Tech / Telecom news — 17 May 2017

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Connectivity

Vodafone had a hopeful, nice FY2016 results presentation, and shares went up +4%, with India and UK claimed to be on the way to repair, and after a benign (but rather challenging) guidance of +4–8% EBITDA growth (on more cost reductions) and +25% FCF growth this year, potentially underpinning better dividends (Story)

New data from Chetan Sharma consulting show the US as the #3 world country by mobile data consumption, after S Korea and Finland, and likely to cross 6GB/month average in 2017. But revenues are flattening, due to unlimited plans, and now everyone’s looking at IoT (and connected cars) for new growth (Story)

Cyber security

Bell Canada was attacked yesterday by hackers that breached its customer data systems, potentially affecting around 1.9m active email addresses, but no sensitive data. The company claimed the attack is not connected with WannaCry malware. This starts to look as the new normal, and operators should react accordingly (Story)

Microsoft could actually benefit from recent WannaCry security incident, by matching “common good” objectives with own interests, e.g. through the created incentives to update PC’s operating systems, or from new arguments to resist vs. government pressures to release security barriers for specific investigations (Story)

Chips

Sales of GPU chips for data centres (3x yoy), on needs to use the cloud to train AI algorithms with increasingly demanding data sets, are driving recent commercial success for Nvidia (with shares basically on fire). Intel is working hard in its own GPUs portfolio, as their current dominance at the data centre is under threat (Story)

Enterprise Cloud

SAP just announced that its SAP Cloud toolkit for enterprise developers will run in the three leading Public Clouds (AWS, Azure, Google), in a move that could accelerate migration of SAP workloads (involving many corporate processes) to the cloud. With this SAP could also be addressing growing competition from Oracle (Story)

Advertising

Facebook has discovered yet one more bug in its measurement systems for click-through rates, which overstated the numbers, and this has the potential to hurt advertisers’ confidence, so the company is presenting the problem as part of an overall commitment to “increase transparency”, and issuing refunds to compensate (Story)

DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS

As shown the case of the startup Casper, an innovative online shop for beds, digital distribution channels still limit growth potential, and their customer acquisition and maintenance costs are becoming more expensive, so purely online firms are now opening physical channels or using partners like Target as a complement (Story)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Elon Musk’s supported OpenAI company has been working on a method to train robots by observing how humans do the tasks, but instead of having the machines look at real images, it’s using Virtual Reality ones. This is expected to bring training efficiencies (as simulated data are less costly and time-consuming to generate) (Story)

Privacy / Data regulation

Pressure mounting against Facebook in Europe, where regulators accuse them of tracking users’ navigation without consent, breaking EU rules. Initial fines have been small (€3m in Italy last week, for using WhatsApp data, and now €150K in France), but lawyers point to “potentially huge amounts” in the coming future… (Story)

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