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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up February 7, 2020

Lux Research
February 7, 2020

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

The coronavirus could undermine Sony's sensor business, and it may hurt others' too

Lisheng Gao

Lisheng Gao, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"The threat of coronavirus has spread to one of the world's biggest imaging sensor suppliers – Sony. Sony supplies more than 50% of all imaging sensors and 70% of smartphone image sensors. Its major clients are smartphone manufacturers with assembly plants based in China. However, due to the coronavirus issue, smartphone assembly plants are not allowed to resume production after the Chinese New Year holidays. It is not clear when the Chinese government will allow resuming production. Companies should be aware of the potential order cancellations on sensors due to the halt of production in China and consider prioritizing sensor offerings that are less dependent on the demand from the Chinese factories."

Thailand's Energy Absolute launches all-electric ferry service in Bangkok

Tim Grejtak - Lux Research AnalystTim Grejtak, Analyst | @TheEnergyNerd Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

Thai energy developer Energy Absolute is launching a 42-boat fleet of 200-person electric ferries to convey passengers along the Chao Phraya River – a busy waterway serving Bangkok and the surrounding region that supports 15 ferry lines and more than 100,000 passengers daily. Energy Absolute is outfitting each ferry with 800 kWh battery packs and is building fast charging stations along ferry routes. In all, Energy Absolute is investing $33 million into the project. Northern Europe isn't the only region that can benefit from the reduced emissions and operating costs from marine electrification. Companies should not overlook opportunities in the rapidly growing ASEAN market, especially those feeling left behind in Europe and North America."

AGC partners with Citrine Informatics to develop new glass materials using AI

XIAO ZHONGXiao Zhong, Ph.D., Analyst | @conanxzxz Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"AGC's goal is to develop strong scratch- and abrasion-resistant glass with optimized optical and mechanical properties. Just as in many partnerships in the MI space, AGC will provide data, and Citrine will develop customized algorithms using its platform; the results will likely be suggested experiments with quicker turnaround time and more desired outcomes. While Citrine's AI models are certainly differentiating, its true unique value to AGC and many other partners is the data infrastructure it brings to the table. To paraphrase what the CTO of AGC's Building & Industrial Glass Company said in the press release, developing materials faster requires consolidating data into a single consistent searchable format with well-defined structures."

RightHand Robotics partners with Japanese logistics solution provider Okamura

Josh Kern Analyst Lux ResearchJosh Kern, Analyst | @josh_kern_ Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

The partnership is important for two reasons. First, it expands RightHand Robotics' piece-picking robotic solution in the Japanese market through a Japanese distributor. The company already has Japan's largest CPG wholesaler, Paltac, as a customer. Second, Okamura delivers material handling solutions like Autostore to its customers. AutoStore is a 3D microfulfillment solution with robots that move across the structure to retrieve totes and bring them to human piece pickers for final order assembly. Companies should see this as a notable partnership, as RightHand Robotics' solution could potentially automate that last remaining part of human labor in the process, making an entirely automated warehouse feasible."

AVA Biochem and Michelin to build first commercial-scale 5-HMF plant

12599-thumb-square-1Kristin Marshall, Senior Research Associate | @KMarsh4Bio Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

Back in 2016, AVA Biochem aimed to construct a production plant with a capacity of 120,000 metric tons of FDCA per year, intending to produce 30,000 metric tons by 2019. Yet the company failed to reach certain milestones, overhauling its management team and adjusting its go-to-market strategy to prioritize other applications for 5-HMF over FDCA. The company recently shared that it would construct a 5,000 to 10,000 metric ton flagship plant in Europe, allocating the majority of the capacity to its "formaldehyde-free resin partner." This partnership with Michelin helps substantiate AVA's plans, although the timeline for the plant is still unclear. Michelin has been exploring formaldehyde alternatives in anticipation of REACH regulations."

Verizon scores with "what 5G won't do" Super Bowl ad

13815-thumb-squareMichael Sullivan, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"In the overhyped 5G market, Verizon's Super Bowl ad in February 2020 was refreshing. The ad spent a few seconds highlighting the hype of 5G and then spent the bulk of the time showing what 5G won't do, accompanied by a Harrison Ford voice-over. The ad focused on first responders in action, rather than the technology. The goal was to associate Verizon's 5G with reliability and support for first responders. For a consumer audience wary of 5G claims, the ad turned skepticism into positive values. In many of the innovation areas, hype becomes an obstacle to adoption, as it cultivates a lack of trustworthiness. Innovators can take a lesson from Verizon to highlight the core values the technology supports rather than its technical capabilities."

Subsea technology company Ocean Infinity launches new venture for unmanned autonomous vessel fleet

holly havelHolly Havel, Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Ocean Infinity's new subsidiary, Armada, will facilitate the launch of 15 unmanned surface vessels, which are currently under construction and projected for deployment by the end of this year. The autonomous fleet will be controlled from onshore facilities via satellite communications and will be capable of deploying AUVs and ROVs for subsea data acquisition and intervention tasks up to depths of 6,000 m. With potential reduction of up to 90% CO2 emissions compared to conventional survey vessels, oil and gas players should consider the solution a viable way to reduce carbon intensity while improving safety and operational efficiency in offshore operations."

Plessey partners with WaveOptics for smart glasses market opportunity

13890-thumb-squareVladimir Roznyatovskiy, Ph.D., Senior Analyst | @roznyatovskiy Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Miniaturizing optics and light engines is critical to enabling mass-market AR glasses. Plessey Semiconductors develops microLED displays to serve that need, and while its expertise is in the fabrication of LED components, the company actively partners with others in its strategy to capture smart glasses market share. It works with Compound Photonics to drive microLED and announced a partnership with WaveOptics to couple an image source with a waveguide produced by the latter, thereby completing the smart glasses hardware supply chain. With such progress, we should see early releases of what is expected to outperform incumbent laser beam stirring technology."

Another win for paper in the war on plastic packaging

drishti masand

Drishti Masand, Research Associate | @DrishtiMasand Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"The Australian branch of Mondelez has launched a trial of 100% recyclable paper packaging for its Cadbury chocolate bar. Unlike many existing paper-based food wrappers, the company claims that the material used in this packaging does not contain any laminates, foils, or plastics and is fully recyclable. Without more details, it is hard to predict what technology the paper packaging is using, but the packaging most likely has a coating or additive to enhance the paper for the required moisture and oxygen barrier properties. The commercial progress of this trial should be monitored closely, but clients should recognize that paper is a short-term solution and will simply shift the burden for packaging problems."

Personalized nutrition startup Kaigo raises $3 million seed round from high-profile angel investors but is on a path to failure


Thomas Hayes, Analyst
Lux Take: Ignore

"Angel investors included Mike Lee (founder of MyFitnessPal) and Micromanagement Ventures (founded by former NBA commissioner David Stern). Based on body composition and health history, Kaigo provides dietitian-guided nutrition programs, daily meal delivery, and on-demand support. Founded in 2014, the company currently provides services in New York City and San Francisco, with plans to add Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., this year. Although its end-to-end solution is attractive, Kaigo is on the same path that Habit has gone through. Personalized meal kits are not scalable due to the supply chain complexity – expect Kaigo to go under in the next five years."


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