Tech & Telecom news — Sep 27, 2017


E-Commerce / Logistics

Logistics is increasingly a key piece to differentiate the e-commerce experience, and both Amazon and Alibaba are spending loads of money to control and optimise the process. Alibaba just announced a $800m investment to get control of Cainiao, a subsidiary providing technology to connect vendors with couriers (Story)



Facebook has signed a 2-year deal with the NFL that will enable Facebook users to watch highlights of each game, right after it ends. The agreement also includes two new highlight shows for Facebook’s new “Watch” platform, that will initially be exclusive to the US market. All this will initially be monetised with ads (Story)


Google has blocked the YouTube app in the Amazon Echo Show device (the recently launched version with a screen), in the last instance of the ongoing dispute between both companies, which started with Amazon using a “forked” version of Android in its Fire devices (not including most Google apps) (Story)

Amazon is actually expecting to use its successful virtual assistant, Alexa, as a lever to increase traction for / differentiate its consumer apps, e.g. Amazon Music, that will now incorporate (for all devices) the Alexa voice commands that were previously working only for Amazon Echo, targeting consumers on the move (Story)


Walmart, the largest employer in the US, with more than 2m employees, could become a flagship customer of Facebook’s “social” app for the enterprise, “Workplace”, that would have around 14,000 customers already, and growing. Walmart is actually just testing the service, in a free 90-day trial (Story)


The battle for market share in cloud still seems focused on adding more functionalities, and Google has given one more step by acquiring Bitium, a startup, to use its identity management capabilities as a value added feature, to be bundled with the rest of Google Cloud services, matching the current Azure offer (Story)

Virtual Reality

VR is coming to movie theatres, as shown by a recent deal by the US largest theatre chain, AMC, investing $20m in Dreamscape, a location-based VR company also backed by S Spielberg. Dreamscape will initially install its “experiences” in 6 AMC theatres in the US and UK, and has compared this to IMAX or Dolby (Story)



SigFox, the IoT-centric network startup which has received more than $400m in funding, is drastically reducing the entry price of the modules for devices to connect to its network, from $2 per unit to $0.20, with a new model oriented to one-time uses that they expect could increase demand for the technology (Story)


Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft is incorporating Machine Learning capabilities to MS Excel, including (1) a tool to better understand users’ inputs and complement them with information autonomously downloaded from the internet, by connecting to the MS Bing API, and (2) an engine to extract insights from spreadsheet data (Story)


Drift, a “conversational marketing” startup building software bots for companies to do customer service, has raised $32m funding, and now plans to expand workforce and product portfolio. They’re working to launch new, more specialised bots focused on specific tasks like “growing blog subscriber list” (Story)

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