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Tag Archives: construction

Finding the Goldilocks zone for applied AI

Ivy Nguyen Contributor Share on Twitter Ivy Nguyen is an associate at Zetta Venture Partners . More posts by this contributor GDPR panic may spur data and AI innovation Data is not the new oil While Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg debate the dangers of a rtificial  general i ntelligence , startups applying AI to more narrowly defined problems such as accelerating the performance of sales teams and improving the operating efficiency of manufacturing lines are building billion-dollar businesses. Narrowly defining a problem, however, is only the first step to finding valuable business applications of AI . To find the right opportunity around which to build an AI business, startups must apply the “ Goldilocks  principle” in several different dimensions to find the sweet spot that is “just right” to begin — not too far in one dimension, not too far in another. Here are some ways for aspiring startup founders to thread the needle with their AI strategy, based on what we’ve learned from working with thousands of AI startups.  “Just right” prediction time horizons Unlike pre- intelligence software, AI responds to the environment in which they operate; algorithms take in data and return an answer or prediction. Depending on the application, that prediction may describe an outcome in the near term, such as tomorrow’s weather, or an outcome many years in the future, such as whether a patient will develop cancer in 20 years. The time horizon of the algorithm’s prediction is critical to its usefulness and to whether it offers an opportunity to build defensibility. Algorithms making predictions with long time horizons are difficult to evaluate and improve. For example, an algorithm may use the schedule of a contractor’s previous projects to predict that a particular construction project will fall six months behind schedule and go over budget by 20 percent. Until this new project is completed, the algorithm designer and end user can only tell whether the prediction is directionally correct — that is, whether the project is falling behind or costs are higher. Even when the final project numbers end up very close to the predicted numbers, it will be difficult to complete the feedback loop and positively reinforce the algorithm.

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Autodesk acquires Assemble Systems to build up its construction tech vertical

Autodesk has made a name for itself among designers, engineers and architects with its 3D and other modelling software. Now, as it continues to build out its business in adjacent business areas like construction, it has acquired Assemble Systems , a startup that has built a platform to help plan and run building projects — and more generally building information management (BIM) — across the network of people and jobs involved. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed as Autodesk says the value is not material to its previous guidance. The deal will be a mixture of cash and stock: Autodesk had led Assemble’s Series A last year, so it was already a strategic investor in the startup. This will not be Autodesk’s first move into construction. It had recently launched a project management platform called  BIM 360 , and the plan will be to integrate Assemble — which provides software that lets construction firms plan projects, but also manage bids, estimate costs and carry out assembly works — with that. And it will also bring a lot of potential customers into the Autodesk fray: Assemble has 174 unique customers using its software across 1,000 sites, working on 12,700 projects. “I welcome the Assemble Systems team to the Autodesk family, as part of our efforts to digitize and improve the construction industry,” said Andrew Anagnost, president and CEO of Autodesk, in a statement. “We are connecting project data from design through construction, creating the cloud-enabled tools necessary to make the critical preconstruction phase of a project more predictable and profitable.” The rise of “construction tech” has been part of a bigger trend in the last decade, where startups have increasingly applied the advances of technology — in this case, mobile apps, cloud computing, collaborative working, graphics that quickly render, and data-heavy computations that complete faster than the blink of an eye — to fields of work that have yet to be digitised and have not traditionally been associated with tech. Now, every company is a “tech company.” Startups like PlanGrid helped put the concept of construction tech on the map when it became a part of Y Combinator in 2012 with its early concept of using iPad tablets as a better way of creating and sharing blueprints. But given that construction goods and services is estimated to be a $10 trillion industry  — and employing seven percent of all of the world’s workforce, making it one of the world’s biggest — it’s no surprise to see rising demand and valuations for startups in the field. Katerra earlier this year raised $865 million from Softbank, and Oracle acquired construction collaboration software maker Aconex for $1.2 billion last December. This is the opportunity that Autodesk is hoping to capitalise on, which makes sense, as it flows directly from the software-based services it already provides to sectors that are directly linked to the world of construction. “Autodesk is an architecture, engineering and construction technology leader and was the majority investor in our Series A funding last year,” said Don Henrich, CEO of Assemble Systems, in a statement

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Elon Musk says SpaceX is working on a kid-size submarine to extract those boys in Thailand

Over the last couple of days, serial entrepreneur Elon Musk has been tweeting about how to potentially help the 12 young soccer players and their coach who’ve been trapped in a cave in Thailand since entering it June 23rd, after which they became trapped by rising floodwaters. Now, suggests Musk, working with cave experts in Thailand, Musk and engineers from his rocket company, SpaceX , have decided on the “primary path” to attempt to freeing the group: a “tiny, kid-size submarine” that uses the “liquid oxygen transfer tube” of SpaceX’s Falcon rocket as hull. It’s “light enough to be carried by two divers, small enough to get through narrow gaps. Extremely robust,” Musk tweeted a couple of hours ago, adding that construction on the vehicle will be “complete in about 8 hours” after which it will be sent on a 17-hour flight to Thailand. (SpaceX is based in Hawthorne, California, outside of L.A.) Whether the creation is made and shipped out remains to be seen, but Musk suggested on Twitter that it would be “fitted for a kid or small adult to minimize open air” with “segmented compartments to place rocks or dive weights” and “adjust buoyancy.” Musk had tweeted last night that both SpaceX and his much newer, tunnel boring company, Boring Company , would be sending engineers to Thailand today to see how they could help. Today, somewhat strangely, Musk took a break from sharing his thoughts about how to engineer a rescue to  promote a contest wherein one winner will receive a customized Tesla 3 car as the grand prize. Still, if SpaceX is able to create an escape pod that works, Musk — who enjoys a kind of cult status in the business world for building superior products in challenging, capital-intensive industries — will only further burnish his reputation as a kind of Tony Stark figure. Indeed, his Twitter feed is currently filled with adoring comments  relating to his interest in rescuing the soccer team. It’s a daunting challenge. As reported in the New York Times, the cave complex has never been fully mapped and it features  different waterways that don’t appear to be directly linked. Rescue attempts have already led to one fatality , that of former Thai Navy SEAL diver Saman Gunan, who brought tanks of air to the boys and their coach, then lost consciousness in one of its passageways on his swim out of the complex. Some good feedback from cave experts in Thailand. Iterating with them on an escape pod design that might be safe enough to try. Also building an inflatable tube with airlocks. Less likely to work, given tricky contours, but great if it does. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 7, 2018 Got more great feedback from Thailand

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Updated: Elon Musk says SpaceX is working on a kid-size submarine to extract those boys in Thailand

Over the last couple of days, serial entrepreneur Elon Musk has been tweeting about how to potentially help the 12 young soccer players and their coach who began exploring a cave in Thailand on June 23rd, quickly becoming trapped there by rising floodwaters. Now, suggests Musk, working with cave experts in Thailand, he and engineers from his rocket company, SpaceX , have decided on the “primary path” to attempt to freeing the group: a “tiny, kid-size submarine” that uses the “liquid oxygen transfer tube” of SpaceX’s Falcon rocket as the hull. It’s “light enough to be carried by two divers, small enough to get through narrow gaps. Extremely robust,” Musk tweeted a couple of hours ago, adding that construction on the vehicle will be “complete in about 8 hours” after which it will be sent on a 17-hour flight to Thailand. (SpaceX is based in Hawthorne, California, outside of L.A.) Whether the creation is made and shipped out remains to be seen, but Musk suggested on Twitter that it would be “fitted for a kid or small adult to minimize open air” with “segmented compartments to place rocks or dive weights” and “adjust buoyancy.” Musk had tweeted last night that both SpaceX and his much newer, tunnel boring company, Boring Company , would be sending engineers to Thailand today to see how they could help. If SpaceX is able to create an escape pod that works, Musk — who enjoys a kind of cult status in the business world for building superior products in challenging, capital-intensive industries — will only further burnish his reputation as a kind of Tony Stark figure. Indeed, his Twitter feed is currently filled with adoring comments  relating to his interest in rescuing the soccer team. It’s a daunting challenge. As reported in the New York Times, the cave complex has never been fully mapped and it features different waterways that don’t appear to be directly linked. Rescue attempts have already led to one fatality , that of former Thai Navy SEAL diver Saman Gunan, who brought tanks of air to the boys and their coach, then lost consciousness in one of its passageways on his swim out of the complex. Some good feedback from cave experts in Thailand. Iterating with them on an escape pod design that might be safe enough to try. Also building an inflatable tube with airlocks. Less likely to work, given tricky contours, but great if it does

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Ajit Pai gives a nice nothingburger to those in Congress demanding answers on net neutrality

Around the time of the FCC’s vote to roll back existing 2015 rules and replace them with threadbare new ones, many senators and representatives were sending stern letters to the agency informing its chairman of their displeasure . Pai has recently responded to these diverse voices of concern — with a form letter repeating the same misinformation he and other proponents were spouting all through 2017. Dozens in Congress received the same letter in the past couple of weeks, regardless of their position on the issue or the contents of their own letters. “It is alarming that throughout the course of your deliberations, one must look far and wide for advocates of your proposal. Additionally, I have not heard from a single constituent in South Texas who is in favor of giving up Net Neutrality,” wrote Representative Vicente Gonzales (D-TX) in late November. “It is not enough for the FCC to turn its back on consumers. You willfully plan to tie states’ hands to prevent them from protecting their own residents. It is a stunning regulatory overreach,” reads a letter signed by 39 senators in December. “Underlying your plan is the false notion that your action will return the internet to the supposed halcyon days of “light touch” regulation from the past… Even under the Bush-era FCC, the agency adopted open internet principles and held out the threat of regulatory action to combat harmful activity.” “How does the FCC intend to address the concerns of small business regarding the appeal of Net Neutrality that may lead to a lack of competition in the ISP market?” asks Representative Pittenger (R-NC), in a friendlier but still critical letter. “Do you plan to accompany the elimination of Net Neutrality with deregulating efforts to expand and open the construction of needed Internet infrastructure in order to ensure sufficient competition?” There’s even a letter from multiple Republican representatives that is almost doglike in its vapid admiration (“The record is exhaustive, every viewpoint is well represented, and the time has come for the Commission to act”) and parrot-like in its repetition of talking points (“We write today in support of the FCC’s plan to restore Internet freedom by reversing… a statutory scheme created for the monopoly telephone carriers of a bygone era.”) To all these and more, Chairman Ajit Pai has the same vague, redundant response presenting the standard distortions of the campaign to replace the 2015 rules: In early 2015, the FCC jettisoned this successful, bipartisan approach to the Internet and decided to subject the Internet to utility-style regulation designed in the 1930s to govern Ma Bell… Under Title II, annual investment in high-speed networks declined by billions of dollars… By returning to the light-touch Title I framework, we are helping consumers and promoting competition. Practically everything he writes has been challenged by experts or is a misrepresentation of the facts. You can find the details of most of these arguments, and their counter-arguments, here

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BuildingConnected lands $15 million for its service linking contractors and developers

BuildingConnected , which provides software linking contractors and developers has raised $15 million from a strategic investor — Brookfield Ventures, the new venture arm from real estate developer  Brookfield Asset Management . The new investment bumps the total raised by BuildingConnect to $53 million. Previous investors in the company include Crosslink Capital, Brick & Mortar Ventures, Freestyle Capital, Homebrew, Bee Partners, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. “It is rare to have an investor also be a customer. We are excited to have Brookfield as a partner as we seek to expand our geographic footprint and develop new and innovative products for our expanding roster of customers,” said BuildingConnected CEO Dustin DeVan in a statement. DeVan, a former engineer in the construction industry and his co-founder, Jesse Pederson, who worked in online marketing, both saw the need for a professional network that linked parties in the construction industry. Over $80 billion of new construction projects are posted to the company’s platform where roughly 170,000 small business owners, general contractors, and subcontractors are now pitching their services. Companies listing work on the platform include construction firms like Clark Construction, Mortenson, McCarthy, StructureTone, Shawmut, Turner Construction, and others.  And BuildingConnected counts owners and developers such as Brookfield, Panera Bread, UCSF, and Duke Realty as customers. Brookfield isn’t only a BuildingConnect investor, it’s also a customer. Over 300 Brookfield projects have used the BuildingConnected marketplace for jobs ranging from $50,000 remodeling contracts to $900 million office towers.

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Drones Used To Smuggle $80 Million Worth Of iPhones | Ubergizmo – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Drones Used To Smuggle $80 Million Worth Of iPhones | Ubergizmo Ubergizmo Smugglers use all of the means at their disposal to avoid paying the dues required by law to legally clear products and while they're often... China busts smugglers using drones to transport smartphones: state media Reuters China - Business Standard Business Standard Baiyin | The Irish Times The Irish Times all 140 news articles »

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