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Tag Archives: reuters

Volkswagen kicks off EV awareness campaign

Volkswagen's Electrify America subsidiary has put out a commercial that aims to spread awareness of electric vehicles and how far the industry has progressed, Reuters reports. The ad is part of a $45 million public education initiative. "We're trying...

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Confusion reigns as Facebook briefly receives China business license

Facebook’s long-running effort to go into China got a boost this week after the U.S. company was handed a license to set up a subsidiary in the country. But quickly after news broke, the license was seemingly revoked. The incident started when Reuters spotted  a filing approved on China’s National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System for a Facebook subsidiary that is registered in Hangzhou, the location of e-commerce giant Alibaba’s HQ. Records show the subsidiary is financed by $30 million in capital, with Facebook Hong Kong listed as the sole shareholder. As word of the filing began to spread following the Reuters report, references to the news were blocked on some social media platforms in China were blocked and the filing itself from removed from the system, as The New York Times reported . Facebook itself said in a statement that it intends to launch an innovation in Zhejiang, the province that counts Hangzhou as its capital, but the language used by the company suggests it hasn’t yet made progress on that plan. “We are interested in setting up an innovation hub in Zhejiang to support Chinese developers, innovators and start-ups. We have done this in several parts of the world — France, Brazil, India, Korea — and our efforts would be focused on training and workshops that help these developers and entrepreneurs to innovate and grow,” a Facebook representative told TechCrunch. So what happened? It’s hard to know with the Chinese government — and it certainly looks like Facebook is following developments as much as anyone else is. It’s well reported that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a long-standing interest in entering China in some form — he has famously learned Mandarin and appeared at university events among other things — but exactly what that details has never been clear. Facebook the service remains blocked in China.

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Microsoft is developing its own cashierless store technology, says report

Amazon may be facing new competition from Microsoft on its cashierless, automated store technology, according to a new report from Reuters out this morning. The report claims Microsoft is in the process of developing its own systems for tracking what people place in their shopping carts, but doesn’t offer the details of how Microsoft’s technology operates, or how it may differ from others on the market. Presumably, it would be similar to existing systems, like Amazon’s. The Amazon Go convenience stores utilize a complex network of sensors on shelves, cameras, and A.I. to track what people pick up and place in their bag. Other startups are working on their own machine vision-powered checkout systems, as well, like Standard Cognition ,  AiFi , and AVA Retail , for example. The latter, along with half a dozen others, are already Microsoft partners building their own checkout-free services or related technology on Microsoft’s cloud. Microsoft also has an internal team of 10 to 15 working on retail store technologies within its Business AI group, including a computer vision specialist hired from Amazon Go, the report noted. The team has tested things like attaching cameras to shopping carts and using smartphones to pay in various ways. The focus of these efforts is not just to develop the new store technology itself, but also make it affordable for retailers, who tend to have small margins to work with. Microsoft has been talking to retailers about its efforts, and has shown off sample technology during these discussions, which have included Walmart. Neither company commented on Reuters’ report. If Microsoft were to take on Amazon in this space, it could give brick-and-mortar retailers a chance at fighting back as Amazon enters their own turf with its cashier-free stores and its grocery chain

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Real Vision, a media platform for finance and business, raises $10 million

Real Vision is entering the crowded business and financial new space with a bang. The company, which recently raised a $10 million Series B after a $5 million A, is working on a number of new initiatives including distribution on Apple TV, a content distribution partnership with Thomson Reuters and an upcoming documentary on PBS. The documentary, “A World on the Brink,” will focus on threats to the global economy. The team is aiming at viewers ages 36-45 instead of the older Boomers who prefer cable financial news far. “Unlike most video-based media businesses where short-form video is deemed to have the highest user engagement, Real Vision have found that almost 70% of their customers who start a half, or an hour-long, video will watch all of it. This engagement in long-form content is breaking boundaries within the industry,” said co-founder and CEO Raoul Pal. “Sensationalism and clickbait is at an all-time high. Traditional financial news has continued to degenerate into attention-seeking sound bites that are at best of little value and at worst, downright dangerous.” Pal worked at Goldman Sachs before moving into media. “I lamented on the state of financial media – how it had let the ordinary person down repeatedly in 2000 and 2008 and was busy treating finance as entertainment and not taking into account that this was peoples live savings they were dealing with. I also noted how far financial programming had become versus the fast-changing world of on line video. Viewing habits and content types were changing but the financial TV incumbents hadn’t changed,” he said “I decided that it was time for someone to disrupt the way in which television worked – particularly with regard to financial and business information.” The team will use the cash to create programming aimed at “those who want to create new business opportunities and startups, manage new enterprises and leverage new technology.” The videos can run as long as 90 minutes but usually hit the five to thirty-minute mark

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