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04 May 2018

Business

04 May 2018

Facebook is making low-cost VR a reality, while an Israeli firm has developed technology to map your life in a whole new way. Here is our rundown of the five most exciting ideas coming out of the business world this week:

Facebook’s VR for the masses:

Facebook dominated the tech headlines this week after unveiling a flurry of new products and features at its annual F8 developer conference. The social media giant is set to launch a new dating service and boosted privacy features, but perhaps the most exciting item on display was its new Oculus Go headset. which will cost just $199. The device will allow Facebook to bypass other affordable, mobile phone-powered competitors and deliver content directly to users. And that content will include offerings from Oculus TV, another product announced at F8, which will feature not only Facebook Watch, but Netflix and Hulu down the line as well.

Boeing in for billions:

For a company like Boeing, staying on top of the global aviation industry is a never-ending battle. That’s why the US manufacturer this week announced a $4.25 billion takeover of Florida aerospace parts distributor KLX. The move is part of Boeing’s recent effort to greatly expand its after-sales services and maintenance arm, which it sees as a significant new source of revenue. "This acquisition is the next step in our services growth strategy, with a clear opportunity to profitably grow our business and better serve our customers in a $2.6 trillion, 10-year services market," said Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing Global Services.

The AI assistant:

The world of smart communication and interconnectivity took a huge leap forward this week with the news that Cisco was acquiring Accompany, a firm that uses artificial intelligence to build up company profiles and databases of people. The innovative technology helps executives have more context and understanding before heading into crucial meetings or negotiations. The smart approach to business so wowed Cisco, it shelled out $270 million worth of cash and stocks to take over Accompany. “Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to further enhance AI and machine learning capabilities in our collaboration portfolio and continue to create amazing collaboration experiences for customers,” said Cisco Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins.

3D mapping your life:

What if the latest in 3D mapping technology could be used to enhance your everyday life? Israeli firm Vayyar is now doing just that with its new 3D imaging sensor unveiled this week, which can see through walls and even work in the dark to detect vital signs, such as whether a person has stopped breathing or their heart has stopped beating. The technology was originally developed to detect studs and pipes and has now evolved into a product with the futuristic ability to literally see through hard surfaces. In addition to the obvious health and construction applications, Vayyar hopes to employ the sensor in a wide range of other areas, including home security, retail, robotics and more.

China’s new big money player:

Internet search giant Baidu, often called China’s answer to Google, is looking to shake up global money markets after announcing this week it had raised a whopping $1.9 billion for its AI-powered financial services arm. The investment will allow Baidu to form a new company, called Du Xiaoman, which will use AI to provide short-term loans and investment help. With China looking to lead the way in all things AI, Baidu’s latest move is a way to keep the cash flowing and increase profits while competing with big-spending competitors like Alibaba. "In the coming age of FinTech, Du Xiaoman will leverage the technological capabilities of Baidu AI to partner with financial institutions and provide technology-driven, trustworthy financial services to consumers in China," said Guang Zhu, CEO of Du Xiaoman.

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