21 Apr, 2017

News round-up: Uber launches Enterprise edition, Wal-Mart seeks to reduce emissions, Healthcare funding update and more

 -news week of april 21

It’s time for the weekly new round-up, so here it is here.

Let’s start with a little data joke that the digital transformers out there will appreciate from the folks over at Dilbert.



On Tuesday, Uber announced the launch of its enterprise version, Uber Central. This app lets business order multiple Ubers for guests, customers or clients from a single app, TechCrunch reports. The tool was first announced in July and more than 8,000 companies participated in the pilot program. The new tool will include enhanced reporting, billing, and management features.


Samsung has launched their new S8, with features that rival those of the iPhone 7. Samsung claims that its new smartphone hosts a number of breakthrough capabilities, like a native dialer app designed to reduce the number of times users need to switch apps, GeekWire reports.

Samsung has also vastly improved the design of the phone with a larger, curved screen and a slim, light package. “The iPhone looks chunky by comparison,” Business Insider said in its review.


Facebook has made several big announcements recently, including to Workplace, their productivity tool. Company officials announced at the F8 developer conference in San Francisco Tuesday, CNBC reports, that new features include file sharing enhancements, bots, and compliance and governance tools. In the file sharing space, Workplace now integrates with Box, Dropbox, Microsoft and Quip/Salesforce, allowing users to share documents and information without leaving the Facebook ecosystem.


Microsoft announced Tuesday plans to acquire Intentional Software, a company focused on next generation team productivity apps. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


According to a White House briefing on Monday, President Trump has signed an executive order designed to encourageU.S. companies to “Hire American and Buy American.” The order has called for “strict enforcement” of labor laws for workers coming to the U.S., creating an environment for higher wages and employment rates for American workers.


Burger King

Last week, Burger King released “Connected Whopper” a 15-second advert spot that automatically triggered Google Assistant in devices like Google Home. Google appeared to immediately shut down the ad’s functionality, the fast food chain apparently had a series of similar ads in the hopper to act as workarounds, according to a report in Ad Age, with a second version of the ad ran during “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”. The goal of the ad was to get Google devices to read from a Wikipedia entry describing the Whopper.

The concept sounds clever, but the ads activate devices without users’ permissions. The Verge also pointed out that internet trolls were quick to edit the Whopper’s Wikipedia page to include incredibly inappropriate descriptors.


P&G teamed up with Publicis New York created an art installation of more than 43,000 balloons and used drones to film a 360-degree immersive journey intended to depict how far a drop of Fairy washing liquid goes, as reported by Mobile Marketing Magazine.


Coca-Cola’s famous “Share a Coke” summer promotion is expanding to include Coca-Cola Life and Cherry Coke in the U.S., the company said in a press release. The campaign, that features various printed names on the Coca-Cola packaging, will also include almost 200 last names for the first time.



PetSmart just announced the largest eCommerce acquisition. On Tuesday the company announced in a press release that it will acquire online pet retailer Chewy, Inc at a price of at $3.35 billion —topping even Wal-Mart’s giant $3.3 billion outlay for Jet last year.


Recode reporte this week that Amazon was awarded a patent for “a system of on-demand apparel manufacturing [that] includes a textile printer, textile cutter, and a computing device” that could be used to make apparel or textile home goods. The patent describes an idea that will work to improve the efficiency of manufacture and order fulfillment.

Among the inventors listed on the patent are; Rouzbeh Safavi Aminpour,  Aaron Takayanagi Barnet, Nancy Yi Liang, Adam N. Alexander, James Richard Wilson, and Javier Govea Mata. Barnet and Liang co-founded the 3-D printing startup Mixee Labs and later went to work at Amazon, Recode notes.


Not to be outdone, Wal-Mart has announced Project Gigaton, a strategy devised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from their operations and supply chains. In theory, the resulting reduction in emissions is equivalent to taking 211 million passenger vehicles off of U.S. roads for a year, the company said in a press release following its annual Milestone Summit.



Healthcare funding is remaining steady in 2017, despite Healthcare M&A value being down by 49.3% in Q1 of this year, compared to the same time period last year, a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found. Despite this, Cardinal Health announced this week that it has reached a definitive agreement to buy Medtronic’s medical device lines for $6.1 billion in cash. This gives the company access to 23 product categories in patient care, deep vein thrombosis and nutritional insufficiency, including well-known brands used in nearly every U.S. hospital.

VC funding in health IT and digital health remains strong in Q1 2017, with a total 1.6 million across 165 deals. Total funding for digital health has reached $1.8 billion, up from $1 billion in the final quarter of 2016. Consumer-focused companies received 65% of this funding, raising $1 billion in 115 deals, leaving the rest for healthcare practice-centric companies, with $574 million across 50 deals.

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