Gridsum Supports Chinese New Year Marketing Campaign for China Southern Airlines

BEIJING, Feb. 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Gridsum Holding Inc. (“Gridsum” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: GSUM), a leading provider of cloud-based big-data analytics and artificial intelligence (“AI”) solutions in China, today announced that China Southern Airlines Company Limited (“China Southern Airlines”) (NYSE: ZNH) has launched a Chinese New Year marketing campaign using Gridsum’s Marketing Automation suite. The marketing campaign will employ virtual reality (“VR”) and augmented reality (“AR”) technologies to create an immersive 360-degree advertising experience for users across multiple marketing channels including Baidu apps, Baidu Tieba, Weibo and WeChat. This is the first marketing campaign of its kind for an airline in China.

The Chinese New Year marketing campaign is leveraging Gridsum’s Marketing Automation suite, cloud-based big-data analytics and AI capabilities to create a variety of highly-targeted marketing content. Gridsum began collaborating with China Southern Airlines in June 2017 to improve its search engine marketing campaigns on Baidu. By the end of 2017, China Southern Airline’s return on its investment in search engine marketing had significantly improved from 2016, resulting in the expansion of the scope of service which now includes other search engines such as Qihoo360, Sogou, and Google among others.

Mr. Guosheng Qi, Chief Executive Officer of Gridsum, commented, “The Chinese New Year holiday is one of the most important travel periods in China and we are excited to support this first-of-its-kind marketing campaign for China Southern Airlines. By leveraging our deep experience in generating innovative highly-targeted marketing content for cross-platform campaigns, our Marketing Automation suite will help China Southern Airlines on their marketing strategy and further improve their business KPIs during China’s peak travel season. With an expanded mandate from China Southern Airlines, we will continue to work closely with them to develop new value-added services and marketing content in order to help them make better data-driven business decisions and increase marketing and sales efficiency.”

About China Southern Airlines Company Limited

China Southern Airlines Company Limited (NYSE: ZNH) provides commercial airline services throughout Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan regions, Southeast Asia and other parts of the world.

For more information about the Company, please visit http://global.csair.com.

About Gridsum

Gridsum Holding Inc. (NASDAQ: GSUM) is a leading provider of cloud-based big-data analytics and AI solutions for multinational and domestic enterprises and government agencies in China. Gridsum’s core technology, the Gridsum Big Data Platform, is built on a distributed computing framework and performs real-time multi-dimensional correlation analysis of both structured and unstructured data. This enables Gridsum’s customers to identify complex relationships within their data and gain new insights that help them make better business decisions. The Company is named “Gridsum” to symbolize the combination of distributed computing (Grid) and analytics (sum). As a digital intelligence pioneer, the Company’s mission is to help enterprises and government organizations in China use data in new and powerful ways to make better informed decisions and be more productive.

Safe Harbor Statement

This announcement contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements can be identified by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “aims,” “future,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates,” “likely to” and similar statements. Among other things, quotations from management in this announcement as well as Gridsum’s strategic and operational plans contain forward-looking statements. Gridsum may also make written or oral forward-looking statements in its reports filed with, or furnished to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in its annual reports to shareholders, in press releases and other written materials and in oral statements made by its officers, directors or employees to third parties. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about Gridsum’s beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement, including but not limited to the following: unexpected difficulties in Gridsum’s pursuit of its goals and strategies; the unexpected developments, including slow growth, in the digital intelligence market; reduced demand for, and market acceptance of, Gridsum’s solutions; difficulties keeping and strengthening relationships with customers; potentially costly research and development activities; competitions in the digital intelligence market; PRC governmental policies relating to media, software, big data, the internet, internet content providers and online advertising; and general economic and business conditions in the regions where Gridsum provides solutions and services. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in Gridsum’s reports filed with, or furnished to, the Securities and Exchange Commission. All information provided in this press release is as of the date of this press release, and Gridsum undertakes no duty to update such information except as required under applicable law.

For more information, please visit http://www.gridsum.com/.

Investor Relations

Gridsum

ir@gridsum.com

Christensen

In China

Mr. Christian Arnell

Phone: +86-10-5900-1548

Email: carnell@christensenir.com

In U.S.

Mr. Tip Fleming

Phone: +1 917 412 3333

Email: tfleming@christensenir.com

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Can China Unicom be reborn through its BATJ partnership?

Though China’s telecommunications sector remains under strict government control, the country’s No. 2 operator, China Unicom, has been stepping up efforts to move to a mixed ownership structure.

As part of the program, Unicom has forged an alliance with four internet giants, hoping to leverage the ties to establish a whole new business model, rather than remain content with just selling connectivity to users.

Last week, Unicom announced approvals for the appointment of new board directors, helping bring in top executives from Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and JD.com, the so-called BATJ firms.

The expanded Unicom board now includes Lu Shan, a senior executive vice president of Tencent; Robin Li, the chairman and CEO of Baidu; Liao Jianwen, the chief strategy officer of JD.com; and Hu Xiaoming, a senior vice president of Alibaba.

Their appointment follows a move by Unicom to introduce Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and JD.com as strategic shareholders as part of a mixed ownership reform.

Unicom has been under huge pressure from key competitors China Mobile and China Telecom, as the company failed to boost its market share in both the mobile and fixed-line segments.

China Mobile has been dominating the mobile market on the mainland for a long time. Meanwhile, latecomer China Telecom has been catching up with Unicom in terms of total mobile users.

In the fixed-line broadband business, Unicom is also challenged by China Mobile as the latter aggressively rolled out service on the back of China Teitong’s network.

From the consumer market perspective, Unicom is no doubt an underdog, and it is not easy for the firm to win back market share from rivals.

But now, the company hopes to improve the situation by taking advantage of its alliance with the four Chinese internet giants.

Leveraging on the strategic partnership with BATJ, Unicom is in a good position to implement service fee reform by waiving all the data usage fees on specific applications, and also move in line with the government’s policy of “reducing service fees whilst boosting the network speed”.

For example, Unicom can provide “data-free” service plan for services like Weixin, online games, online shopping, video streaming and other related services provided by BATJ. With launch of such new service plans, the telecoms firm should be able to attract a number of youngsters.

When more users opt for such plans, Unicom can work out a revenue sharing model with its partners to create “win-win” situation for both sides.

If such free data plans are successful, rivals like China Mobile and China Telecom would also follow afterwards, which should benefit all mobile users in the market.

As a smaller player in the market, Unicom needs to streamline its business operation and prepare for completely online operations, especially as the Chinese government could launch mobile number portability to all users in 2020.

When across-the-board portability is in place, it could provide a great opportunity for Unicom to win users from China Mobile, helped by service innovation and technology support.

Drawing on the experience of Alibaba and Tencent in e-commerce marketplace, Unicom should quickly develop its own pure-online sales platform before the number portability launch, enabling customers to register and select service plans and have the SIM cards delivered quickly anywhere.

Right now, mobile users in rural or inland cities in China don’t have a real choice in terms of service providers, due to the lack of retail outlets other than those of China Mobile. The people are forced to join China Mobile services.

In this situation, if Unicom launches an online platform with the help of BATJ, it can help transform the telecoms firm’s operation and facilitate service subscriptions over the Internet.

Apart from the consumer market, Unicom can also seize opportunities in the enterprise market, drawing on the expertise of the Internet firms in big data analytics and cloud computing services.

Unicom has already teamed up with Alibaba’s Aliyun service in China to provide public cloud service to enterprises in a bid to tap the opportunity arising from new government rules which required that public cloud services should be provided by state-owned firms.

Also, Unicom’s Wo Cloud service is using Alibaba’s cloud infrastructure, something that should help the operator to strengthen its service offering as a whole.

Unicom’s alliance with the BATJ firms may not translate into concrete financial gains for the telecoms operator in the short term, but it can surely pave way for a host of new possibilities in the long run, helping the firm accelerate its growth with an innovative business model.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RC

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China’s Fourth Industrial Revolution: Artificial Intelligence

Bottom Line:China’s nationwide pursuit to become the world leader in artificial intelligence (AI) is an attempt to not only match U.S. economic power, but to bypass it geo-strategically. While Beijing’s involvement is spurred by economic ambitions, it has made it clear that the development of AI will simultaneously be for military applications that could change the character of warfare and place the U.S. geopolitical disadvantage.

Background: China has quickly spurred its innovation engines into action, seeking to leapfrog U.S. military and technological supremacy by becoming the world leader in AI development. Their unique brand of capitalism and government control has enabled bottom-up innovation that is broadly guided by the hand of the Chinese Community Party. China’s whole-of-nation approach means the U.S. has found itself in a race against a strategic competitor to harness the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, former Director for East Asia Operations, CIA

“The future of A.I., for commercial and security application, appears unlimited; China will pursue this new technology with speed and significant state and private resources.”

  • China’s national push toward development in AI can be seen just in the sheer number of recent Chinese academic publications on the subject. Since 2014, China has surpassed the U.S. in number of published papers on deep learning and continued to increase its output by nearly 20 percent in 2016. While increases in the quantity of AI publications do not necessarily correspond with advances in quality, it is clear that China is seeking to advance its AI development significantly.
  • In March 2017, China established its National Engineering Laboratory of Deep Learning Technology under the leadership of Baidu. The purpose of the new research center involved exploring image and voice recognition, biometric identification, and new forms of human-machine interaction.
  • In July 2017, Beijing’s State Council released the New Generation AI Development Plan, laying out the nation’s strategy to lead the world in AI development by 2030. Broadly modeled off of the Obama administration’s 2016 push for a revolution in artificial intelligence, Beijing’s initiative includes building out indigenous capacity to create a $150 billion Chinese AI industry – led by tech giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent – as well as through foreign mergers and acquisitions, equity investments, venture capital and the establishment of research and development centers abroad.
  • There are a number of societal and organization characteristics that China possesses that might put it at an advantage in the development of advanced AI. The first is China’s particular brand of socialist market economy affords the government a significant amount of control and involvement in market forces. Not only does this mean Beijing can push for over-the-horizon innovation where market forces would typically fail, but it also has created a unique level of cooperation between Chinese tech companies and the government. This gives Beijing significant economic leverage to expand its political clout around the world, including through its One Belt, One Road initiative.
  • Perhaps most notably is the Chinese government’s nearly complete access to consumer data – the lifeblood of machine learning and artificial intelligence – with little to no privacy protections. The Chinese startup Yitu Tech, which maintains a close relationship with state security, shares access to the biometric data of 1.8 billion Chinese that it feeds into its facial recognition software. But while the Chinese government continues to maintain complete access to the data of its citizens – and shares it with industry partners – there does seem to be a recent effort to create data privacy protections among industry similar to the EU’S General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which could have long-term implications for Chinese AI development.

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, former Director for East Asia Operations, CIA

“China is dedicating significant resources to research and development on all types of artificial intelligence, with commercial, security and military application. China’s recent five-year plan reportedly committed well-over one hundred billion dollars to AI, indicative of the leadership’s keen interest in eventually becoming the world’s leader in AI. As China moves forward with its One Belt One Road Initiative and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, projects that reach out to more than eighty countries, AI will become an integral part of these international infrastructure projects. It will permit China to apply and further develop their AI capabilities, eventually securing their leadership role with this new multifunctional technology.”

William Carter, Deputy Director, Technology Policy Program, CSIS

“From China’s perspective, AI will be like mobile and desktop computing before that. It will be an economic revolution that creates and entire new generation of digital capabilities in physical systems that they can sell and embed around the world. So they see the development of AI as an opportunity to develop a presence and set the baseline for how other countries around the world, particularly in the developing world, interact with technology and data.”

Issue: China’s pursuit of AI extends to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) through a national strategy of military-civil fusion. This militarization of AI has far-reaching implications for how China will hold political sway abroad and conduct itself militarily – a strategy referred to as “intelligentized” warfare, according to a November 2017 report by the Center for New American Security. Broadly speaking, advancements in Chinese AI have the capacity to support military command and control, intelligence deduction, advance combat training and military readiness, tailor and scale cyber and information operations against opponents and create counterintelligence vulnerabilities.

Elsa Kania, Adjunct Fellow, Technology and National Security Program, CNAS

“Notably, China’s New Generation AI Development Plan explicitly highlights an approach of military-civil fusion to ensure that advances in AI can be readily leveraged for national defense. To actualize this objective, China will continue to establish and normalize mechanisms for coordination and collaboration among scientific research institutes, universities, enterprises and military industry units, while seeking to ensure that military and civilian innovation resources will be ‘constructed together and shared.’ This strategy is advanced through CCP’s Military-Civil Fusion Development Commission, established in early 2017 under the leadership of Xi Jinping himself. Consequently, the boundaries between military and civilian advances will remain highly blurred in AI.”

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, former Director for East Asia Operations, CIA

“Given China’s ambitious military modernization program, and its focus on the space and cyber domains, it’s fair to assume that AI will be incorporated into China’s C4ISR – Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. Its immediate application to China’s activities in the South China Sea and pursuit of an anti-access/area denial is obvious.”

  • Much like the Pentagon’s Third Offset strategy, Beijing is seeking to embed increasingly sophisticated AI into robotics for autonomous operating guidance and control systems. Automation is already being incorporated in the China’s unmanned aerial, ground and maritime vehicles. Manned-unmanned teaming operations, such as those involving the Caihong-5 (CH-5) aerial drone or the D3000 stealthy maritime combat drone, could be particularly useful in controlling the airspace and waters beyond the Chinese mainland.
  • Should Chinese drones be linked through neural networks to create swarms as part of China’s anti-access area denial (A2/AD) strategy in the South China Sea, Beijing could hinderS. freedom of navigation in the region. In December 2017, at the Guangzhau Airshow, the Chinese demonstrated the largest swarm to date, flying over 1,000 small drones in formation. This was following a display of 119 fixed-wing drones flying in formation in June.
  • Aside from pursing autonomy within military robotics, China seeks to leverage AI as an enabler of enhanced decision-making and intelligence analysis. Advances in the automation for aggregating different sensors and processing that information – such as for satellite imagery – shorten the decision-making time for strategic advantage, perhaps even predicting military maneuvers of opponents in advance. China already plans on equipping its nuclear submarines with AI capable of filtering through large quantities of data to support commanders’ decision-making.
  • There is a discussion however that with the advent of advanced AI and machine learning, the tempo of decision-making could surpass human cognitive ability; meaning humans could eventually be removed from the decision loop over military command and control.
  • The more data fed into AI systems to assist in decision-making, the more likely these systems will also be useful in virtual war gaming. Given the PLA’s actual lack of combat experience, such data-informed war gaming could help better train a Chinese military for a confrontation with a capable opponent such as the United States.
  • Perhaps the most likely medium where there is strong utility for advances in AI is in psychological warfare and cyber operations. Automation allows scale, while machine learning facilitates tailored messaging and attacks. China could leverage AI to profile targets through their social media and customize attacks to shape and amplify Chinese companies such as iFlyTek are already capable of spoofing video and audio recordings, a potentially disruptive tool for psychological operations. Chinese hackers equipped with advanced AI could similar customize attacks or overwhelm network defenders with hoards of autonomous hacking bots engaged in highly tailored spear-phishing campaigns at scale.
  • China’s development of AI to better enable its internal surveillance and censorship regime also has implications for counterintelligence. The ubiquity of closed-circuit cameras and invasive monitoring of online communications in China – along with the advent of biometric data-crunching AI – mean that maintaining secrecy of U.S. intelligence operatives in the country will become more and more difficult. China will also be able to filter through U.S. data – such as the over 20 million profiles of U.S. federal employees stolen from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) discovered in June 2015 – and create a profile of potential targets for their own intelligence collection.

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, former Director for East Asia Operations, CIA

“Currently, China’s success in the utilization of AI for internal security purposes (like facial recognition), as a complement to the work they’re doing on bio-metrics, are tools available to the Ministry of Public Security for monitoring and surveillance purposes.”

William Carter, Deputy Director, Technology Policy Program, CSIS

“Where I am really concerned, and where I think they are making a lot of progress, is in counterintelligence. The Chinese are collecting a huge amount of data on their own people. They are collecting as much data as they can on foreigners. They collect the fingerprints and huge amount of data on every individual that enters China and they are feeding all of this into databases that are supported by machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify potential security threats to the Chinese government – potential foreign operatives who are actually coming to China to recruit people to try to extract classified information. They are also using to identify Chinese who could be coopted by foreign governments and foreign intelligence services. That is a huge issue for us.”

Elsa Kania, Adjunct Fellow, Technology and National Security Program, CNAS

“Consistent with its asymmetric approach to military modernization, the PLA could leverage AI to target perceived weaknesses in U.S. ways of warfare. For instance, the PLA has concentrated on advancing integrated network-electronic warfare to target U.S. battle networks, and the capability to leverage AI, whether in enabling cognitive electronic warfare or autonomous cyber operations, could further enhance these capabilities. The PLA recognizes the potential advantages of swarms to saturate the defenses of high-value U.S. weapons platforms, such as fighter jets or aircraft carriers, even depicting such a scenario in its Military Museum in Beijing. To offset current U.S. dominance in the undersea domain, the PLA is also developing autonomous underwater vehicles and reportedly planning to introduce ‘AI-augmented brainpower’ into its nuclear submarines to achieve an advantage. At present, the PLA’s capabilities for information support remain a limitation on its capacity to project power. However, the introduction of AI to enhance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) could increase the efficiency of these capabilities. In addition, the PLA appears to be incorporating AI technologies into its next-generation missiles and likely also missile defenses, seeking to enhance their precision and lethality. It remains to be seen whether the PLA may incorporate AI in support of its nuclear systems, which would raise questions about the potential impact on nuclear and strategic stability.”

Response:Since 2014, the U.S. military has already begun its Third Offset strategy by seeking to work more closely with U.S. tech giants in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, and to quickly acquire cutting-edge technology for military and intelligence purposes. And while China may have certain societal and organization advantages to their quick development of AI, it is possible these could leave them open to countermeasures in the long-term.

  • One of the potential organizational inhibitions of the U.S. incorporating advanced AI into its own military and intelligence systems surround requirements of justifying actions – particularly lethal action – within a democracy. For most AI and machine learning systems, how they come to the conclusions that they do remains a “black box” and therefore developing “explainable” AI so that decision-making can trust and are held accountable for the outputs of AI systems is important. China is not necessarily held back by the same constraints to justify their actions.
  • In the long-term, however, this could open China up to countermeasures against their AI such as data manipulation or corruption or the modification of its protocols. Without the societal incentive to peer into AI decision-making to justify its conclusions, it would be difficult to detection when the U.S. might be employing these countermeasures that could lead Chinese military commanders and systems astray.

Elsa Kania, Adjunct Fellow, Technology and National Security Program, CNAS

“The U.S. military must recognize the PLA’s emergence as a true peer competitor and reevaluate the nature of U.S.-China military and technological competition. As China seeks to become a scientific superpower to rival the U.S., this race to innovate is emerging as a new frontier of strategic competition. In recent history, the U.S. has possessed clear, often uncontested military-technical advantage, but it may not be feasible to achieve a similar edge in AI, given China’s rise and the rapid diffusion of these technologies. Consequently, U.S. military advantage might be best assured through leveraging perhaps more enduring advances in the human and organizational dimensions of innovation in which the Chinese military may struggle.”

Anticipation: The strategic race for AI dominance between the U.S. and China is only beginning and it remains uncertain who will lead the world in this new technology. U.S. tech giants such as Alphabet, Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft have remained at the forefront AI development, despite Chinese advancements, and will continue to innovate using their unique multinational positions. But China will took expand its industry to facilitate AI innovation along its One Belt, One Road trade initiative.

William Carter, Deputy Director, Technology Policy Program, CSIS

“If you are talking about access to data, U.S. companies are in a better position than China’s because of their global footprint and also as a result of that global footprint, they have information on a wider and more diverse array of people. And ultimately it is studying the similiarities and differences across heterogenous groups in a large dataset where you can get the most value for AI. Chinese companies have data on Chinese people. They do not have a large international footprint, they do not have a lot of foreign customers. U.S. companies have massive datasets on billions of users around the world. That is a strength.”

Elsa Kania, Adjunct Fellow, Technology and National Security Program, CNAS

“As AI catalyzes a fourth industrial revolution, China intends to lead it, leveraging AI to enhance its economic dynamism and military capabilities alike. As China builds a vibrant digital economy, the commercial applications of AI and big data could transform the Chinese economy and society, from healthcare to self-driving cars. Pursuant to the One Belt, One Road strategy, there is a new focus on the digital Silk Road, through which China will seek to leverage the advantages of sharing big data and enhancing digital connectivity, while advancing international scientific cooperation in AI. As an AI power and first mover, China also intends to lead in the formulation of technical standards and mechanisms for global governance of AI, perhaps reinforcing its own interests and advantages in the process.”

Levi Maxey is a cyber and technology analyst at The Cipher Brief. Follow him on Twitter @lemax13.

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“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 2/5/2018

Above the Trend Line: your industry rumor central is a recurring feature of insideBIGDATA. In this column, we present a variety of short time-critical news items grouped by category such as people movements, funding news, financial results, industry alignments, rumors and general scuttlebutt floating around the big data, data science and machine learning industries including behind-the-scenes anecdotes and curious buzz. Our intent is to provide you a one-stop source of late-breaking news to help you keep abreast of this fast-paced ecosystem. We’re working hard on your behalf with our extensive vendor network to give you all the latest happenings. Heard of something yourself? Tell us! Just e-mail me at: daniel@insidebigdata.com. Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.

Welcome back for a new installment of “Above the Trend Line,” insideBIGDATA.com’s rumor central. I can’t believe it’s already February and with one month of 2018 already under our belt, the big data ecosystem is steaming ahead. Let’s start with a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has formed a strategic alliance with and made a minority investment in Maana, a pioneer in digital knowledge technology enabling industrial companies to accelerate digital transformation. The alliance will initially target oil and gas clients, with plans to expand to other industries. Terms of the investment were not disclosed. The Maana Knowledge PlatformTM, which creates digital knowledge based on human expertise and data and augments people’s abilities to make better and faster decisions, complements Accenture’s deep industry expertise and capabilities. By working together, Accenture can extend its intelligent industry solutions such as Digital Plant Operations and Intelligent Operations Center with Maana’s knowledge platform™, which accelerates creation of knowledge models using its patented knowledge graph and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. Through the use of AI and analytics within the Maana Knowledge PlatformTM, Accenture can help clients digitize decision flows and optimize assets and operations … Kinetica, provider of the fast next-generation analytics database, announced its official entry into the South Korean market through a partnership with UClick, a well-established total business solutions provider. Together, Kinetica and UClick will bring a new generation of databases accelerated by NVIDIA GPUs to help solve the challenges of local enterprises around processing large amounts of real-time streaming data. With the increased adoption of artificial intelligence (AI)-based technologies and Internet of Things (IoT) in Korea, Kinetica will be a key enabler for various industries including energy, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and telecommunications, to use real-time analytics to improve their business outcomes … Distinguished scientist and professor Andrew McCallum, director of the Center for Data Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will lead a new partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to accelerate science and medicine. The goal of this project, called Computable Knowledge, is to create an intelligent and navigable map of scientific knowledge using a branch of artificial intelligence known as knowledge representation and reasoning. The Computable Knowledge project will facilitate new ways for scientists to explore, navigate, and discover potential connections between millions of new and historical scientific research articles. Once complete, the service will be accessible through Meta, a free CZI tool, and will help scientists track important discoveries, uncover patterns, and deliver insights among an up-to-date collection of published scientific texts, including more than 60 million articles … Location intelligence platform CARTO helps companies use location data to drive business decisions. CARTO software lets cities see the impact of a subway shutdown, sales teams build optimized territories, and insurers estimate damages from tropical storms. Now CARTO users have a new, cutting-edge mapping stack. CARTO is switching to Mapbox to power a new class of location data analysis tools for their customers. CARTO customers can now visualize massive data sets at 60 frames per second within CARTO software. They’re leveraging our geocoding for location search and our routing for analytics like isochrones so customers can understand the impact of location on their businesses … Technical complexity and other roadblocks shouldn’t prevent organizations from using advanced cloud services. So IBM and Mendix, a leader in low-code platforms, are partnering to make sure they don’t. The collaboration between IBM and Mendix will combine the ease of Mendix’s low-code environment with the advanced services available on IBM Cloud, including AI, blockchain, data analytics, mobile and Internet of things (IoT) services. This significantly accelerates the speed at which developers from all backgrounds, from highly skilled coders to professionals expanding their roles, can build and deploy cloud-native innovation. With Mendix on IBM Cloud, non-technical users can easily assemble software components and connect into datasets to build complex apps. The Mendix low-code development platform enables software creation through point-and-click interfaces instead of computer programming, reducing the amount of hand coding required to bring an app to production.

We’re also seeing the tech funding spigots wide open early in the year with a series of new and supplemental investments … C3 IoT, a leading AI and IoT software platform provider for digital transformation, announced a new $100 million round of financing by existing investors TPG Growth, Breyer Capital, Sutter Hill, Pat House, and Thomas M. Siebel. Joining the round is The Rise Fund, the global investment fund that is committed to achieving measurable social and environmental outcomes alongside competitive financial returns. C3 IoT provides several AI-based product offerings that deliver environmental and social benefits, such as energy management and precision health solutions … Arundo Analytics, a software company powering advanced analytics in heavy industry, announced an initial closing of $25 million on its Series A financing round. To date, the company has raised over $32.5 million since its founding in 2015 … Lightelligence is an MIT-spinoff company working on next-generation AI hardware. They are announcing seed round financing around $10M, backed by top VC investors and leading industry technologists. Lightelligence is developing nano-photonics based technology to accelerate artificial intelligence computation and more broadly information processing by leveraging the power of light – namely, ultra low latency, high throughput and extremely high power efficiency. The technology was developed at MIT after years of research in nanophotonics, deep learning and optical computing. The founding team includes world-renowned professors, Ph.Ds, experienced entrepreneurs and industry veterans in the field of semiconductors and consumer electronics. Lightelligence will license the technology exclusively from MIT Technology Licensing Office. The patents were filed when the founding team worked as researchers at MIT. The patents outline the foundation of the technology and cover the fundamental principal, component design, system design and algorithms … Trifacta, a leader in data wrangling, announced a $48 million in financing from new strategic investors, including Google, New York Life, Deutsche Boerse, Ericsson and Columbia Pacific, along with participation from existing investors Accel, Greylock Partners, Cathay Innovation, Ignition Partners, and Ridge Ventures. Since its founding in 2012, Trifacta has raised a total of $124 million in growth funding. Building on the company’s more than 3x increase in customer count, the new funding will support continued development of Trifacta’s award-winning data wrangling platform and accelerate the company’s expansion in cloud and new geographies … Dremio, the self-service data company, announced that the company has closed $25 million in Series B funding. The round was led by new investorNorwest Venture Partners with participation from existing investorsLightspeed Venture Partners andRedpoint Ventures. With this investment, Dremio will continue to disrupt the data analytics market by further expanding its engineering and sales teams and increasing its international reach. Dremio has raised a total of $40 million. Founded in 2015, Dremio’s customers include leading organizations in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia, such as Daimler, OVH, Quantium and TransUnion … Snowflake Computing, the data warehouse built for the cloud, announced it has closed $263 million in growth funding led by ICONIQ Capital, Altimeter Capital and newcomer Sequoia Capital. Snowflake’s latest round also includes the remainder of Snowflake’s existing funding partners: Capital One Growth Ventures, Madrona Venture Group, Redpoint Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures and Wing Ventures. Since its founding in 2012, Snowflake has raised a total of $473 million at a pre-money valuation of $1.5 billion. Snowflake continues to experience rapid growth thanks to its innovative cloud data warehouse that far surpasses the capabilities of legacy competitors. But the data warehouse was just the beginning. Snowflake continues to evolve what’s possible with data analytics, enabling enterprises to easily access critical data within their ecosystems and beyond. In the past year, Snowflake grew its customer base by 300 percent and has increased customer data stored in Snowflake four-fold … Unravel Data, the Application Performance Management (APM) platform designed for Big Data, announced that it has secured $15 million in Series B financing led by GGV Capital, with Microsoft Ventures and Menlo Ventures also participating. This brings the company’s total funding to $23 million. The investment will be used to increase sales and marketing staff and boost product development. The funding will allow Unravel to help more enterprises optimize their growing Big Data deployments. In addition, Glenn Solomon, Managing Partner at GGV Capital, will join Unravel’s Board of Directors.

In new pivot news we learned … TiesNetwork – the maker of the decentralized public database — changes its name to TiesDB as the company focuses all its activity on development and imminent launch of the database product. TiesDB rebrands to underscore its unrelenting focus on developing and launching the first public, decentralized distributed database that has been created by members of cryptocommunity for the cryptocommunity. This B2B product is badly needed to satisfy the soaring demand to store non-financial data. TiesDB database product emerged to satisfy the compelling need to store terabytes of non-financial data, and to conduct quick searches in it. The volume of this data is growing exponentially due to enormous growth of popularity of decentralized messengers, social networks, social networks-based media, and large encyclopedias. The new product is focused on the most acute needs of IT and crypto community. And finally, TiesDB is a decentralized solution, which means that its servers are public.

In the people movement category, we heard … Baidu Research, a division of Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU), announced today the hiring of three world-renowned artificial intelligence (AI) scientists, Dr. Kenneth Church, Dr. Jun Huan and Dr. Hui Xiong, and the establishment of two additional AI labs, the Business Intelligence Lab and the Robotics and Autonomous Driving Lab, as part of its push to strengthen fundamental AI research and development. Adding to Baidu Research’s powerful roster of AI experts, the new hires will help grow Baidu Research and advance AI development in China and around the world:

  • Dr. Kenneth Church is a pioneering and highly influential research scientist in Natural Language Processing (NLP). He founded Empirical Methods on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP), one of the most influential NLP conferences, where he also served as the president for several years. In 2012, Dr. Church served as the president of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), a prestigious international academic association in the field of NLP. Prior to joining Baidu Research, Dr. Church had worked at IBM Watson Research Center, Johns Hopkins University, Microsoft and AT&T Labs-Research. Dr. Church holds a PhD in computer science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Dr. Jun Huan is an expert in big data and data mining, and was previously Professor of Computer Science at the University of Kansas.
  • Dr. Hui Xiong, a Professor at Rutgers University, is focused on research in data and knowledge engineering.

In the new customer wins department we learned … artificial intelligence startup CognitiveScale announced the details of how NBCUniversal used CognitiveScale’s augmented intelligence platform to identify the core elements of successful Super Bowl ads. Using automated video attribution and explainability capabilities, CognitiveScale analyzed years of Super Bowl commercial videos and client engagement data to understand the attributes that provided the most lift across an array of key success metrics. It then surfaced actionable insights around key video concepts, features and themes to help with ad creative. Some examples of key takeaways included: (i) comedic effects most often work best with sales messages; (ii) uplifting tones work best with branding messages; and (iii) if you have video of someone singing in the ad, make sure they’re smiling … Arcadia Data, provider of the native visual analytics software for big data, announced Fintonic, a mobile banking company that uses machine learning algorithms to provide customers with highly targeted loans and insurance products, has selected Arcadia Enterprise as the modern data visualization and analytics engine of its new data architecture. Arcadia Data will allow Fintonic to more easily deliver key data from within the business to top management in near-real time to continue offering its users the best understanding of what is happening with their money … LivePerson, a leading provider of mobile and online messaging business solutions, is leveraging Anodot’s AI-powered analytics solution to track massive amounts of business-critical data and metrics in real time. By catching hidden issues and uncovering glitches, Anodot enables LivePerson to avoid downtime so the 18,000 businesses relying on conversational interfaces, such as messaging, can connect with consumers continuously and smoothly.

In the M&A department, we heard … Conversica, a leader in conversational AI for business, announced that it has acquired Intelligens.ai, a provider of conversational AI for sales and marketing focused on the Latin American market. Intelligens is a rapidly growing private company based in Santiago, Chile—the “Chilecon Valley” of Latin America. Founded in 2016, Intelligens brings with it more than 40 customers in Chile, Peru, Columbia and Bolivia. The Intelligens acquisition brings with it new Facebook Messenger, Slack and Skype integrations and a rich repository of AI conversations in Spanish, adding to Conversica’s already extensive machine learning data set. The Intelligens technology, conversations and data set will be incorporated into Conversica’s conversational AI platform over the coming months, allowing current customers to take advantage of the new capabilities and increased AI accuracy—a result of the larger training data set now available. In addition, customers will also benefit from an increased pace of innovation, thanks to the new data science and engineering talent joining the Conversica team … French technology company Akeneo, a leading provider of open source product information management (PIM) solutions, announced that it has acquired Sigmento, an Israel-based technology company specializing in product data automation. The acquisition bolsters Akeneo’s market-leading position among PIM providers and reinforces the company’s mission to help retailers turn product information into powerful brand assets. The combined entity, now equipped with state-of-the-art machine learning technologies, will allow large enterprise companies to deploy data intelligence and deliver integrated product attribute information across multiple channels far more quickly and at scale.

And finally, in observance of Data Privacy Day (January 28), we offer a number of observations from a number of our industry friends:

With the GDPR deadline of May 25 fast approaching, ensuring data is both identifiable and accessible is no easy feat,” said Neil Barton, CTO, WhereScape. “Data Privacy Day serves as a reminder about what can be achieved with proactive action to get control of your data before the GDPR deadline. It’s vital that organizations put their data onto the path to compliance now, as fines associated with GDPR will take a toll financially and in reputation. All data must be easily identifiable and explainable. The only way to ensure effective compliance is to identify where a particular piece of data sits, tag it and track its lineage throughout the environment in order to understand its usage. Additionally, to answer the ‘access upon request’ requirements, data must be stored in a location with extract capabilities, and with the ability to build those extract capabilities quickly. Data infrastructure automation software can help companies quickly get into a position to be ready for the May 25 deadline – ensuring they can best protect their organizations and the customers they serve.”

In 2018, it’s becoming impossible to exaggerate the threat that an outdated approach to data protection poses,” said Rob Strechay, SVP of Product, Zerto. “Recently, we’ve learned of Meltdown and Spectre, two major security flaws in microprocessors of nearly all the world’s computers. Last year, the WannaCry ransomware attack impacted hundreds of countries and the Equifax breach affected more than 145 million consumers. The attack surface continues to grow as our applications become more front and center pieces of our businesses. Our data is at risk, hacks and ransomware will continue to become more sophisticated. We can’t blame the targets for the malicious intent of a few, but we can expect for proper plans to be in place when attacks succeed. In today’s age we need to assume that complex hacks will happen and succeed. This may not be the direct fault of a CEO or CIO, but it is their responsibility to be prepared for the aftermath. The failure to have an up-to-date, rigorous IT resiliency plan in place will cause lasting damage. When inevitable hacks occur, the challenge will be to protect against the loss of essential data from within and to recover immediately, maintaining normal business operations so that customers and end-users experience zero impact.”

From the threats of malware attacks to the rise in popularity of IoT and smart devices, data is now more vulnerable than ever before,” said Chris Colotti, field CTO, Tintri. “As technology continues to advance, both companies and individuals need to remember the importance of keeping their data and information protected, both in the long and short term. Data Privacy Day is a great reminder of this. In this risky landscape, the key is to establish recovery point and recovery time objectives, which are a vast improvement over traditional backup tapes. For example, if your proactive security measures fail and your organization experiences a cyber-attack, you can speed up the recovery of data with online and near line snapshots. Being in a position to review snapshots quickly and enhance protection with multi-site replication is no longer a nice to have, but a must have.”

As enterprise data continues growing at exponential rates, artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities have emerged as the primary means for enterprises to respond and become Information-Driven,” said Scott Parker, senior product marketing manager at Sinequa. “While this evolution raises the efficiency and innovation of organizations and individual employees to unprecedented levels, it also introduces new data privacy risks and regulations. AI systems now exist that can analyze regulations across the world using multilingual natural language processing capabilities and determine whether a new regulation impacts specific organizations. Furthermore, these systems can identify who within an organization (R&D, legal, sales, marketing, etc.) should be informed and push the relevant information to these people. With this in mind, we should view data regulations like GDPR not as costly burdens but rather as opportunities to ensure compliance and data privacy while reaping the business benefits of accelerated innovation, increased productivity and optimized customer service.”

As data across all verticals continues its growth trajectory, so do the many data protection, privacy and security challenges for any IT Team,” said Trevor, Bidle, VP, information security and compliance officer, US Signal. “Data Privacy day presents an ideal opportunity for CTOs, and their teams, to take a close look at their data and determine the best approach for ensuring the ongoing protection of company data. Many businesses are choosing to engage third parties to outsource traditional IT services. In the face of an evolving regulatory climate, business has recognized the need for a IT Service Provider experienced in Compliance, Data Protection and has the network and infrastructure to create a fully compliant, secure solution allowing for the protection of data. Finding a provider that has the ability to address the administrative, technical and regulatory requirements of Data Privacy not only provides peace of mind, but it gives organizations the freedom to focus back on their own core business.”

The growth and value of data is constantly increasing, but so is the speed at which its security can be compromised,” said Gary Watson, Co-Founder and CTO, Nexsan. “Considering the high number of ransomware attacks in 2017, this year’s Data Protection Day should aim to refocus our attention on a key solution that prevents an attack from turning into a disaster – archive storage. Organizations that use long-term archive storage solutions as a second line of defence to house and keep data secure can be assured that it provides excellent, cost effective protection from the risks presented by ransomware.”

There can be no denying that we live in ‘the age of the app’ and the vast majority of organizations and consumers use them every day,” said Craig Hinkley, CEO, WhiteHat Security. “With new apps and updates to apps being written and released at an ever-growing rate, errors in the code they are built on can be exploited by attackers, therefore jeopardizing data protection and privacy. Although organizations and IT teams are well aware of network security, adding security to the development cycle can unfortunately be an after-thought. Working with a security mind-set and making it a top priority throughout development is essential to ensuring apps are less susceptible to attacks. The next wave of security is adopting a DevSecOps approach, which encourages collaboration between development, operations and security teams to elevate security as a priority throughout build and release cycles. More secure apps mean more secure data and privacy, and all of this adds up to helping us all live a safe digital life.”

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China’s Search Engine Giant Baidu Launches New CryptoKitties-like Pet Project

Baidu, China’s search engine giant, has launched a CryptoKitties-like service called “Leci Gou” (similar to “Let’s Go”). This project is a part of its wider work with Blockchain technology.

CryptoKitties was the first game based on the blockchain. This game allows users to collect and breed digital cats which belong to the individual owners and can’t be cloned by other users. A cat owner can breed his/her cat by changing its features, adding colors and make their cats distinguish from other pets present in the marketplace. Once the owner has done with the breeding of the cat, it can be sold to other users.

The popularity of CryptoKitties has encouraged to create other games based on the similar concept and news games, such as Fishbank. Games like CryptoPets and CryptoPuppies are to be released very soon.

“Leci Gou”, like CryptoKitties, allows players to collect, buy and sell virtual breedable pets. However, in a new service not cats, but dogs live on the blockchain. The service was developed by Baidu’s in-house blockchain team, which is also a member of the Linux Foundation-led Hyperledger consortium.

The website lists various digital puppies with different designs and prices. Each of them is ranked by their scarcity. Each of the cryptodoggies has a unique set of “genes” and their purchase is recorded on the blockchain. The cryptodoggies have eight special attributes, a combination of which will make each virtual dog unique. These attributes include ordinary, unusual, remarkable, epic, mythological, and legendary.

The cryptodoggies can be purchased with special credit points received from Baidu and not through money transfers. Users who have Baidu accounts can adopt one crypto-dog and receive 1000 points for free on the marketplace. Also points can be given for using Baidu’s products. Users can spend them through their Baidu wallet. These points can be further used to trade with other “owners” and serve no other function.

According to Baidu, the project is available for public use but is still being tested and further developed. It is still unlear if Baidu will use an internal or a public network for handling the new project.

This new game is a part of Baidu’s initiatives related to the work on the Blockchain. In October 2017, Baidu joined Hyperledger’s global alliance for developing blockchain. In January this year, the giant launched its own blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform.

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Chinese Internet Users Start To Rebel Against Lack Of Online Privacy

We recently reported how China continues to turn the online world into the ultimate surveillance system, which hardly comes as a surprise, since China has been relentlessly moving in this direction for years. What is rather more surprising is that Chinese citizens are beginning to push back, at least in certain areas. For example, The New York Times reports on an “outcry” provoked by a division of the Alibaba behemoth when it assumed that its users wouldn’t worry too much if they were enrolled automatically in one of China’s commercially-run tracking systems:

Ant Financial, an affiliate of the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, apologized to users on Thursday after prompting an outcry by automatically enrolling in its social credit program those who wanted to see the breakdown [of their spending made via Ant Financial’s online payment system]. The program, called Sesame Credit, tracks personal relationships and behavior patterns to help determine lending decisions.

When one of China’s business leaders complained publicly about the lack of privacy in China, and how Tencent’s hugely-popular WeChat program spied on users, the company’s denials were met with another outcry:

Tencent said that the company did not store the chat history of users and that it would never use chat history for big data analytics. The comments were met with widespread disbelief: WeChat users have been arrested over what they’ve said on the app, conversations have turned up as evidence in court proceedings, and activists have reported being followed based on WeChat conversations.

Meanwhile, the third of China’s Big Three Internet companies — Baidu — has been hit with legal action over privacy concerns, reported here by Caixin:

Baidu Inc., China’s largest search-engine operator, is being sued by a consumer-protection organization that claims it collected users’ information without consent, in the latest privacy dispute involving the country’s tech giants.

Two mobile apps operated by New York-listed Baidu, a search engine and a web browser, could access a user’s calls, location data, messages and contacts without notifying the user, the Jiangsu Consumer Council, a government-backed consumer rights association, claimed in a statement on its website.

The Chinese government may not worry too much about these calls for more privacy provided they remain directed at companies, since they offer a useful way for citizens to express their concerns about surveillance without challenging the state. It looks happy to encourage users to demand more control over how online services use their personal data — so long as the authorities can still access everything themselves.

As well as government acquiescence in these moves, there’s another reason why Chinese companies may well start to take online privacy more seriously. Аn article in the South China Morning Post points out that if Chinese online giants want to move beyond their fast-saturating home market, and start operating in the US and EU, they will need to pay much more attention to privacy to satisfy local laws. As Techdirt reported, an important partnership between AT&T and Huawei, China’s biggest hardware company, has just been blocked because of unproven accusations that data handled by Huawei’s products might make its way back to the Chinese government.

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China’s Leaders in Fintech 2017

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China-leaders-fintech-awards-2017-logo-200

Best state-owned bank:

Agricultural Bank of China

Best national commercial bank:

China Merchants Bank

Best regional commercial bank:

Baoshang Bank

Best internet company:

Baidu Financial Service Group

Best IT infrastructure partner – cloud services:

Ali Cloud

Best IT infrastructure partner – IT systems:

Hundsun Technologies

Best risk management partner:

Tongdun Technology

Best state-owned bank

Agricultural Bank of China

Agricultural Bank of China has demonstrated great enthusiasm and determination in embracing fintech to transform its traditional banking operations.

ABC is the first Chinese bank to apply face recognition in customer services and has led its peers in deploying big-data analytics and blockchain technology to upgrade services for customers in the country’s vast rural areas.

In 2013, ABC started using face recognition to verify the identities of customers at its outlets. The technology allows the bank to complete the verification in less than half a second and has now been extended to the bank’s ATMs.

ABC is also one of the first big Chinese banks to employ fintech to build an integrated underlying IT infrastructure for its diverse and often sprawling operations.

It started developing its IAAS (infrastructure as a service) cloud platform as early as in 2012. Over the years, the bank has also applied big-data analytics to successfully centralize and speed up data processing and analysis for its businesses in and outside China.

In rural China, ABC is a recognized leader in offering intelligent services through the internet and mobile phone applications to meet the needs of farmers and to support the robust growth of e-commerce in agricultural areas.

In July 2017, the bank launched an innovative online supply-chain financing system for e-commerce in agricultural products. The system, which was developed with blockchain technology, has effectively solved the problem of credit-status assessment for farmers. It will further strengthen the bank’s position as the leading financial service provider in rural China.

Among big Chinese banks, ABC has also stood out for the collaborative approach it has taken when using fintech to drive the transformation of its traditional businesses.

The bank formed partnerships with two domestic tech giants during last year. In May, it teamed up with Huawei Technologies to develop the underlying infrastructure for a next-generation cloud-computing platform. In June, it signed an agreement with Baidu on building a joint fintech lab that is mandated to develop innovative products in areas including customer profiling, precision marketing, risk control, customer credit assessment, intelligent customer services and intelligent investment advisory services.

Best national commercial bank

China Merchants Bank

China Merchants Bank, a recognized leader among Chinese banks in embracing fintech, has achieved remarkable success in driving business growth through technology upgrades and product innovation.

By investing heavily in technology and talents, the bank is making solid progress in realizing its proclaimed goal of transforming itself into a fintech bank.

In recent years, CMB has continued to lead domestic banks in applying the latest fintech to a broad range of its operations.

The bank’s retail and wealth management units use technologies including biometric identification (finger print, voice and face recognition) as well as robot advisory, robot risk control and augmented reality.

The bank has also applied big-data analytics in cash management, corporate banking and financial advisory services. It has started adopting artificial intelligence technologies such as natural language processing, machine learning and voice and optical character recognition in a wide range of businesses and internal management functions such as risk control, compliance and financial management.

In blockchain technology, CMB has launched a platform for cross-border payments. It has also started applying the technology to other businesses, such as asset securitization.

To accelerate its application of fintech, CMB has rapidly increased its investment in information technology. In 2016 alone, that investment exceeded Rmb5 billion ($755 million). As of 2017, CMB says that every year it will set aside a sum equivalent to 1% of its pre-tax profits in the preceding year to incubate internal fintech development projects.

The bank will also step up its effort in recruiting IT talent – its target is to double the number of its employees conducting data-related research and development activities to 1,000 by the end of 2017.

The huge investment CMB has made in fintech is paying off. By the end of September 2017, its number of retail banking customers topped 100 million, up 10% from the start of the year. And for the first nine months of 2017, its net profit rose 12.8% from the year before, to Rmb58.8 billion. Earlier in 2017, the bank surpassed Bank of Communications, a state-controlled bank, to rank as the fifth most-profitable domestic bank.

Best regional commercial bank

Baoshang Bank

Baoshang Bank was incorporated in 1998 in Baotou city of North China’s sparsely populated Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Yet, the bank has impressed its peers not only with its sustained rapid business growth, but also the leadership it has demonstrated in driving that expansion with fintech.

In less than two decades, Baoshang has become not only a big commercial bank in Inner Mongolia, but also an important urban one in China. By the end of 2016, it ranked 20thby assets among China’s 134 urban commercial banks, according to the China Banking Association.

Over the years, Baoshang has expanded its business network far beyond Inner Mongolia by opening branches in big cities such as Beijing, Shenzhen and Chengdu, and it is transforming itself into an internet bank, to upgrade its services and underpin business growth.

In 2014, Baoshang began this transformation by establishing a separate division for digital banking. Drawing on the experiences of global banks in running direct banks and digital banks in western countries, it created a digital banking unit under its proprietary brand Youyang Finance in August 2015.

The new unit has been able to respond quickly to customer needs and achieved explosive business growth with the support of a full team that manages product development, information technology, risk control and marketing as well as its own big-data platform.

To date, Youyang Finance has more than one million registered customers, while the value of its assets has topped Rmb7 billion ($1.1 billion).

Baoshang has made rapid progress in digitizing its operations by adopting big-data analytics and cloud computing. The bank conducts more than 90% of its business through electronic channels.

The bank has set up three data-processing centres in Baotou, Beijing and Shanghai to ensure the stable operation of its digital banking across the nation.

Baoshang’s success in deploying fintech to drive its transformation has been held in high regard not only by its peers, but also by the People’s Bank of China, the central bank. It has been recognized by the PBoC as a national leader in adopting fintech for the last two consecutive years.

Best internet company

Baidu Financial Service Group

Baidu is by far the largest internet search engine in China and a pioneer in introducing artificial intelligence to a wide array of industries in the country.

In 2015, Baidu combined its many financial services-related units into one big group, the Baidu Financial Service Group.

Thanks to Baidu’s technology strength, the group has since accelerated development of fintech products and formed productive partnerships between technology companies and domestic banks in China.

By consolidating capabilities that were spread across different units, the group has set itself the task of helping financial institutions deploy fintech to optimize interfaces with customers and restructure the value chain of services, reconstruct risk management systems, redefine service boundaries and upgrade the underlying IT infrastructure.

To do that, the group has rolled out a series of innovative fintech products to allow banks and other financial service providers to leverage its technology competence in seven areas: intelligent customer acquisition, identity recognition, big data-enabled risk control, intelligent investment advisory, intelligent customer services, financial cloud and blockchain technology.

Leveraging Baidu’s technology strength in bid-data analysis and artificial intelligence, these products have proved to be highly effective in use. Take the chatbot the group has developed. The robot can help a financial institution handle up to 97% of customer inquiries online and solve more than 90% of the problems raised by customers.

In 2015, Baidu set up a joint-venture direct bank with Citic Bank, a national commercial bank. In October 2017, it completed the establishment of a joint lab with Agricultural Bank of China, a state-owned commercial bank, to develop innovative fintech products for customer profiling, precision marketing, customer status assessment, intelligent investment advisory and intelligent customer services. The first batch of products the lab has developed is due to come online before the end of the year.

Best IT infrastructure partner – cloud services

Ali Cloud

Ali Cloud, a unit of China’s Alibaba Group, started offering cloud services for domestic financial institutions in 2013. A pioneer in Chinese cloud services provision, it has fortified its position as a clear leader in servicing banks and other financial institutions.

Ali Cloud stands out not only for the large customer base it has built and the reliability of its services, but also for its leadership in assisting domestic financial banks to embrace fintech.

Ali Cloud has attracted by far the largest number of domestic financial institutions as customers for its cloud services. Currently, nearly 100 Chinese banks, including national commercial banks and most regional banks, use its services. In addition, more than 70% of securities firms and about two thirds of insurance companies are also clients.

For domestic banks, Ali Cloud offers a broad range of services to suit their needs. It has developed customized cloud platforms for large and medium-sized banks.

For smaller banks such as urban and rural commercial banks, it creates a shared cloud platform for those with similar needs so that they can access its cloud computing and big-data services in a cost-effective way.

Leveraging the technology strength and rich experience Alibaba has accumulated in providing cloud services to support the rapid growth of e-commerce in China, Ali Cloud has become the supplier of choice for the maturity of its technology and reliability of its services.

To ensure stable operations and its capability to provide on-demand services, Ali Cloud has established five data centres in China for its customers in banking and other financial service-related industries.

In April 2017, it formed a partnership with more than 20 large domestic banks to create ‘Finmall’, or fintech mall to make its cloud services easily accessible to the entire banking sector in China.

Best IT infrastructure partner – IT systems

Hundsun Technologies

Hundsun Technologies is a clear leader among Chinese companies in providing IT systems for financial institutions. It has also stood out in embracing fintech to upgrade its products.

Established in Hangzhou in 1995 and listed in Shanghai in 2003, Hundsun is one of the first Chinese companies to roll out IT systems to support the entrusted and proprietary asset management businesses of a wide array of domestic financial institutions, including banks, securities firms and future brokerages.

Through continuous technology upgrades and product innovation, the company has solidified its position as a leading provider of IT systems and related software for financial institutions.

Currently, 17 of the top 20 Chinese banks ranked by assets under management use Hundsun’s IT system to manage assets, which also distributes nearly 90% of mutual funds sold in China.

The company is also by far the largest IT system provider for asset management units of securities firms and futures brokerages in China.

Hundsun has also led its peers in deploying big-data analytics and artificial intelligence to empower its IT system. As a result, that system is now used by 80% of Chinese banks for wealth management.

Hundsun’s unrivalled position as a big IT infrastructure partner for domestic financial institutions was achieved on the back of its relentless investment in technology.

Among the company’s more than 7,000 employees, 80% are engaged in research and development activities. In 2016, it opened a centre to step up its research into cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, financial engineering and blockchain technologies to accelerate product innovation.

In the first half of 2017, Hundsun invested Rmb508 million ($77 million) in R&D, equivalent to 47% of its revenue in the period.

In June, it launched four products that apply artificial intelligence to upgrade information gathering, investment advisory, investment management and customer-relations management for its clients. Its first batch of products developed with blockchain technology will arrive on the market soon.

Best risk management partner

Tongdun Technology

Tongdun Technology is a new company, incorporated in 2013. But the company has since achieved robust growth and become a recognized leader in China in deploying fintech to provide risk management and anti-fraud services to financial institutions and customers in many other industries.

Tongdun has served more than 7,000 customers since its inception, in sectors including banking, insurance, asset management, payments, online gaming, social community websites and online video streaming.

Headquartered in Hangzhou, the company has set up branches in big cities across China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xi’an and Chongqing.

It now has more than 650 employees, of whom at least 70% are specialists and veteran engineers in big data, risk management, anti-fraud, artificial intelligence and other related technologies.

What drives Tongdun’s rapid business growth is the leadership it has demonstrated in employing big-data analytics and artificial intelligence to empower its risk management and anti-fraud services.

China today still lacks a comprehensive credit registry system. In a country with a population of more than 1.3 billion, the current system can only track the credit status of about 100 million people. Meanwhile, fraud in various forms has been widespread on the internet.

To help customers fend off potential risks, Tongdun’s integrated intelligent risk management system can serve more than 100 million API (Application Programming Interface) calls made by its customers daily. The system enables customers to monitor as many as three billion terminals and stay alert to more than one million internet fraud suspects.

Tongdun’s robust business growth and technology strength has attracted investors in China and abroad. It has raised roughly $200 million over five rounds of financing from a slew of domestic firms as well as international investment companies such as Temasek Holdings.

Tongdun recently acquired a blockchain technology firm in Toronto, Canada. With strong financial backing from investors, the Chinese company is well placed to sustain its product innovation and business growth in China and to explore the international market for its services.

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China techs driving data center investment across Southeast Asia

BANGKOK — A string of new data centers across Southeast Asia has highlighted rising regional demand for digital services served by big tech names from China rather than the likes of Google and Amazon.com.

Alibaba Cloud, an arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, opened a data center in Malaysia in late October. Its first outside mainland China was built in Singapore in 2015, and there are 15 now spread through Australia, Japan, Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S. More are planned for India and Indonesia in 2018.

Meanwhile, Huawei Technologies, one of the world’s biggest telecom equipment suppliers and a major handset maker, announced in November it will invest at least $10 million next year in a data center in Thailand located in the Eastern Economic Corridor, which adjoins the Eastern Seaboard along the Gulf of Thailand. The center will host some of the country’s public sector cloud services, including a natural disaster warning system.

Shenzhen-basedTencent Holdings, the world’s largest games company by revenue and China’s biggest social media operator, reportedly also has plans for Bangkok, and is considering India, Russia, Japan, and the U.S.

Search giant Baidu is meanwhile developing technologies and information systems that will regionalize its web products for Southeast Asia, including its flagship search engine. The company opened a research center in Singapore in 2012.

Tencent and Baidu did not respond to the Nikkei Asian Review’s questions about their expansion plans.

Fourfold growth by 2025

China’s interest is a response to surging demand in Southeast Asia for digital services, including e-commerce, mobile payments, and internet access. Some regional governments are also showing signs of wanting to retain certain data on home turf.

Southeast Asia’s internet economy covers everything from games to online travel and ride hailing, and its expected turnover this year is $50 billion. On the present growth trajectory, it should grow fourfold by 2025, according to a joint report by Google and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings in December.

The report expects Southeast Asia to have 330 million active internet users by the end of 2017 — equivalent to the population of the U.S. and 70 million more than in 2015. Sales of goods through e-commerce will reach $10.9 billion in in 2017, almost double 2015.

The sums involved are too large for Alibaba Cloud to ignore. Its data center in Kuala Lumpur will “support the growth of small and medium enterprises and other businesses in the region”, said Simon Hu, the company president.

The cost of the Kuala Lumpur data center has not been revealed, but its products include elastic computing, database services, networking, security, middleware, analytics, and big data. The main target clients are large corporations and smaller internet companies offering games, multimedia, and financial services. The government sector is also a potential client.

Explosive digital needs

While there are no authoritative figures available for Southeast Asia, U.S. business consultancy Frost & Sullivan estimates the data center services market in Asia-Pacific will grow at a compound annual rate of 14.7% between 2015 and 2022, reaching almost $32 billion by 2022. “The key theme driving growth across the Asia-Pacific is the explosive digital needs of emerging economies with huge populations such as China, India and Indonesia,” the company said.

The sector was initially driven by Google and Amazon.com, with Singapore as the location of choice due to its proactiveness in terms of tax incentives, business environment, and infrastructure. Google kicked off in 2011 with a $120 million investment in a regional data center there. Chinese rivals are showing themselves more prepared to venture beyond Singapore, and various regulatory requirements could encourage that trend. The Indonesian government, for example, is requiring that businesses conducting electronic transactions must store their clients’ personal data inside the country. Other Southeast Asian countries have yet to follow this, however.

The Chinese are taking on Western heavyweights, and will face challenges recovering their investments. For Alibaba, “right positioning, pricing, and local alliances will be the key to success,” according to Baseer Siddiqui, a consultant at IDC in Malaysia, a U.S.-based market intelligence company.

Changing landscape

Baseer told the Nikkei Asian Review that some enterprises prefer providers like Amazon.com and Microsoft because they offer better service capabilities, process maturity, and have already evolved best practices for the tech environment. Although IDC expects the landscape will change with Alibaba Cloud’s arrival, he believes a lot of effort will be needed to build “trust and confidence” — among many challenges.

Tencent’s overseas data centers mainly serve Chinese enterprises expanding internationally, or foreign companies developing in China. The centers offer globalized business solutions for video livestreaming, game servers, artificial intelligence, networking, and security services.

John Choi, head of China internet research at Daiwa Capital Markets in Hong Kong, said that there is still a big gap between Chinese internet companies and their global peers in terms of research and development spending, particularly on artificial intelligence that is so critical to cloud computing. He expects the gap to narrow in the coming years because of strong government support, more research funding, deep pools of talent, and private investment.

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Analysis: China’s AI revolution threatens US

A new report from the Washington-based Center for a New American Security raised the alert level of the US defence community over China’s rise as an artificial intelligence (AI) superpower, one that could effectively destroy the American military by 2030.

The meticulous report no doubt will send a chill through the halls of the Pentagon.

The report, ‘Battlefield Singularity: Artificial Revolution, and China’s Future Military Power’, by Elsa Kania, paints a disturbing picture of China’s AI military modernisation programmes. Kania, as co-founder of the China Cyber and Intelligence Studies Institute, is well suited to write the investigative report using available Chinese-language open-source materials that reveal China’s military thinking and progress on AI.

Kania reported that China’s military is pursuing advances in ‘impact and disruptive military applications of AI’ and given it ‘high-level priority within China’s national agenda for military-civil fusion’. The goal is to become the world’s ‘premier innovation centre’ in AI by 2030.

According to the report, the Chinese military believes the advent of AI could fundamentally change the very character of warfare itself. Transforming itself from today’s ‘informatised’ warfare to ‘intelligentised’ warfare, in which AI will be critical to military power.

The result of this change would be the start of a major shift from China’s strategic approach, ‘beyond its traditional asymmetric focus on targeting US vulnerabilities to the offset-oriented pursuit of competition to innovate’.

China’s military is seeking ‘leapfrog development’ to achieve a ‘decisive edge’ in terms of ‘trump card weapons’ that prove a critical edge in ‘strategic frontline technologies’ against the US during a war. The report pointed out that the magnitude of Chinese publications in ‘deep learning’ has already exceeded the US as of 2014, and China ranks second in AI patent applications with 15,754 in total filed as of late 2016.

In July, China released the New-Generation AI Development Plan that articulated its ambition to lead the world in AI by 2030, becoming the premier global AI innovation centre. ‘Under this strategic framework, China will advance a three-dimensional agenda in AI: tackling key problems in research and development, pursuing a range of products and applications, and cultivating and expanding AI industry.’

This will include support for AI technologies that could result in paradigm shifts, including brain-inspired neural network architectures and quantum-accelerated machine learning. ‘The plan calls for building up national resources for indigenous innovation and pursuing continued advances in big data, swarm intelligence and human-machine hybrid intelligence…’

The report noted that Chinese teams dominated the ImageNet Large-Scale Visual Recognition Challenge, an AI computer vision contest, in 2016 and 2017. For the first time, at the 2017 annual meeting of the Association of the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, China submitted an equal number of accepted papers compared to the US.

Then in November, Yitu Tech, a Chinese facial recognition start-up, took first place in the Facial Recognition Prize Challenge hosted by the Intelligence Advanced Projects Agency (IARPA). What the reader might find disturbing is that the Maryland-based IARPA is under the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which funds research across a range of technical areas, including mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, biology, neuroscience, linguistics, political science and cognitive psychology.

IARPA’s activities would be a natural fit for the Chinese Communist Party as it increases social control and stability through ‘new techniques for policing, censorship and surveillance, such as the installation of millions of surveillance cameras enhanced with AI technology’.

The report highlighted concerns the US should have on cooperative efforts with China. Chinese investments in Silicon Valley AI have fuelled the debate on whether the US Committee for Foreign Investment should expand reviews of Chinese high-tech investments, especially in AI. For example, the report pointed out the USAF became concerned after Chinese investment in Neurala, an AI start-up known for ‘innovative deep learning technology that can make more reactive robots’. The company is building the ‘Neurala Brain’ with a deep-learning neural network software.

Between 2012 and mid-2017, Chinese technology investments amounted to $19 billion in the US with particular focus on AI, robotics and augmented or virtual reality, said the report. In May 2014, Baidu Inc. established its Silicon Valley Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. In June 2014, Qihoo 360 Technology Co, a Chinese cybersecurity company, and Microsoft established a partnership in AI that focused on AI and mobile Internet.

In November 2015, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Automation (CASIA) and Dell established the Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Computing Joint Laboratory, which is pursuing development of cognitive systems and deep-learning technologies.

In January 2016, BEACON (Bio/computational Evolution in Action CONsortium), a centre located at Michigan State University, received funding from the US government via the National Science Foundation to establish the Joint Research Center of Evolutionary Intelligence and Robotics, headquartered at Shantou Technical University, also in partnership with the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Digital Signal and Image Processing.

In October 2016, Huawei Technologies devoted $1 million in funding to a new AI research partnership with the University of California, Berkeley. In April 2017 Tencent announced plans to open its first AI research centre in Seattle. That same month, Baidu Inc acquired xPerception, a US start-up specialising in computer vision.

The US is not the only accomplice. In 2011 and 2012, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) established five research centres with Chinese universities that included centres on intelligent systems, data mining, quantum computation and AI. In 2017, UTS partnered with the China Electronics Technology Group (CETC) focusing on big data, AI and quantum technologies.

In 2014 Chinese drive-system maker Best Motion created a research and development centre at the University of Nottingham to develop high-quality servo drive systems for use in AI and robotics. In 2016 the Torch Innovation Precinct at the University of New South Wales was established as a joint China-Australia science and technology partnership to research military-relevant technologies, such as unmanned systems.

In March of this year the Hangzhou Wahaha Group constructed three AI centres in China and Israel as a collaboration between CASIA and the University of Haifa. In July, China, France and the Netherlands renewed an agreement for a joint Sino-European Laboratory in Computer Science, Automation and Applied Mathematics, in partnership with CASIA with a major focus on AI.

If there was one turning point in Chinese military attitudes towards AI it was in March 2016 during the World Go Summit when Google-owned DeepMind’s AlphaGo beat world champion, Lee Sedol. Lee’s defeat ‘captured the PLA’s imagination at the highest levels, sparking high-level seminars and symposiums on the topic’, the report said.

There was also a rise in Chinese military analysis of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s programme Deep Green, which is a system that supports commanders’ decision-making on the battlefield through advanced predictive capabilities, including the ‘generation of courses of action, evaluation of options and assessment of the impact of decisions’.

As recently as September, the China Institute of Command and Control (CICC)sponsored the first Artificial Intelligence and War-Gaming National Finals, convened at the National Defense University’s Joint Operations College. ‘It involved a ‘human-machine confrontation’ between top teams and an AI system called CASIA-Prophet 1.0, which was victorious over human teams by a score of 7 to 1.’

Chinese military thinkers now want ‘intelligentisation of warfare that could result in a trend toward battlefield singularity’. Under these conditions, humans would no longer have capacity to remain directly ‘in the loop’, but would still possess ultimate decision-making authority or ‘human on the loop’, i.e. ‘exercising supervisory control’.

Chinese military strategists want to develop synergies between intelligentised or autonomous systems and directed-energy weapons that will enable ‘light warfare’ involving the fusion of real-time information and ‘zero-hour’ attacks. This will include all forms of military weapons. Chinese AI start-up IFlytek is working with the Chinese military on a voice recognition and synthesis module for intelligence processing for this very reason.

Of particular concern is the Chinese military’s Strategic Support Force (SSF) that seeks to build up advanced cyber warfare capabilities, leveraging big data and machine learning. According to the report, the SSF’s Information Engineering University has developed methods to detect and mitigate distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks through pattern matching, statistical analysis and machine learning, as well as to detect advanced persistent threat detection based on big data analysis.

China’s national strategy of military-civil fusion enables China to transfer dual-use technological advances to build up military capabilities while promoting economic growth. The report advised the US government to compete and counter Chinese AI advances, and the Pentagon should consider supporting research to track the China’s AI defence innovation ecosystem.

Further, the report recommended reforms to laws designed to constrain ‘illicit and problematic’ technology transfers and changes on how the Committee on Foreign Investment decides what investments and acquisitions are a threat to national security.

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Innovative Data Solutions Companies on Pace to Change the World

The technology driving the Internet of Things (IoT) enables person-to-person, person-to-object and object-to-object connections that facilitate increased productivity, greater operational efficiency and streamlined work processes. Adoption of cloud computing and the ability of IoT technology to reduce costs are the main driving forces behind the growth of this technology. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be over 50 billion things connected globally, and Grand View Research predicts that the industrial IoT market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 28 percent to reach USD $933 billionby 2025. Of course, this level of connectivity will generate a vast amount of data that has to be stored and processed, and Carl Data Solutions, Inc. (OTC: CDTAF) (CSE: CRL) (FSE: 7C5) (Carl Data Profile) is one competitive company well-positioned to take advantage of the anticipated growth in this market. Other companies gearing up to support IoT technology-adopting enterprises include Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO), Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) and Intuit, Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU).

Data-gathering sensors are critical elements in IoT systems, and the affordability of fully-automated systems improves as the price of sensors continues to fall. Automation is set to have a massive impact on our daily lives, from smart homes to smart applications within city, utility and factory infrastructures. The major challenge presented by the growth in this industry is how to handle the large amounts of data generated.

Focused on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Vancouver-based Carl Data Solutions (OTC: CDTAF) (CSE: CRL) (FSE: 7C5) facilitates data collection, storage and analytics for data-centric companies. The company leverage its team of data scientists and application developers to build environmental monitoring and modeling technology. Guided by an experienced management team, it has taken advantage of IoT market opportunities through strategic acquisitions to build up its customer base in specific verticals.

In 2015, Carl Data acquired FlowWorks, a company with a proprietary system for SaaS-based monitoring, data collection, alarming and reporting. Further expanding its portfolio, Carl Data earlier this month completed its acquisition of certain intellectual property assets, tangible assets, and intangible assets from AB Embedded Systems Ltd, a company with advanced telemetry technology operating in over 250 pump stations across North America. The acquired assets provide Carl Data the tools needed to provide custom devices for its clients, according to a news release announcing the move (http://quotemedia.com/portal/quote?qm_symbol=cdtaf&searchBySymbol=symbol&qmodStoryID=8200839564659662). The included equipment for board prototyping and micro manufacturing also allows the company to pursue complete in-house product development with the shortest possible time to market.

“The AB Acquisition is in line with Carl’s commitment to acquire (complementary) companies and technology. In the case of AB, this acquisition will allow our company to be more turn key when implementing our solutions. (Complementary) hardware and telemetry solutions will mean faster integration of our SaaS based applications for customers at a very competitive price point,” Carl Data CEO Greg Johnston stated in the press release.

Carl Data’s current portfolio also includes Extend to Social (ETS), a social media application that adds a deep analytics layer to provide clients with valuable insights for new marketing campaigns plus behavioral characteristics for customer service, operations and product development. These strategic acquisitions brought established clients on board in the wastewater and stormwater, oil and gas, dams, reservoirs and tailings ponds sectors, positioning Carl Data with market opportunity in a number of growing verticals.

The core of Carl Data’s complete, turnkey, end-to-end solution is its collection of information from billions of data points, which is stored in scalable, customized cloud-computing facilities and then analyzed. Data analysis can take several forms depending on client requirements, including reporting, alarming, predictive analytics and machine learning. The company has the ability to handle any amount of big data, generating reports for plant management and automated alarms when plant conditions need to be corrected. Carl Data uses algorithms for predictive analytics, producing a seven-day forecast of the impact of future events on a company’s assets and enabling it to take preventative measures. The company also has advanced artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that can be employed for machine learning, enabling equipment to self-diagnose and self-correct.

A quick look at one of the company’s most recent endeavors in the waste management market, which globally is expected to reach $562 billion by 2020, demonstrates a single avenue of its many opportunities. On December 5, 2017, Carl Data announced its continued expansion into the solid waste management sector of the IIoT through a letter of intent with Peak Disposal Services, Inc. for the development of an industrial-grade monitoring system.

Peak Disposal manages hundreds of containers for the Vancouver-area construction and movie industries. The partnership with Carl Data aims to address the need for monitoring systems durable enough to survive the rough treatment common on these work sites. Peak Disposal has as many as 140 containers that would benefit from this system and expects to implement Carl Data’s system for automation and data gathering purposes once it is successfully tested. With Carl Data’s ability to analyze data trends, location-based fill-level forecasting and other predictions will help reduce Peak Disposal’s time and monetary expenses.

“In North America and around the world, solid waste management has become a huge concern. The development and launch of this new service allows us to enter a new vertical in need of environmental IIoT monitoring solutions. We are sure Peak Disposal will see a huge increase in overall efficiency when our system is deployed and look forward to rolling out this monitoring system to other companies with similar needs,” Kevin Marsh, Carl Data’s VP of Business Development, stated in the press release about the LOI (http://nnw.fm/a7GOp).

Additionally, Carl Data has signed up many municipalities to use its technology for water and sewage infrastructure, including some of the biggest cities in North America. The potential for further business is huge, as the United States alone needs to spend an estimated $1 trillion in water infrastructure upgrades over the next 25 years. Companies in the oil and gas industry need predictive analytics on their pipelines to prevent potential environmental disasters. There is a long list of sectors that can benefit from this technology in a future where storing and analyzing big data will be key.

Carl Data’s capabilities place it among the ranks of larger companies like Cisco Systems, Inc.(NASDAQ: CSCO). With a market cap of more than $180 billion, Cisco is the largest networking company in the world with various subsidiaries including OpenDNS, WebEx, Jabber and Jasper. From its headquarters in San Jose, Calif., the company develops, manufactures and markets Internet Protocol-based (IP) networking hardware to specific sectors, including energy management, domain security and IoT. Cisco has done seven acquisitions in 2017, including Springpath, a provider of hyper-convergence software. The company also acquired Perspica, which provides AI and learning-machine technologies.

Red Hat(NYSE: RHT) was founded in 1993 and has headquarters in Raleigh, N.C. With a market cap of just over USD $22 billion, the company provides open source software solutions including virtualization, operating system, cloud, mobile and storage technologies to global enterprises. In addition, it provides a consulting, support and training service to its clients. Red Hat is a strong proponent of open source licensing. On Nov. 27, 2017, the company, together with Facebook, Google and IBM, announced their commitment to extend additional rights to cure open source license compliance errors and mistakes.

Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) is a Chinese web services company located in Beijing. It is one of the largest Internet companies and also one of the leading AI companies in the world. The company develops innovative products, incorporating ways to interact with technology through AI and mobile devices. Baidu has the second largest search engine in the world and in December 2007 became the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 index.

Best known for its accounting program QuickBooks, Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) is a business and financial software company that develops and markets financial, accounting and tax software to small businesses and accountants around the world. With a market cap of just under USD $40 billion, the company is in the process of adapting its software to work with IoT and virtual reality technologies. It aims to provide small business owners with the ability to have access to financial information and work remotely with their accounting professionals to facilitate faster and easier business decisions.

The Internet of Things is destined to have a huge impact on industry, business and the way we conduct our daily lives. These companies are well positioned to support enterprises in the adoption of this technology and provide facilities for the collection, storage and analysis of data, creating significant opportunities for investment in an ever-growing sector on the brink of what is widely described as the “fourth industrial revolution,” according to Carl Data Solutions CEO Greg Johnston.

For more information on Carl Data Solutions Inc., visit Carl Data Solutions Inc. (CSE: CRL) (FSE: 7C5) (OTC: CDTAF)

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