Every week our analysts gather the biggest headlines and trends and provide their analysis on major industry developments in the news. Our researchers evaluate news based on potential importance ranking developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore. Check out our thoughts on the top emerging technology and innovation news and trends across all industries below.
Each Friday we will highlight our Lux Take on the news for the week.
Two winners of the NextGen Cup Challenge launch pilot tests in California
Drishti Masand, Research Associate | @DrishtiMasand
Lux Take: Very Important
"CupClub and Muuse both have "smart" reusable cup systems to replace and reduce single-use cup waste. The pilot tests will be in local coffee shops in San Francisco and Palo Alto, California, U.S. – cities where other reusable cup models are being tested/adopted/piloted. Consumer behavior changes are unreliable, and so these reusable cup models need to establish a proof of concept, more so than other material alternatives. Companies looking for single-use cup alternatives should closely monitor these pilot tests to see if these startups can succeed with a reusable cup model; coffee shops globally have attempted the rental mugs and BYO cup models, but consumer adoption remains low."
Would you like a private 5G network with that? Wireless startup offers one-click network to go with AWS and Azure cloud services
"Federated Wireless, a U.S. provider using the 3.5 GHz 5G CBRS band, is offering connectivity as a service to companies for private 5G networks. The buyer can click a link to add a private 5G network to their cart in cloud computing marketplaces. Federated then asks for an estimate of the size of the network and provides budget quotes for a one-time setup cost and ongoing monthly fee for running the network. If they choose to buy, Federated will work with equipment and network providers to actually construct and manage the network. Companies interested in private 5G should give the service a try. While having the network built and operated is nontrivial, the service does save companies the cost of securing spectrum and shopping for partners."
Alphabet pulls support for Makani's offshore wind kites
"This decision comes shortly after Alphabet’s 2019 earnings report, which shows that losses from the Other Bets division that Makani was part of increased from around $3.4 billion in 2018 to just above $4.8 billion in 2019. Likely in response to these results, Google's parent company decided to abandon its efforts to develop Makani's solution, stating that commercialization will take longer than expected. Despite being ahead of competitors (e.g., Ampyx Power) in terms of rated capacity, Makani's airborne wind system is challenged by its complex design (i.e., DC configuration and use of a conductive tether). Companies should be aware of these difficulties and monitor Makani's ongoing collaboration with Shell to set long-term expectations."
Climate Corp. cuts data sharing collaboration with Tillable prior to reaching live status
Joshua Haslun, Ph.D., Senior Analyst | @JHaslun
Lux Take: Very Important
"Climate Corporation discontinued its data sharing partnership with Tillable, planned to go live in the spring of 2020. Tillable sought to enable growers to share Climate's FieldView agriculture data to support land investments. The decision came after growers publicized claims that Tillable solicited them with specific knowledge from FieldView. Evidence supporting this claim is lacking, and Tillable states that any data sharing would have been completely voluntary, but the decision points to weak trust existing in agriculture over data sharing. Companies should take this unfortunate event to heart. Relationships remain key in agriculture, and digital transformation must enable their development through transparency and pain point reduction."
BASF expands its blockchain pilot project to improve circular economy and traceability of recycled plastics to Canada
"Digital fingerprinting plastic materials and incentivizing manufacturers for using recyclates could be a revolutionary step toward plastic recycling but definitely a challenging venture to pull off. Although it is not clear what kind of taggant BASF is adding to plastics to store digital fingerprints of polymer structures, it seems that taggant has to be re-added after every recycling process in order to carry the updated blockchain record of manufacturers, chemical compositions, and the number of times that plastic has been recycled. In addition, BASF has to supply its scanners to every recycling facility in order to identify the material and update the blockchain record. Companies should monitor this project and wait for further details.
Grab's ongoing Series H round is still going; adds $700 million from Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
Geek+ enters U.S. market, further establishing itself as a leader in warehouse automation
Josh Kern, Analyst | @josh_kern_
Lux Take: Very Important
"The company made big news after raising a $150 million round last summer. With more than 200 completed projects and more than 10,000 robots delivered, the company is well into the scale stage of its operations. The company brought on two new executives to lead the Americas operation, bringing in experience from Amazon Robotics (formerly Kiva Systems), Honeywell, and others in the material handling industry. These new hires will be key in acquiring new U.S. based customers. Geek+ benefits from the fact that its robots have some of the lowest prices in the industry, but it's unclear what its pricing strategy in the U.S. will be. Companies should see Geek+ as the leading supplier of warehouse robotics, especially after this latest news."
Portland General Electric's transportation plan sets stage for EV charging infrastructure expansion in Oregon
- Blog: Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up February 14, 2020
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