Apple plans to build a new R&D center in China

Apple CEO Tim Cook is currently visiting China. According to Reuters, he used this opportunity to announce that the company would build a new research & development center in China before the end of the year.

Other than that, we don’t know much. It’s unclear what engineers in China will work on, but it’s safe to say that they might be better positioned to work on Chinese standards, such as weird wireless technology standards. The team would be well-located to work on hardware projects as well.

This news comes a couple of months after a Beijing court had some issues with the iPhone 6’s design, saying that it looks too similar to other Chinese phones. At the same time, sales have been slowing down dramatically in China. While China is still a major market for Apple, slowing economic growth combined with increased competition with Chinese OEMs are warning signs for Apple.

Following today’s announcement of a new R&D center, Apple will have a foot on the ground in China and will also tap into new talent. Many great electronics engineers are now based in Shenzhen.

This isn’t the first R&D center outside of the U.S. for Apple. The company also has teams in France, Israel, the U.K., Japan and Sweden.

Apple hasn’t talked about the size of this new R&D center. It could end up being a small team given Apple’s size, but a sign of goodwill for the Chinese government.

Automatic Pro adds unlimited 3G to connected car gadget

The race for aftermarket smarts in your car is heating up, and Automatic is delivering an always-on 3G data connection as its move to race ahead of the competition. The Automatic Pro dongle, which plugs into the OBD-II port used for diagnostics on any car made after 1996, now includes 3G data connectivity, with unlimited usage for the first five years in the price of the hardware.

Automatic Pro retails for $129.95, and includes a new companion app, which has customizable notifications that drivers can tweak based on their preference, alerting them to things like excess speed and too-sudden stops. The app also includes an integration with IFTTT, along with the laundry list of third-party integrations Automatic already offers. Automatic also provides in-app diagnostic of those nasty engine lights that appear on your dash, giving you actual details about your potential problems instead of just lighting up and requiring you to visit a mechanic to get further info.

Always-on cellular means your Automatic Pro hardware will be able to do all of its intelligent work even without an active data connection on your smartphone, and without taxing your data bandwidth caps. Building a persistent, free data connection into the hardware itself is something Amazon has done with its Kindle readers for years, and it definitely makes sense in this context, too, since drivers don’t want to have to worry about their connection status to get the convenience features Automatic offers.

Automatic was already a smart, inexpensive addition to any car, but this embedded data offering should help it do more with its various integrations and the IFTTT recipes it supports. Connecting older cars is a noteworthy goal, and building 3G right in eliminates one more potential complication, which is idea for tech like this that should just work in the background.

Via Engadget

Exclusive Video: Never Stop For A Red Light Again? Audi Launching Traffic Light Information System.

This is truly the future, won’t it be nice to know when the stop lights are going to change?

Audi just introduced an innovative new feature that is able to let drivers know exactly when the traffic light they are at will change. Dubbed a “traffic light information system,” the new feature will be available on select 2017 Audi Q7, A4 and A4 allroad models arriving this fall.

Fred Krueger: Every single time you start out at zero

Founder @Five Delta, @troop • Worked at @Minds + Machines • Studied at @Stanford University, @Cornell University

Mr. Frederick Robert Krueger, also known as Fred, has been Chief Executive Officer of Troop since January 2015. Mr. Krueger served as the President of Minds and Machines LLC. Mr. Krueger Co-founded DotEco LLC in 2008 and served as its Chief Executive Officer. He served as the Chief Strategy Officer of Minds + Machines Group Limited (a/k/a, Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd). He served as Chief Executive Officer of Needly, Inc. He is a Co-Founder of TagWorld. Mr. Krueger served as the Chief Executive Officer of Social Project, Inc. He founded Social Project, Inc., in 2005. He founded and served as the Chief Executive Officer of iWin, Inc. (iWin.com). He founded RandomNoise and Fauve Software, which was later sold to Macromedia where he then served as Vice President of Imaging. Mr. Krueger held senior management positions at Salomon Brothers, where he served as Vice President of Trading in the Arbitrage Group, and at Greenwich Capital Markets, where he served as Senior Vice President of Trading. He was the founding investor of TrafficMarketplace. He founded Santa Monica Networks / Keyword Marketplace. He serves as the Chairman of Gradient X, Inc. He served as an Executive Chairman of Minds + Machines Group Limited until May 26, 2015. He served as the Chairman of Top Level Domain holdings Limited since January 31, 2013. He served as the Executive Chairman of Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd. He served as Chairman of Tagworld, Inc. He was the Vice Chairman of Adconion Media Group Limited. He served as Deputy Chairman of Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd until January 31, 2013. He served as a Director of Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd. since November 5, 2007. Mr. Krueger holds a PhD. in Operations Research and a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics from Stanford University and a BA degree in Mathematics from Cornell University.

Troop

Troop is the best way to organize your business. Instead of files, folders and chat channels, it uses a simple card and board setup. All of your business data is stored in one standard format — the card — but can be viewed and arranged in a number of different ways. Team members are alerted in real time when anything changes.
Visit – https://troop.space

Instagram launches channel to curate the best videos around events

Instagram has introduced a new channel to its Explore screen designed to have you use the media-sharing app more. When you browse through it, you’ll see curated videos around concerts, sporting events, and other activities, completely personalized for your viewing pleasure. Think of it as Twitter Moments and Snapchat further integrated into Instagram.

Available to just those in the U.S., this event channel is a further extension of what Instagram had been testing out since October when it debuted a channel that surfaced videos around Halloween. The app also has a “Videos You Might Like” feature that leverages the company’s personalization algorithm, so it’s likely that this also played a part in the new event channel.

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Prior to today, Instagram’s Explore screen was more heavily focused on photos. Yes, there were videos included in the collection, but now it has a dedicated area, which people may find helpful because there’s only some much enjoyment one can derive from still images — but moving pictures, that’s where you can cheer on the Final Five as they win gold in women’s gymnastics, marvel as Jamaica’s Usain Bolt owns the 100 meter dash, or experience the moment when Adele sings some of your favorite tunes because you can’t be there in person.

Instagram has had a busy few weeks investing in new video tools for creators, including the launch of its Snapchat copy, Instagram Stories. With that, the Facebook-owned service mirrored the ephemerality aspect, but now with the Events channel, it’s also cannibalized the Discover feature.

Videos that are being curated will likely be selected by Instagram’s editorial team in concert with its personalization algorithm.

Domino’s beats Pizza Hut to launch Facebook Messenger bot, but it could be smarter

Domino’s is the latest company to embrace the bot revolution, with the launch of a pizza-ordering bot for Facebook Messenger.

Launching initially in the U.K. and Ireland only, “Dom” is touted as an “artificially intelligent customer service whiz,” according to the press release, and expands the company’s existing “Easy Order” service to the world’s most popular messaging app.

Easy Order, for the uninitiated, is Domino’s online offering that lets users order their favorite pie with the tap of a button within the mobile app or through Apple Watch. Once you’ve registered a My Domino’s account and entered your bank details, Easy Order automatically selects the pizza based on your ordering history (e.g. if it sees that you always order the same toppings), or you can manually configure your preferred pizza within your account. The company also introduced a limited edition physical button for pizza orders last year.

Domino's on Facebook Messenger

Above: Domino’s on Facebook Messenger

In terms of how this translates into a Facebook Messenger bot, well, it’s about as simple as things get. You have to pair your Facebook account with your Domino’s account, type “PIZZA” to the Messenger bot, and that’s it.

It’s perhaps not the greatest example of how bots are being used in customer service, as there’s none of the conversational back-and-forth we’re seeing elsewhere in the burgeoning bot industry. Plus, there’s no way to personalize or tailor the order.

A couple of months back, Pizza Hutunveiled its very own chatbot at VentureBeat’s MobileBeat conference. It’s scheduled to launch in the U.S. this month, and — similar to Domino’s incarnation — it allows Pizza Hut customers to reorder their favorite or saved orders. But early indications suggest users will also be able to ask questions about their order and inquire about deals and promotions. Pizza Hut’s so-called social ordering platform will also work via Twitter.

What this latest move by Domino’s signals is that the battle is very much on to stay competitive in the digital race and ensure rivals don’t get too far ahead. Pizza Hut may have announced its bot first, but Domino’s has blindsided its counterpart by launching first, though the service could stand to be more functional as a “bot.” For example, it would be greatly improved if a customer could convey their entire order through Facebook Messenger: “Oh, you’d like extra pineapple on your pizza and a large Diet Coke? No problem!,” is what we’re talking about here. But as it stands, it will certainly prove useful for some.

Domino’s has a long history in digital innovation and has offered pretty decent mobile apps for some time. It also recently rolled out a voice-ordering service through Amazon’s Echo, and it has enabled orders through sending texts or tweets of pizza emojis for some time. Earlier this year, Domino’s launched a zero-click app to make ordering as simple as opening the app.

“We’re delighted to allow our customers to order direct from Messenger — with one billion monthly active people using Messenger each month, it’s the obvious choice for Domino’s,” said Domino’s digital head, Nick Dutch. “We want to make ordering our freshly handmade pizza as easy as possible, so we’re always on the lookout for new ways in which we can do this.”

There is no word yet on when Domino’s may introduce its pizza-ordering bot to further markets, but it’s fair to say that if Pizza Hut is about to unveil its version for the U.S. in the coming weeks, its fierce rival won’t be too far behind.