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A cool car financing startup is making it easier to lease and buy Audis

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 01:50 PM PST

audi q5

  • AutoGravity has added Audi Financial Services to its network
  • The company is trying to streamline the car-buying-and-leasing process.

AutoGravity, a California-based car-financing startup founded in 2015, has been growing a nice clip.

On Tuesday, it announced that it had added Audi Financial Services to its online lending-and-leasing platform.

"AutoGravity brings the car financing experience into the digital age — where today's consumer wants to find it: in the palm of their hand," CEO Andy Hinrichs said in a statement.

"Through our partnership with Audi Financial Services, we're able to serve this rising generation of Audi enthusiasts with mobile access to unparalleled lease and finance options, helping them close the deal with confidence."

Autogravity is trying to address a critical pain point for consumers while also making auto loans and leasing more transparent. 

Traditionally, buyers have visited a dealership and either prepared their financing in advance or done it on site. The process can be intimidating, and many consumers think it's out of step with a time when everyone can have access to information through digital devices.

AutoGravity essentially acts as a facilitator of transactions, presenting prospective buyers or those who want to lease with offers from banks and automakers' lending arms. The company makes its money by taking a cut of an eventual deal.

The addition of Audi makes sense given AutoGravity's pitch to younger car buyers. Of the major luxury brands, Audi has gained ground by appealing to customers outside the familiar Mercedes-BMW-Lexus trio.

SEE ALSO: FOLLOW US on Facebook for more car and transportation content!

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NOW WATCH: Audi's new luxury SUV has a virtual cockpit

Samsung's new 146-inch TV called 'The Wall' can change sizes

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 01:32 PM PST

samsung the wall tv CES 2018

  • Samsung unveiled a new TV at CES 2018 it simply calls "The Wall."
  • Samsung calls The Wall the world's first "modular" TV, which lets you adjust its size to best fit your environment.
  • The Wall's "micro LED" display has many of the same benefits as next-generation OLED displays, but without any of the drawbacks like "burn-in."


LAS VEGAS - Samsung introduced a new 4K HDR TV the company simply calls "The Wall" at CES 2018.

Samsung touts The Wall as the world's first "modular" TV that lets you adjust its size that will best fit your living room's wall, or wherever else you'd put a giant TV screen.

The particular model Samsung displayed at CES measures in at 146 diagonal inches. At that size, a TV is indeed better off mounted on a wall, or even sunken into a wall in your home. Even at its enormous size, 4K resolution is razor sharp. 

The Wall is also a "micro LED" display, which carries many of the benefits of OLED displays, including the perfect reproduction of the color black, infinity contrast ratio, and gorgeous colors. According to Samsung, micro LED displays don't suffer from "burn-in" – when artifacts can become stuck and visible even after a scene changes – which can happen on OLED display.  

The mix of 4K, HDR, the micro LED display, and its giant 146-inch size is a sight to behold.  

the wall samsung tv ces 2018

From my experience at CES, Samsung's micro-LED displays certainly equal OLED display in picture quality, and it could feasibly be used for smaller TV sets that don't necessarily take up an entire wall. But whether or not micro LED TVs could contend for a spot in your living room over OLED TVs remain to be seen. 

Few details exist about The Wall, including its price, the price of modules, or availability, but Samsung says it'll release more details in March. It's likely to be a concept or ultra-luxury product with a price tag as large as the screen at first, but there's always the possibility that the technology will develop to the point of commercial viability. 

SEE ALSO: Robot strippers with cameras for heads are the highlight of the biggest tech conference of the year

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Samsung released the widest computer monitor you can buy — here's what it's like

MoviePass has had 'staggering' growth to 1.5 million subscribers — and an analyst says other online ticket sites must be 'shaking in their boots' (HMNY)

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 01:32 PM PST


  • Movie theater subscription service MoviePass announced it now has 1.5 million paid subscribers.
  • It hit the number less than a month after hitting 1 million subscribers.
  • An industry analyst believes the company is a "game changer" for the movie theater business and that online ticket sites must be "shaking in their boots."

It only took 20 days for MoviePass to go from 1 million paid subscribers to 1.5 million. And folks in the industry are starting to pay attention.

The movie theater subscription service is having a great new year. In a time on the calendar when there’s a spike in moviegoing — with blockbusters from the end of last year like “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” still making impressive coin, plus the titles vying for Oscar consideration beginning to crop up in more theaters across the country — MoviePass is flexing its muscles.

The growth in the company since it changed to a $9.95 per month pricing model is astounding. MoviePass, now backed by Helios and Matheson Analytics, Inc., had around 20,000 paid subscribers when the price change happened on August 15, 2017. It then rose to 150,000 eight days later. Almost a month later, it had hit 600,000 and on December 20, MoviePass announced that it hit 1 million paid-subscribers. That was a milestone that the company boasted was accomplished faster than Netflix or Hulu.

But the growth has just kept ramping up, as the company announced it had hit 1.5 million paid subscribers on Tuesday — 20 days after hitting 1 million.

Here's a chart showing that growth:

MoviePass graphic Samantha Lee

But even with this growth, there are still questions looming over MoviePass. The main one on everyone’s mind in the industry is whether MoviePass can be financially successful in the long run.

Currently, MoviePass pays most theaters full price for the tickets bought through its app. Since the average movie ticket price in 2017 was $8.93, that means MoviePass stands to lose money if its customers actually go to more than one movie per month. The company hopes to mitigate this by making more deals in the future with exhibitors to get discounted tickets in exchange for promotion, and using its data to help market movies.

There is a risk to that plan, however.

"Major studios won't like tickets on their movies getting discounted and [will] change their distribution agreements to prohibit that from happening," Wade Holden, research analyst for S&P Global Market Intelligence, told Business Insider. "MoviePass is going to have to illustrate to the studios that the increase in admissions they are bringing to the table will actually boost box office revenue."

But that might be starting to happen already. MoviePass has begun to find a lot of success with the art-house titles vying for award season consideration. Though numbers are still coming in on how MoviePass is affecting ticket sales, Indiewire reported that 6%-13% of opening week ticket sales for movies like “Lady Bird,” “The Disaster Artist,” and “The Shape of Water,” came from MoviePass.

“As long as MoviePass can sustain its business model in terms of turning a profit, it is on its way to being the next Redbox or Netflix in terms of shaking up the industry,” Jeff Bock, senior analyst for Exhibitor Relations, told Business Insider. “All other online ticket sales entities must be shaking in their boots. Based on these staggering numbers, MoviePass is the real deal game changer. This is the one theatrical exhibition entity that is actively growing attendance, something the industry desperately needs as evident by 2017 being the lowest attendance in the last 25 years.”

SEE ALSO: 37 albums that music critics really hate, but normal people love

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NOW WATCH: The bizarre history of the Yule Log Christmas special

Here are the most common uses of AI on your smartphone today

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 01:21 PM PST

Artificial intelligence is starting to permeate the technology that we use everyday. 

That's especially true in smartphones, where apps that rely on machine learning and AI are increasingly common.

Statista mapped out the survey results of Deloitte's Global Mobile Consumer Survey which determined just how aware smartphone users are of technologies like machine learning and AI in their phones.

Turns out, people are becoming progressively aware of the advances in machine learning, especially when it comes to day-to-day features like predictive text and route suggestions. 

People are talking more and more about AI and machine learning, and for good reason: Both technologies received a lot of buzz in 2017, good and bad. Machine learning has now become so advanced that it can replicate itself which, if you believe the premonitions of Elon Musk, could bode ill for the future of civilization. 


Business Insider chart of the day

SEE ALSO: 4K televisions are starting to look like the biggest hit among new tech products http://www.businessinsider.com/4k-and-ultra-hdtv-best-seller-charts-2018-1

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NOW WATCH: The differences that matter between Splenda, Equal, Sweet'N Low, and sugar

AMD is slipping after Microsoft halts updates to AMD machines (AMD, MSFT, INTC)

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 01:06 PM PST

Visitors look at motherboards being displayed at the AMD booth during the 2012 Computex exhibition at the TWTC Nangang exhibition hall in Taipei June 6, 2012. REUTERS/Yi-ting Chung

  • Flaws in most modern CPUs have been the biggest tech story of the year so far.
  • In an attempt to fix the flaws, Microsoft has rendered some computers running AMD's processors unusable.
  • Microsoft blames AMD for the issues and has halted updates until they can be resolved.
  • Watch AMD's stock price move in real time here.

CPU flaws known as Spectre and Meltdown have rocked the computing world recently, and the latest updates are sending shares of AMD sharply downward, trading 3.87% lower to $11.81 late Tuesday morning.

Some computers running Windows on AMD chips have been rendered unbootable after installing updates from Microsoft. Microsoft has halted these updates and blames documentation provided to Microsoft engineers by AMD for the issue, The Verge reported on Tuesday.

“AMD is aware of an issue with some older generation processors following installation of a Microsoft security update that was published over the weekend.  AMD and Microsoft have been working on an update to resolve the issue and expect it to begin rolling out again for those impacted shortly,” an AMD spokesperson told Markets Insider. 

Meltdown and Spectre are the names of two major flaws in modern CPU hardware. The flaws could potentially allow hackers to access sensitive information stored on CPUs that was previously thought to be stored securely.

The computing world has been working to mitigate potential hacks since the flaws were discovered several months ago by Google engineers. The hacks were disclosed to the public last week, and Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have been scrambling to issue updates to their machines.

Intel's CEO took to the CES keynote stage in Las Vegas on Monday and said a fix will be coming later this week that will secure 90% of Intel CPUs. Intel slipped 0.60% on Tuesday after the speech and is down 4.48% over the last week.

AMD has largely evaded negative associations with the CPU flaws even though its tech is affected. AMD shares have risen 12.46% over the past week.

Update: This story was updated with comment from AMD at 4:04 PM on Tuesday.

Read more about the Intel CEO's keynote speech here.

amd stock PRICE

SEE ALSO: Intel's CEO publicly addresses its big chip vulnerabilities, says response has been 'remarkable'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How the sale of Qdoba will impact Chipotle's future

Amazon's Alexa is coming to Toyota and Lexus cars (AMZN)

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 12:47 PM PST

amazon alexa

  • Toyota announced at CES on Tuesday that Amazon's Alexa would be integrated with its infotainment systems.
  • Alexa will appear in certain Toyota and Lexus models.
  • Voice has been a challenge for carmakers; Alexa could change that.

The march of Amazon's Alexa into the automotive world continues. At CES in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Toyota announced the voice technology would be incorporated with the carmaker's infotainment systems.

Alexa will debut in "select Toyota and Lexus vehicles with Toyota Entune 3.0 App Suite and Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0 in 2018," Toyota said in a statement. Lexus is the company's luxury brand.

The statement continued: "Additional models will be available in 2019. This feature will allow Toyota and Lexus customers in the United States to interact with Alexa in the car."

Voice-activated systems are becoming prevalent in new automobiles, either via manufacturers' own tech or through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Up to this point, however, they've been a mixed bag. The popularity of Alexa in homes has led many observers and analysts to conclude that it could bring voice in vehicle to a new level.

"[T]hrough our integration with Amazon Alexa, Toyota and Lexus customers will soon be able to easily speak to Alexa in their cars while on-the-go," Toyota Vice President Zack Hicks said.

SEE ALSO: FOLLOW US on Facebook for more car and transportation content!

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Toyota's new concept for millennials has built-in camping hacks

A public square is being handed over to Apple for its newest flagship store — and some locals are furious

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 12:35 PM PST

apple federation square architecture news australia melbourne

  • Apple announced that it will demolish an indigenous cultural center for a new flagship store at Federation Square, a public plaza in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Critics of the plan say that it goes against the intended purpose of the square as a public space, free of commercial interests.
  • In a statement over the weekend, Fed Square Pty Ltd, the company that manages the plaza, defended the plans.


At the iPhone X launch event in late 2017, Apple made another big announcement. In 2018, it will begin making over hundreds of stores into "town squares." Apple has a nebulous definition of the phrase "town square," using it to refer to stores where people can participate in free classes, like photographing, producing music, and editing with iPhones.

In Melbourne, Australia, Apple is taking the town square idea one step further. The company is taking over Federation Square, a public plaza, to build a flagship store.

Set to open in 2020, the two-story Apple store will replace the Koorie Heritage Trust, an indigenous cultural center inside the Yarra Building that will need to relocate. The project will also create approximately 5,380 square feet of public space and attract approximately 2 million more people annually to the square, according to Fed Square Pty Ltd. 

The plan has caused outrage among some residents, who say the local government didn't consult the public before Apple signed the lease. Citing "wide-ranging social and economic benefits" for Melbourne, Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne said on Saturday it was in the city's best interest to fast-track Apple's development plans.

A new group called Citizens of Melbourne against Apple Federation Square has called the government's deal with Apple "shady." An online petition against the store, created in late December, has garnered more than 49,000 signatures. When it gets to 50,000, it will be delivered to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

Using the hashtag #HandsOffFedSquare, people are also expressing disdain for the new store on Twitter. And in an op-ed for local outlet The Age, Damien Bonnice, a project director for the original Federation Square design, says the building will take "a wrecking ball to the established architectural rhythm of Federation Square."

A statement from Fed Square Pty Ltd, which manages the plaza, defended the plans.

"Federation Square operates on a commercial model, and there are already a number of commercial organisations operating in the space," it reads. "All new commercial operations in Fed Square need to enhance the cultural life and amenity of the square and Apple's proposal has aligned with this."

In December, Apple said the new Melbourne store will "complement the original vision for the precinct, and increase the public space within Federation Square through thoughtful planning and landscaping."


It's not unusual to construct stores near public spaces. New York City's Union Square, for example, features a grassy area and a pedestrian-only plaza surrounded by shoops, including Whole Foods, Forever 21, and Barnes and Noble. But the actual square is free from retail.

What's novel about Apple's plan for the Melbourne Square is that it will take down a cultural center in a public space, and put a store there. Critics say that, once completed, activity at Federation Square will revolve around activity at the Apple store — rather than its stated primary purpose to become "one of the world’s great public places." 

Designed by Foster + Partners, the "town square" at Federation Square will hold live music events in addition to free in-store classes.

Apple is likely purchasing a lease in the square because the company realizes it's a cherished landmark that already attracts 10 million people per year. And you can't put a price on that. 

SEE ALSO: Trump Tower has hidden public spaces that aren't found on the building directory

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 7 science-backed ways for a happier and healthier 2018 — this is what you do the very first week

How often you need to exercise to see results, according to the physiologist behind the viral 7-minute workout

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 12:22 PM PST

Man working out

  • Working out regularly is key to achieving results, according to Chris Jordan, the exercise physiologist who came up with the 7-minute workout.
  • Jordan gave us a sample week-long fitness routine to start with.
  • His recommendations are supported by a new study published in January.


If you've renewed your commitment to getting fit now that January has arrived, you may be wondering how much time that goal will require.

For your workouts to produce real results, exercise has to be a regular habit, Chris Jordan, the exercise physiologist who came up with the 7-minute workout, told Business Insider.

Jordan's viral routine, officially called the "Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout" is based on a popular form of fitness called interval training. It's designed to give you the benefits of a sweaty bike ride or longer cardio workout in just a few minutes — but you have to commit to doing it regularly.

That means working out 3-5 times per week, at the minimum, Jordan said.

His insight is bolstered by a new study published in January in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation that found that the best results for heart health were gleaned when participants worked out 4-5 times per week.

For that study, researchers split 53 adults into two groups, one of which did two years of supervised exercise four to five days per week while the other simply did yoga and balance exercises. At the end of the study, the higher-intensity exercisers saw significant improvements in their heart's performance.

"We found what we believe to be the optimal dose of the right kind of exercise," Benjamin Levine, the author of the study and a professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern, said in a statement.

That advice holds steady whether you're looking for physical results like leaner limbs and toned muscles or psychological ones like improved mood and higher energy levels. Both Jordan and Levine recommend interspersing cardio — running on a treadmill, riding a bike, or doing high-intensity interval training —with resistance training like planks, squats, or leg raises.

Here's an example five-day training plan you can try that Jordan shared with us:

  • Monday: Cycling and upper body resistance training, like arm raises
  • Tuesday: Yoga and lower body resistance training, like squats
  • Wednesday: Running and upper body resistance training, like bench presses
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Boxing and lower body resistance training, like leg raises

Whichever workout you try, however, the most important thing is to keep doing it.

"To achieve results," Jordan said, "consistency is key."

SEE ALSO: 12 ways one type of exercise is the closest thing to a miracle drug we have

DON'T MISS: I tried the science-backed 7-minute fitness routine that's going viral, and it actually works

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The 5 workouts that burn the most calories in an hour

Here's how Amazon's and Apple's new smart speakers stack up with consumers (AMZN, AAPL)

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 12:01 PM PST

tech adoption likely buyersThis is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Smart speakers — Amazon's Echo, for example — are the latest device category poised to take a chunk of our increasingly digital lives. These devices are made primarily for the home and execute a user's voice commands via an integrated digital assistant. These digital assistants can play music, answer questions, and control other devices within a user's home, among other things. 

The central question for this new product category is not when they will take off, but which devices will rise to the top. To answer this question, BI Intelligence surveyed our leading-edge consumer panel, gathering exclusive data on Amazon's recently released Echo Show and Echo Look, as well as Apple's HomePod. 

In a new Smart Speaker report, BI Intelligence analyzes the market potential of the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod. Using exclusive survey data, we evaluate each device's potential for adoption based on four criteria: awareness, excitement, usefulness, and purchase intent. And we draw some inferences from our data about the direction the smart speaker market could take from here.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Amazon's new Echo Show is the big winner — it has mass-market appeal and looks like it will take off. The combination of usefulness and excitement will drive consumers to buy the Echo Show. The Echo Look, though, seems like it will struggle to attract that same level of interest.
  • Apple’s HomePod looks likely to find a place in the smart speaker market but won’t dominate its space like the iPhone or iPad did.
  • The smart speaker market will evolve rapidly in the next few years, with more devices featuring screens, a variety of more focused products emerging, and eventually, the voice assistant moving beyond the smart speaker.

In full, the report:

  • Showcases exclusive survey data on initial consumer reactions to the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod.
  • Highlights the aims and strategies of major players in the smart speaker market.
  • Provides analysis on the direction this nascent market will take and the opportunity for companies considering a move into the space.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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Kodak's the latest company to benefit from jumping on the blockchain bandwagon — but its move actually makes sense (KODK)

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 11:59 AM PST

Photographers take pictures as the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft carrying the crew of Jack Fischer of the U.S. and Fyodor Yurchikhin of Russia blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

  • Kodak's stock more than doubled in price on Tuesday following news that the photo company will launch a new blockchain-based rights-management service designed to help photographers get paid for the use of their images.
  • Kodak says it will use a blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin, to track the online use of photos licensed through its system.
  • Blockchains have shown promise in tracking the licensing, use, and sale of artistic works.

Kodak shares more than doubled in price on Tuesday following an announcement that the historically influential photography company will launch a new blockchain product.

The company was trading at $7.05 a share, up by $3.95, or 127.4%.

Kodak is the latest company to revive interest in itself and see its shares surge after making an announcement related to blockchain technology, which is behind cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and ether.

But Kodak's new project, which involves a rights-management system for images and a related cryptocurrency, appears to be a serious effort to use blockchain technology to solve a real problem.

Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke"For many in the tech industry, 'blockchain' and 'cryptocurrency' are hot buzzwords, but for photographers who've long struggled to assert control over their work and how it's used, these buzzwords are the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem," Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said in a statement.

KodakOne, the rights-management service, is designed to allow photographers to track the use of their copyrighted images on the internet.

That dovetails with one of the capabilities of blockchains, digital ledgers that can be used to track ownership of digital goods, including intellectual property.

Kodak says its service will continuously crawl the web to keep track of uses of images registered in its system. When it comes across unlicensed uses, the service will help photographers get paid for their work.

Tracking the ownership of artistic works traded and used online could end up being one of the main uses for blockchains in the real world.

It can be difficult for collectors to verify the authenticity of a piece of art, especially those bought online, and for artists to restrict the use of their works or ensure payment for their use.

As one example of how companies are using the digital-ledger technology to deal with such issues, the Italian fine-art website Look Lateral uses a blockchain called Dragonchain to generate proof of authenticity for the pieces of art it sells, some of which are worth more than $100,000. It depends on its blockchain to collect payment and offer a record of ownership.

Kodak's image-rights project, which it developed in partnership with the blockchain-development company Wenn Digital, will use a new cryptocurrency called KodakCoin. When photographers license their images through KodakOne, they will be paid in KodakCoin, which they can then exchange for dollars.

KodakCoin will go on sale January 31 via a fundraising technique called an initial coin offering, through which the company will sell a set number of coins.

Companies establishing new blockchain-based systems commonly launch cryptocurrencies to serve as a means of exchanging money within those systems. Such alternative cryptocurrencies, however, sometimes see their values spike as investors look to profit on the hype around new coins.

"KodakCoin is all about paying photographers fairly and giving them an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new economy tailored for them, with secure asset-rights management built right in," Wenn Digital CEO Jan Denecke said in the statement.

SEE ALSO: Disney built a blockchain, and now its creators are trying to turn it into a commercial platform to compete with Ethereum

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NOW WATCH: Here's why Boeing 747s have a giant hump in the front

Cisco has created a Gigabit network for your car and Hyundai will be using it next year (CSCO)

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 11:54 AM PST

Hyundai autonomous Ioniq model vehicle

  • 1Gbps Cisco networks are coming to cars next year.
  • Cisco has partnered with Hyundai to offer super high-speed networks in 2019 vehicles.
  • These networks will have tons of bandwidth, and security, to support all the sensors cars need for autonomous features, Cisco promises.

Chances are, you don't have a super-fast Gigabit network in your house yet but as of next year, you'll be able to get one in your car. Computer networking giant Cisco and South Korean automaker Hyndai announced a partnership at CES on Tuesday to supercharge its automobiles with sophisticated internet capabilities.

While 1Gbps will offer a ton of bandwidth for your kids to stream movies during a road trip, that's not the focus of this network. It's designed to allow car makers to load their cars with sensors of every description that will help the automotive industry roll full speed ahead into a robot car future.

As cars add ever more autonomous driving features from lane correction and self-parallel parking to full on self-driving, they need sensors to do things like watch for pedestrians, recognize traffic signs, scan surroundings around, behind and inside the car.

Those sensors can also be accessed by apps. For instance, a car maker could create an app that uses in-vehicle sensors to watch the driver (Cisco calls it sentiment analysis) and ensure that she doesn't fall asleep on a late-night drive, or to adjust the car's performance to driving conditions.

All of that requires lots of data to be floating around the car and a network big and fat enough to handle that with ease.

Cisco says its expertise with computer networks means its 1Gbps car network will be secure, allowing car makers and developers to build apps while thwarting hackers and bugs from messing with the automobile.

While the two companies didn't specify specific car models slated to get the 1Gbps networks, they did say it would be available in Hyundai's premium 2019 vehicles.

Meanwhile, Hyndai is moving steadily towards its own line of fully self driving cars from its self-driving car R&D program launched in 2015.

The South Korean car maker also just announced that it is working with hot startup Aurora (founded by self-driving engineers from Google, Tesla and Uber) to create completely self driving cars. Hyndai is first designing custom cars that wil become robot taxis in not-yet-announced select cities. By 2021, through this partnership, it plans to be offering production vehicles that can drive themselves under strict conditions (technically known as "Level 4" autonomy).

SEE ALSO: A secretive self-driving car startup is building a fleet of robot taxis with Volkswagen and Hyundai

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NOW WATCH: An exercise scientist reveals the exercise regime that will burn the most fat

It's not just you — Slack had an outage

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 11:31 AM PST

Slack out

The popular enterprise messaging tool Slack went offline for many users midday Tuesday.

Users of the service got an outage notice around 11:20 a.m. PT. As of 11:35 a.m. PT, the Slack status page indicated that there was a connectivity issue for all users.

Luckily, we have Twitter.

Update: Services appeared to be working normally for some users by 12:30 p.m. PT. 

SEE ALSO: Salesforce hired a DJ to pump beats for employees on 'move-in' day at its giant new San Francisco tower

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's why Boeing 747s have a giant hump in the front

Google’s CES booth flooded due to heavy rain — and employees were bailing out the water in buckets

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 11:30 AM PST

Google CES booth

  • Google's booth at CES 2018 was forced to close on Tuesday due to heavy rains that caused flooding.
  • The booth should open again Wednesday if everything dries out. 
  • Las Vegas residents say the city hasn't seen rain in 121 days, but it's coming down nonstop on the first full day of CES.


LAS VEGAS — It's so rainy in Las Vegas that Google was forced to close down its booth at the 2018 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Tuesday.

Google had planned a preview of its booth for press at 8 a.m. local time Tuesday, but was forced to close up shop completely after the booth flooded. Google's entire booth is now covered in tarps, with employees using buckets to bail out water off the back balcony.

A representative outside the booth said Google plans to open the booth again Wednesday morning, provided everything dries out before then. 

Google wasn't the only victim of the heavy rain. The parking lot of Harrah's Las Vegas casino is now a massive flood zone: 

Here's Google's booth as of about 10 a.m. PT:

The whole booth is covered in layers of tarps to keep out the rain.

We definitely won't be trying out this cool twisty slide today.

There might even be standing water inside, since people inside the booth were pouring buckets of water off the back balcony.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Ford is making a big push to catch up in the self-driving car race (F)

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 11:11 AM PST

jim hackett ces 2018

  • Ford outlined its vision for the future of transportation and urban life in a presentation at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Tuesday.
  • The presentation highlighted cloud and cellular technology that would allow vehicles, pedestrians, public transit, and infrastructure to communicate.
  • The presentation was light on details and heavy on vision, indicating Ford may have wanted to benefit from the excitement around autonomous transportation despite not having made significant progress on a self-driving vehicle.


As the potential for self-driving vehicles moves closer to becoming a reality, Ford is lagging behind rivals, like Tesla and General Motors, that are aggressively testing autonomous vehicles and may have a lead in getting one to market.

In Ford's presentation at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Tuesday, the company seemed to implicitly acknowledge that gap as it outlined its vision for the future of transportation and urban life.

The presentation revolved around communication platforms that Ford is developing and their potential applications. The company touted its partnership with Silicon Valley startup Autonomic as they collaborate on the "Transportation Mobility Cloud," which would allow for communication between vehicles, pedestrians, public transit, and city infrastructure. The technology could allow cities to have greater control over traffic by directing self-driving vehicles away from accidents and obstacles, or by making sure that empty vehicles avoid high-traffic areas.

The Transportation Mobility Cloud would be run by cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology developed with Qualcomm.

In an op-ed, Executive Director of Connected Vehicle and Services Don Butler indicated that the technology would not require a cellular subscription or traditional wireless network. In his presentation at CES, Butler said that over 700,000 Ford vehicles are equipped to use the technology, and by 2019, every new Ford vehicle will have the capacity to use it.

Executive Vice President Jim Farley touted how businesses could use the technology to deliver goods and services to customers. He announced a partnership with Postmates and mentioned Ford's collaborations with Domino's and Lyft. Farley also indicated that Ford will begin testing self-driving technology in a new city that will be announced in the coming months. 

ford autonomous city

Opening the presentation, CEO Jim Hackett highlighted the potential for autonomous vehicles and associated technology to "disrupt" modern transportation systems by decreasing congestion and pollution in cities and promoting civic life.

"It's not about the city getting smarter, it's about humans having a better day," he said.

The presentation was short on timelines and practical details about implementing changes. Instead, it focused on promoting a broad vision for improved cities and transportation systems, hinting that Ford may have wanted to benefit from the excitement around autonomous transportation despite not having made significant progress on a self-driving vehicle.

"We're just beginning this conversation," Hackett said.

SEE ALSO: The mission of Ford's new CEO is being dragged down by the car business

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THE CHATBOT MONETIZATION REPORT: Sizing the market, key strategies, and how to navigate the chatbot opportunity (FB, AAPL, GOOG)

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 11:00 AM PST

bii chatbots_users

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Improving artificial intelligence (AI) technology and the proliferation of messaging apps — which enable users and businesses to interact through a variety of mediums, including text, voice, image, video, and file sharing — are fueling the popularity of chatbots.

These software programs use messaging as an interface through which to carry out various tasks, like checking the weather or scheduling a meeting. Bots are still nascent and monetization models have yet to be established for the tech, but there are a number of existing strategies — like "as-a-service" or affiliate marketing — that will likely prove successful for bots used as a tool within messaging apps.

Chatbots can also provide brands with value adds — services that don't directly generate revenue, but help increase the ability of brands and businesses to better target and serve customers, and increase productivity. These include bots used for research, lead generation, and customer service.

A new report from BI Intelligence investigates how brands can monetize their chatbots by tailoring existing models. It also explores various ways chatbots can be used to cut businesses' operational costs. And finally, it highlights the slew of barriers that brands need to overcome in order to tap into the potentially lucrative market. 

Here are some of the key takeaways: Screen Shot 2016 11 22 at 5.26.40 pm

  • Chatbot adoption has already taken off in the US with more than half of US users between the ages of 18 and 55 having used them, according to exclusive BI Intelligence survey data.
  • Chatbots boast a number of distinct features that make them a perfect vehicle for brands to reach consumers. These include a global presence, high retention rates, and an ability to appeal to a younger demographic.
  • Businesses and brands are looking to capitalize on the potential to monetize the software. BI Intelligence identifies four existing models that can be successfully tailored for chatbots. These models include Bots-as-a-Service, native content, affiliate marketing, and retail sales.
  • Chatbots can also provide brands with value adds, or services that don't directly generate revenue. Bots used for research, lead generation, and customer service can cut down on companies' operational costs.
  • There are several benchmarks chatbots must reach, and barriers they must overcome, before becoming successful revenue generators. 

In full, the report:

  • Explains the different ways businesses can access, utilize, and distribute content via chatbots.
  • Breaks down the pros and cons of each chatbot monetization model.
  • Identifies the additional value chatbots can provide businesses outside of direct monetization.
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of chatbots and therefore their earning potential.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are several ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
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Global app spending continues to grow

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 10:52 AM PST

global app revenue

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Global consumer spending on apps and games reached approximately $58.6 billion in 2017, according to a new report from Sensor Tower.

That’s up 35% from the $43.5 billion spent over 2016. This spending was across in-app purchases (IAP), subscriptions, and premium apps in both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. Sensor Tower’s data excludes Android revenue in China.  

The report highlights that Apple continues to lead in terms of app revenue while Google maintains its lead in app download volume.

  • Apple’s App Store accounts for the lion’s share of global app revenue. Global consumer spending in the App Store hit $38.5 billion, up 34% year-over-year (YoY). That’s roughly twice the global consumer spending on apps and games in the Google Play Store, which reached $20.1 billion with an annual growth of 34%. This is significant for Apple considering App Store revenue is integral to the future prosperity of the company, as revenue growth from iPhones decelerates.
  • Google Play is raking in more first-time global app downloads than the App Store. Google Play downloads — which Sensor Tower denotes as the first install of an app per user account — reached 64 billion, up 17% from 55 billion in 2016. That’s about 2.3 times the 28 billion downloads the App Store reached in 2017. This highlights how Google’s efforts and investments to target new internet users in emerging markets is paying off as the Android ecosystem is pulling in more new users to apps than Apple is.

Moving into 2018, gaming apps will continue to account for the majority of overall app revenue, though nongaming apps will manage to incrementally grow their share of total app revenue. Global consumer spending on nongaming apps accounted for 18% of the total spend in apps, up from 15% in 2016. This growth is partly a result of subscription apps becoming more popular among developers because they generate more steady revenue. Rather than having to rely on the sporadic purchasing behavior of app users, subscription revenue comes in on a regular basis.

The growing popularity of app subscription models is partly a result of Apple and Google improving their subscription offerings in their respective app stores. For iOS developers, Apple increased the revenue cut for subscription app developers from 70/30 to 85/15 in June 2016. Paid subscribers across all Apple offerings (this includes paid subscriptions for products in the App Store as well as Apple products like Apple Music) grew 75% YoY in Q3 2017 to 210 million subscribers.

Google adjusted its own subscription revenue share model to match Apple’s and found in May that revenue from subscriptions on Google Play increased tenfold in the last three years. The prevalence of subscription-based apps will likely grow in 2018 as more developers shift to subscription models to reap the revenue benefits of such apps.

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Jeff Bezos, Julia Child, and 17 more highly successful people who changed careers after age 30

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 10:47 AM PST

Jeff Bezos

Questions about whether you're on the "right" career path can strike fear into even the most confident person's heart.

But as some of the most successful people prove, you don't have to have it all figured out from the start.

Plenty of highly successful people chose to make major career changes, some even many years into their adult lives.

Here are 19 highly successful people who prove it's never too late to change paths:

SEE ALSO: What Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and 23 other highly successful people were doing at age 25

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Jeff Bezos had a lucrative career in computer science on Wall Street and took on top roles at various financial firms before transitioning to the world of e-commerce and launching Amazon at 31.

Julia Child worked in advertising, media, and secret intelligence before writing her first cookbook when she was 50, launching her career as a celebrity chef in 1961.

John Glenn is best known for becoming the first American astronaut to orbit Earth in 1962. But 12 years later, at 53 years old, he became a US senator in Ohio, a role he held for 24 years. He did return to space in 1998, however, on a nine-day mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A YouTube star with 11 million subscribers talks about building an audience in both English and Spanish, and why she 'abandoned' Snapchat

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 10:44 AM PST

Mariale Marrero headshot

  • Venezuelan YouTube star Mariale Marrero has 11 million subscribers across three channels, and produces videos in both English and Spanish.
  • She grows her social-media presence across many platforms, but has abandoned Snapchat in favor of Instagram Stories.
  • While Marrero loves her YouTube fans, she thinks that YouTube needs to do a much better job of content moderation, and said the tech giant just doesn't seem to care.

When Venezuelan YouTube star Mariale Marrero — who has over 11 million subscribers across her three channels — made the decision to pack up and move to the United States in the summer of 2014, boosting her social-media career had nothing to do with it.

“It was not related to my channels or anything like that at all,” the 26 year old told Business Insider in a recent interview. “I moved because I felt I would have a better future,” she continued, mentioning the political tumult in her native country.

In fact, Marrero didn't move to Los Angeles, or New York, or any media capital in the US. She moved to Pittsburgh, where her husband was attending graduate school. And though she didn’t plan on it, being in Pittsburg opened up a whole new avenue for her YouTube life.

“There is nothing to do in Pittsburgh,” Marrero laughed, declaring it cold and rainy and a bit boring (though she misses it now that she actually does live in Los Angeles). She felt far away from her Latin roots and needed a way to connect with the place she was now living, she said. So she started an English-language channel, which has since grown to 1.6 million subscribers.

That channel led Marrero to an entirely different subscriber base, which she personified with an anecdote about blonde and redhead girls showing up at her US meet-and-greets.

"What, me?” Marrero laughed when recounting them telling her they were big fans.


A different channel for a different audience

Marrero’s three YouTube channels allow her to explore different kinds of videos, she explained.

“All my three channels have completely different audiences,” she said. Her original Spanish-language channel that started out focused on beauty is bubbly, happy, and trends toward a younger audience.

Her “vlog” channel is her everyday self, “not always super happy,” and trends toward 20-something year olds, similar to her own age.

Her English-language channel attracted a lot of Latinos in the United States, but has since gone wider as well.

Instagram over Snapchat, no question

That diversification in Marrero's business extends to other social-media platforms as well, where she has amassed 18 million total followers.

“I am all platforms and I love it,” she said, adding that she posts different content for each.

Here’s how she broke down the current social-media landscape:

  • Facebook: A lot of funny stuff to share with friends.
  • Instagram: “Look at me I’m so fabulous,” she laughed. She added that it’s amusing because her fans follow her vlog channel, so they know her life isn’t that glamourous, but still, “Oh my God Gucci.” And brands love working with Instagram, she said.
  • Snapchat: “I abandoned that for Insta stories,” she said, “a long time ago.” Instagram stories are so much bigger than Snapchat, especially because she could get sponsor deals because of the superior analytics, she said. That is backed up by recent research by Cowen, which said that 96% of ad buyers preferred Instagram Stories over Snap Ads.
  • Twitter: Really dangerous. “Share your thoughts but not too much,” she said.

Mar 2

YouTube needs to get better and have more humans

As to YouTube, it’s where Marrero got her start and she’s proud of being a star on the platform.

“You must want to be an actress,” Marrero said people think of YouTube stars. “I completely disagree. I love what I do. I’m kind of a control freak. I do my own editing, have such a quick turnaround.”

But she is also critical of the platform. She said that YouTube often flags the wrong videos, punishing legitimate content while letting inappropriate videos through.

“YouTube just doesn't really care,” she said. “I feel like they just need to get better and have more humans,” she said of content moderation. “Get some real eyes, they can afford it.”

But YouTube was still the main place that allowed her to build a community of fans, and she credits a big chunk of her success to her interactions with them.

“I make it a point to reply,” she said. “I make sure to interact with them. I feel like I owe them so much ... It takes a lot of time. 24 hours a day.” Sometimes she said she’s up at 3 a.m. responding to comments, which she admitted can be a tad trying for her husband.

“It doesn't get tiring to me,” however, she said. “I don't know how.”

SEE ALSO: All the winners at the 2018 Golden Globes

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Retailers now have the power to unlock your doors

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 10:42 AM PST

august lock

  • Smart-lock startup August Home is offering a service called August Access to retailers, which enables couriers to access customers' houses when no one is home. 
  • Walmart and Amazon have rolled out similar services.


Walmart made waves last year when it announced new services that would allow couriers to enter customers' houses to deliver packages when no one is home.

Now many more retailers will be able to offer that service, thanks to the smart-lock startup August Home.

August Home announced Tuesday that it's rolling out a new in-home delivery service called August Access that will be available to all retailers, TechCrunch reports.

The service, in partnership with the home delivery company Deliv, will allow retailers' delivery services to access customers' homes through smart locks, and then leave packages inside. 

august lockIn order to participate in the program, customers must purchase a smart lock from August Home or its parent company, Assa Abloy. 

Retailers that offer August Access will prompt customers to select that as a delivery option at checkout.

When a courier arrives at a customer's home, he or she will ring the doorbell. If no one is home, a temporary code will be sent to the courier to unlock the customer's door.

"Through this unique partnership, we are bringing a bit of magic to the shopping experience," Daphne Carmeli, CEO of Deliv, said in a statement to TechCrunch. "Deliv provides the last mile fulfillment solution for a broad retailer network across the country while August Home supplies the technology to take the final step into the home for a totally seamless experience, start to finish."

SEE ALSO: Walmart is taking a direct shot at Amazon and making checkout lanes obsolete

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Bill Gates says investing in cancer therapies could 'control all infectious disease'

Posted: 09 Jan 2018 10:29 AM PST

Bill Gates

  • Bill Gates said in a recent keynote address that he's confident the world will develop cancer therapies that can "control all infectious diseases."
  • Together with his wife Melinda, the couple has invested billions in companies over the last decade to develop such therapies.

Bill Gates is betting big that certain cancer therapies, if manufactured correctly, could help "control all infectious disease."

Gates, cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, made the announcement during his keynote address at the recent JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.

"This would be a huge victory for humanity — and potentially a significant market for the life sciences," Gates said, referring to the prospect of broadly effective immunotherapies.

Since stepping down from his post as Microsoft CEO in 2006, he and his wife Melinda have dedicated their lives to reducing poverty around the world. Infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis remain the top enemies.

The Gates Foundation has spent billions of dollars in grant money to this end, funding companies that research and manufacture disease therapies. In his recent keynote remarks, Gates mentioned a handful of deserving companies that could pave the way for controlling infectious disease.

One of the Gateses' investments is the company Immunocore, which developed technology that stimulates patients' immune system. The technology relies on the body's own immune cells (known as T-cells), essentially reprogramming them, and using them to fight the cancer in a way that is personalized to the patient.

"Initially, Immunocore's 'T-cell receptor' technology targeted cancers, but it could also be applied against infectious diseases," Gates said.

The Gates Foundation has also taken an interest in gene therapies using a component of the human body known as messenger RNA, or mRNA. Modifying these molecules and injecting them back into the body can produce a stronger immune response. In his address, Gates pointed out that such vaccines would be cheaper, easier, and faster to make than traditional vaccines.

"This would be particularly helpful in containing epidemics, whether they occur through nature or are the result of an intentional biological attack," Gates said.

The Gates Foundation has invested in the companies CureVac and Moderna to accelerate the pace of innovation in the vaccine space. (Both companies develope mRNA approaches to help the body use its own proteins to fight disease.) Doing so could also lead to an expedited vaccine approval process. Currently, it takes roughly 10 years to develop and approve a vaccine; Gates said a fast-moving airborne pathogen would require a period of just 90 days.

There are a host of risk factors aside from infectious disease that affect people in developing countries, such as malnutrition and poor sanitation, Gates conceded. But when it comes to doing the most good for the greatest number of people, his money is on finding the big fell swoops.

SEE ALSO: 12 books on science Bill Gates thinks everyone should read

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