Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • IBM’s Watson Isn’t Replacing Cognitive Thinking

One of IBM’s platform is Watson, which is their artificial intelligence platform. The company’s fellow and CTO for its Watson project Rob High has mixed feelings about the cognitive enhancer, however he still hopes that developers use the invention to accelerate their businesses and lives.

“Everybody and their mother is out to create their own specialized voice-activated devices,” Rob High, IBM fellow and CTO for its Watson project.

The company is of the mindset that developers will choose Watson to power their AI apps. They also hope that they will use Watson’s smart chatbots and similar services.

“We, as human beings, should be rightfully proud about the intelligence we possess,” High said but also noted that our intelligence is constrained by how much we can read and retain, for example. “So if we can take that and augment it using a cognitive computer that doesn’t replicate everything we do in our own mental process but analyzes, augments and amplifies it, that to me is the ideal — that’s the goal for cognitive computing for augmented intelligence,” said High.

Frame-based dialoguing is something IBM will launch soon. They will also release more advanced cognitive technologies that will allow for the deeper level of reasoning that’s necessary to sustain a conversation.

High believe that this isn’t about replicating human intelligence, but more about magnifying the ability of human cognition. “Cognitive computing is about amplifying human cognition — whether that is in the context of a conversation or whether that is more of in a discovery scenario where the implicit goal is to come up with new ideas, seeing perspectives you haven’t seen before, seeing through your biases, being called out when your biases may dead-end you or blind you to things,” said High.

The best way to bring this intelligence to users still remains to be discovered, though. High stressed that it takes a sense of “presence” for example maybe through a robot or built into anything from a TV to your phones. The hoped for outcome is for people to be comfortable with uisng a system like this. That takes a system that is highly personalized, too. A system that can recognize what mood you are in to play the right music or that automatically turns down the music when you start a conversation. “That’s where we are going, but that’s beyond where we are today — and not just translations,” said High.

AI and Watson is here to stay and its presence will catapult IBM into the centuries to come.

  • LeoLabs raises $4M for its Space Debris Collision Avoidance Network

LeoLabs has raised $4M for its space debris collision avoidance network. Even though Low-Earth orbit is a prime candidate for explosive commercial growth, it’s also a space where the risk of actual explosions resulting from debris impact is a legitimate concern for businesses focused on the opportunity.

“We provide raw data. Plus, we provide services built on top of this data to address specific customer needs, such as avoiding collisions. Finally, we are heavily investing in the data services platform that will enable third-parties to innovate on top of the data,” said Dan Ceperley, CEO, LeoLabs.

What’s the issue that LeoLabs wants to solve? The issue the company is hoping to solve is helping the growing number of ventures working with cubsats and smallsat networks, as well as emerging ventures looking to put people into low-Earth orbit for short tourist flights. An example of this might be Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

The company has announced $4 million in investment from SRI International, Horizons Ventures and Airbus Ventures. LeoLabs is also adding the Midland Space Radar facility from Texas to its network of ground-based radar monitoring facilities, which will help it track the objects it’s mapping.

Avoiding collisions in LEO is a pressing issue because it’s already a crowded region of space because of objects like existing satellites, as well as debris from spacecraft, defunct equipment and more. Collisions in LEO stand to amplify the problem with objects smashing into one another resulting in more debris and more treacherous navigation of LEO space overall.

There are already some options for keeping clear of other objects in LEO. The U.S. Air Force maintains a public catalog that even alerts those registered to use it about potential collisions. However, with increasing complexity and interest in the space, there’s a need for more advanced tools, the company believes.

What is LeoLabs’ solution? Their solution has unique capabilities including accuracy to within 100 meters, along with verification mechanisms. Data offered up on a predefined schedule. The technology of tracking of each piece of debris and object in LEO multiple times per day, thanks to its network of ground monitoring stations. LeoLabs’ ability to track up to 250,000 new objects that aren’t tracked by public monitoring systems presently. And an API so that customers can use the info with their own systems via tight integration.

LeoLabs is protecting the LEO so that they can send up aircrafts safely.

  • Samsung’s Failures Might be Another Mobile Telecommunications Company’s Success

One’s failure could be another’s success. This is the view of other phone-makers who have followed Samsung’s horrible costly debacle with the Note 7.

China’s Huawei is the most likely contender to fill the hole in the premium end of the market. The company announced the arrival of a new phone in its quest to displace Samsung as the world’s no. 2 smartphone maker after Apple.

However, Samsung isn’t disappearing altogether. The company announced two new tablets pending the launch of its next flagship device, the Galaxy S8, at the end of March.

“The past six months have undoubtedly been one of the most challenging periods of our history,” said David Lowes, European marketing chief, Samsung. “We’re determined to learn every possible lesson.”

Is there strong competition from other phone-makers? “The competition is feisty but I think we have a good chance,” Richard Yu, chief executive of consumer business group, Huawei.

Samsung’s smartphone market share dropped to 17.7 percent in the fourth quarter. Apple’s market share rose to 17.8 percent, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.

“Samsung has taken a massive $5.4 billion hit to profits, apologised profusely for the recall and admitted shortcomings in its quality and assurance process but I don’t think that the full effects of this issue have fully hit home,” said Dr. Richard Windsor, independent research analyst, Radio Free Mobile.

Windsor pointed to a survey from Harris Poll, which shows that Samsung’s reputation has fallen from No. 7 in the United States to No. 42. This is just one position above the U.S. Postal Service.

  • Airtel to Remove Roaming Charges on Calls and Data

Airtel will be offering free incoming calls and SMS on national roaming and no premium charges on outgoing calls beginning in April. The company also said that there will not be any additional data charges on national roaming.

“This marks the death of national roaming and the whole country will now be like a local network for our customers, who will not have to think twice before making or receiving calls or using data while traveling outside their home base,” said Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel.

The new change comes after Vodafone had also announced free incoming calls on national roaming last year. Reliance Jio offers free voice calling all over India until April 1st. After this date, service will have regular charges with no extra roaming charges.

Airtel also has a special offer international roaming users. From the beginning of April, Airtel customers on international roaming who are not using an international roaming pack, will get high phone bills as an automatic adjustment that is equal to the daily pack for that particular country will be applied. The moment a customer’s billing reaches the price of a one day pack for that particular country, the customer will be automatically moved to that pack.

“At Airtel, we are changing the international roaming paradigm, which will allow our customers to take their number to every corner of the world. As an industry, operators across the world must collaborate to remove the cost barrier to roaming and offer customers the convenience of staying connected without the fear of exorbitant bill charges,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel.