Episode 2 - Weekly IoT News Update
This week it’s all about AI – who’s using it, who’s developing it, and who’s investing in it. Read on to find out a taste of what’s news in IoT.
Alibaba labs, which leads the development of Alibaba's consumer AI products, and MediaTek, a global fabless semiconductor company, announced a strategic collaboration in IoT initiatives including smart home protocols, customised IoT chips and AI smart hardware, with the aim of fostering the development of a connected world in the IoT era. The two parties also announced the first Smartmesh connectivity solution in China that supports the latest many-to-many Bluetooth mesh technology, in an effort to speed up the adoption of this technology in smart home settings.
Ooredoo has recently showcased how emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence can transform Qatar's business with its third technology master class 'Exploring New Technologies'. "In the growing digital economy, Qatar’s startups must harness innovations such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence to unlock new digital revenue streams, free up staff to focus on more creative problem solving, and to more quickly identify and predict customer trends.” The classes aim to support Qatar’s innovation ecosystem and community, and foster entrepreneurship.
OurCrowd, an Israeli equity crowdfunding platform, launched on Thursday a $100 million global fund to finance early-stage companies focused on AI, deep-learning, IoT and robotics. The new fund, Cognitiv Ventures, is the 12th fund to launch on the OurCrowd platform. It will provide investors with access to about 20 companies, with initial investments in Kolgene, which track genetic tests; FreshKeep, an IoT company for the kitchen, and EquityX, which enables start-ups to pay part-time workers with future equity.
BT and IBM launched a service to give enterprises direct access to IBM cloud through the BT network. BT Cloud Connect Direct for IBM allows companies to bypass the public Internet in building and deploying applications. This provides a more secure and reliable connection compared to connecting over the open Internet. It also gives companies direct access to IBM's cloud-native services that are geared towards enterprise workloads such as AI, blockchain, IoT, big data, and analytics capabilities.
Microsoft Accelerator has entered into a corporate partnership with Accenture Ventures to further strengthen the start-up ecosystem in India. The two companies, that have had several synergies in the past, are looking at working only with growth-stage technology start-ups in the B2B space. Accenture will look towards start-ups under MS Accelerator for innovative solutions for its clients. They plan to cross-sell start-ups specialising in AI, IoT, Virtual Reality, Blockchain and fintech.
The Chinese government kicked off a major project aimed at the development of the AI industry. With the audacious goal of making China a global leader in the field of AI by 2030, the plan aims to increase the market scale of the AI industry to 150 billion yuan by 2020, 400 billion yuan by 2025 and 1 trillion yuan by 2030.
AI, Machine Learning and IoT focused early stage VC fund pi Ventures has announced the second close of its $30 Mn fund at $25 Mn. Key contributors to the fund include Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman of Hero Enterprise Electronic Development Fund (managed by Canbank Ventures), Hero Electronixs and leading HNIs and entrepreneurs.
Japanese telco and serial investor SoftBank wants to use its investment in OneWeb to help it deliver a smarter, interconnected, and automated world. Between 2009 and 2014 it expanded its market capitalisation and value by a staggering 557%, the fourth-fastest increase of any business in the world’s ‘Top 100’ companies. Part of this staggering growth is down to China, and in particular a very savvy 2000 investment of just $20 million in Chinese internet firm Alibaba, often called the ‘Amazon of China’, which grew into a $60 billion holding by 2014, and a 29.5% ownership.
Microsoft is betting big on cellular coverage. In a tie-up with wireless-chip maker Qualcomm, the tech giant plans to integrate LTE services via its Windows 10 operating system for ultra-thin PCs - called Always Connected, with battery life of up to 20 hours.
Breed Reply's active operational investor, funds and supports the development of early-stage companies in the Internet of Things (IoT) in Europe and the USA. Six companies raised in excess of $50 million during the year with funds coming from notable investors including Accel, Aviva Ventures, Finance Wales, Intu and MunichRE. More companies in the growing portfolio are expected to be ready for Series A investment in 2018. The successful companies span a broad range of IoT sectors: Call Sign (Cyber Security); Cocoon (Smart Home); enModus (Smart Building); Senseye (Industrial); WePredict (Big Data); and Zeetta Networks (Platforms).