AI is the next revolution in technology following the advent of the internet. Companies deploying AI in their processes will be more likely to succeed. The commercial leaders, including Google, Microsoft and Amazon, are already leveraging AI, while a large number of AI unicorns are coming to the fore, making efforts to “overtake on the curve” so that they can be distinguished in the market. Yet, the industry as a whole is asking itself how to go about embracing AI.
From chip to algorithm, from cloud to offline, AI-based products and services come in all forms. Many companies haven’t figured out how to proceed when deploying AI. A unicorn can skillfully solve this issue, helping industrial customers rapidly deploy AI through robots. The unicorn, in this particular case, is CloudMinds, which has formed close partnerships with a mix of domestic Chinese and leading foreign firms, including SoftBank, Foxconn, China Mobile and the China-Japan Friendship Hospital. CloudMinds’ solutions have developed an excellent reputation across the industry.
Companies with a deep understanding of robotics come together
For an AI deployment, a robot is by far the best solution. CloudMinds is renowned worldwide for its “cloud smart robot” solution and is working in close collaboration with several partners. SoftBank Robotics Holdings (SBRH), which has developed deep knowledge on robotics and AI technology, is among its partners.
At the beginning of 2012, SBRH was founded by SoftBank. Subsequently, Alibaba and Foxconn invested in SBRH, equipping the joint venture with strong robot production capacities and vast commercial development channels. SBRH’s humanoid robot Pepper is widely used in various new retail scenarios and has become one of the most advanced AI products in the market.
As AI gains in popularity, SBRH has partnered with CloudMinds, adding the “cloud smart” features to Pepper’s suite of capabilities while maintaining its other advanced features, creating an even smarter robot — Cloud Pepper.
Cloud Pepper’s “brain” is in the cloud. The body is connected to the brain via a mobile high-speed network, while AI remotely manages its activities. By structuring the functionalities in this way, the AI capabilities are fully divorced from and not limited by the local hardware. The massive cloud database empowers Cloud Pepper.
In practical application, Cloud Pepper positions and identifies sound sources in scenarios through four microphone arrays located on its head, easily handling various instructions in Chinese and English. With the human augmented robot intelligence (HARI) platform, the smart AI database can provide a variety of functions, such as accurately answering a question about the availability of a seat at an event, providing a weather forecast or getting an update on current traffic conditions. The proprietary face and object recognition system can not only simultaneously identify several faces, but intelligently identify hundreds of objects.
CloudMinds takes several steps to cement its position in the marketplace
Besides SBRH, CloudMinds has partnered with several other firms, among them, Foxconn, China Mobile and the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, to promote deployment of AI-enhanced robots. Looking at the overall market, robotics is now at a key juncture in the transformation of both industry and technology. There is a consensus that robots will be the next big breakthrough. CloudMinds’ “cloud smart robot” solution is ideal for companies who need to rapidly integrate robotics into their processes.
The “cloud smart robot” solution is widely recognized across all industries, as CloudMinds has taken several steps to comprehensively create its own core competitiveness, directly addressing the main issues across the industry:
- CloudMinds created a safe and strong robot network infrastructure — Skynet, which is fully independent of the existing Internet. Skynet effectively addresses the security issue for all players by establishing a highly secure and high-performance backbone network using software-defined network (SDN) and software-defined perimeter (SDP) technologies;
- CloudMinds researched and developed the world’s first cloud smart connecting terminal based on dual chips and virtualization technology — AI Mobile. The AI application activates the adaptive robot through this equipment configuration, endowing each robot with a smart “heart”;
In addition, the HARI architecture “cloud smart service” developed by CloudMinds combines human and machine intelligence, offering a variety of cloud smart services, including data analysis, image (face) and voice recognition, for the front end. The architecture drives deep learning of machine intelligence, greatly enhancing the robot’s capabilities following deployment.
By combining the cloud-based brain, a neural network and a terminal, CloudMinds services industrial users with an open “cloud smart robot” ecosystem, helping many industries better embrace AI. CloudMinds founder and CEO Huang Xiaoqing said: “We look forward to providing platform solutions in the future, offering customers a suite of services that, today, can still only be imagined. Based on these solutions, we will support our partners, including developers, software suppliers and data providers, in future commercial applications, security and AI with possible rich scenario applications, driving the arrival of the service robot era.”
SOURCE CloudMinds Technologies Co. Ltd
Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output
By Ahmad Ghaddar
LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices fell from recent highs for a second day on Friday as Texas energy firms began to prepare for restarting oil and gas fields shuttered by freezing weather.
Brent crude futures were down $1.16, or 1.8%, to $62.77 per barrel, by 1150 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell $1.42, or 2.4%, to $59.10 a barrel.
Unusually cold weather in Texas and the Plains states curtailed up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil production and 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas, according to analysts.
Texas refiners halted about a fifth of the nation’s oil processing amid power outages and severe cold.
However, firms in the region on Friday were expected to prepare for production restarts as electric power and water services slowly resume, sources said.
“The market was ripe for a correction and signs of the power and overall energy situation starting to normalise in Texas provided the necessary trigger,” said Vandana Hari, energy analyst at Vanda Insights.
Oil fell despite a surprise fall in U.S. crude stockpiles in the week to Feb. 12, before the freeze. Inventories fell by 7.3 million barrels to 461.8 million barrels, their lowest since March, the Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday. [EIA/S]
The United States on Thursday said it was ready to talk to Iran about both nations returning to a 2015 agreement that aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
While the thawing relations could raise the prospect of reversing sanctions imposed by the previous U.S. administration, analysts did not expect Iranian oil sanctions to be lifted anytime soon.
“This breakthrough increases the probability that we may see Iran returning to the oil market soon, although there is much to be discussed and a new deal will not be a carbon-copy of the 2015 nuclear deal,” StoneX analyst Kevin Solomon said.
(Additional reporting by Roslan Khasawneh in Singapore and Sonali Paul in Melbourne; editing by Jason Neely)
Analysis: Carmakers wake up to new pecking order as chip crunch intensifies
By Douglas Busvine and Christoph Steitz
BERLIN (Reuters) – The semiconductor crunch that has battered the auto sector leaves carmakers with a stark choice: pay up, stock up or risk getting stuck on the sidelines as chipmakers focus on more lucrative business elsewhere.
Car manufacturers including Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors have cut output as the chip market was swept clean by makers of consumer electronics such as smartphones – the chip industry’s preferred customers because they buy more advanced, higher-margin chips.
The semiconductor shortage – over $800 worth of silicon is packed into a modern electric vehicle – has exposed the disconnect between an auto industry spoilt by decades of just-in-time deliveries and an electronics industry supply chain it can no longer bend to its will.
“The car sector has been used to the fact that the whole supply chain is centred around cars,” said McKinsey partner Ondrej Burkacky. “What has been overlooked is that semiconductor makers actually do have an alternative.”
Automakers are responding to the shortage by lobbying governments to subsidize the construction of more chip-making capacity.
In Germany, Volkswagen has pointed the finger at suppliers, saying it gave them timely warning last April – when much global car production was idled due to the coronavirus pandemic – that it expected demand to recover strongly in the second half of the year.
That complaint by the world’s No.2 volume carmaker cuts little ice with chipmakers, who say the auto industry is both quick to cancel orders in a slump and to demand investment in new production in a recovery.
“Last year we had to furlough staff and bear the cost of carrying idle capacity,” said a source at one European semiconductor maker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“If the carmakers are asking us to invest in new capacity, can they please tell us who will pay for that idle capacity in the next downturn?”
The auto industry spends around $40 billion a year on chips – about a tenth of the global market. By comparison, Apple spends more on chips just to make its iPhones, Mirabaud tech analyst Neil Campling reckons.
Moreover, the chips used in cars tend to be basic products such as micro controllers made under contract at older foundries – hardly the leading-edge production technology in which chipmakers would be willing to invest.
“The suppliers are saying: ‘If we continue to produce this stuff there is nowhere else for it to go. Sony isn’t going to use it for a Playstation 5 or Apple for its next iPhone’,” said Asif Anwar at Strategy Analytics.
Chipmakers were surprised by the panicked reaction of the German car industry, which persuaded Economy Minister Peter Altmaier to write a letter in January to his counterpart in Taiwan to ask its semiconductor makers to supply more chips.
No extra supplies were forthcoming, with one German industry source joking that the Americans stood a better chance of getting more chips from Taiwan because they could at least park an aircraft carrier off the coast – referring to the ability of the United States to project power in Asia.
Closer to home, a source at another European chipmaker expressed disbelief at the poor understanding at one carmaker of how it operates.
“We got a call from one auto maker that was desperate for supply. They said: Why don’t you run a night shift to increase production?” this person said.
“What they didn’t understand is that we have been running a night shift since the beginning.”
NO QUICK FIX
While Infineon, the leading supplier of chips to the global auto industry, and Robert Bosch, the top ‘Tier 1’ parts supplier, both plan to commission new chip plants this year, there is little chance of supply shortages easing soon.
Specialist chipmakers like Infineon outsource some production of automotive chips to contract manufacturers led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), but the Asian foundries are currently prioritising high-end electronics makers as they come up against capacity constraints.
Over the longer term, the relationship between chip makers and the car industry will become closer as electric vehicles are more widely adopted and features such as assisted and autonomous driving develop, requiring more advanced chips.
But, in the short term, there is no quick fix for the lack of chip supply: IHS Markit estimates that the time it takes to deliver a microcontroller has doubled to 26 weeks and shortages will only bottom out in March.
That puts the production of 1 million light vehicles at risk in the first quarter, says IHS Markit. European chip industry executives and analysts agree that supply will not catch up with demand until later in the year.
Chip shortages are having a “snowball effect” as auto makers idle some capacity to prioritize building profitable models, said Anwar at Strategy Analytics, who forecasts a drop in car production in Europe and North America of 5%-10% in 2021.
The head of Franco-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics, Jean-Marc Chery, forecasts capacity constraints will affect carmakers until mid-year.
“Up to the end of the second quarter, the industry will have to manage at the lean inventory level,” Chery told a recent Goldman Sachs conference.
(Douglas Busvine from Berlin and Christoph Steitz from Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gilles Gillaume in Paris; Editing by Susan Fenton)
Aussie and sterling hit multi-year highs on recovery bets
By Tommy Wilkes
LONDON (Reuters) – The Australian dollar rose to near a three-year high and the British pound scaled $1.40 for the first time since 2018 on optimism about economic rebounds in the two countries and after the U.S. dollar was knocked by disappointing jobs data.
The U.S. currency had been rising in recent days as a jump in Treasury yields on the back of the so-called reflation trade drew investors. But an unexpected increase in U.S. weekly jobless claims soured the economic outlook and sent the dollar lower overnight.
On Friday it traded down 0.3% against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index at 90.309.
The Aussie rose 0.8% to $0.784, its highest since March 2018. The currency, which is closely linked to commodity prices and the outlook for global growth, has been helped by a recent rally in commodity prices.
The New Zealand dollar also gained, and was not far off a more than two-year high, while the Canadian dollar rose too.
Sterling rose to $1.4009 on Friday, an almost three-year high amid Britain’s aggressive vaccination programme.
Given the size of Britain’s vital services sector, analysts say the faster it can reopen the economy, the better for the currency. Sterling was also helped by better-than-expected purchasing managers index flash survey data for February.
The U.S. dollar has been weighed down by a string of soft labour data, even as other indicators have shown resilience, and as President Joe Biden’s pandemic relief efforts take shape, including a proposed $1.9 trillion spending package.
Despite the recent rise in U.S. yields, many analysts think they won’t climb too much higher, limiting the benefit for the dollar.
“Our view remains that the Fed will hold the line and remain very cautious about tapering asset purchases. We think it will keep communicating that tightening is very far off, which should dampen pro-dollar sentiment,” said UBS Global Wealth Management strategist Gaétan Peroux and analyst Tilmann Kolb.
ING analysts said “the rise in rates will be self-regulating, meaning the dollar need not correct too much higher”.
They see the greenback index trading down to the 90.10 to 91.05 range.
The euro rose 0.4% to $1.2134. The single currency showed little reaction to purchasing manager index data, which showed a slowdown in business activity in February. However, factories had their busiest month in three years, buoying sentiment.
The dollar bought 105.39 yen, down 0.3% and a continued retreat from the five-month high of 106.225 reached Wednesday.
(Editing by Hugh Lawson and Pravin Char)
Portable Oxygen Concentrators Market to Register 7.8% CAGR Through 2026; Sales to Surge as Oxygen Therapy Becomes Crucial in Covid-19 Treatments
Portable oxygen concentrator manufacturers are largely concerned with the maintenance of inventories throughout the coronavirus crisis, with optimization of supply...
Cancer Supportive Care Products Market to Reach US$ 32 Bn by 2030; Sales Limited by Complications for Cancer Patients Through Covid-19 Infections
The cancer supportive care products market is anticipated to reach a valuation of US$ 32 billion by 2030. The industry is expected...
Bronchoscopes Sales to Rise 1.5x Between 2018 and 2028; Potential Covid-19 Diagnostic Applications to Generate Lucrative Growth Opportunities
Bronchoscope manufacturers remain focused on development initiatives to improve product functionality and accuracy for higher adoption amid healthcare facilities. The bronchoscopes...
US$ 1.1 Bn Hypoparathyroidism Treatment Market Still in Infancy
Mushrooming incidences of thyroid cancer have amplified the number of thoracic surgeries, thus stimulating growth of hypoparathyroidism treatment market. Future...
Asia Pacific Plastic Additives Market Research Report by Type, by Production Technology, by Application, by Function – Global Forecast to 2020 – Cumulative Impact of COVID-19
The market report envelopes an all-in information of the global Asia Pacific Plastic Additives market and the nature of the market growth...
Comprehensive Report on Metal Stamping Market 2021 | Trends, Growth Demand, Opportunities & Forecast To 2025 | American Industrial Company, Martinrea International Inc., Magna International Inc
The market report envelopes an all-in information of the global Metal Stamping market and the nature of the market growth over the foreseeable...
Rheology Modifiers Market 2021 Segmentation and Analysis by Recent Trends, consumption by Regional data, Development, Investigation, Growth by to 2026
The market report envelopes an all-in information of the global Rheology Modifiers market and the nature of the market growth over the...
Fine Hydrate Market | Present Scenario, Key Vendors, Industry Share, and Growth Forecast up to 2026 | Nabaltec AG, Huber Engineered Materials, Hindalco Industries Limited
Future Market Insights in this report on the fine hydrate market has drawn an in-depth picture of the global market....
Ion Exchange Resins Market 2021 | Latest Trends, Demand, Growth, Opportunities & Outlook Till 2026 | Top Key Players: The Dow Chemical Company, Lanxess Ag, Purolite Corporation
An in-depth analysis of the current ion exchange resins market along with an effective evaluation of the future avenues of...
Rough Terrain Cranes Market Outlook 2016-2026| Global Growth Analysis and Forecast Report with Key Players – Liebherr Group, Terex Corporation, Tadano Ltd.
Future Market Insights presents a comprehensive analysis of the Middle East and Africa rough terrain cranes market in its new...