Microsoft has acquired Semantic Machines, which has developed a new approach to building conversational artificial intelligence (AI).
Singapore-headquartered Carry is teaming up with Spoqa of South Korea to bring cryptocurrency payment and blockchain-enhanced loyalty points to brick-and-mortar retailers.
Tokyo-based startup incubator DEEPCORE is partnering NVIDIA to support AI startups and promote university research programmes across Japan.
Where’s a taxi when you need one? That’s the bane of passengers from around the world, except possibly in Taipei where taxis somehow seem to be just where you need them.
Appier has appointed Sean Chu as Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) to lead its operations in Japan and Korea. Chu will help drive the company’s growth as it moves to create new AI platforms to help enterprises solve their business challenges.
Chu brings over two decades of experience in enterprise technology and media. Before joining Appier, Chu served as Senior Director, Central Marketing Group, at Microsoft Japan. He has also held leadership positions in a variety of companies including Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Wall Street Journal, CNBC and Motorola. He has worked in the US and supported operations in Europe and Asia.
Appier believes AI can help enterprises deal with today’s rapidly changing business environment, helping them process enormous amounts of data to identify patterns and make intelligent decisions. Appier’s first product, the CrossX Programmatic Platform, brought AI into digital marketing. Its second, Aixon, is a data intelligence platform that allows business users at a variety of enterprises to discover new customers, enrich their understanding of their customer base, and make predictions using AI.
The keynote address at Google I/O yesterday showed that Google is much more than just a search company. It is becoming more artificial intelligence (AI). Google is specifically using deep learning to help in many areas of everyday life.
Here are some as shared on Google’s blog post:
Google Assistant can help answer your questions and find information—but it can also help you get all kinds of useful things done. Today we’re adding a few more:
- Schedule new calendar appointments and create reminders. Starting today on Google Home, you can schedule appointments and soon you’ll also be able to add reminders. Since it’s the same Google Assistant across devices, you’ll be able to get a reminder at home or on the go.
- Make your home smarter. We now have 70+ smart home partners supporting the Google Assistant across Google Home and Android phones, including August locks, TP-Link, Honeywell, Logitech, and LG.
RIKEN, Japan’s largest comprehensive research institution, will have a new supercomputer for deep learning research in April. Built by Fujitsu using 24 NVIDIA DGX-1 AI systems, the new machine will accelerate the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to solve complex challenges in healthcare, manufacturing and public safety.
Conventional high performance computing architectures are proving too costly and inefficient for meeting the needs of AI researchers. That’s why research institutions such as RIKEN are looking for GPU-based solutions that reduce cost and power consumption while increasing performance. Each DGX-1 combines the power of eight NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs with an integrated software stack optimised for deep learning frameworks, delivering the performance of 250 conventional x86 servers.
“We believe that the NVIDIA DGX-1-based system will accelerate real-world implementation of the latest AI technologies technologies as well as research into next-generation AI algorithms. Fujitsu is leveraging its extensive experience in high-performance computing development and AI research to support R&D that utilises this system, contributing to the creation of a future in which AI is used to find solutions to a variety of social issues,” said Arimichi Kunisawa, Head of the Technical Computing Solution Unit at Fujitsu.
Tokyo Institute of Technology plans to create Japan’s fastest AI supercomputer, which is will deliver more than twice the performance of its predecessor to slide into the world’s top 10 fastest systems.
Called Tsubame 3.0, it will use Pascal-based NVIDIA P100 GPUs that are nearly three times as efficient as their predecessors, to reach an expected 12.2 petaflops of double precision performance.
Tsubame 3.0 will excel in AI computation with more than 47 PFLOPS of AI horsepower. When operated with Tsubame 2.5, it is expected to deliver 64.3 PFLOPS, making it Japan’s highest performing AI supercomputer.
Global smartphone sale is expected to experience just a single-digit growth this year, according to Gartner.
It estimates that global smartphone sale will reach 1.5 billion units, a seven percent increase from 2015. The total mobile phone market is predicted to reach 1.9 billion units in 2016.
“The double-digit growth era for the global smartphone market has come to an end. Historically, worsening economic conditions had negligible impact on smartphone sales and spend, but this is no longer the case. China and North America smartphone sales are on pace to be flat in 2016, exhibiting a 0.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent growth respectively,” said Ranjit Atwal, Research Director of Gartner.
While smartphone sales will continue to grow in emerging markets, the growth will slow down. Gartner predicts that, through 2019, 150 million users will delay upgrades to smartphones in emerging Asia-Pacific, until the functionality and price combination of a low-cost smartphone becomes more desirable. Continue reading “Slower smartphone growth in 2016”
PC vendors will have to raise the prices of PCs to offset the effects of currency devaluation, according to Gartner. Prices of PCs in the Eurozone and Japan will increase by up to 10 percent during 2015.
“We are currently seeing the sharp appreciation of the dollar against most other currencies reflected in companies’ earnings results. PC vendors selling to Europe and Japan, where local currencies have fallen up to 20 percent since the start of 2015, have little choice than to raise prices to preserve profits,” said Ranjit Atwal, Research Director of Gartner.
In 2015, Gartner estimates that end-user spending in constant dollars in Western Europe will reach US$116 billion, a four-percent increase over 2014. This increase reflects the expected price increases in local currency.
What has proven a massive hit for the oil and gas industry may turn out to be a silver lining for the IT industry and GDP as a whole in the first half of this year.
According to Canalys, business and consumer IT spending will be boosted by the current oil shock, as prices remain below US$50 per barrel. It believes the reduction in prices will provide a short-term economic stimulus equivalent to a large tax cut, boosting corporate profits and consumer disposable incomes, which will filter into IT spending.
“Price falls translate into a transfer of wealth from producers to importers. Oil producers received approximately US$340 billion less in the second half of 2014 compared with the first half of the year, based on average monthly production and prices. The difference will be even more significant if prices remain at US$50 per barrel and production continues at the same level for the next six months. If this scenario happens, producers will receive almost US$1 trillion dollars less compared with the first half of 2014,” said Matthew Ball, Principal Analyst of Canalys.
The wait is over for the NVIDIA Shield Tablet in Asia — at least for those in Japan and Korea. The NVIDIA Tegra K1-based portable device is now available in these countries, just in time for the holiday season. Consumers can choose from the 16GB version for US$299 or the 32GB and LTE version for US$399.
It’s confirmed. The new iPhone 6 and 6 plus are bigger than their predecessors. Of course, this is not exactly news with the numerous leaks over the past weeks.
Sporting a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, the iPhone 6 is the smaller of the two and is marginally thinner than the previous incarnation. The larger iPhone 6 plus ventures into the phablet space with a 5.5-inch display. Both smartphones come with the A8 processor, a 8MP rear and 2.1MP front camera.
Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia are among the 15 countries where the Apple products will be first sold on September 19.
Adrian Jones is Symantec’s new Senior Vice President for Asia Pacific and Japan. He will be responsible for growing the company’s presence and market position across the region, in addition to leading business operations and business development.
Jones has held senior leadership roles with technology companies across multiple geographies. Most recently, he was the General Manager and Senior Vice President of Oracle Asia Pacific.
Prior to joining Oracle, he was Senior Vice President of Enterprise Servers, Storage, and Networking responsible for driving global customer relationships and channel partnerships at Hewlett Packard (HP) in Asia Pacific and Japan. He also held the position of Vice President and General Manager of HP’s Americas Solution Partners managing all channel partnerships throughout Canada.
NVIDIA has boosted its Tegra Note 7 with the i500 LTE modem – and its 4G LTE cellular connection. The seven-inch tablet is available with LTE and HSPA+ mobile connectivity and can operate on popular carriers across the world. With better cellular connectivity, consumers can now access the web, check out maps and play videos anywhere they go by purchasing a minimum data plan from many carriers.
The Tegra NOTE 7 LTE’s worldwide connectivity is provided by the fifth-gen NVIDIA i500 processor, which leverages a unique software-defined radio technology – meaning it can deliver new capabilities via software without requiring an entirely new chipset. Another big plus is higher efficiency – it’s only 40 percent the size of conventional modems but has 4x the processing capability of its predecessor.
Starting at US$299, it is available from partners worldwide starting in the second quarter, including Zotac in Japan, Gigabyte and Zotac in Korea, and Gigabyte and Homecare in China.
Global mobile Internet service revenue grew an estimated 23.4 percent to US$300 billion last year, according to ABI Research. Wireless broadband subscription grew 28.8 percent and the smartphone share of total subscriptions advanced by 6.6 percent to capture 27.5 percent of the overall pie.
In 2014, mobile Internet related revenues will power ahead with growth in the 13 to 15 percent range in 2014 with the Asia-Pacific region leading the way.
“When it comes to mobile data traffic growth, Asia-Pacific will lead the pack, generating 16.8 exabytes of traffic in 2014 for a 40.2 percent share,” notes Jake Saunders, VP and Practice Director of ABI Research. “After launching LTE services in late 2013, China will experience a surge in data traffic in 2014. Even mature markets like South Korea and Japan will continue to see strong growth as operators boost capacity with LTE-Advanced technologies.”
ZTE is cooperating with KDDI to offer a smart multimedia infotainment system to its subscribers, bringing a high-quality and enriching user experience to consumers in Japan. The sleek and stylish PHOTO-U TV system, equipped with a 10.1-inch high-resolution(1024*600) display and front stereo speakers, enables users to watch digital TV broadcasts (full-segment, one-segment), mirror their smartphone screens, view photos and access real-time weather and directory information.
PHOTO-U TV comes with 4GB of internal data storage, and supports as much as 32GB of external storage, allowing user to make full-segment recordings of TV programs. Designed for portability, the waterproof PHOTO-U TV supports CDMA 1X WIN and Wi-fi CERTIFIED Miracast connectivity, allowing users to stream videos from their smartphones. The built-in antenna and a 2,500mAh rechargeable battery means users can carry the device anywhere, including bathrooms and kitchens. PHOTO-U TV users may view photos taken on their own smartphones through the “au Cloud” technology.
The uptake of 4G-LTE is expected to grow to pass one billion by 2017, according to a new study by GSMA Intelligence. This translates to one in eight of the more than eight billion total mobile connections forecast by that point, up from 176 million LTE connections at the end of 2013. And around half of these are expected to be in Asia.
Nearly 500 LTE networks are forecast to be in service across 128 countries, roughly double the number of live LTE networks today.
“Since the launch of the first commercial 4G-LTE networks in late 2009 we are seeing deployments accelerate across the globe,” said Hyunmi Yang, Chief Strategy Officer of GSMA. “Our new report highlights a number of factors that are driving LTE growth: the timely allocation of suitable spectrum to mobile operators; the availability of affordable LTE devices; and the implementation of innovative tariffs that encourage adoption of high-speed data services. Mobile operators in both developed and developing markets are seeing LTE services contributing to a significant increase in ARPU.”
China’s booming luxury market along with more mature markets such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia will drive growth in the APAC region for smart home appliances at a five-year CAGR of 92 percent, according to ABI Research.
The smart home appliance market, defined by products with built-in connectivity, will grow substantially to reach nearly US$25 billion by 2018. Currently limited to the top-end luxury models, wireless connectivity will slowly permeate to lower tier brands and models.
“Smart home appliances have yet to incorporate features that add significant value for their premium price. Smart home appliance features are at present limited to remote access through mobile devices. The true value of these smart grid ready devices, such as use in demand-response energy management programmes, is several years away and initially will be primarily US-based,” said Adarsh Krishnan, Senior Analyst of ABI Research.
ZTE has introduced two new 4G mobile routers with data download speeds of 110 Megabits per second for users in Japan.
The ZTE Pocket WiFi SoftBank 203Z and Pocket WiFi (GL09P) 4G routers, which are made available by major Japanese operators SoftBank and eAccess respectively, are powered by Qualcomm’s new Gobi chipset, supporting LTE Advanced and carrier aggregation technology.
The new ZTE mobile routers offer multi-network compatibility, supporting three network types – AXGP, FDD-LTE and W-CDMA. Both support simultaneous connections by as many as 14 users, and are equipped with an 5,000 mAh high-capacity battery, allowing 900 hours of standby time and 14 hours of continuous use.
Smartphone shipments in Japan grew 4.0 percent year over year in Q1 to 6.8 million units to account for half of the overall mobile device market in Q1, according to IDC’s Japan Quarterly Mobile Device Tracker.
Total shipments in the Japan mobile device market for Q1 came to 13.6 million units, an increase of 9.7 percent on a year-over-year basis.
While the PC market declined by 4.6 percent in the quarter, the rapidly growing tablet market enjoyed year-over-year growth of 187.2 percent to slightly more than 2 million units. The tablet growth was largely driven by the availability of inexpensive new tablets and huge sales incentives from mobile operators to boost the shipping volumes of LTE (4G) tablets.
China’s game market is booming, recording sales of US$9.8 billion in 2012, a growth of 35.1 percent over the previous year. The market includes PC online games, PC console game and mobile online game.
According to IDC data, after a quick growth before 2008, the China game market saw a turning point in development in 2009. The growth has slowed sharply, at almost equal paces in 2011 and 2012. IDC forecasts that the China game market will see a slower growth during 2013-2017, with the CAGR approximating 16%. In contrast, the greater culture industry where the game market dwells is booming.
IDC believes that the China online game industry will be increasingly involved in pan-entertainment, another content-derivative industry, because of the following factors :
Mobile operator data revenues will overtake voice revenues globally by 2018, according to a new GSMA report. The mobile data explosion is being driven by a surge in demand for connected devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and is transforming the socioeconomic future of people in developed and developing countries.
The increase in mobile operator data revenues is a global trend across both developed and emerging markets. In 2012, Japan became the first country where data revenues exceeded voice revenues, due largely to the availability of advanced mobile broadband networks and a higher adoption of the latest smartphones, tablets and connected devices.
Data growth has spurred significant advances in connected devices and M2M technologies globally. Four sectors in particular – health, automotive, education and smart cities – are building on the evolution of mobile broadband access and services.
Customised for primary school students, these phones operate on the basis of a buzzer where children can enter phone numbers in advance and press the centre button to dial and send messages showing their location. This simple functionality makes the handsets suitable for a variety of age groups from children to the elderly.
The first ZTE mobile phone for children— 005Z — was well received following its release in Japan in March 2011 in collaboration with Japanese carrier SoftBank. In April 2012, ZTE launched the 101Z series, which offered a simpler user experience.
As a part of its growth strategy for the Japanese market, ZTE plans to launch a series of high-end mobile devices, in addition to the current handsets. ZTE is now the 4th biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world according to IDC.
It is executing its comprehensive strategic review begun last year to sharpen its focus on key products and markets and strengthen cash flow management. ZTE is generating net cash inflows from operations and recorded higher sales collection, achieved increased profitability on new contracts, applied stringent cost controls and recognised investment gains.
Due to delays in the progress of some domestic and international network projects, the recognition of earlier lower-margin contracts and a drop in revenue for terminal products, ZTE may post a full-year net loss attributable to shareholders of the listed company of between RMB2.5 billion and RMB2.9 billion in 2012, a reversal of 221.35% and 240.77% compared to a year earlier.