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IBM AND VISA TURN AUTOMOBILES, APPLIANCES AND ALL OTHER CONNECTED DEVICES INTO POTENTIAL POINTS OF SALE WITH WATSON INTERNET OF THINGS

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IBM AND VISA TURN AUTOMOBILES, APPLIANCES AND ALL OTHER CONNECTED DEVICES INTO POTENTIAL POINTS OF SALE WITH WATSON INTERNET OF THINGS

IBM Watson IoT to Provide Access to as Many as 20 Billion Devices for Visa in the Next Five Years

Companies Share Vision for Commerce-Based IoT at First Ever IBM “Genius of Things” Summit

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) today announced the industry’s first collaboration that brings the point of sale everywhere Visa is accepted, by allowing businesses to quickly introduce secure payment experiences for any device connected to the Internet of Things (IoT).

The collaboration brings together IBM’s Watson IoT platform and cognitive capabilities, with Visa’s global payments services that are used by more than 3 billion consumers globally. IBM’s Watson IoT Platform allows businesses to connect to billions of connected devices, sensors and systems around the world and then draw actionable insights. Today the platform is used bymore than 6,000 IBM clients that are helping customers connect to millions of devices.

IBM and Visa share a vision and commitment to embed payments and commerce into any device – from a watch, to a ring, an appliance or a car. Under this collaboration, companies can infuse secure payments across their entire product lines using the Visa Token Service, a new security technology that replaces sensitive payment account information found on payment cards with a unique digital identifier, via IBM’s Watson IoT platform. As a result, IBM and Visa could support payments and commerce on many of the 20 billion connected devices estimated to be in the global economy by 2020[i].

“IoT is literally changing the world around us, whether it’s allowing businesses to achieve unimaginable levels of efficiency or enabling a washing machine to ensure we never run out of detergent. And behind this transformation are companies like Visa and technologies like IBM’s Watson IoT platform,” said Harriet Green, general manager, IBM Watson IoT. “This combination of IBM’s industry leading IoT technologies with Visa payment services, signifies the next defining moment in commerce by allowing payments on any connected object, with new levels of simplicity and convenience for everyone.”

Examples of Commerce-based IoT:

Consider the consumer’s car. Experts estimate there will be 380 million connected cars by 2021[ii]. As the car ecosystem connects to the Watson IoT Platform, a driver would be alerted when the car’s warranty or certification is about to expire or if specific car parts need replacing. With this information, the driver can order parts with the push of a button, or schedule a service appointment at their preferred local garage. The driver could even pay for gas through a direct interaction between the car and the gas pump.

Similarly, with a fitness device, an avid runner with a wireless running chip, could receive a digital alert when it’s time to replace her running shoes, including a recommendation of the best model, at the best price, from a preferred retailer. Additional relevant and tailored recommendations could be offered, including nutrition and equipment recommendations, based on individual performance, local climates and shopping preferences.

“The Internet of Things is not only driving a more connected world, it’s changing the way we live, shop and pay, by moving data and the point-of-sale to wherever the consumer wants it to be,” said Jim McCarthy, executive vice president, innovation and strategic partnerships, Visa Inc. “With the power of Watson’s cognitive technologies and IBM’s leadership in IoT and security, they are the ideal partner to help us deliver secure payments to ‘virtually anywhere’ and on the enormous scale of the IoT.”

How it Works:

In the future with this collaboration, all of IBM’s Watson IoT Platform customers will have access to Visa payment services via the IBM Cloud. As a result, rather than approaching businesses on a one-by-one basis, IBM and Visa will provide all customers with access to these capabilities, so they can begin to build personalized commerce experiences and proactively make recommendations based on consumers’ unique needs.

As part of this collaboration, the companies will also ensure that all consumer information remains secure by leveraging Visa’s Token Service, which replaces sensitive account information found on payment cards, such as the 16-digit account number, expiration date and security code, with a unique digital identifier that can be used to process payments without exposing actual account details. The Visa Token Service is accessible through a network of token service providers (TSPs) as part of the Visa Ready partnership program, which certifies the next generation of third-party payment solutions to ensure they meet Visa’s security standards and specifications, and will have seamless and secure global acceptance.

Today IBM is working with more than 6,000 clients, around the globe and across industries, to help them truly realize the benefits of IoT. Many of these innovations are on display at IBM’s Watson IoT headquarters in Munich where today IBM, customers, partners and influencers are gathering for the first ever Genius of Things Summit. At Genius of Things, attendees will examine how Watson IoT clients are implementing IoT solutions to drive exceptional outcomes.

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Exclusive: Portugal sees green hydrogen output by end-2022, $12 billion in investment lined up

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Exclusive: Portugal sees green hydrogen output by end-2022, $12 billion in investment lined up 1

By Sergio Goncalves

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal will start producing green hydrogen by the end of 2022 and already has private investment worth around 10 billion euros ($12 billion) lined up for eight projects that are expected to move forward, Environment Minister Joao Matos Fernandes said.

He told Reuters in a telephone interview there were also several “pre-contracts for the purchase and assembly of electrolysers” to produce the zero-carbon fuel made by electrolysis out of water using renewable wind and solar energy.

Such hydrogen is more expensive to extract than the heavily polluting conventional method of using heat and chemical reactions to release hydrogen from coal or natural gas, known as brown and grey hydrogen respectively.

Hydrogen is now mostly used in the oil refining industry and to produce ammonia fertilisers, but sectors such as steelmaking, transportation and chemicals are beginning to develop large-scale hydrogen applications to gradually replace fossil fuels as countries try to reduce pollution.

The European Commission has mapped out a plan to scale up green hydrogen projects across polluting sectors to meet a net zero emissions goal by 2050 and become a leader in a market analysts expect to be worth $1.2 trillion by that date.

“By the end of 2022, there will certainly be green hydrogen production in Portugal,” Matos Fernandes said. “Green hydrogen will, over time, allow Portugal to completely change its paradigm and become an energy exporting country.”

He said seven groups had submitted applications under Europe’s IPCEI scheme for common-interest projects to make part of a planned export-oriented “hydrogen cluster” near the port of Sines, from where hydrogen could be shipped to Rotterdam. Total investment there is estimated at some 7 billion euros.

A consortium including Portugal’s main utility EDP, oil company Galp, world’s largest wind turbine maker Vestas, among others, is behind one of the projects.

In Estarreja in north Portugal, local firm Bondalti Chemicals aims to invest 2.4 billion euros in a hydrogen plant.

Altogether, these envisage an installed capacity of over 1,000 megawatts (MW).

Matos Fernandes said Portugal was also negotiating with Spain the construction of a pipeline for renewable gases, including hydrogen, from Sines to France, crossing Spain.

LITHIUM PLANS

Spain and Portugal also want to develop an ambitious cross-border lithium project taking advantage of the geographical proximity of their lithium deposits and aiming to cover the entire value chain from mining to refining, cell and battery manufacturing to battery recycling, he said.

Portugal is already a large producer of low-grade lithium mainly for the ceramics industry, but is preparing to make higher-grade metal used in electric car batteries.

A much-awaited licensing tender for lithium-bearing areas that has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic should take place by the year-end, Matos Fernandes said.

He promised the tender would address environmental concerns by local communities and there would be no lithium mining “at any cost”.

The minister also said Portugal would use its six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union to finalise a landmark law that would make the bloc’s climate targets irreversible and speed up emissions cuts this decade, expecting it to be approved in the first half of 2021.

(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Andrei Khalip and David Evans)

 

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Under fire in EU, AstraZeneca CEO says ‘hopefully’ will meet vaccine supply goals

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Under fire in EU, AstraZeneca CEO says 'hopefully' will meet vaccine supply goals 2

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot said on Thursday he hoped to meet the European Union’s expectations on the number of COVID-19 vaccines the company can deliver to the bloc in the second quarter, after big cuts in the first three months of the year.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has been under fire in the EU for its delayed supplies of shots to the 27-nation bloc, which ordered 300 million doses by the end of June.

“We are working 24/7 to improve delivery and hopefully catch up to the expectations for Q2,” Soriot told EU lawmakers in a public hearing.

Under its contract with the EU, the company has committed to delivering 180 million doses in the second quarter.

Soriot did not mention the 180 million target, but said he was confident the company will be able to increase production in the second quarter using factories outside the EU that had no production problems, including in the United States.

He confirmed the company was trying to get 40 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the EU by the end of March, which is less than half the amount it promised for the quarter in its contract.

The EU, which has fallen far behind the United States and former member Britain in vaccinating its public, has repeatedly urged the firm to deliver more.

Lower-than-expected yields – the amount of vaccine that can be produced from base ingredients – at its factories hurt output in the first three months.

Asked about supplies to Britain, which relies on the same factories used by the EU, Soriot said the former EU member with a population of around 66 million was smaller, and noted that most doses produced in the EU were used to serve the EU which has a population of about 450 million.

Executives from rival drugmakers that have developed or are testing COVID-19 vaccines, including Moderna Inc and CureVac NV were also part of the panel.

But most questions were directed at Soriot amid anger that the company has failed to deliver promised vaccine quantities to the bloc on schedule.

Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said the company has experienced fluctuations as the U.S. biotech group ramps up output of its COVID-19 vaccine.

He said usually a company would stockpile product ahead of a launch, but it is shipping every dose it makes, leaving it without any spare inventory.

His comments came a day after the company increased its output target for this year and 2022 as it invests in additional manufacturing capacity.

(Reporting by Josephine Mason in London and Francesco Guarascio in Brussels; Editing by Susan Fenton, Bill Berkrot and Keith Weir)

 

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Shift to sun, ski and suburbs gives Airbnb advantage over hotels

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Shift to sun, ski and suburbs gives Airbnb advantage over hotels 3

By Ankit Ajmera

(Reuters) – Airbnb’s quarterly results are likely to show the pandemic may have helped the home rental company lure leisure travelers away from big hotels during the global travel collapse of 2020.

Weary of being locked up in their homes for months, travelers hit the road and booked homes and cottages on Airbnb, while avoiding flights and downtown hotels, analysts said.

Airbnb accounted for 18% of the total U.S. lodging revenue in 2020, up from 11.5% in 2019, data from hotel analytics provider STR and vacation rental data company AirDNA showed.

It outperformed the hotel industry and online travel agents such as Expedia and Booking.com thanks to its greater offer of ‘sun, ski, and suburban’ rental homes, Cowen & Co analysts said.

Shift to sun, ski and suburbs gives Airbnb advantage over hotels 4

(Graphic: Airbnb grabs bigger share of U.S. lodging market in pandemic: https://graphics.reuters.com/AIRBNB-RESULTS/yxmpjxqdopr/chart.png)

For an interactive graphic, click here: https://tmsnrt.rs/3pPbQwH

THE CONTEXT

In 2019, about 90% of Airbnb’s bookings came from leisure travels compared with about 20%-30% for large hotels chains, including Marriott and Hilton, that rely on business travel to grow their profits.

“Unfortunately, the hotel operators do not have as much supply in locations where people are willing to travel,” said Jamie Lane, vice president of research at AirDNA.

Lane said with mass vaccinations later in the year, the share of alternative accommodations including Airbnb will drop before continuing to grow at 2%-3% per year once normal travel patterns return.

Shift to sun, ski and suburbs gives Airbnb advantage over hotels 5

(Graphic: Airbnb U.S. sales against top hotels: https://graphics.reuters.com/AIRBNB-RESULTS/gjnpwzkdbvw/chart.png)

For an interactive graphic, click here: https://tmsnrt.rs/3dPKvsd

THE FUNDAMENTALS

* The San Francisco-based company is expected to report gross bookings of $23.10 billion in 2020, down from about $38 billion a year earlier, according to the mean estimate of 12 analysts according to Refinitiv; gross bookings are seen rising by 50% in 2021.

* Analysts’ mean estimate for Airbnb’s full-year net loss is $3.52 billion, bigger than a loss of $674.3 million a year earlier. Full-year revenue is expected to drop 32% to $3.27 billion.

WALL STREET SENTIMENT

* Of 34 brokerages, 20 rate Airbnb’s stock “hold”, 12 “buy” or higher and two “sell” or lower

* Wall Street’s median 12-month price target for Airbnb is $156​, about 22% below its last closing price of $200.20.

* The company’s stock has nearly tripled since listing in December

Shift to sun, ski and suburbs gives Airbnb advantage over hotels 6

(Graphic: Airbnb’s stock has nearly tripled since debut: https://graphics.reuters.com/AIRBNB-RESULTS/jznpnoqrlvl/chart.png)

For an interactive graphic, click here: https://tmsnrt.rs/3dG2lOd

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Sweta Singh and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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