March 1 – 5 Key Stories From The Digital World

By March 1, 2019 Finance, Insight

1.  Nike Signs Its First Esports Sponsorship Deal

  • The announcement is Nike’s first formal sponsorship of an esports team or competition, although the company did feature an esports athlete in a marketing campaign last year.
  • “As China becomes a new e-sports cultural center, Nike is pleased to support the next generation of athletes and establish a long-term cooperative relationship with e-sports to contribute to the future development of sports ecology.”
  • Beyond simply supplying clothes and shoes, Nike says it also plans to work with esports athletes to custom-design training programs to help them improve.

2. Record Number of Robots Shipped in North America in 2018, With More Installed at Non-Automotive Companies Than Ever Before

  • Robots shipped to North American companies in record numbers last year, with more non-automotive companies installing robots than ever before.
  • Statistics from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), show 35,880 units were shipped in 2018, a 7 percent increase over 2017…
  • Notable growth came in areas like food and consumer goods (48 percent), plastics and rubber (37 percent), life sciences (31 percent), and electronics (22 percent).

3. Bill Gates – 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2019

  • …while a robot can’t yet be programmed to figure out how to grasp any object just by looking at it, as people do, it can now learn to manipulate the object on its own through virtual trial and error.
  • ECG-enabled smart watches, made possible by new regulations and innovations in hardware and software, offer the convenience of a wearable device with something closer to the precision of a medical one.
  • …improvements, coupled with better speech synthesis, are letting us move from giving AI assistants simple commands to having conversations with them.

4. Chinese Car Sales Startup Chehaoduo Raises $1.5B From The SoftBank Vision Fund

  • China’s used car market is growing rapidly but online penetration remains low and auto financing is underutilized compared to developed markets.
  • …Chehaoduo’s implied quick growth in a big market attracted Vision Fund dollars. In that sense, the deal matches what we’ve seen recently from the ever-active SoftBank-managed capital pool.
  • …given the revenue scale that Chehaoduo can likely find given its total addressable market (TAM, in venture parlance) and per-deal value (cars are expensive), perhaps this is one of SoftBank’s more reasonable disbursements.

5. 3 Predictions for Corporate Innovation in 2019

  • Innosight’s 2018 Corporate Longevity Forecast found that, if the current churn rate holds, fully half of S&P 500 companies will be replaced in the coming decade.
  • While 80 percent of executives surveyed by Innosight said they “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that they need to transform, 55 percent of those same executives said they expect their competition to come from existing industry players rather than new competitors.
  • Over the past three decades, return on R&D spending has declined by two-thirds. As corporations see diminishing returns on internally focused innovation, they’re increasingly looking to external partners for innovation.