AI AI Bi-Weekly Industry

AI Biweekly: 10 Bits from August (Pt 2)

Google, Apple, Walmart, Intel, Baidu, Alibaba, Siemens, Salesforce, IBM: August digest from industry giants

Google Battles Apple on AR – Google announced ARCore, a developer preview platform for augmented reality to compete with Apple’s ARKit, which will launch with the iPhone 8’s iOS 11. ARCore is a variation on Google’s Project Tango for Android. The good news is that augmented reality is finally on its way to the mass market.

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Walmart Now Partners with Google – In an effort to compete with Amazon, Walmart products are now available on Google Express. Starting next year, consumers will also be able to make purchases via Google Home’s voice command interface. Industry analysts see promise in conversational e-commerce, but taking on Amazon’s 76% online shopping market share will be an uphill battle.

Intel Announces Myriad X Computer Vision Chip – Intel unveiled its new vision processing unit (VPU) on August 28, with a bundled Neural Compute Engine for AI computation. The chip targets autonomous products including drones, robotics, VR, security cameras, etc. Intel says Myriad X is part of its strategy to provide “end-to-end AI solutions”.

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Baidu Teams with Banks and Insurance Companies – Baidu formed a joint venture with China Citic Bank to offer loans and deposit accounts to Chinese customers. The company also set up a US$1 billion fund with China Life Insurance Company to invest in AI and fintech. Baidu’s recent endeavours are branded with AI and innovative technologies, further signalling the company’s determination to be “All in AI”.

Germany Makes Policies for Autonomous Cars The German government issued ethical guidelines for self-driving cars, stating that vehicles must be blind towards age, gender and physical condition of persons potentially involved in accident scenarios. Vehicles must also prioritize human safety over non-human animals or property.

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Alibaba to Open 10,000 Offline Stores – With its 529 million monthly active users, Alibaba is moving into offline retail. The company plans to rebrand 10,000 small, local stores under the name Tmall. This is the first step in the company’s plan to turn six million convenience stores into smart service centers for shopping, package delivery, making online orders, and applying for loans.

ICO Banned in China – After rounds of hyped investment in Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), venture capital funding through crypto-currency that has raised over ¥2.62 billion CNY, the Chinese government issued a ban in September. It classified ICO as a “fraudulent” investment practice and began an investigation of close to 60 major investment platforms.

Siemens Addresses Risks in Cybersecurity – Siemens partnered with the International Society of Automation (ISA) to address risks involving industrial equipment in automated environments. Siemens runs Cyber Security Operation Centers in Lisbon, Munich, and Milford. The partnership is based on compliance with and promotion of the ISA/IEC 62443 protocol for standard cyber security measures.

Salesforce and IBM Team Up in Retail – Salesforce formed a strategic alliance with IBM to leverage AI with CRM. The partnership will connect Watson’s AI capabilities with customer insights from Salesforce Einstein, allowing the companies to tap into each other’s datasets for weather, healthcare, financial services, and retail.

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Big Tech Connects the Southeast Asian Market – Google is vying for the Southeast Asian market — particularly Indonesia, which has the world’s fifth-largest population. In partnership with local ISPs and venues, Google will launch its free public Wi-Fi program in the country’s railway stations and universities. This endeavour promotes domestic mobile internet usage in Indonesia, and provides a portal for Google to tap into the fast-growing economy.


Author: Meghan Han | Editor: Michael Sarazen

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