ZDNet


No, digital picture frames are not dead -- in fact, this one is insanely cool

ZDNet

I'm about to tell you about a product that's much cooler than I ever expected. Here's how it all started. A few months ago, I got a call from a Discovery Series supporter at Wellbots, with whom I've been working for awhile. Wellbots is the company who has kindly been supplying me with drones for my new Drone and Robotics Discovery Series. Anyway, he calls me and tells me he's got this digital picture frame he thinks I might like.


This $800 device uses machine learning to help you avoid a catastrophic flood

ZDNet

A mission of Buoy, one of the latest startups to attack the smart home, is "to enjoy water without worry." For the vast majority of Americans, that seems like a solution in search of a problem. Water usage may be the least top-of-mind concern of the modern US homeowner, so much so that it is often held up as a model of a nearly-free commoditized modern convenience. But that may be changing. A Michigan State study this year has found that water prices have risen 41 percent since 2010 and are set to rise dramatically in the next five years.


TechnologyOne eyes a future with AI as enterprise cloud gains further steam

ZDNet

Australian enterprise software firm TechnologyOne has released its financial results for the 2017 financial year, reporting AU$44.5 million in after-tax profit, on revenue of AU$273.2 million. Speaking with ZDNet about the results, founder, former CEO, and now chairman of TechnologyOne Adrian Di Marco said the massive market that is enterprise cloud in Australia is continuing to pick up pace. "The cloud is a new paradigm for customers. The market is actually massive in Australia, there are government departments, which we've seen huge demand from federal government, state departments, local governments, universities -- they all want to go into the cloud and they really all want it delivered how we're offering, software-as-a-service, not as a hosted thing," he said. "The cloud is growing exceptionally fast.


How machine learning is helping Virgin boost its frequent flyer business

ZDNet

Companies that are able to adapt to a world where innovation is increasingly driven by machine learning, or artificial intelligence more broadly, are the ones that will come out the other end of the tunnel and thrive, according to Oliver Rees, GM of Torque Data at Virgin Australia. Rees, whose data analytics consultancy firm Torque Data was acquired by Virgin Australia in 2015, told ZDNet that one of its tasks has been "reengineering [Virgin's] analytical capability", ensuring the airline is well-prepared to embrace the opportunities that are offered by machine learning. While not new to machine learning, Virgin Australia has been seeking better methods of developing, applying, and assessing machine learning algorithms, recently turning to Massachusetts-based company DataRobot, which operates on the belief that automated machine learning will not only increase productivity for data scientists, but also open up the world of data science. Rees told ZDNet that Torque, as the data analytics arm of Virgin, has been investigating ways to improve customer experience for members of Virgin's Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty program. "We want people within our program to be able to redeem points for great experiences, and to do that, we want to be able to better predict when is the best time for particular people to redeem points and what should they be redeeming them against," Rees said.


Amazon announces AWS Secret Region for intelligence agencies

ZDNet

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced setting up a "secret" datacentre region targeted towards the US intelligence community and other government agencies working with secret-level datasets. AWS Secret Region is able to host software and data that are classified at the "secret" level, making it applicable to intelligence agencies that typically deal with sensitive information. Secret Region is an extension of the $600 million AWS-Central Intelligence Agency arrangement that led to the creation of Top Secret Region in 2014 specifically for the US intelligence community. The new region is immediately available to US intelligence agencies through their existing commercial cloud services contract with AWS and will meet certain government standards. But it will also be available to other types of government customers with sufficient secret-level network access and their own "contract vehicles".


Uber inks deal with Volvo for fleet of self-driving cars

ZDNet

Volvo has signed a deal with Uber to supply the ride-hailing company with tens of thousands of "autonomous driving compatible" vehicles between 2019 and 2021, the 90-year-old car company announced Monday. The financial terms of the non-exclusive agreement were not disclosed. However, the massive deal, reportedly worth more than $1 billion for 24,000 vehicles, keeps Uber up to speed in the crowded race to bring self-driving vehicles to consumers. "The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption," Volvo CEO HÃ¥kan Samuelsson said in a statement. "Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally.


DJI Mavic Pro: First impressions from a drone novice

ZDNet

Welcome to the first article in our new Drone and Robotics Discovery Series, here on ZDNet. Like our 3D Printing Discovery Series, this set of articles and videos will be all about hands-on testing, tinkering, and exploring. As with the 3D printing series, I'm coming at this unencumbered by the curse of knowledge. I'm new to drones, so we'll be learning and exploring them together. We're kicking off this series with the DJI Mavic Pro.


Robotics company gets $25 million to bring Amazon-like automation to small retailers

ZDNet

Locus Robotics, which makes autonomous, mobile robots for use in e-commerce fulfillment warehouses, just announced $25 million in a Series B round. Locus is one of a growing number of warehouse robotics providers helping retailers and third-party logistics operators automate existing operations without major retrofits. The trend is being driven by an industry-wide labor shortage and by the exploding e-commerce market, which is expected to grow by 20 percent CAGR to become a $4 trillion global market by 2020, according to Nielson. "E-commerce fulfillment warehouses are under tremendous pressure to meet increasing demands for fast, accurate order fulfillment in the face of significant labor challenges," says Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics. "Locus Robotics's collaborative robots allow warehouse operators to significantly increase worker productivity while economically closing the growing labor gap."


Neo4j looks beyond the graph database

ZDNet

Video: What's new in the graph database world? Graph database company Neo4j wants to move beyond providing only its graph database, and is working on what it calls a'graph platform' to help companies make the most of their data. ZDNet recently caught up Neo4j CEO Emil Eifrem to find out more. ZDNet: Could you talk me through the new native graph platform? Emil Eifrem: We have been at this for a while.


LG, Naver team up for ThinQ Hub AI speaker

ZDNet

LG Electronics' AI speaker, ThinQ Hub, will be powered by Naver's Clova AI platform, the companies have said. ThinQ Hub comes with LG's own AI platform but owners can get Clova through a firmware update. The speaker, makes up part of LG's SmartThinQ smart home line-up, was designed to control and monitor LG-made home appliances. LG opened up the platform's API to developers last month. Despite having its own AI installed, LG likely teamed up with Naver to get the latter's streaming music service, which is the most popular service for AI speaker owners.