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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE BREAKTHROUGHS LEAD TO UNPRECEDENTED M&A GROWTH, REVEALS HAMPLETON PARTNERS’ REPORT

Vlad Poptamas

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Hampleton Partners’ latest analysis of the Artificial Intelligence M&A market reveals that over 150 deals were disclosed in 2018, up from 105 deals in 2017. The first half of 2019 is also showing impressive AI-related M&A momentum, with 65 deals already recorded and a total of near 100 deals forecast for the half-year only. In terms of market value, AI is forecast to grow from $21.46 billion in 2018 to $190 billion by 2025 – in other words, to grow nine-fold over the next seven-year period.1

Heiko Garrelfs, sector principal, Hampleton Partners, said:

“Q1 2019 has set the pace for the rest of the year, with record-breaking M&A transaction volumes in two of three artificial intelligence sub-sectors. With the growth and competitiveness of many industries now dependent on the development of these AI technologies, strategic investors across all sectors and continents are stepping up their acquisitions and investments.

“Artificial intelligence is one of the fastest-moving sectors, thriving off great momentum and yielding game-changing outcomes.”

Artificial intelligence has moved from the experimental into the developmental phase of the innovation cycle. As the application of AI grows increasingly widespread across almost all verticals, several industries are now dependent on AI advancements to ensure their growth and competitiveness, including autonomous vehicles, IoT, healthtech, e-commerce, insurance and smart cities.

These industries look for artificial intelligence that can propel their next technology push, improve efficiency and productivity, streamline business models, and reduce latency and fragmentation.

Machine data analysis and edge AI

The first quarter of 2019 has proven a record period in M&A transaction volume for the machine data analysis sector with 46 deals.

Machine data analysis has recently shown an inclination towards Edge AI – i.e. running AI algorithms on edge devices such as smartphones or cars, rather than communicating with a central cloud or server – which allows devices to safeguard privacy, avoiding the purported insecurity of cloud-based data systems.

Edge computing also allows devices to process information locally and respond more quickly, which is vital for the development of Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous vehicle technology, where immediate response is a necessity.

Computer vision

Computer vision experienced a stellar half-year in 2H 2018, mainly owing to growth in hot trends such as facial recognition, check-out-free retail or motion analysis, all of which enable the collection of more insights and provide information for future market opportunities.

Facial recognition is fast becoming a dominant form of biometric authentication, with early commercial applications in security, retail, payments and consumer electronics – Apple’s latest smartphone technology for Face ID logins and payments being one of the commercially popular use-cases. Retailers are also adopting the technology to recognise returning customers – a strategy used to offer special discounts as part of loyalty programmes.

Furthermore, as increasingly smart city infrastructure adopts security cameras, video analytics can be widely applied using facial recognition to detect and track offenders or suspects in public spaces.

Language analysis and conversational AI

Global tech companies east and west have focused heavily on Conversational AI. Google’s integration of Duplex – its new AI-driven automated reservation-making system – into the Pixel 3 smartphone, transformed the Google handheld device into an AI powerhouse.

However, Apple’s Siri has lagged far behind Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant in terms of voice recognition ability and development. It was no surprise, therefore, that in February 2019 Apple acquired PullString, a speech recognition software development SaaS which enables businesses to build interrelated applications for IoT devices.

Many companies believe the problem is not the speech recognition technology itself, but the lack of focus and reasoning within these systems. As a result, intent detection – i.e. the ability to determine from context what the user wants – has become the new research focus area for speech recognition start-ups who are willing to challenge the hegemons and fill in the gaps in big tech AI.

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Artificial Intelligence

Acoustic Wells wins 2019 MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition

Vlad Poptamas

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The Acoustic Wells team beat out seven finalists to win the Robert P. Goldberg $100,000 grand prize at the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Launch Finale. Holding the check are, from left, Charles-Henri Clerget, Sebastien Mannai, and Louis Creteur.
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Acoustic Wells, a startup born in a laboratory at MIT that has created a new internet of things (IoT) control solution for oil wells that optimizes production while drastically reducing methane emissions, beat out seven finalists to win the Robert P. Goldberg $100,000 grand prize at last night’s MIT $100KEntrepreneurship Launch Finale held on the MIT campus.

Now in its 30th year, the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition is an economic barometer for sectors of innovation that are receiving funding by venture capitalists. To date, the MIT $100K has facilitated the birth of more than 160 companies, which have gone on to raise $1.3 billion in venture capital and build $16 billion in market capitalization. More than 30 MIT $100K startups have been acquired by major companies, such as Oracle, Cisco, 3M, and Merck. Over 4,600 people are currently employed by MIT $100K companies. Recent IPOs include Akamai (AKAM) and Hubspot (HUBS).

A major challenge in the operation of oil and gas wells is the ability to monitor the operating conditions and health of pumping equipment without the need for prohibitively expensive equipment or daily inspections. To address this issue, Acoustic Wells has developed a patent-pending, acoustic-based control method that is capable of determining precisely down-hole conditions using a simple and affordable surface sensor. Acoustic Wells’ simple plug-and-play hardware processes the data at the edge and seamlessly connects to their cloud platform using long range IoT networks. Artificial intelligence algorithms automatically monitor the pump operation and optimize the production by adjusting the pumping rate while also predicting potential critical failures of the system.

Acoustic Wells’ founding team members are:

Dr. Sebastien Mannai, CEO, MIT PhD 2018 in Aerospace Engineering. He is currently engaged in postdoctoral work on AI signal processing in the Gas Turbine Laboratory of the Aerospace Department at MIT.

Dr. Charles-Henri Clerget, COO, who is currently engaged in postdoctoral work in the Earth Resources Laboratory with the Mathematics Department at MIT where he focuses on the big data analysis of drilling operations.

Louis Creteur, CTO and an industrial automation solution specialist who currently serves as IoT and Cloud Architect at Leanbox.

“We bring cutting edge technology in a simple package to help every oil and gas producer optimize their assets while reducing their emissions,” says Dr. Mannai.

A panel of judges chose Acoustic Wells based on value creation, value capture, and technological differentiation. Judges included: TJ Parker, Co-Founder & CEO, PillPackMira Wilczek, President & CEO, Cogo LabsThomas Collet, President, CEO & Director, Phrixus PharmaceuticalsTanguy Chau, Venture Investor; and Katie Rae, CEO & Managing Partner, The Engine.

$10,000 Audience Choice Award was presented to The Read Read, one of the finalist teams. The Read Read has created a patent pending physical device that allows blind and low-vision children to independently learn phonics and braille, and gain early literacy to keep pace with their sighted peers. Users simply touch the braille and large-print letter manipulatives, and get immediate audio feedback. It was developed at the Harvard Innovations Lab, and piloted at the Perkins School for the Blind and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Six additional finalists included:

AgroBeads® are biodegradable spheres made from natural ingredients that hydrate plants according to their needs and support their growth and healthy development. Plants not only grow, but they do it faster, and healthier. AgroBeads® does not pollute the environment, improves the chances of germination, and contributes to the development of technologies that impact public health.

Mechanodontics is a new method that can be used instead of braces or aligners that moves teeth independently. Placed behind teeth so they cannot be seen, this method considerably shortens treatment time, allows for easier cleaning than traditional braces, and is more comfortable. This technology, which employs state-of-the-art simulations, allows orthodontists to apply the optimal amount of force to each tooth, easily fixing even complicated mal-alignments that are not correctable with aligners.

Myco Diagnostics is creating low-cost, robust medical diagnostics, using thermostable binding proteins to capture disease biomarkers from patient samples. They are producing point-of-care assays for the detection of urine-based biomarkers of tuberculosis, allowing them to address patient groups ill-served by traditional TB tests.

Posh offers a bot-creation platform using patent-pending technology that makes it easy to tailor a custom chatbot to meet companies’ needs. Not only can Posh answer company FAQs, but it can also help a company’s customers manage their accounts and convert prospects into sales. Posh does this while interacting with customers via the channels they prefer: across text, voice, social media and the web.

Qtech The team’s MIT-educated scientists have invented 3D Nano structured air filters that provide 20x filtration performance, 10x lifetime, and are recyclable at an estimated similar cost of a traditional HEPA filter. Filters catch not only flower pollens, but also bacteria and even viruses, and there is no need for replacements in years.

Stratagen Bio develops oxygen sensors to enable personalized cancer therapies, addressing the unmet clinical need of identifying low-oxygen treatment resistant tumors. They are enabling physicians to identify which cancer patients require a customized treatment to overcome resistance and improve outcomes and survival.

John Harthorne, a founder and former CEO of MassChallenge, served as the keynote speaker. Harthorne’s team, Robopsy, won the MIT $100K in 2007. He and Akhil Nigam went on to co-found MassChallenge, a not-for-profit, in 2010. Based on the MIT $100K model, their zero-equity startup accelerator has since gone global and has accelerated 1,975 startups that have raised more than $4.3 billion in funding, generated more than $2.5 billion in revenue, and created more than 121,000 total jobs. Harthorne now serves on MassChallenge’s Global Board of Directors.

Since its debut as the MIT $10K Entrepreneurship Competition in 1989, it has grown to include three independent contests – PitchAccelerate, and Launch – from September through May. Each contest focuses on developing specific founding skills. For each semi-finalist contender, the MIT $100K brings together a network of resources that includes mentorship from venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and attorneys; media exposure; prototyping funds; business plan feedback; and discounted services. Altogether, almost $1M in non-dilutive prize money and other financial resources are awarded to help these new ventures accelerate. For more on the MIT $100K, please visit: www.mit100k.org

SOURCE MIT Sloan School of Management

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Artificial Intelligence

Independent Research Firm Cites Trend Micro As A Leader In Enterprise Email Security

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: digitalguardian.com
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, today announced that it has been named a leader in enterprise email security in The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Email Security, Q2 2019 report. Trend Micro earned the highest possible score in the “technology leadership” sub-criterion (under the product strategy criterion), “deployment options” and “cloud integration,” and received the highest score among all 12 appraised vendors in the strategy category.

Forrester describes Trend Micro with comments including, “Clients cite effectiveness, ease of deployment, and configurability as strengths.” Forrester additionally said, “Enterprises seeking a solution for defending against malicious and malware-laden emails should consider Trend Micro.”

“The number one threat vector continues to be email, which drives our commitment to continued innovation,” said Nilesh Jain, Vice President, Southeast Asia and India, Trend Micro. “Analyst evaluations are critical for solution assessment. In my view, this recent report takes into account our newer artificial intelligence (AI) features such as writing style analysis and computer vision, alongside solutions to protect cloud email platforms like Office 365 and Gmail that collectively helped us block over 41.5 billion threats in 2018.”

Nearly 86% of all threats blocked by Trend Micro last year came via email. Phishing, business email compromise (BEC), malicious URLs, malevolent attachments and accidental and deliberate data loss are all common challenges.

Enterprises that use Trend Micro get a winning formula of decades of email security expertise combined with the strategic vision to anticipate the next threats. This combination continues to position Trend Micro as a forefront of the industry.

A cross-generational blend of security techniques is the best agreed upon approach to achieve comprehensive protection against these and other threats. One of these techniques includes Writing Style DNA, an AI-powered tool which helps to spot BEC scammers by analysing email content. To date this has identified 5,400 attacks at 160 organizations, resulting in potential savings for customers of US$858m. Another leading feature from Trend Micro blends computer vision image analysis technology with machine learning to “see” fake log-in pages, the result of this protects against phishing and account takeover.

Trend Micro’s email security benefits from intelligence sharing across all layers of the IT infrastructure to offer connected threat defense. It is available in multiple deployment options — appliance (physical and virtual), on-premises software, SaaS service, and as a hybrid solution. Trend Micro is the only vendor to offer dual layer protection via a cloud-based API+SMTP solution for advanced threat protection.

 

SOURCE Trend Micro Incorporated

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Artificial Intelligence

AvidXchange Unveils New Study on Future of B2B Fintech

Vlad Poptamas

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AvidXchange™, the leading provider of accounts payable (AP) and payment automation solutions, today released compelling new insights on the future of fintech at REVx, its annual gathering of industry experts, AP thought leaders and finance professionals. Developed in collaboration with Levvel Research, the white paper revealed that while B2B companies are becoming more knowledgeable about using disruptive technologies to transform financial processes, most are unaware of how innovations like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, big data and blockchain are changing the way they work.

Of the fintech trends analyzed, AI is the most familiar to users, with 43 percent aware of its use in fintech applications and 83 percent citing AI as a strategic priority. In parallel, 84 percent of businesses believe AI will give them a competitive advance, and 75 percent believe it will allow them to expand lines of business by entering new ventures.

In contrast, blockchain was the most alien of the emerging technologies, with just over one in four respondents aware of its role in fintech despite increasing momentum behind blockchain applications in the B2B space. Machine learning and big data finished squarely in the middle, with 34 and 33 percent, respectively, confirming knowledge of daily touchpoints with these technologies.

“B2B fintech has evolved from on-premise accounting systems that help customers manage financial data to dynamic, cloud-based solutions that are impacting almost every area of the business,” said Dan Drees, Chief Growth Officer at AvidXchange. “Despite this progress, there are still a significant number of companies who haven’t embraced fintech. Understanding why and helping businesses adopt it will be the primary challenge for the financial services industry as we move forward.”

Collectively, the lack of familiarity with disruptive technologies indicates a significant area of opportunity for businesses to close this knowledge gap by learning more about fintech innovations and how they will alter the way companies operate in the immediate future.

To read more about how emerging technologies are impacting the B2B fintech space and being embraced by customers, download the full white paper here:

 

SOURCE AvidXchange

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