Delphi and Transdev Develop Global On-demand Driverless Transportation by Chrissie Cluney

Delphi and Transdev are developing automated, on-demand mobility systems, with a service offering set. The companies hope to debut with a service offering set via pilot projects in France, and then to eventually expand to global reach.

Delphi will bring its automated driving platform to the mix that it is creating in partnership with Mobileye. Transdev is a recognized leader in mobility network operation. It has already worked with public transit authorities around the world, including rams, light rail, buses, ferries, and more recently, autonomous vehicles.

Delphi and Transdev want to have a global footprint with their technology. The companies are also going to be working on getting pilot projects operating very quickly.

“We believe that autonomy will bring a lot of social benefits,” said Yann Leriche, chief performance officer, Transdev “Our mission is to leverage those benefits to provide attractive shared transportation options to our clients. The asset can be shared, for example on-demand cars, or the ride can be shared, for example, buses.”

For Delphi, this partnership will provide access to testing on a wide range of vehicle types across a wide variety of service settings. It also gives them a company to work with that already has a deep functional understanding of current urban transit and the challenges therein.

“They have that clear pathway, they’re operating today, they understand this and we couldn’t be more excited to be adding them as a partner,” said Glen De Vos, chief technology officer, Delphi. “We really have line of sight into how the technology can be deployed, and deployed in a way that really makes sense in terms of safety and in terms of commercial operations.”

Both companies will contribute to the co-development of future autonomous vehicles. The companies will add to the infrastructure to make operating a commercial service sustainable and scalable.

Dave Buklarewicz Joins MARC USA by Chrissie Cluney

MARC USA has appointed Dave Buklarewicz to the company’s newly created position of EVP/Executive Media Director. The Pittsburgh-based ad agency has been adding resources to its media and data/analytics offering. It is trying to redouble their efforts to attract media customers to its group of clients most of which take a mix of creative and media services.

Buklarewicz is a 20-plus year industry veteran who joined the agency from Havas Media. He will be responsible for overseeing the company’s growing media practice, which has a staff of over 60 employees, in all four of their offices.

“We believe there’s a real gap in the marketplace and a tremendous growth opportunity for us,” said Michele Fabrizi, president and CEO, MARC USA. She is referring to the media services arena.

The agency currently provides media services for AOR clients such as Rite Aid, Payless ShoeSource, the Pennsylvania Lottery, Belle Tire and others. Media-only clients include pharmaceutical firm Kaleo and Five Star Senior Living.

Google’s ‘Home’ is Having Problems by Chrissie Clune

Google had high hopes for its virtual assistant ‘Home’ to take on Amazon’s ‘Alexa‘. The problem is that the product has trouble with users reporting indifferent behavior from ‘Home’.

The virtual assistant is spitting out errors instead of controlling smart home devices and answering questions. “According to multiple online complaints, there’s a Google Home outage affecting a significant portion of users,” said Android Police, a technology website.

To know if your ‘Home’ device is affected, users need to use a trigger phrase. The device will respond with “Hmm, something went wrong. Try again in a few seconds,” or “There was a glitch. Try again in a few seconds.”

“Most users say the issues started popping up in the last day or two and today Google Home has a nearly 100 percent failure rate,” said the report. However the other devices with Google Assistant are working fine.

MediaCom Promotes Pang by Chrissie Cluney

 

MediaCom has promoted Willie Pang to chief operating officer of the agency. He will lead their Melbourne office.

Pang will be responsible for growing the business through product and new business development. He will also work to continue to lead on MediaCom solutions nationally. This includes the digital, data and innovation portfolio.

“When we began our search for leadership in Melbourne, first and foremost we wanted someone that would be a strong cultural fit for our people and clients. Someone that can inspire, lead and bring a team together,” said Sean Seamer, CEO, MediaCom.

Growing its Melbourne office has become a priority for MediaCom. The agency has been restructuring how it operates. Seamer said that Pang has been instrumental in repositioning MediaCom and how it serves its clients to adapt to the digitization of media and marketing during his 18 months as chief digital officer.

“I firmly believe that MediaCom is at the forefront of transforming what it means to be a media agency and our Melbourne business will play a critical role,” said Willie Pang, digital officer, MediaCom. Pang will begin his new role of COO in July.

CornerJob Earns $19M to Keep Growing its Blue-collar Hiring Platform by Chrissie Cluney

CornerJob, a Barcelona-based blue-collar recruitment app, has ended a $19 million Series C round. It last raised $5M in July 2016. Back then it took in a $25M Series B round, of which was a media for equity agreement investment. Cornerjob has also closed a $10M Series A in February of 2016. To date, the total funding is currently $54M.

“On the product side, we will keep on improving the candidate experience, but… we will [also] concentrate a lot on providing more productivity tools for companies, step up our machine learning initiatives, and reinforce our presence on all elements of the recruitment value chain. For instance on the transactional part with many iterations planed on the service we’ve launched together with Randstad,” said David Rodriguez, CEO, Cornerjob.

The new financing will be used for product development. Also the financing will bolster its position in “strategic markets” and expand into some new ones.

What’s Cornerjob’s focus? CornerJob focuses on low-skill, high-turnover recruitment. This aims to streamline the hiring and job-search process via a lightweight mobile app that lets employers advertise jobs via its location-based app platform. The app also focuses on a shortlist and chat with potential recruits.

The app is building SaaS tools for employers aimed at speeding up the hiring process and ultimately resulting in successful hires. This is vital because it is how the company intends to make revenue. Among its investor roster is the VC arm of human resources giant, Randstad, spying some clear synergies.

What about jobseekers? CornerJob offers quick and easy location-based job search that can be filtered by sector. This aims to do away with the need for CVs for this jobseeker segment.

“New tools include the ‘flash questions’ feature which allows companies to ask multiple choice questions very specific to the job offer and translate into a chat bot interaction on the candidate side to make the experience always seamless. We’re also introducing a set of features that add more transparency on candidate and company behavior on the platform with reviews, ratings, response times, etc. These are just a few examples of evolutions underway,” said Rodriguez.

Where is Cornerjob active? CornerJob is active in four markets presently, which include: France, Italy, Spain and Mexico. France and Italy were the countries that the app was launched first and it’s the app’s biggest markets.

Accenture Refutes Claims over ING Pitch by Chrissie Cluney

Accenture has refuted that there is a conflict of interest with ING Direct. Even though Accenture just selected UM as its global agency of record.

“Accenture professionals have been providing media pitch management services for more than a decade, however, our team does not select agencies for clients. Clients fully own the selection decision,” said an Accenture spokesperson.

UM client ING Direct called a global review of its media planning and buying account earlier this year. Accenture was revealed as the firm running the pitch process. Locally the account is worth up to $12 million.

“At the same time, Accenture Marketing and Communications has always worked with a large global media advertising agency for Accenture’s own corporate advertising and media strategy. These are two separate and distinct divisions of Accenture and we have the strictest policies and protocols in place to ensure complete business and client confidentiality,” said an Accenture spokesperson.

The ING Direct division is owned by Dutch multinational banking and financial services firm, the ING Group. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the European stock exchange, Euronext.

Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • The Stagwell Group Acquires Wolfgang

 

The Stagwell Group has acquired a minority stake in a new creative consultancy called Wolfgang. The company was founded by former David & Goliath executives Mike Geiger, Seema Miller and Colin Jeffrey.

“I was immeasurably impresssed with the way [Wolfgang] combined strategic planning with creative,” said Mr. Penn. “We continue to fill out the marketing wheel and it’s important to have people onboard that are at the forefront of advertising and creative,” said Mark Penn, president and managing partner, The Stagwell Group.

Wolfgang is part Stagwell Group’s Marketing Incubator, which also includes digital advocacy shop Targeted Victory. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Stagwell has an option to acquire a majority stake in Wolfgang in the future.

Wolfgang, which is based in Los Angeles, has about 12 staffers at the moment, including freelancers. The company is looking to bring on more people later this year who have a mix of left and right brain skill sets.

The co-founders of Wolfgang liked the Stagwell model because it’s a new type of holding company model that doesn’t have dozens of the same types of agencies. The company acquires shops that complement each other.

In January, Stagwell acquired Nielsen’s Harris brand and the Harris Poll through its Stagwell Media fund. That acquisition, which is the holding company’s fifth since October 2015, was expected to bring Stagwell Group’s revenue up to $250 million by the end of the year. Now, with that capital, Stagwell is up to $750 million in acquisitions.

 

  • Spotify Acquires MightyTV

 

Spotify has acquired content recommendation service MightyTV. Spotify is looking to further enhance the company’s advertising products and its marketing technology platforms. The deal will also see the addition of MightyTV’s founder and CEO Brian Adams to the company, where he will become Spotify’s VP of Technology. Adams will focus on both of these initiatives.

“The content recommendation system MightyTV has built is incredibly aligned with how we think about advertising technology and marketing personalization,” said Jason Richman, vice president of Product, Spotify. “Brian and his team will help us continue to innovate on free monetization and extend our leadership position in programmatic audio.”

MightyTV was a startup that offered TV show and movie recommendations. The company had developed a Tinder-style mobile app for iOS and Android that would allow the consumer to quickly indicate whether they liked or disliked a given title as a means of helping to customize MightyTV’s suggestions to their own personal tastes. The recommendations would then improve overtime with the more the consumer used the product.

“Spotify has built the leading marketplace for fans and creators,” said Brian Adams, vice president of technology, Spotify. “It’s an enormous opportunity for me and the team to help create native brand experiences that stay true to a product that millions love.”

What attracted consumers to MighyTV? From a consumer perspective, what made MightyTV interesting was not necessarily its Tinder-like interface but that it combined different approaches to making its suggestions, which consists of those that came from the aggregated user ratings as well as those that better understood one’s individual tastes.

MightyTV’s team of eight will be joining Spotify as part of the acquisition and will be based in their New York City, Toronto and Stockholm offices. The company has raised $4.25 million in seed funding.

 

  • Publicis Groupe and Microsoft Partners for Custom Experiences Via AI

 

Publicis Groupe and Microsoft have partnered together to create custom experiences for their consumers using AI. The holding company and its agency businesses will gain access to data capabilities and artificial intelligence designed for marketing with Microsoft Azure and the Cortana Intelligence Suite.

“This partnership is critical for us because it’s one of the biggest bets we’re making on the Microsoft platform,” said Samih Fadli, chief intelligence officer, SapientRazorfish. “There’s Google, Microsoft and AWS, but we made a decision … that Microsoft Azure would become our preferred platform to build assets.”

The agency created a customized version of Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, specifically for Publicis with the algorithms and data models embedded into COSMOS. This is the holding company’s cognitive intelligence marketing platform. Because of this, the two companies will jointly create new consumer interfaces and interactions such as facial recognition, natural-language processing and voice recognition.

The relationship began in 2009 when Publicis acquired Razorfish from Microsoft. That acquisition turned into a partnership that now supports artificial intelligence through Publicis’ marketing cloud COSMOS.

 

  • Snapcart Raises $3M for Tracking Offline Commerce Data in Southeast Asia

 

Snapcart, a startup helping to bring transparency to the world of offline commerce in Southeast Asia, has raised $3 million in pre-Series A funding. The company was launched in September 2015.

The goal was to provide data on the largely uncharted world of offline commerce in Southeast Asia, which is a region of over 600 million consumers and a growing middle class. Snapcart gathers shopper and purchase data by incentivizing consumers to upload their shopping receipts into its app in exchange for cash-back rewards.

“It’s a black hole and brands don’t know what is happening,” said Reynazran Royono, CEO and founder, Snapcart.

Snapcart raised $1.7 million in January 2016. This new financing is designed to push it towards a Series A round before the end of this year. This $3 million raise is led by new investor Vickers Venture Partners with participation from existing backers Wavemaker Partners and SPH Media Fund, the investment arm of Singapore Press Holdings.

“Receipts form different formats across the countries where we collect them so there’s a lot of processes done to decrypt them: translating into text, making sure it is accurate and that we understand what is written,” said Royono. “We really invest a lot because we want to make sure the data we capture is captured in a high quality manner.”

Over the past year, Snapcart has expanded from its launch market of Indonesia into the Philippines. Manila is where the startup houses its artificial intelligence and data analysis team, which perfects the systems behind its OCR (optical character recognition) technology that identifies line items within shopping receipts.

 

Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • Techstars Starts New Startup Accelerator in Paris

Techstars, a global startup ecosystem, has funded a new startup accelerator program in Paris, France. This new program is co-funded by VC firm Partech Ventures.

“I’m happy to announce that we’re launching the first program in France, Techstars Paris,” said Bertier Luyt, managing director, Techstars. “It is a ‘city program’, a program without any specific industry focus, very broad and open.”

The first round will begin in September 2017 and the application process should begin soon. If an applicant gets selected, they will receive $120,000 in funding. Also Techstars will take a 6 percent stake in their company. The good thing is that this program isn’t restricted to French startups. Any entrepreneur who wants to spend some time in Paris can apply.

Techstars has many different programs around the world. The most famous ones are the city programs in NYC, Boulder, Colorado and Boston, Massachusetts. The company also partners with big companies, such as Disney, Barclays and others to run accelerators for them. This allows those programs to create a healthy revenue stream.

Techstars is working with big companies in France. Partech made some introductions for Techstars, and it turns out that Air Liquide, Française des Jeux, Groupama, Renault and Total are all Techstars Paris partners.

“After the batch, we develop another program for Techstars Paris partners, for their teams and employees,” said Luyt. “The first program is scheduled for the first quarter of 2018.” This allows the French giants like Total and Renault to get to know how startups actually work.

The launch of Techstars Paris is a good sign for the French tech ecosystem. There are already many different accelerators in France, but the Techstars brand is stronger than many of those.

 

  • TBWA Sydney and GoDaddy launching first all-Aussie campaign

TBWA Sydney and GoDaddy are joining forces for a new all-Aussie campaign. “Cursor Man” is an ad campaign featuring a small business set up like an actual computer, complete with folders and a cursor. The campaign hopes to show the convenience of GoDaddy technology in setting up a website.

“We wanted to create a campaign that clearly shows that you don’t need to rely on tech-savvy relatives or expensive technology to get your business up and running on the web: it takes less than an hour to establish a website that can deliver real value,” said Tara Commerford, vice president and managing director, GoDaddy ANZ.

The campaign is the result of a recent study from GoDaddy. It found that 61% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) still don’t have a website, yet 70% of them want one in the future.

“In this campaign, we wanted to capture the ambition and attitude that drive Aussie SMBs, and show them how they can channel those traits into an online business,” said Derek Craig, marketing director, GoDaddy.

“Cursor Man” is humorous and somewhat unusual. This makes the ad campaign a departure from the infamously controversial American GoDaddy ads of the past.

 

  • London ‘Proptech’ Startup, Nested Raises $9,985,600

Nested, a London startup company has raised 8 millions pounds, which is equivalent to $9,985,600 in US currency. Nested promises to sell houses within 90 days. If they don’t accomplish this goal they offer their client a cash advance.

“We are already helping 5 people a month within a few months of launching and have many more in the pipeline,” said Matt Robinson, co-founder, Nested. “This meant we broke even in our fourth month of trading with revenue at an annual run-rate of more than £1 million.”

Launched in January 2016 by Robinson and Tim Bunting, the company operates similarly to a traditional estate agent to help people sell their houses, but with a difference. In addition to providing a valuation, marketing and sales service, the startup guarantees to sell their clients property for 95-98 percent of market value within 90 days, or they’ll offer them the cash themselves instead. That’s made possible because of how confident the company is in the technology and data that it can price a property accurately enough in the first place. Nested has gotten assistance from Passion Capital who have led the round, with participation from Rocket Internet’s venture arm Global Founders Capital (GFC).

If Nested achieves a higher sale price than the one it guaranteed and offered, either before or after the 90-day window, the company will split the difference, up to 70/30 in favor of the property owner. This keeps the interests of both parties aligned.

What’s the idea? The idea is to help eliminate the uncertainty when trying to both sell and buy a house. This eliminates being caught up in the dreaded property ‘chain,’ which means the client potentially misses out on their desired home, or are kept in limbo indefinitely waiting for their property to sell.

“We are already helping 5 people a month within a few months of launching and have many more in the pipeline,” said Robinson. “This meant we broke even in our fourth month of trading with revenue at an annual run-rate of more than £1 million”.

Nested’s idea is an interested concept. It could revolutionize the real estate industry for a long time.

 

  • Swinburne University inks Deal with MarTech to Tackle Digital Transformation

Swinburne University of Technology has signed a deal with Adobe to transform its own digital offering. The University will present at MarTech’s conference in May 2017.

“Given our integration of Adobe’s platforms, the design of this major offered by Swinburne aligns to our needs and strengthens the pathway of talent flowing through who are able to really hit the ground running,” said Todd Copeland, acting executive general manger, NAB digital.

A total of 40 students at Swinburne, which ranked within the top 3% of universities globally, as assessed by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, took the course as a major in 2016. The students were trained in areas such as digital analytics, search marketing, social media marketing and video marketing.

“We are committed to providing our students with a cutting-edge education and preparing them to take leading roles in an ever-evolving workforce,” said Scott Thompson-Whiteside, professor and executive dean of the Faculty of Health Arts and Design, Swinburne.

The students of Swinburne are equipped to handle the questions and comments that will be fired at them during the conference. The possible outcome from the conference could raise Swinburne’s ranking in the future.

Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • Okta Acqui-Hires Stormpath for expansion of identity management in Apps and APIs

Okta, the $1.2 billion identity management startup for enterprises, has made an acquisition to expand one of its newer lines of business: managing IDs across APIs and apps. The company announced that it has picked up Stormpath, founded in 2011, to provide a way for developers to implement authentication, authorization and user management into web and mobile apps by way of an API and a few lines of code.

“Our vision for the Okta Identity Cloud is to become the authentication layer for every app, service, device and person, giving developers a better and more secure way to manage user access to whatever they are building,” said Ted McKinnon, CEO, Okta. “The Stormpath team brings great technical talent and a deep understanding of developer needs, both of which are necessary to provide a world-class developer experience.”

This is not a full acquisition and the question of who would retain ownership of the technology wasn’t answered. However, the acqui-hire portion covers 35 of Stormpath’s employees, including co-founders Alex Salazar and Les Hazlewood. The acquisition came relatively quickly after Okta launched a similar, competing product of its own back in August 2016.

Bringing in Stormpath’s team and technology to Okta has two benefits. First, there is a demand for the service and to develop it further. Okta would like to capitalize on that in its bid to compete more comprehensively against others like Microsoft and Ping Identity. Second, Okta is looking to do this quickly, rather than continue to build out a competing product organically.

“We’ve built almost the same stack, which is validating for both companies, but would be duplicative of us to integrate,” said Frederic Kerrest, COO, Okta. “Instead, the teams will move fast to reach feature parity between the two, and then innovate beyond that.”

At the same time that Okta launched its own API product, the company also announced a significant partnership with Google to be its preferred secure identity management layer for Google Apps for enterprises. This would mean that companies already using Okta could add Google Apps to their log-in list which would expand its scope and potentially bring more business to Okta by introducing new customers who use Google Apps.

This acqui-hire between Okta and Stormpath could revolutionize the way consumers manage their companies’ APIs and IDs.

  • Connected Home Solutions are Still a Thing of the Future to Some

The concept of connected home solutions is still up and coming. This idea consists of a set of devices and services that are connected to each other and to the Internet. The solution can automatically respond to preset rules, be remotely accessed and managed by mobile apps or a browser. They also send alerts or messages to the users’.

According to Gartner, the adoption of connected home solutions is still at an early adopter phase. Only 10 percent of households in the US, Britain and Australia utilize such home solutions.

“Although households in the developed world are beginning to embrace connected home solutions, providers must push beyond early adopter use,” said Amanda Sabia, Principal Research Analyst, Gartner.

The survey conducted by Gartner, included 10,000 online respondents in the US, Britain and Australia. Home security alarm systems have nearly double the adoption rates, 18 percent, of newer connected home solutions such as home monitoring at 11 percent, home automation or energy management, nine percent, and health and wellness management at 11 percent.

In the US, where the home monitoring industry is more developed, 59 percent of households with a home monitoring solution indicate they do pay a monthly fee. This proves that consumers see value for these solutions. In Britain, few home automation services are subscription based and 58 percent of households with home automation get their services free of charge.

The concept of connected home solutions will catch on as more and more. When consumers discover that there is so much more that their home requires to order to protect and make life easier they’ll be more open to the idea.

  • New Changes to Netflix in India are Coming

Netflix will be having some updates and they will apply to India. The company will now be partnering with Airtel and Videocon. Also Netflix will come pre-loaded on their Direct-to-Home (d2h) set top boxes.

The movie and television show streamer has announced a partnership with Vodafone to enable carrier billing to let pre-paid and post-paid Vodafone users to pay for their Netflix subscriptions via their phone bills.

“India is one of the most important and vibrant countries in the world and we are delighted to be teaming up with three of its leading companies to make it much easier for consumers to enjoy Netflix,” said Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix.

How does Airtel feel about this change? “Airtel has been a pioneer in bringing the best of global content and products to its customers. We are delighted to partner Netflix to bring their popular content to our customer on one of our key digital platforms,” said Gopal Vittal, managing director and CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel.

With these partnerships, Netflix’s critically acclaimed programs will be easily accessible to consumers across direct-to-home and mobile platforms throughout the country. “We are delighted to have Netflix as a partner on our HD Smart Connect STB. This partnership strengthens our DNA of innovation by providing an instant TV screen experience for Netflix users in a seamless manner,” said Saurabh Dhoot, executive chairman, Videocon d2h.

Netflix launched its service globally in January 2016, including India. “In 2017, we’ll be working on making our Indian service better in every dimension,” said Hastings.

  • A Self-Correcting Robot…What will They Think of Next?

The developers of MIT’s CSAIL department and Rethink Robotics have been busy with creating a robot, which self-corrects its mistakes. The robot hesitates briefly. Then accidentally making the wrong choice, only to self-correct and make the correct choice.

How is this possible? The correction comes courtesy of an observer in an EEG cap, who simply notices that something is off.

“When you put an EEG cap on a user, it measures signals using 48 sensors,” said Daniela Rus, director, CSAIL. “Most of the signals are very difficult to interpret. It’s very noisy. But one signal is much more easy to detect than the others.”

The signal is known as “error potential,” which is a strong reaction emitted in the brain, when an individual notices something is wrong. It’s strong. It’s sudden. It’s relatively easy for the machinery to detect and distinguish among the cacophony of brain waves, making it an ideal candidate for CSAIL’s system.

“Error potential is a very natural reaction,” said Rus. “This is quite a different paradigm to what we use today, which is asking the human to program the robot in the robot’s language. We’re trying to get the robots to adapt to the human language rather than getting the human to adapt to the robot’s language.“

Is it important to have two-way communication? “We want to have two-way communication,” said Stephanie Gil, research scientist, CSAIL. “Being able to read the EG signals of the human and using that as a control signal to the robot will have an effect on the robot’s choice. Whether or not the robot makes the right choice will have an effect on the human’s reactions. That’s a natural two-way communication or a conversation between humans or robots.”

What does the team at MIT hope to accomplish? The team is looking into additional potential applications. This would include interactions for those who can’t communicate verbally, as well as other technologies designed to operate autonomously, but still requiring some level of human interaction to help avoid potential hazards.

“You can imagine this being used in a place where a human is in a supervisory role, watching robots work and detecting where they make mistakes,” said Joseph DelPreto, PhD candidate, CSAIL. “or maybe in a self-driving car where the car can do most of the work, but the human can still be in control and let it know when it’s doing something wrong. “

 

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.