Tech Roundup: Pokemon Go, Microsoft/GE, Blockchain, Tesla

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Our tech roundup this week focuses on 3 general themes: gaming, IoT and Blockchain technology. In gaming, it seemed like the newly released Pokemon Go dominated the headlines, some good, some not. In IoT, Microsoft and GE made a strategic announcement, and several companies discussed transforming non-tech industries using IoT hardware and software. And blockchain continues to gain momentum in the financial sector, with McKinsey & Co. issuing a positive report on the technology.

Pokemon Go is the latest craze to hit the market


This week, Pokemon Go seemed to be all over the news. The giant video game franchise that was created in the 90’s has made a huge surge popularity, despite only being available in a few key markets. Developed by Google spin out Niantic, Pokemon Go has been downloaded over 7.5 million times, and counting. Further, users are reporting that Pokemon Go is their app of choice, with the game being used more than any other app including the popular Instagram.

Pokemon Go uses a technology called Augmented Reality, or AR. The game’s popularity is now causing analysts to talk about the many potential new applications of the technology, given it provides a needed example of how the digital and physical worlds might be able to coexist through mobile devices.

While the popular narrative in the press has been about VR, analysts are now rethinking their assumptions about AR.

Finally, there are reports of other game developers like Activision Blizzard scrambling to introduce similar versions of their games that use AR. It remains to be seen how successful these companies will be though. We will keep a close eye on these developments.

Also watch for our piece on Pokemon Go next week on

Tesla: SEC investigation, US Safety Regulators Demand Answers


On top of the bad news from last week, Tesla continued to get more negative press this week. There are now 2 parallel investigations going on. One is from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is investigating the details of the May 7th fatal accident involving Tesla’s Model S. The other is by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is looking into whether the company broke the law by failing to inform investors of the accident, according to The Wall Street Journal. We will continue to follow these developments, as it could have implications for the company’s credibility with consumers and investors.

Microsoft, GE partner in IoT


While many in the tech community have been aware of GE’s move into IoT, the company this week announced it has partnered with Microsoft to jointly target this growing opportunity. GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt appeared with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto on Monday to unveil a new cloud partnership between Predix and Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and business applications. The companies stated this would be the start of a much larger strategic alliance, which will likely continue to expand the IoT opportunity. Under the new partnership, GE’s Predix customers will gain access to Microsoft Azure’s data and natural language tools, its global infrastructure centers and the Cortana Intelligence Suite. Additionally, Microsoft will make Predix an integrated part of its Azure IoT Suite, which would make it simpler for industrial customers to integrate their data into Microsoft’s own apps.

Blockchain coming to banks


Blockchain technology is starting to gain further momentum, particularly in the financial sector. This week several articles were published outlining the potential, particularly in banking. With Wall Street firmly focused on regulations and concerns about global growth, executives are trying to find ways to be leaner, more efficient and more profitable. One emerging technology that could have a huge impact is the distributed ledger technology called blockchain.

McKinsey is even talking about it to clients, writing that blockchain will “dramatically reshape the capital markets industry,” but that “the blockchain revolution will not happen overnight.”

Fortune held their Brainstorm Tech conference this week


Brainstorm Tech, Fortune’s annual gathering of power tech exec’s and non-tech companies highlighted the many current and future uses of technology in multiple areas. Executives including Dan Ammann of General Motors, Robert Iger of Disney, Charles Koch of Koch Industries, Dave Brandon of Toys “R” Us, Mark Hoplamazian of Hyatt, and Beth Comstock of General Electric from large, legacy companies discussed how they are managing the transformation of their respective companies. Executives of big tech companies helping to drive that transformation outlined their strategies on AI, VR, and many other technologies. Key tech executives included Chuck Robbins of Cisco, Diane Greene of Google, Peggy Johnson of Microsoft and Dan Schulman of Paypal. There were also a collection of start ups such as Drew Houston of Dropbox, Adam Neumann of WeWork, John Zimmer of Lyft , James Park of Fitbit, Jason Robins of DraftKings, and Aaron Levie of Box.

We will have more on this conference next week.

BitNavi is a blog conceived by Karl Motey in the heart of Silicon Valley, dedicated to emerging technologies and strategic business issues challenging the industry.

Follow them on Twitter: @bitnaviblog

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