February 21st – Capillary Technologies Raises US$20 Million for Retail Analytics
Capillary Technologies is a cloud-based SaaS company serving over 300 large enterprises and 500 small or medium businesses in over 30 countries. It improves retailers’ engagement with customers through analytics. The company announced it has raised US$20 million in funding to improve its products with AI, and plans to expand to consumer goods and enter the Southeast Asia market.
February 22nd – Facebook’s Compassion Team Uses AI in Suicide Prevention
Facebook is expanding its practice of flagging suicidal users to support more languages and Instagram. Facebook says the number of users who received suicide prevention support content from its compassion team has doubled and algorithms are flagging 20 times more posts related to suicide since the team was formed in 2015.
February 23rd – Microsoft and Xiaomi Collaborate in Cloud Computing, AI, and Hardware
Microsoft and Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi launch a collaboration in cloud computing, AI, and hardware through a new Strategic Framework Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This is a win-win situation for both tech giants because the partnership will provide shared capabilities and channels.
February 23rd – Google Assistant Adds Routines and Location-Based Reminders
Google announces two new features for Google Assistant: routines and location-based reminders. The Google Home Smart Speaker will now be able to provide location-based reminders at any time via smartphone synchronization. The features also support combining commands to enable execution of multiple tasks with one command.
February 23rd – Google Assistant Is Becoming Multilingual
The number of languages Google Assistant can speak will jump from 8 to more than 30 this year, with the system eventually supporting more languages than Siri or Alexa. This should greatly benefit multilingual user environments and international customers.
February 25th – Amazon Designs Its Own AI Chips for Alexa
According to a report from The Information, Amazon is designing its own chip for its virtual assistant Alexa, following competitors Google and Apple into the silicon business. In 2015 Amazon acquired chip maker Annapurna Labs to help build capabilities in this area.
February 26th – California Allows Fully Driverless Car Tests on Public Roads
California is taking another major step forward in boosting autonomous driving technology with new permits that will allow manufacturers to test fully driverless vehicles on its roads. The California DMV can now issue three different permits based on specified requirements: testing with a safety driver, driverless testing, and deployment.
February 27th – Intel Launches “AI in Production” Program to Accelerate AI Commercialization
Intel is collaborating with leading manufacturer of embedded computing devices AAEON Technologies to provide two possible production designs for developers. One is a mini-PCle module that features an Intel Movidius Myriad 2 VPU; the second is a manufacturing service for companies that require prototype customizations.
February 28th – Canadian Government Issues CDN $3.2 Billion Funding for Science
In its 2018 fiscal blueprint, the Canadian government announces a CDN$3.2 billion investment over five years to fund scientific research to stimulate economic growth. This represents the single largest investment in investigator-led fundamental research in Canadian history.
March 1st – China Issues First Licenses to Test Driverless Cars in Shanghai
China issues licenses to Shanghai-based SAIC and startup automaker NIO, allowing them to test their autonomous driving vehicles on a 5.6 km stretch of public road in Shanghai’s Jiading District. Shanghai plans to open more roads for smart car testing in the future.
Analyst: Paul Fan | Editor: Robert Tian, Michael Sarazen, Meghan Han