Tech / Telecom news — 24 Feb 2017

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Verizon just announced “Exponent”, a portfolio of platforms for IoT, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Media and Cloud Computing, aimed to provide other service providers (including out of the US) with the expertise and tools “to accelerate growth, optimize performance, and monetize assets”, leveraging Verizon’s scale (Story)

Video

Facebook is releasing the capability to insert ad breaks in the middle of video clips, opening the door for content creators to adapt and insert incentives within the stories for customers to watch the ads. This comes with a revenue share business model in which creators get 55% while Facebook retains 45% (Story)

Advertising

In China, Baidu slightly missed expectations for 4Q16, with advertising revenues under pressure from regulators after a man died last year due to a medical treatment advertised in the site, and with increasing competition from Tencent and Alibaba, exploiting transition from web to mobile with superior ad targeting skills (Story)

Messaging

Google just announced that their RCS-based anti-iMessage app will be deployed by Vodafone, Orange, DT and Globe Telecom, and will be pre-installed in devices from 23 partner vendors, to reach approx. 1bn customers globally. The app will substitute the current “native” messaging app for partner carriers and vendors (Story)

Applications

Amazon’s Alexa already has 10,000 third party apps / “skills” that can be invoked from the voice assistant, 1.5 yrs after it was opened to external developers. However, the challenge remains to make money out of this, and that depends on user engagement, limited by difficulties to “discover” new apps with this interface (Story)

Enterprise

Palantir just announced they’ve tripled revenues in Europe in the past 3 years. They have the UK government as a client, and keep expanding operations, including two recent deals to provide data analytics consulting and software to Merck and Airbus. The company is cutting costs and expects to be profitable this year (Story)

NETWORK TECHNOLOGY

British tower infrastructure company Arqiva, owner of 8,000 sites in UK, is working with Samsung to trial 5G to provide high speed wireless broadband in central London. Arqiva owns a national licence in the 28GHz spectrum band in the UK. This is being presented as a potential alternative to BT’s or Virgin’s FTTP services (Story)

BIG DATA & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Facebook is known to have a group of AI scientists working to build future capabilities, but they’ve created the “Applied Machine Learning” unit to apply this to real projects. And their approach to increase impact is to prioritise the building of “AI platforms” that any engineer across the company can easily use / incorporate (Story)

Meanwhile, Apple keeps building stronger AI capabilities. They just announced a significant expansion of an AI-centric lab in Seattle. Like at Facebook, the emphasis seems to be to bring research ideas into products that impact customers. They’re using the team at recently acquired startup Turi as the core for this (Story)

Privacy

Amazon continues fighting against a search warrant from a US local police department which is asking for the voice recordings and the transcripts from an Amazon Echo device present in a murder scene. The company claims there should be better arguments to link these data to the crime, before a judge authorises their review (Story)