Collaborating Authors WSJD - Technology

Verizon Enlists AI in 5G Network Build-out WSJD - Technology

Maximizing coverage with the least number of transmitters is a priority, said Shankar Arumugavelu, senior vice president and global chief information officer of Verizon. "When we build out these networks, these are very capital-intensive," he said. "We have to make sure that we are being very judicious in terms of how we are investing our capital." The models, designed by in-house data scientists and other employees, factor in a number of variables that can alter the strength of 5G signals, like buildings, bridges, terrain, the position of the transmitter, as well as other transmitters nearby. Verizon, along with rivals AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile US Inc., is racing to build out nationwide 5G service, a yearslong effort slowed by the lack of available airwaves for fast transmission and long signal ranges, and by the deployment of new network equipment, analysts have said.

Activision Replaces Blizzard Head as It Grapples With Gender-Bias Lawsuit WSJD - Technology

Activision Blizzard Inc. said an executive named in a gender-bias lawsuit filed against the company last month by California regulators is leaving the videogame company. J. Allen Brack is immediately stepping down from his role as president of Blizzard Entertainment, the unit behind hit franchises such as World of Warcraft and Overwatch, the company said Tuesday. Two company veterans, Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra, were named co-leaders of the unit, which it acquired in 2008. "It became clear to J. Allen Brack and Activision Blizzard leadership that Blizzard Entertainment needs a new direction and leadership given the critical work ahead in terms of workplace culture, game development, and innovation," the company said in a statement. Mr. Brack didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Qualcomm Is Living Out Chips' Big Tech Risk WSJD - Technology

Qualcomm can live without Google, but life without Apple would be more difficult. The market keeps pricing the chip maker for the latter eventuality. Alphabet's Google announced Monday that its coming line of new Pixel smartphones will be powered by its own in-house processor. The chip, called Tensor, has been specially designed for artificial intelligence uses, though Google didn't say much about its capabilities in its announcement. But the new chip does take over the slot that has been occupied by Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor for the past five generations of Pixel, since Google first launched the smartphone in 2016.

Looking for Love Post-Lockdown? Niche Dating Apps Are the Next Big Thing WSJD - Technology

AFTER A LONG and lonely lockdown, Theresa Causa was ready for love. To find it, the 40-year-old nurse practitioner in San Antonio turned to the new dating app "S'More," which helps users pair up by literally shifting the focus from physical appearances to mutual goals and interests. When matches first connect, they see only blurred versions of each other's profile photos, along with bios, hobbies and answers to prompts like "What are your top 3 qualities in a match?" As they exchange messages, their photos gradually un-blur. "I was, like, 'This is for me,'" said Ms. Causa.

Instacart Forays Into Warehouses in Food Delivery Market WSJD - Technology

In such fulfillment centers, the company will use robots to pull items from warehouses and have Instacart's workers pack and deliver orders. Instacart currently deploys shoppers who grab products from grocery stores and drop them off at people's homes. The company didn't say how many centers it will build, where they will be or how much it will invest. Warehouses, which will be automated, are expected to speed up the delivery process, the company said. San Francisco-based Instacart has grown sharply during the pandemic, as more consumers shifted their shopping online.

Nvidia Stock's Surge Makes Chip Maker 10th-Biggest U.S. Listed Company WSJD - Technology

The post-pandemic boom in the semiconductor business has powered Nvidia Corp. into the top 10 U.S. public companies, joining the likes of Apple Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Shares of the Santa Clara, Calif., firm have risen nearly 80% over the past year, giving it a market value of around $453 billion. That is more than rivals Intel Corp. and Broadcom Inc. combined. Nvidia makes processors that power gaming and cryptocurrency mining. Chip shares have risen in part thanks to a pandemic-induced global shortage of semiconductors that has driven up the prices of everything from laptops to automobiles.

The Novel Material That's Shrinking Phone Chargers, Powering Up Electric Cars, and Making 5G Possible WSJD - Technology

Present in most LED screens, as well as the LED lights that now provide much indoor illumination, is the metal gallium. And while not as well known as silicon, it is taking over in many of the places that silicon once reigned supreme--from antennas to charging bricks and other energy-converting systems known as "power electronics." In the process, it's enabling a surprising array of new technologies, from faster-charging cellphones, to lighter electric vehicles, to more power-efficient data centers that run the services and apps we use. A byproduct of extracting aluminum from rock, gallium has such a low melting temperature that it turns into a runny, silvery-white liquid when you hold it in your hand. Combine it with nitrogen, to make gallium nitride, and it becomes a hard crystal with valuable properties.

Self-Driving Startup Aurora to Go Public Through SPAC WSJD - Technology

Self-driving technology company Aurora plans to go public through a special-purpose acquisition company backed by founders from LinkedIn and Zynga Inc., in a transaction that values the startup at $11 billion. The combined company will be named Aurora Innovation Inc., and will be listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AUR. The SPAC behind the deal, Reinvent Technology Partners Y, is led by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder Mark Pincus. SPACs are shell companies that raise money from investors and then seek a privately owned company to acquire and make public. Aurora develops technology for both the trucking and passenger markets, and it is one of the latest self-driving companies to tap the public markets as startups look for funding to build out their products and reach commercial scale.

Humanoid Robot Keeps Getting Fired From His Jobs WSJD - Technology

TOKYO--Having a robot read scripture to mourners seemed like a cost-effective idea to the people at Nissei Eco Co., a plastics manufacturer with a sideline in the funeral business. The company hired child-sized robot Pepper, clothed it in the vestments of Buddhist clergy and programmed it to chant several sutras, or Buddhist scriptures, depending on the sect of the deceased. Alas, the robot, made by SoftBank Group Corp., kept breaking down during practice runs. "What if it refused to operate in the middle of a ceremony?" said funeral-business manager Osamu Funaki. "It would be such a disaster."

Micron Technology Puts Its Cash to Work Using AI WSJD - Technology

The technology gives Micron recommendations for different asset classes and financial institutions that promise the highest yield. It takes into consideration the company's limits for the amounts of money it can deposit with a particular institution or invest in a certain type of asset. Micron, which makes memory chips and storage devices for things ranging from cars to data centers, has relationships with more than 20 banks globally. The Morning Ledger provides daily news and insights on corporate finance from the CFO Journal team. With near-zero interest rates in the U.S. and elsewhere, companies are struggling to find returns for the cash piles that they accumulated in response to the economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic.