interesting component of the Chinese digital economy’s growth is that it is fundamentally more “pure” than the U.S. market’s. I say this because the Chinese market is inherently “transactional.” As Andreessen Horowitz writes, WeChat, China’s  most valuable company, has become the “starting point” and hub for all user actions. Their revenue diversity is much more “Amazon” than “Google” or “Facebook” — it’s much more pure. They make money off the transactions driven from their platform, and advertising is far less important in their strategy.

The obsession with replicating WeChat took the tech industry by storm two years ago — and for some misplaced reason, everyone thought we needed to build messaging bots to compete.  

What shouldn’t be lost is our obsession with the purity and power of the business models being created in China. The fabric that binds the Chinese digital economy and has fostered its seemingly boundless growth is the magic combination of commerce and mobile. Singles Day, the Chinese version of Black Friday, drove $ 25 billion in sales on Alibaba — 90 percent of which were on mobile.

The lesson we’ve learned thus far in both the U.S. and in China is that “consumers spending money” creates the most durable consumer businesses. Google, putting aside all its moonshots and heroic mission statements, is a “starting point” powered by a shopping engine. If you disagree, look at where their revenue comes from…

Google’s recent announcement of Shopping Actions and their movement to a “pay per transaction model” signals a turning point that could forever change the landscape of the digital economy.  

Google’s multi-front battle against Apple, Facebook and Amazon is weighted. Amazon is the most threatening. It’s the most durable business of the four — and its model is unbounded on two fronts that almost everyone I know would bet their future on, 1) people buying more online, where Amazon makes a disproportionate amount of every dollar spent, and 2) companies needing more cloud computing power (more servers), where Amazon makes a disproportionate amount of every dollar spent.  

To add insult to injury, Amazon is threatening Google by becoming a starting point itself — 55 percent of product searches now originate at Amazon, up from 30 percent just a year ago.

Google, recognizing consumer behavior was changing in mobile (less searching) and the inferiority of their model when compared to the durability and growth prospects of Amazon, needed to respond. Google needed a model that supported boundless growth and one that created a “win-win” for its advertising partners — one that resembled Amazon’s relationship with its merchants — not one that continued to increase costs to retailers while capitalizing on their monopolization of search traffic.

Google knows that with its position as the starting point — with Google.com, Google Apps and Android — it has to become a part of the transaction to prevail in the long term. With users in mobile demanding fewer ads and more utility (demanding experiences that look and feel a lot more like what has prevailed in China), Google has every reason in the world to look down and to look east — to become a part of the transaction — to take its piece.  

A collision course for Google and the retailers it relies upon for revenue was on the horizon. Search activity per user was declining in mobile and user acquisition costs were growing quarter over quarter. Businesses are repeatedly failing to compete with Amazon, and unless Google could create an economically viable growth model for retailers, no one would stand a chance against the commerce juggernaut — not the retailers nor Google itself. 

As I’ve believed for a long time, becoming a part of the transaction is the most favorable business model for all parties; sources of traffic make money when retailers sell things, and, most importantly, this only happens when users find the things they want.  

Shopping Actions is Google’s first ambitious step to satisfy all three parties — businesses and business models all over the world will feel this impact.  

Good work, Sundar.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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How new technologies and ideas are taking football beyond the game

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

WIRED follows the Audi Summer Tour 2017 to explore the new technologies, fanbases and ideas changing the ways we experience football.
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GreenWaves Technologies joins the race for machine learning at the edge

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The GAP8 processor block diagram for those of y’all who like block diagrams!

A few weeks back, I wrote about the need for machine learning at the edge and what big chip firms are doing to address the challenge. Even as Intel, ARM, and others invest in new architectures, startups are also attempting to innovate with new platforms.

GreenWaves Technologies, based in France, is one such company. It has built a machine learning chip that offers multiple cores and low-power machine learning at the edge. The chip is called the GAP8 application processor. GreenWaves CEO Loic Lietar says the GAP8 processor can offer always-on face detection with a few milliwatts of power, indoor people counting with years of battery life, and sub-$ 15 machine vision or voice control for consumer applications.

But what’s really fascinating about GreenWaves is that it has built this chip with so little in funding. The company has raised 3.1 million euros ($ 3.8 million) so far, much less than a traditional semiconductor startup. And yet it’s gotten all the way to producing chips based on its design, with a development board coming in April. The reason GreenWaves could do so much with so little is because it’s building on a new open-source hardware architecture called RISC-V.

RISC-V was created eight years ago as a project at UC Berkeley aimed at building low-power chips that use minimal instruction sets. An instruction set governs how software talks to the actual computing elements on the chip, and anyone can use it to build their own designs. By comparison, Intel keeps its x86 instruction set to itself (and AMD), while the instruction sets of ARM and MIPS are licensed out for millions of dollars. (For more on this dynamic, here’s a good article.)

GreenWaves’ Lietar says the cost of building a new chip using ARM’s instruction set would start with a $ 15 million license and escalate from there. But with RISC-V his engineers could simply download the code and get going. Of course, to design a chip at this level still requires sophisticated engineers experienced in building processors. However, GreenWave’s founders hail from ST Microelectronics and have lots of chip design experience.

I’m excited by GreenWaves’ chips, but I’m even more excited that in an era when we are going to need different types of processors designed for low-power, edge computing jobs, there’s potentially a way to innovate in silicon at a lower cost. Because in my opinion, silicon is where your innovation starts. The capability has to be there in hardware before you can do new things with software.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

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Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Takes One Step Closer to First US Track

Hyperloop Transport Technologies (HTT) has brokered agreements with the North Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and the Illinois Department of Transportation for feasibility studies pertaining to its mass transit technology. This work will determine whether or not it’s practical to construct a route linking Cleveland with Chicago.

HTT CEO Dirk Ahlhorn described the collaboration as the “first real public-private partnership to bring Hyperloop travel to the US,” according to a report from Tech Crunch. If it comes to pass, the Hyperloop would allow passengers to travel between the two cities in just 28 minutes.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in January 2018, Ahlhorn said that HTT’s first track would be officially announced in 2018, and could be operational within three years. However, there’s no indication that the Chicago-Cleveland line would be the company’s top priority.

In September 2017, HTT came to an agreement with the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board which will bring a Hyperloop system to India. And although the timeline for construction is still not clear, Ahlhorn indicated during last month’s address that Asia or the Middle East could be a smart place to start, economically speaking.

Of course, the company’s various international projects are expected to develop alongside one another. HTT has already submitted a letter, supported by a number of congressional representatives, that requests federal funding for the construction of necessary infrastructure.

Between HTT and Virgin Hyperloop One, projects inspired by Hyperloop technology, and Elon Musk’s plans for a high-speed railway system, there’s certainly a lot going on in the sphere of public transportation. However, most of it is still in the planning stages – it will be interesting to see which initiatives break ground first.

The post Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Takes One Step Closer to First US Track appeared first on Futurism.


Unity Technologies Announces Strategic Integrations With MediaMath and Oracle’s Moat

Unity Technologies, creator of a leading real-time development platform, announced Monday what it calls “key integrations” with MediaMath, a programmatic company for marketers, and Moat, a SaaS analytics measurement company for marketers and publishers that recently became part of the Oracle Data Cloud.

According to the details shared, the partnership enables MediaMath to access Unity’s advertising reach of 1.2 billion devices, further strengthening Unity’s Unified Auction.

The Moat integration allows advertisers the ability to verify and measure attention metrics with confidence across scalable in-app programmatic inventory. Together, the integration of MediaMath’s programmatic platform combined with Moat’s robust viewability and attention metrics provides brands with a powerful way to both reach highly-engaged consumers on Unity’s platform, and uniquely evaluate advertising campaign performance in mobile gaming beyond traditional mobile advertising platforms.

Since integrating with Moat, Unity has demonstrated industry-leading ad quality scores. In January, Moat measured 98.5% valid and viewable rates for Unity, nearly doubling the in-app benchmarks of 49.2%, and video completion rates of 81.6% compared to averages of 33.6% (source: Moat Analytics Benchmarks: Q3 2017, Unity: January 2018). Now advertisers can confidently run their ads in a brand safe environment with some of the highest viewability and completion rates available.

“Unity’s partnership with MediaMath provides clients with direct access to Unity’s premium audiences within 100% professionally-developed, often exclusive content,” said Julie Shumaker, VP of Advertiser Solutions at Unity. “To add to this advertiser value, Unity’s integration of Moat now validates unparalleled view completion rates and viewability scores nearly double the mobile in-app video benchmark. Integrating with Moat allows Unity to further validate viewability and present MediaMath, and all Unity unified auction buyers verified traffic.”

The post Unity Technologies Announces Strategic Integrations With MediaMath and Oracle’s Moat appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

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Why smart city technologies are set to drive ‘trillions’ in economic growth over the coming decade

Smart city technologies are set to drive the economic development of cities by more than 5% and drive more than $ 20 trillion in additional economic benefits by 2026, according to an ABI Research report.

The report, titled ‘Roles of Smart Cities for Economic Development’, was commissioned by InterDigital on behalf of its Smart Cities-focused business, Chordant. In order to capitalise on the economic benefits, cities must begin preparation and investment now, the report noted.

Jim Nolan, executive vice president, Chordant at InterDigital, said: “These recent findings further emphasize the importance of technology as a driver for economic development in our future smart cities. The benefits are clear: trillions in incremental GDP growth will significantly transform the way we live and how our cities operate. But it’s not as simple as deploying technology and hoping it sticks. Cities will have to become strategic in the way they deploy smart city technology to ensure that it maximizes its potential.”

Smart city technologies are set to impact three dimensions majorly over the next decade. They are Open Data Policies, having a potential incremental GDP growth of nearly $ 1 trillion without investments in physical infrastructure; public investments multiplier effect of up to 10 times, with a potential incremental GDP growth of $ 10 trillion; and structural smart urban economy growth, with an expected increase of 2.8% by 2026, driven by next-generation technologies like AI and blockchain.

Similarly, Cisco is also working towards the smart cities initiative. The company had in November contributed $ 1 billion to the City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program, a smart cities fund, wherein Cisco teamed up alongside Digital Alpha Advisors, a private equity firm, and pension fund investors APG Asset Management and Whitehelm Capital. Alongside this, Cisco has also added a new functionality to its Cisco Kinetic for Cities digital platform.

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Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Teases an Upcoming Track

Hyperloop, Go!

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) CEO Dirk Ahlborn used his platform at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to tease an upcoming announcement about the placement of its first hyperloop track. At the conference, Ahlborn said, “This is going to be a busy year. We are expecting to announce the first commercial track this year.”

This puts HTT in line to be among the very first Hyperloop systems in the world. Ahlborn expects that the system could be open for public use within the next three years.

An artists representation of a hyperloop train, a streamlined bullet-shaped feature in color blocked silver and slate, with a red stripe. We may see the first hyperloop track announced in the coming year.
Image Credit: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

Ahlborn was sparse with details about where the first system might be built, but did afford a small piece of information: that locations in Asia and the Middle East could be a smart move, economically. He also noted that the first passenger capsule for the system was already being manufactured, and that it was “not some sort of test pod, this is the sort of capsule that you and I are going to be riding in a little bit.”

Yet Ahlborn recognized that before any system would be operational, regulations must be in place. This is the biggest hurdle that any emerging transportation technology must overcome.

Next-Gen Transport

HTT is just one of the many companies that are working to develop Elon Musk’s vision for a faster mode of land travel. The concept involves propelling passengers in pods at speeds rivaling what is possible in airplanes, using magnetism. 

This Infographic Highlights All You Need to Know about the Hyperloop
Click to View Full Infographic

These systems could entirely rely on renewably generated power, making them both economical and better for the environment. Hyperloop systems could also do wonders for traffic-plagued areas common in India and along the U.S.’s Pacific Coast. Trips that would normally take hours could likely be cut down to mere minutes.

The future of Hyperloop technology, in all of its iterations, is certainly exciting. It has the potential to revolutionize travel in any area fortunate enough to benefit from a route, and could be an integral part of creating a new era of megacities. Luckily, if HTT gets its way, we won’t have to wait too long to find out what that might look like.

The post Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Teases an Upcoming Track appeared first on Futurism.


These 7 technologies ruled 2017

Another year has passed; the newest iPhone’s been released; and TNW’s writers have been replaced by robots. It’s time to look back on 2017 as we settle into the holidays, snug and warm in our beds, with visions of cryptocurrency bubbles popping in our heads. Here, we’ve gathered several breakthroughs we had the privilege of reporting on in 2017, that we hope will inspire you to do great things 2018. Quantum computers are real A practical quantum computer is no longer the stuff of far future science fiction. IBM, Google, and Microsoft are all creating systems that will serve as…

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Transport Costs May Change Due to Advancing Technologies

Paying for Transportation

Whether you drive, take public transportation, or a combination of both, you’re likely familiar with paying for tolls, parking, tickets, and many of the other aspects integral to modern transportation. This could change with advancing technologies and the continued growth of Passport, a company that manages the technical side of these transportation transactions, which just raised $ 43 million.

This money was invested by Bain Capital Ventures, and it’s intended to expand payment and transaction services as cities around the world grow and expand with new technologies. This is in specific reference to mobile technologies, how they might influence urban infrastructure, and how we pay for public transportation. This will also influence government income, as changing payments could alter the amount collected by governments.

The rise of autonomous vehicles must also be considered. Self-driving cars will reduce and eventually eliminate accidents, illegal parking, moving violations, and much more. This shift will take a drastic cut out of the money currently collected. To make up for this and to accommodate for changing technologies, new kinds of tolls might need to be created to keep up and pay for updating this infrastructure.

According to Bob Youakim, Passport’s chief executive officer, “You have to have that infrastructure built so that vehicles know.”

Changing Infrastructure

The ways that we travel are changing every day. From semi to fully autonomous vehicles to advanced public transportation like hyperloop systems, the increasing popularity of rideshare systems, and a greater adoption of electric vehicles, transportation is advancing every day.

One way that some are looking to cope with these changes is by changing toll billing systems. A new integrated, automatic billing system is being developed, and Passport is working with the Pennsylvania Toll Pike on the matter. Youakim said, “The toll road is very disconnected. The only thing that can bring that together is some sort of mobile-based system,” like the type of system that Passport provides and is working on.

But will citizens end up paying more with these new systems? It seems possible. Passport’s current plan includes cities monitoring drivers’ routes and taxing accordingly, depending on which roads are used, when, and how often. According to Youakim, “To come into the city limits you get taxed. All the different types of tolling are going to become more prevalent in the U.S.”

Will tolls increase and become more prevalent? It’s impossible to say yet, but tolls and the fees that are incurred through driving and public transportation will certainly change. Passport is already supporting this changing infrastructure, and time will tell if it will be beneficial to alter the billing associated with transportation.

Perhaps in the future, parking meters, speeding tickets, metro cards, and tollbooths will simply be relics of the past. Perhaps, while we might be taxed based on our driving records, it won’t cost us more money, because we won’t be paying for tickets and parking. All this is speculative, for now. It’s only certain that transportation is changing, and we need an infrastructure that can keep up.

The post Transport Costs May Change Due to Advancing Technologies appeared first on Futurism.


RCOM to sell DTH business BIG TV to Pantel Technologies, Veecon Media

Reliance Communications (RCOM) recently announced that it has entered into Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with Veecon Media and Television Limited, for sale of its subsidiary Reliance BIG TV Limited (RBTV). Today it has announced that it has entered into a binding Share Purchase Agreement with Pantel Technologies Pvt Ltd and Veecon Media & Television Limited for sale of … Continue reading “RCOM to sell DTH business BIG TV to Pantel Technologies, Veecon Media”
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