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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up October 25, 2019

Lux Research
October 25, 2019

Every week Lux Analysts gather news and trends, and provide their expert analysis and opinions on major developments. Our researchers evaluate news based on potential importance ranking developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore. Check out our experts' thoughts on the top emerging technology and innovation headlines from this past week below.

Each Friday we will highlight our Lux Take on the news for the week

Sony soft launches mHealth platform at Connected Health Conference

13261-thumb-squareDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate | @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"The platform is essentially a "blank" smartwatch – equipped with sensors and connected via the LTE Cat M1 network from Sony's cell network partnerships. Sony has quickly realized that the magic of mHealth is in the algorithms, and rather than competing directly with a new algorithm for anything specific (like atrial fibrillation or sleep monitoring), it is providing just the hardware. This accesses a segment of the growing mHealth market share through the "build or buy" decision-making process and slickly sidesteps many (although not all) regulatory hurdles. By doing what it is already good at, Sony is leveraging itself to be an important emerging player in the mHealth space without having to write any health specific algorithms."

India ride-hailing giant Ola announces new car-sharing service

Chad Goldberg  Lux ResearchChad Goldberg, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

"India's largest ride-hailing company, Ola, is rolling out its own car-sharing service called Ola Drive. Aiming for an intended fleet size of 20,000 vehicles by 2020, the service claims differentiation from existing sharing options like Zoomcar and Drivezy via its customizable pricing package model, which will allow users to control everything from time and distance traveled to fuel inclusion. Ola's entry into the car-sharing space is not surprising, but rather a logical progression in response to a dynamic shared mobility landscape. With this announcement, as well as its recent addition of mopeds to its services, expect Ola to continue expanding its offerings as it looks to become India's multimodal transportation leader."

Largest concrete 3D printing project realized in Dubai

11113-thumb-squareTugce Uslu, PDEng, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

Dubai Municipality provides a playground for several 3D printing startups, as the city mandates 25% of all buildings to be 3D printed by 2030. While there are no regulations about the use of concrete 3D printing in Europe and the U.S., startups originating from Europe and the U.S. develop increasingly more projects in Dubai. The recent project of Apis Cor is an example, and it is unique as the largest construction project for on-site 3D printing. Apis Cor is also working on receiving building permits in the U.S. for its 3D-printed building components, but it will be more difficult due to the lack of regulations."

Google announces product updates at 2019 hardware event, all following the same vision as Apple and Amazon

2908-thumb-squareJerrold Wang, Analyst | @JerroldWang Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"The announced products show interesting features and are very aligned with the three key themes – AI integration in consumer devices, entertainment content offered by IT companies, and 5G immaturity – we highlighted in our analysis of the Apple event. Compared with the recent Apple event that aggressively deployed entertainment content services and the Amazon event that focused on expanding user control via more devices, the Google event shows a better balance. Though the emphasis of the three companies varies slightly, they serve the same vision of offering consumers AI and connectivity anywhere, anytime. Comapnies should monitor the updates of the three companies for product integration into their evolving ecosystems."

Renault and Waymo partner to bring first commercial robotaxi to europe, targeting 2024 launch

Robinson, ChristopherChristopher Robinson, Senior Analyst | @CRobinsonLux Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Renault and Waymo formalized a partnership in June 2019 and, just a few months later, announced the proposed route from La Défense to Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport. This would represent the first commercial launch of a robotaxi service in Europe on public streets. This is notable, as Europe's regulations over autonomy have been the most rigid; Audi is still waiting on regulatory approval for the A8's Level 3 traffic jam assist, which was launched about a year ago. Companies are encouraged to view this project with a lot of promise given that a leading OEM and self-driving car developer are partnering and specifically look for any regulatory updates, as that remains the biggest barrier to robotaxi deployments in Europe."

Are you ready to go "plastic neutral" with Unilever?

457-thumb-squareMichael Holman Ph.D., Vice President, Research | @MichaelHolmanLR Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Unilever announced plans to halve the amount of virgin plastic it uses and to "help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells." While this pledge is vague on just how it will do so – noting only that it will help "through investment and partnerships which improve waste management infrastructure" – it points to the coming value chain disruption due to circular economy (see the webinar "Finding Successful Strategies for the Circular Economy"). As recycling becomes a greater priority and concepts like extended producer responsibility take hold, brands like Unilever that take ownership of their plastic waste will look to monetize it and become competitors to chemical and material companies."

Microsoft continues push in digital agriculture with $1.5 million investment in and partnership with Emerging Prairie's Grand Farm

12744-thumb-squareJoshua Haslun, Ph.D., Senior Analyst | @JHaslun Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

Emerging Prairie established Grand Farm to develop concepts and awareness for autonomous farming practices through industry, entrepreneur, and government collaboration. An automated concept farm is expected by 2025. Current participants include Bushel, Fargo Automation, Appareo, Nerdery, Arthur Ventures, RDO Equipment, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, and now Microsoft. This will not be the first pilot-scale automated farm (see Hands Free Hectare) but marks a additional recent investment by Microsoft into the U.S. digital agriculture ecosystem. Companies, opportunities exist for digital technology enablers across the agrifood and health ecosystem; do not hesitate to identify those with challenges that match your competencies." 

Quantum computer developer IonQ raises $55 million

Lewie Roberts Lux ResearchLewie Roberts, Senior Research Associate | @roberts_lewie Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"With its new funding from the Samsung Catalyst Fund and Mubadala Capital, IonQ plans to develop cloud-based access to its quantum computer. This will likely be followed by announcements of formal partnerships that take advantage of this option; consultancies like QC Ware have previously expressed interest in this. Opening up IonQ's computer to a broader audience will allow more users to test the ion-based tech, which will provide valuable experimental data. In a time when it's still unclear what the winning quantum architecture will be (superconducting, ion-trap, topological, etc.), the results of experiments run on the different architectures may influence the direction that hardware design trends toward in the future."

Geltor signs letter of intent with Gelita to use animal-free collagen in dietary supplements


Thomas Hayes, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"This is the first move by Geltor into the food space, with its existing collagen products only being used for cosmetics. Its pursuit of dietary supplements pits it against Clara Foods, which plans to commercialize an undisclosed animal-free protein for the same use case in 2020. Moreover, Gelita, a collagen supplier, previously participated in Geltor's $18.2 million Series A round. This is another instance of an ingredient company vying for market share within the realm of acellular products from cellular agriculture. ADM and Ingredion have been some of the most active there to date. We do expect CPGs further downstream to become more involved, especially as startups like Geltor move from higher-value to lower-value end products."

Samsung unlikely to produce application-specific processors for Facebook AR glasses

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

"The news of a Samsung semiconductor foundry planning to produce 7 nm logic chips for Facebook AR glasses is a stretch for a number of reasons. A 7 nm node manufacturing process requires the EUV lithography method and expensive equipment supplied by ASML, an OEM with a backlog of order deliveries. There's also the unresolved performance issues of EUV photoresist, a chemical blend dominated by Japanese suppliers. South Korea and Japan trade wars exacerbate the problem. Foundry production starts with designing a chip and preparing a set of masks; both are expensive. Lastly, chip printing is profitable only beyond certain volumes, and this is the most questionable part of Facebook's AR ambitions, as for now it could not sell its smart speakers."



- Blog: Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up October 18, 2019

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