31 Mar, 2017

News round-up: Distil uncovers Malbot, Domino’s Robot Delivery, Google Boycott, Lyft provides nonemergency patient transport, Brexit and more

 -digital news blog march 31

Here’s is our latest digital transformation news round-up.



Google’s issues are deepening this week as more companies join the growing boycott of its ad services. Candy giant Nestle is the latest to choose to drop their google adverts. In a move to prevent more companies boycotting, Google has permitted third-party advert monitoring.

YouTube has also experienced negative press this week, adding pressure to Google to tighten up its advert screening. According to a BBC article, there are thousands of disturbing videos on YouTube masquerading as popular children’s shows.

“If you’re not paying much attention, it might look like an ordinary video featuring Peppa Pig, the cheeky porcine star of her own animated series. But soon after pressing play on this particular YouTube clip, the plot turns dark. A dentist with a huge syringe appears. Peppa’s teeth get pulled out. Distressed crying can be heard on the soundtrack.”


Domino’s have been stepping up their marketing game in recent weeks, with nostalgic Ferris Bueller commercials. This week, they announced a partnership with robot delivery company Starship Technologies in Germany.

Starship Technologies also announced last week their partnership with Californian-based grocer Doordash as it plans to deliver groceries by a robot to locals.


The social behemoth announced earlier this week that it now allows mobile publishers to use header bidding as part of its Facebook Audience Network.

Also this week, Facebook-owned Oculus loses its virtual reality boy wonder  Palmer Luckey. This came after the company reported a huge loss of $500 million.



ECommerce giant Amazon has decided to close its Quidsi unit, bought in 2010 for $500 million to focus on its Amazon Fresh grocery effort.

“We have worked extremely hard for the past seven years to get Quidsi to be profitable, and unfortunately we have not been able to do so,” an Amazon spokesperson told Retail Dive in an email. “Quidsi has a great brand expertise and they will continue to offer a selection on Amazon.com; the software development team will focus on building technology for AmazonFresh.”

This comes as Amazon announces the delayed opening of the much anticipated Amazon Go store in Seattle due to technological issues.

Dunkin’ Donuts

The popular coffee and donut store is following in the footsteps of competitor Starbucks and enabling order ahead software partnering with Google’s Waze app.


Ikea is stepping into the world of smart technology once more, this time by expanding the availability of its smart lighting system called Trådfri (Swedish for “wireless”), according to The Verge.



Distil Networks, the security firms, this week discovered a new kind of malware, a bot that has been attacking retail websites in an attempt to steal consumers’ gift card balances. Nicknamed GiftGhostBots, Distil described the software as Advanced Persistent Bots (APB) that can test 1.7 million gift card account numbers per hour by requesting the balance information. If successful in obtaining, fraudsters resell the account number on the dark web or use them to purchase goods.

The company first spotted the activity late February, on a customer’s website where the team recorded a record high of 4 million bad bot requests per hour, 10 times the website’s normal level of traffic.



Salesforce is adding artificial intelligence technology to its financial services CRM, partnering with San Francisco-based firm Einstein. The move sparks an attempt to allow consumers to take advantage of the latest machine learning, predictive data analytics, and natural language technology. For an extra $50 a month, Einstein AI will crawl through your client data and communications, looking for important updates, mentions of competitors and client sentiment. The system can then make recommendations to the advisor based on the results.

Transamerica has already announced its plans to leverage this technology in its digital transformation.



Rideshare firm Lyft has partnered with American Medical Response to ease pressure on the emergency services, by providing transportation for nonemergency patients in the 42 states where the ambulance company operates. Hospitals and caregivers alike will be able to arrange rides with Lyft via AMR’s One Call phone or online portal services.


This week, the UK finally issues the official notice to the European Union of its plans to leave. As Brexit negotiations are set to begin, the process could take up to two years.

Brexit was top of the digital transformation news this week, as many say that this move by the UK is halting their attempts to transform. According to a study by OpenTech and Sapio Research, half of the respondents stated that Brexit is making it harder to justify the cost of digital transformation.

“Faced with a severe skills gap, uncertainty around Brexit and a daunting quantity of data, many are struggling to successfully implement [digital transformation],” said Thomas Leeson, industry marketing strategist, manufacturing sector, at OpenTech.

As companies all around the world are digitally transforming, it will be interesting to see if UK-based companies get left behind.


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