Weekend update – Easter special: Tech investment ramps up, Apple and Qualcomm make peace, and big data turns retail and firefighting on its head

Our regular rundown returns with the week's top tech and business news, as well as cutting-edge features penned by the Innovation Enterprise team

18Apr

Investment has been in the air this week as ReportLinker revealed that the digital transformation market, driven by the growing number of mobile devices and the increasing penetration of IoT, will value $665bn by 2023. We also discovered that Apple will invest "more than $500m" to secure the exclusive rights to new video games for its upcoming Arcade subscription service. Among the games included in the new service that we cannot wait to play will be retro classic Sonic the Hedgehog ; however, we eagerly await confirmation on whether Tails and Knuckles will be joining Sonic in the new series.

While its gaming series looks set to grab the public's imagination and generate a much needed revenue stream for Apple, the tech giant's TV-streaming service is not fazing Netflix – and neither is Disney's upcoming offering – as it revealed it had beaten 1Q19 estimates with a revenue of $4.52bn.

Meanwhile, despite the disbanding of its AI ethics board earlier this month, Google has continued its commitment to AI education and development by opening its first AI research center in Africa in Ghana's capital of Accra .

Below, we highlight some of our other favorite stories, interviews and analysis from across our Channels.

Four ways big data is set to change retail

Retail, one of the world's largest and most profitable sectors, is teetering on the brink of a big data revolution as large players like Amazon and Walmart invest billions upon billions in groundbreaking technology to stay ahead of the game. So, we took a look at four of the most exciting ways big data will disrupt this fast-moving industry.

" Data and the return (and revolution) of in-store experiences: Despite physical stores seemingly on the decline, property consultancy Colliers predicts that the current online shopping bubble is set to burst, declining from the current level of 11% of the market to 7% by 2022, pushing retailers to invest back in the physical realm – but taking with them the lessons they have learnt in the digital world."

And this week, Walmart demonstrated its commitment to solidifying its place as a big data leader when it bought Polymorph Labs to help it "expand in-house ad technology" as it tries to monetize its shopper data on a grander scale.

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Apple and Qualcomm legal ceasefire prompts Intel to drop 5G plans

Game of Thrones returned to our screens this weekend, evidently giving some of our favorite tech giants a taste for its specific breed of power play drama since soon after Apple and Qualcomm announced they had reached an agreement after years of clashing on the legal battlefield over patent rights.

With the settlement comes an undisclosed payment from Apple to Qualcomm and a "multiyear chipset agreement", as well as the confirmation that Intel has officially been dropped as Apple's rumoured 5G modem supplier.

The news that Intel has killed its plans to develop 5G products swiftly followed.

"We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the 'cloudification' of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns," explained Intel CEO Bob Swan.

Meanwhile Apple and Qualcomm are set to begin working on the first 5G-enabled iPhone. Evidently, the race to 5G may yet prove to be the new fight for the Iron throne…

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UK tops list of investment locations despite Brexit woes

Throughout the drawn-out chaos of the three-year long process of Brexit, the UK has remained an investment hotspot as this week it took first place in a biannual list ranking how attractive companies are for investment, compiled by EY, for the first time in the survey's 10-year history. And although the value of mergers and acquisitions were down in 1Q19, demand still soared.

"What hasn't changed is that the UK has great companies, great talent, great tech and great IP. These assets attract capital," Steve Krouskos, global vice chair for transaction advisory services at EY said. "Also, remember the UK isn't the only country dealing with significant geopolitical challenges."

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Four simple data backup tips for small businesses

It does not matter what type of small business yours is, as long as you are using connected devices, backing up data is vital. In order to avoid your business joining the 43% of US firms that have experienced a data breach in the last year, according to the Ponemon Institute, contributor Dylan Menders  put together five simple and easy-to-implement data backup strategies.

"Sharing apps as data backup strategy : Services such as Dropbox or Google drive are good starting data backup strategies for small businesses," Meners writes. "The data shared to these online backup apps is easily accessible and does not take you long to restore when needed."

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US startup insurance industry sees an investment boost

Lemonade, a US-based startup startup licensed as a full-stack property and casualty insurance carrier, this week revealed it had raised an eyewatering $300m to help it replace brokers with bots that utilize ML and collect data to generate predictive data. The company will also use the funding to expand into Europe.

But Lemonade was not the only insurance startup enjoying a cash injection this week, as Embroker, a San Francisco-based digital insurance company announced it had raised $28m, bringing its total funding to $42m. The company said it will use the funding to scale adoption of its insurance management platform, data-driven service offering and proprietary insurance policies after tripling its revenue in 2018.

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How big data is changing the ways we fight fires

While we hear all about how big data is streamlining a number of industry's, we do not tend to hear much about what its impact will be on our incrementally importance public services. One of our regular contributors, Kayla Matthews, changed that this week when she opened our eyes to some of the ways big data is changing the firefighting game.

"New York City has become perhaps the most famous example of using big data to help prevent fires," Matthews writes. "The city's fire department maintains a database that includes 60 factors related to buildings' fire risk. An algorithm called FireCast ranks the structures according to fire risk, which helps determine which ones get inspected first."

You never know, if data continues to keep aiding firefighting like this it might not be too long before we have hunky robotic firemen saving our beloved cats from trees…

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