Trevor Milton, the CEO and founder of Nikola Motor Company, is defending his company’s receipt of $4.1 million from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to CNBC.
While the program is touted by lawmakers and the White House as a lifeline to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and their workers, the Phoenix hybrid truck manufacturer is another example of a mega company that received the cash.
The startup, founded in 2014, merged in March with VectoIQ Acquisition Corp., a NASDAQ-listed publicly-traded acquisition company, and is valued at more than $3 billion, according to Trucks.com. The deal has not closed.
Thanks to the merger, Nikola will receive more than $500 million from investors including Fidelity and ValueAct Capital, the report said.
A Nikola spokeswoman declined a request for comment by PYMNTS and referred us to the company’s statement in the CNBC report.
“There’s a difference between a high valuation and having cash,” the statement said. “Nikola is a pre-revenue company with a lot of expenses and burn rate is high. Since PPP funds will be used to retain staff, the lifeline follows the spirit of the Act in that we’re preserving high paying jobs.”
At the leading edge of the financial services industry, artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the way that businesses operate. As that wave crashes over the industry at large, we might expect to see the legacy IT system – monolithic, in-house, and bespoke – become a thing of the past as banks prepare for the reality of data-led operations. With new technologies helping to streamline and optimise processes ranging from quantitative trading to risk management, bringing the benefits to bear for customers will mean analysing vast datasets and making them actionable and transparent.
Consumers, meanwhile, are already having their expectations conditioned by this new reality across other sectors, particularly in terms of self-managing their purchasing. Whether you want to transfer money, apply for a mortgage, order food, hail a taxi, or just speak to friends, apps are now the go-to tool. Faced with tough challenges around security and trust, the financial sector is still catching up – and will continue to do so as AI-powered offerings become endemic. Those legacy IT systems, meanwhile, are failing to deliver the flexibility and visibility that customers need in order to fully manage their own finances.
The evolution of legacy systems
Financial services have been a data-heavy proposition for a long time, but as banks and insurers open up this kind of functionality to their customers – and attempt to do so in a way which offers ease of use – the additional data flows created cause ripples which can affect every part of the IT estate, imperilling speed and reliability. For many, this pressure is accentuated by cloud-native start-up competitors built expressly to enable the digitally-native experiences customers now expect.
Today, many companies are positioning themselves as convenience providers by offering a seamless transaction experience. For instance, Rocket Mortgage’s slogan “push a button, get a mortgage” promises a quick online mortgage application. This customer-friendly tech, not only captures the attention of the customer but also offers them accessible support through social media platforms and apps. The impact of this trend can be seen with JPMorgan, which has allotted $11.4 billion on technology for the year ahead, signifying a serious prioritisation of tech within the company.
The magnitude of that spend also, however, indicates the magnitude of the challenge. In a situation where root-and-branch system overhauls can be either prohibitively expensive or, given the value of pre-existing datasets, prohibitively risky, while ad-hoc solutions are either insufficient or only redouble the pressure on legacy systems, businesses are turning to alternative, AI-led solutions for transformation.
The way in which many organisations have begun to combat lethargic IT systems has been to use automation tools such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA).According to a recent NetApp survey, decision-makers in both the banking and insurance industries see this as the ideal starting point for integrating AI solutions in their companies.By intelligently integrating with existing systems and managing how data flows through and around it – rather than relying solely on the transport networks those systems already have – RPA can be an effective bridge between the accrued value of long-running systems and the competitive advantage of innovative customer experiences.
Originally Published by
Grant Caley, CTO of NetApp, April 22,2020
Global Banking & Finance Review
Across the globe, organisations large and small are starting to harness the power of data. Data capital will be viewed as one of a company’s most important assets, becoming an engine of commerce and innovation for the 21st century.
Whether it’s a car manufacturer, an inner-city artisan bakery or an international investment hedge fund, every business has several assets from which it can derive value.
These might be categorised as inventory (computers, kitchen tools, robotic manufacturing equipment), people, land, money, vehicles, investments and even good will. There are also assets that you can derive intellectual property from, and that you treat as a capital asset of the business.
Data capital is now being recognised as something akin to those other forms of assets, and more and more organisations are realising the opportunities it opens for them.
What is data capital?
Data assets may be centred around the customers that a business serves. People will have opted in, for example, to allow data that they generate to be used by the organisation. This will be familiar to anyone signing up to a mailing list or consenting to cookies on a website.
It might also generate non-person data, such as that produced from machines, stock or an understanding of processes in a given area of the market that they serve.
An organisation might also utilise a third party, such as a research or analyst agency, and gather external data on a market area. They would then typically blend that data with the data that they generate themselves, and the sum of the two would be how the company would consider data capital in the broader sense.
Is data now the most important asset a company has?
April 20, 2020
The coronavirus has forced us to embrace the connected age in ways we might not have dreamed of a few short months ago. Work from home, play games (online) from home, bank from the comfort of your couch — because the bank branches are closed, of course.
The questions remain, though, as 4G gives way to 5G, as hackers target us with new attack vectors as commerce and daily life go increasingly online … is the infrastructure underpinning it all robust enough — and is it safe?
Some high-level numbers show the appeal of 5G. The wireless technology is between 10 to 100 times faster and more data rich that the 4G that we are accustomed to.
If there’s been one positive of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s been that, as Knudsen said, the internet has worked — so far at least.
“We’ve really never had to test of it on this scale,” he said of the tech backbone that underpins all manner of devices. “The design of this, this thing dates back to the early ‘70s and we’re still running on this essentially very old technology.”
We’re a long way from flying cars, smart highways and predictive maintenance, but telemedicine is quickly becoming the norm, at least when it’s possible to have low latency and high security.
The hospitality group behind Ruth’s Chris Steak House — operator or franchiser of 159 restaurants — showed a profit of $42 million on $468 million in revenue in 2019 and a workforce topping 5,000, according to The Wall Street Journal. Yet, the company is one of many big conglomerates that bagged forgivable loans from the government’s $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Ruth’s Hospitality Group snagged $20 million in Small Business Administration (SBA) loans on April 7, according to multiple reports that cited a securities filing, including Reuters. The PPP launched on April 3 and ran out of money on April 16.
The loans, with just 1 percent interest rate, were intended for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with less than 500 employees, but the $2 trillion stimulus bill enabled restaurants and hotel chains to take part in the program as long as each physical location did not exceed 500 employees, according to the WSJ.
The PPP fund ran out of money before many SMBs owners even heard back from their banks about qualifications. The SBA indicated that 1.1 million applications were approved by April 14 for $263 billion, with the average loan size roughly $239,000.
Over 25 percent of the money from the PPP went to less than 2 percent of the firms that got loans, according to Reuters. Further, the report indicated that the SBA loans “appeared to reach a greater proportion of businesses in Republican-leaning states that have imposed the lightest restrictions on business and have had relatively few confirmed coronavirus cases.”
According to a Reuters analysis of SBA and Census Bureau data, 583 loans were extended for every 1,000 businesses in North Dakota. Comparatively, 149 of every 1,000 businesses in California received loans.
He’s putting $1 billion toward his Start Small fund
Jack Dorsey, the CEO of both Twitter and digital payments platform Square, said on Tuesday that he will donate $1 billion worth of equity in Square to his Start Small Foundation to fund COVID-19 relief around the world. Dorsey made the announcement in a tweet, revealing that the sum equates to roughly 28 percent of his current net worth, or about $3.6 billion. The announcement marks the most significant philanthropic effort from the 43-year-old tech executive in his career.
Dorsey is far from as wealthy as tech moguls like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Yet, thanks to the performance of the shares he owns in both Square and Twitter, he is still a billionaire and until last year had not openly made plans to donate a majority of his wealth beyond the existence of the Start Small fund, which Forbes reports is a donor-advised fund that doesn’t have to disclose where its investments are directed.
Left to right: Department of Mathematics Professor Alan Edelman, his co-instructor and family Corgi Philip, and visiting professor and longtime Julia lab collaborator David Sanders have altered their computational thinking course to encourage input on COVID-19 responses.
Nearly 300 students join an open course that applies data science, artificial intelligence, and mathematical modeling using the Julia language to study Covid-19.
When an introductory computational science class, which is open to the general public, was repurposed to study the Covid-19 pandemic this spring, the instructors saw student registration rise from 20 students to nearly 300.
Introduction to Computational Thinking (6.S083/18.S190), which applies data science, artificial intelligence, and mathematical models using the Julia programming language developed at MIT, was introduced in the fall as a pilot half-semester class. It was launched as part of the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing’s computational thinking program and spearheaded by Department of Mathematics Professor Alan Edelman and Visiting Professor David P. Sanders. They very quickly were able to fast-track the curriculum to focus on applications to Covid-19 responses; students were equally fast in jumping on board.
“Everyone at MIT wants to contribute,” says Edelman. “While we at the Julia Lab are doing research in building tools for scientists, Dave and I thought it would be valuable to teach the students about some of the fundamentals related to computation for drug development, disease models, and such.”
Sandi Miller | Department of Mathematics
April 7, 2020
Talent departments are spending $250 billion on recruitment, interviewing and candidate assessment solutions. But as employers invest in these disparate technologies, they sacrifice efficiency and deliver a disconnected experience throughout the talent lifecycle.
Enter the AI chatbot. Phenom, a leader in Talent Experience Management (TXM), is a single platform that individualizes the end-to-end talent journey for candidates, recruiters, employees and management. The company recenlty released its report, Chatbots for Recruiting: 2020 Benchmarks, which analyzes more than 20 million chatbot interactions from over 100 Phenom Bot deployments. The report showcases how career sites with chatbots convert more applicants and nearly double the number of candidate leads.
According to the report, chatbots play a significant role in the candidate journey, validating the need for organizations to adopt and implement them during the hiring process. In one use case, a healthcare company experienced a 1,142% increase in candidate leads in the first 30 days.
Daniel Guiterrez, March 26, 2020
When I was in college at the University of Pennsylvania, JJ Fliegelman (my co-founder and WayUp’s CTO) and I bonded over our mutual frustrations regarding the process of looking for internships and jobs while in college. And after joining Google right after graduation, I saw the frustration from the other side—so many applications for far fewer roles. It became clear how hard it was to recruit college students and recent grads because there’s so much quantity. It’s often hard to find great quality and diversity while also providing a great candidate experience.
Between those experiences and my growing passion for entrepreneurship, JJ and I both decided to quit our jobs at McKinsey and Google, respectively, and start WayUp together, which we did in July 2014 under its original name “Campus Job.”
The need to create a level playing field and provide more equal opportunity to the workforce of tomorrow is what really drove me to found the company. In the beginning, we said our biggest competitor was “nepotism.” I strongly felt that employers needed a company like WayUp, and early-career candidates needed a transparent, helpful and reliable place to find their dream job.
Liz Wessel, Co-Founder & CEO of WayUp
March 25, 2020
As COVID-19 spreads across the world, hospitals have become ground zero for the virus.
It can be challenging for all the surfaces in a hospital room to be thoroughly disinfected when that room is being cleaned and prepared for the next patient. This poses obvious health risks, especially during a pandemic.
One company has developed a robot to help battle hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), and is now in a position to potentially help slow the spread of coronavirus within health care settings.
San Antonio-based Xenex makes full-spectrum UV Germ-Zapping Robots to eliminate harmful bacteria, viruses and spores that can cause HAIs in a patient environment. Ultimately, the company wants to become the new standard method for disinfection in health care facilities worldwide.
“The mission from the beginning was to reduce pain, suffering and needless deaths caused by hospital infections,” CEO Morris Miller told Crunchbase News.
Mary Ann Azevedo, March 25, 2020
The GSMA reported another huge jump in the value of transactions made over mobile money platforms, as the number of registered accounts surpassed 1 billion during 2019.
In its annual State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money, the association said by end-2019 there were 290 live services across 95 countries. The industry processed $690.1 billion-worth of transactions, up 26 per cent on 2018.
Of the 1 billion registered accounts, 372 million were deemed active, defined as accessed at least once every 90 days. Total registered accounts was up 10 per cent over 2018, with the active number 14 per cent higher.
East Asia and Pacific recorded the highest percentage increase in accounts, though Sub-Saharan Africa remained the world’s largest mobile money area by all other metrics.
Chris Donkin, March 26, 2020
Mobile World Live
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) issued fresh guidelines for countries to develop emergency plans to maintain access to telecom networks and services during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
In a statement, ITU secretary general Houlin Zhao said the outbreak showed how “vital information and communication technology networks and services” are to pandemic and disaster management.
Zhao detailed how national emergency telecommunication plans “can ensure there is effective and timely sharing of information across all levels of government, within affected communities and among humanitarian agencies to prioritise response efforts and to save lives”.
Manny Pham, March 20,2020
Mobile World Live
Nokia launched into an emerging battle for 5G patent bragging rights among the world’s big-three vendors, declaring it had registered more than 3,000 patents as essential for next-generation networks and pumped approximately €4.4 billion into broader technology R&D in 2019 alone.
In a statement, the company said it had declared the 5G patents to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), reaching the milestone less than six months after hitting the 2,000 mark.
Nokia pointed to contributions in innovations and standardisation to the tune of €129 billion in R&D spend over the past two decades, a sum which ramped for 5G during 2019.
With its latest feat, Nokia said its portfolio of cellular standard essential patents (SEP) were declared to one or more of the 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G standards, spanning more than 3,400 patent families, 3,000 of which are relevant to the next generation.
Kavit Majithia, March 24, 2020
Mobile World Live
Image: Disney Pixar's Onward
As movie theaters across the country shut down due to the ongoing global pandemic, new films are being released on demand instead of hitting theaters first. From the latest Pixar adventure to a new Vin Diesel action flick, there's a ton of great options to choose from when scrolling through on demand.
If you're used to catching new releases in theaters, here's what watching a film "on demand" means: a title will be available to rent via your cable TV provider and most of the following streaming services: Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Vudu, Google, YouTube, Fandango, DirecTV, Charter, Dish, Cox, Altice, Sony, Frontier, and Verizon.
Because these films were supposed to premiere on the big screen, their rental prices for at home viewing will be higher than usual—about $20 per film. If you're viewing with the whole family, however, the price is much lower than multiple movie theater tickets.
Here's the full list of every major movie being released on demand instead of in theaters:
Plot synopsis: "Two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, go on an journey to discover if there is still a little magic left out there in order to spend one last day with their father, who died when they were too young to remember him."
When is it available on demand?: March 20th (will begin streaming Disney+ on April 3)
Emily Lee, March 23, 2020
Image Source: Thinkstock
Researchers used artificial intelligence to predict tumor senstivity to three systematci cancer therapies.
Applying artificial intelligence tools to standard CT scans could help predict tumor response in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to research published in Clinical Cancer Research.
The current method for determining if a patient with NSCLC is responding to systemic therapy requires radiologists to quantify changes in tumor size and the appearance of new lesions. However, this approach can be limited, especially in patients undergoing immunotherapy treatments. These patients can display atypical patterns of response and progression, researchers noted.
“Newer systemic therapies prompt the need for alternative metrics for response assessment, which can shape therapeutic decision-making,” said Laurent Dercle, MD, PhD, associate research scientist in the Department of Radiology at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
By Jessica Kent
March 23, 2020
Image Source: Thinkstock
The portable device uses machine learning to detect coughing sounds and crowd size in real time, dirctly monitoring flu-like illnesses and flu trends.
March 24, 2020 - Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) have developed a portable surveillance tool that leverages machine learning and real-time data to monitor flu-like illnesses and flu patterns.
The device, called FluSense, can detect coughing sounds and crowd size in real time, and could add to the collection of tools used to forecast seasonal flu and other viral outbreaks. The team recently published the results of their research in the journal Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies.
“This may allow us to predict flu trends in a much more accurate manner,” said Tauhidur Rahman, assistant professor of computer and information sciences and co-author of the study.
IDC has offered a gloomy analysis of the semiconductor market amid the Covid-19 pandemic, suggesting significant shrinkage compared with the earlier expected minor overall growth.
In its latest report, titled Impact of COVID-19 on the Worldwide Semiconductor Market Forecast, IDC notes that despite the disruption, to human life as well as the international technology supply chain, the report states that there is still a one-in-five chance that the market would bounce back from the contagion in 2020.
The most probable results for this event would be a year-over-year revenue loss of 6% for the worldwide semiconductor market in 2020, says IDC, giving the scenario a probability of 54%. The entire semiconductor segment is likely to see a loss of $25.8b and the effect will be felt throughout the year. According to the market researcher, the demand for systems and availability of components would be at their lowest for some time, but will gradually start recovering once the outbreak is in control.
By IoT News
24 March 2020, 12:12 p.m
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