TikTok Introduces New Strategies, Tools to Attract Advertisers

TikTok feted brands and agencies with its premiere TikTok World event. The virtual presentation introduced new features designed to help advertisers become adept at leveraging TikTok’s creators, content and community. Despite its sizzle and viewership, TikTok lags behind other social media companies in terms of ad revenue. TikTok began accepting ads about a year ago and generates roughly $1.3 billion annually in U.S. ad sales. Compare that to the $5.5 billion Statista predicts for YouTube this year, or eMarketer’s $48 billion assessment for Facebook and Instagram, $2.6 billion for LinkedIn and $2.2 billion for Twitter. Continue reading TikTok Introduces New Strategies, Tools to Attract Advertisers

Embedded Finance Becomes More Popular Across Industries

Global firms such as Amazon, IKEA, Mercedes-Benz and Walmart are cutting out traditional financial institutions in favor of financial technology, or “fintech” — startups offering everything from banking and credit to insurance. Embedded finance, a term for companies integrating software to offer services like “buy now pay later” at check out, are poised to disrupt the status quo, according to Reuters, which reports that while “banks are still behind most of the transactions,” analysts are warning that as they “get pushed further away from the front end of the finance chain” they’ll be frozen out of lucrative consumer data mining. Continue reading Embedded Finance Becomes More Popular Across Industries

Apple Reveals Plan to Build a Chip Design Center in Germany

Apple is planning to build a 98,400-square-foot semiconductor design center in Munich, Germany, part of a 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion) investment to create customized chips for 5G mobile devices and other wireless technologies in Germany. The company plans to move into the facility in late 2022. Munich is a regional hub for chip development and home to Apple partner Infineon Technologies and the Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics, a major European semiconductor-based technology research institute. Continue reading Apple Reveals Plan to Build a Chip Design Center in Germany

Advertisers Reduce, Stop Campaigns in Face of Coronavirus

Coca-Cola, Kohl’s, Marriott and Zillow Group are among those companies that have reduced or stopped marketing efforts during the coronavirus pandemic. Facebook said its advertising business is “weakening,” and Amazon has cut back on its Google Shopping ads. Advertising giants Interpublic Group and Publicis delayed their financial forecasts, citing an uncertain future. During the Great Recession, said the WARC research group, $60.5 billion in global advertising vanished and it took eight years to “fully recover.” Some observers believe this crisis will be worse. Continue reading Advertisers Reduce, Stop Campaigns in Face of Coronavirus

Revl Raises VC Funds, Vimeo Introduces Magisto Video Editor

San Francisco-based Revl, which uses artificial intelligence to power its video-stitching Revl X platform, raised $5.2 million in a Series A round led by Nimble Ventures and joined by Tuesday Capital, Silicon Valley Data Capital and Luma Pictures. Meanwhile, Vimeo introduced Vimeo Create, its short-form video editing platform aimed at social media. The new service was built out from Vimeo’s acquisition last year of Magisto for a reported $200 million. Backed by Qualcomm, Magisto also relies on AI for stitching videos together. Continue reading Revl Raises VC Funds, Vimeo Introduces Magisto Video Editor

CES 2020 Exhibit Spaces Reflect Changing Tech Landscape

As CES continues to expand its footprint and influence as the global stage for technology innovation, exhibitors are spreading themselves out across the multiple venues of CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Visitors to the show, which opens today and fills almost 3 million square feet of space with more than 4,400 exhibiting companies, will find some surprises when they look for returning CES veterans such as Intel and Qualcomm in familiar places and instead find them spread out across show locations, while discovering an unusually large presence from other companies such as IBM and John Deere.  Continue reading CES 2020 Exhibit Spaces Reflect Changing Tech Landscape

Netflix Still Avoids Ads, But Heats Up Its Brand Partnerships

Netflix, which makes almost $16 billion in annual revenue from its 158 million global subscribers, prides itself on being free of advertising. But the company also is $12 billion in debt and facing increasing competition in the streaming video sector from rivals including Apple and The Walt Disney Company. According to eMarketer, Netflix’s “days at the top may be numbered,” and many experts believe that Netflix will eventually have to turn to advertising. Even without ads, however, Netflix is increasing brand engagement. Continue reading Netflix Still Avoids Ads, But Heats Up Its Brand Partnerships

Amazon Ramps Up Efforts to Bring Alexa to More Vehicles

Amazon first indicated its ambition to put Alexa into cars several years ago, and in 2018 introduced Echo Auto, designed to be integrated into vehicle entertainment systems. Since then, Audi and BMW began selling some models that incorporate the company’s digital assistant. But Amazon faces stiff competition from Apple and Google, which have already made inroads, and some vehicle manufacturers are loath to adopt third-party technology. Although Amazon won’t generate much revenue initially in the auto market, the company believes that opportunities will grow much larger in the future. Continue reading Amazon Ramps Up Efforts to Bring Alexa to More Vehicles

Ford, VW Collaborate on Autonomous and Electric Vehicles

Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG are extending their seven-month-old alliance to include collaborating on self-driving and electric car technology. In a joint statement today, the companies announced that Volkswagen would invest $2.6 billion in Ford’s autonomous-vehicle partner Argo AI by providing $1 billion in funding and contributing its Audi $1.6 billion Autonomous Intelligent Driving unit, based in Munich. In 2017, Ford invested $1 billion in Pittsburgh-based autonomous vehicle startup Argo. Once the Ford-VW deal is finalized, Argo’s value is expected to reach $7 billion. Continue reading Ford, VW Collaborate on Autonomous and Electric Vehicles

5G Networks Will Impact the Media & Entertainment Industry

Download a movie in six seconds. Watch more immersive sports broadcasts. Enjoy sophisticated game play with only a few milliseconds of latency. Smart movie theater, smart home, smart car, smart personal devices … all will be connected by the new 5G networks, claim the experts. Qualcomm’s chief legal officer Donald Rosenberg told the World Economic Forum that, “we’re on the verge of a new age of interconnectedness, when the daily lives of people across the planet will be more closely intertwined than ever.” Continue reading 5G Networks Will Impact the Media & Entertainment Industry

Varjo Debuts High-Res VR Headset for Enterprise Use Cases

Varjo introduced its VR-1 virtual reality headset priced at $5,995. The company claims the device is “the world’s only professional VR headset with human-eye resolution,” indicating that it is targeting its professional beta customers, including Airbus, Audi, architecture firm Foster + Partners, and others. Enterprise users of VR are using it for training and simulation, and need the headset to work with their design or rendering software, be it Autodesk VRed, Unreal, Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D, or others. Continue reading Varjo Debuts High-Res VR Headset for Enterprise Use Cases

Israeli Firm Debuts One-Camera Vehicle Surveillance System

At CES 2019, Tel Aviv-based Guardian Optical Technologies debuted Optical Cabin Control (OCC) for the car’s interior. The single camera, a bit bigger than one featured in a mobile phone, is installed in the car’s ceiling and uses machine learning to keep an eye on the driver — and the kids in the backseat. More specifically, the camera watches to see if the driver takes his hands off the wheel, his eyes off the road or closes his eyes. To train the system, the company hired a diverse group of people, wearing different clothes and holding various accessories and pets. Continue reading Israeli Firm Debuts One-Camera Vehicle Surveillance System

CES: Understanding the 5G Ecosystem in 2019 and Beyond

CES 2019 in January will highlight discussions about what we can expect with 5G next year and beyond. Fifth-generation mobile communications brings faster speeds, lower latency and the ability to connect more devices, meaning it will not simply speed up mobile phones but power nascent digital technologies from VR and IoT to autonomous vehicles and smart cities. CES 2019 offers a Wednesday 5G summit, and the first 5G products will be sprinkled across the show floor. The ETCentric team will be in Las Vegas reporting on a number of companies in this space. Continue reading CES: Understanding the 5G Ecosystem in 2019 and Beyond

Audi, Disney to Demo Media for Autonomous Vehicles at CES

A future untapped market for media and entertainment is the time gained in our days thanks to the freedom provided by self-driving cars. As the world’s population increases, travel times also continue to grow. When we no longer have to focus on the road while in our vehicles, all that time becomes a perfect opportunity to provide content. Audi and Disney have partnered to create what the German automaker is calling a “new type of media” to fill that time. The fruits of this partnership are scheduled to be revealed at January’s CES in Las Vegas. Continue reading Audi, Disney to Demo Media for Autonomous Vehicles at CES

Google Debuts Android Auto Upgrades, Inks Deal With Volvo

At Google I/O, the company revealed an upgrade to Android Auto that allows a user to plug her smartphone into the car and see all her apps with new templates presenting the apps in a more engaging manner. The upgrade also includes group messaging and RCS (Rich Communication Services) with support for Google Assistant. The update will allow a driver to group text friends via voice. Also announced is that Volvo will build Android Auto into its head units, one of the first automakers to do so. Continue reading Google Debuts Android Auto Upgrades, Inks Deal With Volvo