7 inspiring tech innovations
Curious to discover the latest inspiring innovations in technology?
Then this article is for you!
1. BMW introduced the colour changing car
At CES 2022, BMW unveiled BMW iX Flow, the colour changing car.
The car was developed in cooperation with E Ink, the originator, pioneer and commercial leader in ePaper technology.
The body panels on the car use the same technology as the displays of e-readers.
The BMW iX Flow changes colour from white to shades of grey to ultimately black.
2. The tractor that is spraying weeds while protecting in-season crops
John Deere Technology has introduced See & Spray™ Ultimate, the industry’s only factory-installed targeted sprayer.
The sprayer is a high-tech precision weed-killing device that not only reduces herbicide use but also differentiates weeds from in-season crops.
See & Spray Ultimate is revolutionizing how farmers can manage weeds to improve yields, cost efficiencies, and profitability.
It sees, targets, and kills in-season weeds using advanced cameras and machine learning.
3. The flying car we are all going to drive in the near future
In a not so distant future, there won’t be any more traffic jams or waiting at lights – flying cars will take care of that.
SkyDrive is a flying vehicle that achieves quiet and zero-operating-emission air travel.
The vehicle is compact and lightweight, emissions-free and has vertical take-off and landing.
4. The lighting fixture that acts as a sound absorber
Slice is a light-emitting, sound-absorbing design object that combines innovative functionality with expressive form.
Created by Halskov & Dalsgaard for Zero Lighting, the Slice lighting fixture features a number of concentric discs covered in felt-like sound-absorbing fabric.
5. Metaverse tools to build your presence in the metaverse
Adobe has recently released a series of tools to build immersive 3D worlds in the metaverse: Substance 3D Stager, Substance 3D Art (Painter, Designer, Sampler) and Substance 3D Designer.
Substance 3D Stager helps creators build and assemble 3D scenes.
Substance 3D Art allows creators to texture 3D assets starting from real-life photos, design complex parametric materials with full authoring control, or simply pick up a brush and paint in 3D.
With Substance 3D Designer & Modeler creators are empowered to author dynamic geometry or sculpt their model as they would in a real-world workshop.
6. HSBC Bank to enter the Metaverse with the help of The Sandbox
One of the largest international banks in the world, HSBC, has inked a partnership with the leading metaverse project The Sandbox to help it enter the rapidly developing metaverse space.
HSBC will acquire a plot of LAND which is essentially virtual real estate in The Sandbox metaverse.
“At HSBC, we see great potential to create new experiences through emerging platforms, opening up a world of opportunity for our current and future customers and for the communities we serve. Through our partnership with The Sandbox we are making our foray into the metaverse, allowing us to create innovative brand experiences for new and existing customers.”
Suresh Balaji, Chief Marketing Officer, Asia-Pacific, HSBC
7. AI to help restore lost historical texts
DeepMind has introduced Ithaca, the first deep neural network that can restore the missing text of damaged inscriptions, identify their original location, and help establish the date they were created.
Ithaca is an AI-based program that explores how machine learning can help historians better interpret these thousands of years-old inscriptions.
Evaluations show that Ithaca achieves:
- 62% accuracy in restoring damaged texts;
- 71% accuracy in identifying their original location;
- can date texts to within 30 years of their ground-truth date ranges.
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Top 7 biggest tech acquisitions of 2020
(UPDATED) What are the top 7 biggest tech acquisitions of 2020?
1. Oracle to take a 12.5% stake in TikTok Global
TikTok became available in the American market in 2018 after merging with another social media service Musical.ly.
Within two years, TikTok US has increased its monthly user base to 100 million, up 800%.
According to SensorTower, TikTok was the most downloaded app in 2020 with 82 million downloads globally.
Was TikTok’s global surge in downloads a result of Donald Trump’s threat to ban the US operation of the Chinese social app? Most likely.
Was the pandemic lockdown a contributing factor? Definitely yes.
In September 2020, Oracle announced that it was chosen to become TikTok’s secure cloud technology provider.
The company’s press release also reports that the decision was heavily influenced by Zoom moving a large portion of its video conferencing capacity to the Oracle Public Cloud.
According to Oracle Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison, the cloud infrastructure is “much faster, more reliable, and more secure than the first generation technology currently offered by all the other major cloud providers”.
As part of the agreement, Oracle will become a minority investor in TikTok Global with a 12.5% stake in the company. How much is that worth? Well, it was estimated that ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company is valued at $100 billion and that TikTok’s US operations account for about 40% of ByteDance’s valuation, or about $40 billion. This means that Oracle’s stake is worth $5 billion.
However, the agreement is yet to be finalized with the American government granting TikTok an extension of its forced sale deadline until December 4, 2020.
2. Salesforce to acquire Slack for $27.7 billion
Salesforce is the top CRM providers worldwide empowering companies of every size and industry to digitally transform and create a 360° view of their customers. It is one of the fastest-growing enterprise software companies of all time with over 150,000 customers ranging from small businesses to FORTUNE 500 companies.
In 2019, Salesforce increased its market share to 18% followed at a distance by its competitors SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and Adobe.
In December 2020, Salesforce announced that the CRM provider has entered into a definitive agreement with Slack under which it will acquire the latter for $27.7 billion. Slack is one of the most innovative enterprise communications platforms. You can learn more about its growth story here.
This is a match made in heaven. Together, Salesforce and Slack will shape the future of enterprise software and transform the way everyone works in the all-digital, work-from-anywhere world. I’m thrilled to welcome Slack to the Salesforce Ohana once the transaction closes.
Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO
3. Microsoft to acquire games developer ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in cash
Two years ago, Microsoft acquired seven games developer studios.
Today the market has grown to 3 billion gamers from 1 billion in 2018 and is expected to bring more than $200 billion in annual revenue in 2021. The gaming industry is one of the fastest-growing industries worldwide registering a CAGR of 9.17% over the forecast period (2020 – 2025).
With the acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, one of the largest, privately-held game developers and publishers in the world, Microsoft consolidates its foothold in the gaming industry. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in cash.
ZeniMax Media are the creators of critically acclaimed and best-selling gaming franchises including The Elder Scrolls and Fallout among many others.
With unique investments in content, community, and the cloud, Microsoft’s gaming strategy differs from others by empowering people to play the games they want, with the people they want, anywhere they want. Games are the primary growth engine in gaming, and games are fueling new cloud-gaming services like Xbox Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 15 million subscribers. With the addition of Bethesda, Microsoft will grow from 15 to 23 creative studio teams and will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass.
Microsoft Press Release
4. Adobe acquires work management platform for marketers Workfront for $1.5 billion
In November 2020, Adobe announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to bring Workfront, the leading work management platform for marketers, to Adobe Experience Cloud for $1.5 billion.
Founded thirty-eight years ago, Adobe continues to deliver award-winning software and technologies that have redefined and advanced business and personal communications.
Adobe Illustrator® and Adobe Photoshop® are groundbreaking software used by more than 90% of creative professionals worldwide for digital image editing and creation.
Adobe Experience Cloud is the most comprehensive solution for content and commerce, customer journey management, and customer data and insights, all built on an open platform, enabling businesses of every size across every industry to deliver exceptional customer experiences at scale.
With the acquisition of Workfront, Adobe makes the digital transformation easier for its customers.
Workfront has more than 3,000 customers and 1 million users and deep leadership in orchestrating marketing workflows. Workfront’s platform is agile and uniquely architected for the enterprise, with extensive integration capabilities that can be easily configured to meet the varied needs of companies of all sizes.
Together, Adobe and Workfront will provide our customers access to a single system to support planning, collaboration and governance that will unlock organizational productivity. Now marketers will not only create and deliver the best customer experiences but also efficiently and seamlessly manage the workflows that bring these experiences to life.
Adobe press release
5. Amazon to acquire self-driving tech startup Zoox for an estimated $1.2 billion
With a market capitalization of $1.7 trillion, Amazon is the third most valuable tech company in the world following Microsoft and Apple.
In June 2020, Amazon has signed an agreement to acquire Zoox, a self-driving tech startup designing autonomous technology from the ground up with passengers front-of-mind.
Amazon’s support will get the startup closer to its mission of delivering safe, clean, and enjoyable transportation to the world. Founded in 2014, Zoox’s tightly integrated features are designed to provide a revolutionary passenger experience. The startup has raised $955 million in venture-backed funding.
Amazon hasn’t disclosed the purchasing value of the agreement but industry experts estimate it is a little over $1.2 billion.
What are Amazon’s plans for Zoox?
Some experts say the company will more likely integrate Zoox’s technology into its distribution network than building a fleet of autonomous driving cars. This might happen in the near future.
For now, Zoox is sticking with its mission and is preparing to unveil its ride-hailing vehicle on December 14 under the tagline The future is for riders, not drivers.
6. Facebook to acquire customer-focused platform Kustomer for a reported $1 billion
In November 2020, Facebook announced that it reached an agreement to acquire Kustomer, a top-rated CRM that enables businesses to effectively manage all customer interactions across channels.
The goal of the platform with over 2.7 billion monthly active users is “to give businesses access to best-in-class tools that deliver excellent service and support.”
Facebook reports that more than 175 million people contact businesses via WhatsApp every day. Kustomer helps businesses optimize their time and quality of interactions with customers by bringing customer conversations from various channels together into a single-screen view.
Facebook plans to support Kustomer’s operations by providing the resources it needs to scale its business, improve and innovate its product offering, and delight its customers. That way, more people will benefit from customer service that is faster, richer and available whenever and however they need it, whether it’s phone, email, web chat or messaging.
Facebook press release
7. Cisco to acquire audience interaction company Slido for an undisclosed amount
In December 2020, Cisco announced its intent to acquire privately-held Slido, a technology company that provides a best-in-class audience interaction platform.
Cisco’s acquisition is a strategical business decision which allows the company to stay competitive with Zoom. Webex, Cisco’s video conferencing solution had 600 million participants in October 2020.
Slido developed a Q&A and polling platform designed to bridge the gap between speakers and their audiences. The company’s platform provides for its 7 million participants monthly a web-based application to actively engage people and get real-time feedback before, during, and after events and meetings.
With Slido’s technology, Cisco will integrate even more insights into the Webex platform to help everyone work smarter and be more productive whenever and wherever work happens. We are going to enable companies around the world that have traditionally relied on in-person events like townhalls, all-hands meetings and major user conferences to make sure everyone is engaged and included.
Cisco press release