Tuesday, 13 March 2018

70% of Netflix viewing happens on TVs

Source:  Data from Netflix, reported by Recode, 7th March 2018
(Follow the link to see data for Thailand, Italy, Colombia, South Africa and Poland)

Nearly $2bn worth of robots were bought in the US in 2017

"2017 was a milestone year for the North American robotics market as it surpassed previous high water marks in all four statistical categories: order units, order revenue, shipment units, and shipment revenue.
The amount of robots sold in North America last year surpassed all previous records. Customers purchased 34,904 total units representing $1.9 billion in total sales. These numbers show growth of 0.9% in units and 0.1% in dollars from 2016. While automotive-related orders were down compared to the previous year (-7.3% in units and -3.8% in dollars), non-automotive orders fueled the rise in 2017 with 20.5% growth in units and 7.3% in dollars.
The industry also set records for North American shipments in 2017: 33,575 robots valued at $1.94 billion shipped to customers last year. This is an expansion of 8.7% in units and 6.9% in dollars over 2016 levels, with non-automotive related shipments once again providing the growth. 2017 shipments increased 29.7% in units and 19.7% in dollars from 2016 results. The largest growth rates for units shipped came from the plastics and rubber (59.6%), metals (53.9%), and food & consumer goods (44.2%). Automotive shipments were flat in both units and dollars compared to 2016."

Mobile payments are approaching a tipping point in the UK

"Mobile payments are fast approaching a tipping point, with spending via smartphones accelerating according to the latest consumer spending data from Worldpay.
The number of in-store contactless transactions made via a mobile device totalled 126 million last year, with the amount spent topping £975 million. This marks a 328% year-on-year rise in in-store mobile spending; and with almost a third  of consumers now taking advantage of their phone’s payment capabilities, these numbers are set for exponential growth over the next 12 months.
Accounting for 59% of all in-store mobile transactions, the supermarket sector has been an important driver in the uptake of digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, as time-poor shoppers grab groceries on the go. Pubs, bars and restaurants make up a further 12.5% of the total spend.
But according to Worldpay’s analysis, shoppers are now starting to purchase higher value items via their smartphones. In the second half of 2017, the average spend per transaction increased by 11%*, with a notable lift-off following the increase in retailers accepting ‘limitless’ Apple Pay transactions in May. Consequently, luxury department stores and high end boutiques are now one of the fastest growing sectors for mobile payments; although the volume of mobile transactions in this category still remains a small fraction of the total (2.9%), its share of the market has more than doubled since last year."

Nearly half of the ICOs launched in 2017 failed

"Of the initial coin offerings that blasted onto the scene in 2017 along with the price of bitcoin, 46 percent have failed.
That’s according to Engadget, which — citing data from TokenData — reported that of the 902 ICOs in 2017, 46 percent have failed. Among that percentage, 142 never got the funding and another 276 have faded away or were scams. What’s more, the report noted that another 113 ICOs have stopped talking about their project online or haven’t had enough adopters that success will be likely. Of the survivors, the report noted that only a few have raised more than $10 million via an ICO.
According to Engadget, excluding the ICOs that were outright scams, it’s not surprising that many of the ICOs and the virtual coins failed to take off. Many were focused on niches such as dentistry or trucking, while others were riding the coattails of other successful tokens and thus didn’t stand out enough to get traction. The report noted that ICOs remain popular this year, but there’s no guarantee that they will have a better go at it."

Fake news spreads more quickly than genuine news

"We investigated the differential diffusion of all of the verified true and false news stories distributed on Twitter from 2006 to 2017. The data comprise ~126,000 stories tweeted by ~3 million people more than 4.5 million times. We classified news as true or false using information from six independent fact-checking organizations that exhibited 95 to 98% agreement on the classifications. Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information. We found that false news was more novel than true news, which suggests that people were more likely to share novel information. Whereas false stories inspired fear, disgust, and surprise in replies, true stories inspired anticipation, sadness, joy, and trust. Contrary to conventional wisdom, robots accelerated the spread of true and false news at the same rate, implying that false news spreads more than the truth because humans, not robots, are more likely to spread it."
Source:  Abstract of The spread of true and false news online by Soroush Vosoughi1, Deb Roy, Sinan Aral, reported in Science, 9th March 2018

Monday, 26 February 2018

Google sold an estimated 3.9m Pixel phones in 2017

"In the 16 months since its initial release in October 2016, Google’s Pixel family of phones has earned plenty of acclaim and scrutiny, but not very many sales. The latest update on Pixel sales comes from IDC’s Francisco Jeronimo, who notes that Google shipped 3.9 million Pixel and Pixel 2 devices in 2017. That’s no more than a rounding error when set against the global smartphone market that numbers 1.5 billion units, and it’s also less than a typical week’s worth of iPhone sales for Apple.
Though still comparatively tiny, Google’s Pixel sales are at least heading in the right direction. According to Jeronimo, the rate of sales has doubled in 2017, and the most recent data from Kantar Worldpanel agrees with this, indicating that Google’s share of the US phone market has gone up from 1.8 percent to 2.8 percent."

Things that have become cheaper, and things that have become more expensive

Source:  MarketWatch, 12th February 2018

China has more 'Unicorns' than all the other non-US countries put together

"More companies outside of the U.S. are reaching unicorn status at a quicker pace than ever before.
Membership in the Unicorn Club is exploding. These unicorns, or startup companies valued at more than a billion dollars, are increasingly based outside of the U.S.
In fact, nearly half of the 193 current members of the unicorn club (with a total cumulative valuation of $665 billion) are based outside of the U.S., according to data from CB Insights, a venture capital and angel investment database.
“Thirty-seven percent of all companies (current and past unicorns) that achieved a $1B+ valuation in 2014 were based outside the U.S.,” according to CB Insights. “The following year, 53 percent of all the companies that reached unicorn status that year were based outside of the U.S. In 2016, that number increased again to 58 percent. So far in 2018, there have been 11 companies added to the global unicorn club; 8 are based outside of the U.S.
China, with 46, has the most unicorn startups. In fact, China has more unicorns than all the other countries combined. China is also home to the five most valuable startups (Xiaomi, Didi Chuxing, China Internet Plus, Lu.com, and Toutiao), according to CB Insights.
India is the closest rival to China, with 9 unicorns, followed by the UK with 8; Germany with 4; and South Korea with 3."
Source:  Data from CB Insights, reported by Larry Kim on Medium, 13th February 2018

The Apple Watch can detect diabetes with 85% accuracy

"According to Cardiogram founder Brandon Ballinger’s latest clinical study, the Apple Watch can detect diabetes in those previously diagnosed with the disease with an 85 percent accuracy.
The study is part of the larger DeepHeart study with Cardiogram and UCSF. This particular study used data from 14,000 Apple Watch users and was able to detect that 462 of them had diabetes by using the Watch’s heart rate sensor, the same type of sensor other fitness bands using Android Wear also integrate into their systems.
In 2015, the Framingham Heart Study showed that resting heart rate and heart rate variability significantly predicted incident diabetes and hypertension. This led to the impetus to use the Watch’s heart rate sensor to see if it could accurately detect a diabetic patient."

A mention on the TV show Rick & Morty led to McDonalds re-introducing Szechuan dipping sauce

"If you’re going to ride a pop culture trend, you’ve got to ride it full send — and that’s why McDonald’s says it’s bringing back its Szechuan dipping sauce. Again.
McDonald’s originally introduced the limited batch of Szechuan sauce in 1998 to coincide with the release of the Disney film “Mulan.” Last fall, the sauce was referenced by Cartoon Network’s popular Adult Swim show, “Rick and Morty,” leading McDonald’s to briefly rerelease the sauce — and leading to full-on riots when the very limited supply ran out.
The fast food chain apologized after the fiasco, saying it had not expected such high demand."

Smartphone sales fell for the first time ever in Q4 2017

"Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled nearly 408 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 5.6 percent decline over the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Gartner, Inc. This is the first year-on-year decline since Gartner started tracking the global smartphone market in 2004.
"Two main factors led to the fall in the fourth quarter of 2017," said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. "First, upgrades from feature phones to smartphones have slowed down due to a lack of quality "ultra-low-cost" smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones. Second, replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer, lengthening the replacement cycle of smartphones. Moreover, while demand for high quality, 4G connectivity and better camera features remained strong, high expectations and few incremental benefits during replacement weakened smartphone sales.""

In-App transactions increased by 46% in 2017

"Marketers around the globe saw a 46% jump in in-app transactions last year, as shoppers continued to migrate toward mobile shopping platforms, according to a study by adtech firm Criteo.
North American retailers that offer a shopping app generate 67% of all e-commerce sales conducted on mobile devices, while in-app transactions make up two-thirds of mobile transactions for retailers that sell products in both an app and on a mobile site.
Shopping apps also had higher sales conversion rates of 21%, compared to the standard 6% on the mobile web. Retail categories with the highest share of mobile sales included sporting goods (44%), fashion/luxury (40%) and health/beauty (38%)."