Month: September 2020

Baidu’s smart voice unit to raise independent round on $2.9B valuation – TechCrunch

Baidu, China’s dominant search service and a leader in artificial intelligence research, is further diversifying into the smart voice space as its smart living group is poised to raise an independent round on a 20 billion yuan ($2.94 billion) post-money valuation.

The fundraising move signals a potential spinoff of the smart living group down the road. The unit is best known for its voice assistant DuerOS, the search giant’s Alexa equivalent, which was active on 200 million devices including both Baidu’s own branded speaker and a variety of third-party gadgets as of early 2019.

Baidu shipped around 15 million units of its Xiaodu speakers in 2019, making it the second-largest player in China following Alibaba and ahead of Xiaomi, according to market research firm IDC.

Investors including Citic Private Equity Funds Management (CPE), state conglomerate Citic’s asset management firm, as well as Baidu’s venture arm Baidu Capital and IDG

Read more

VMware 2020 discussion focuses on “Design Principles of Modern Apps”

On Tuesday, VMware kicked off its annual conference, VMworld. The first day of the virtual event featured a “Design Principles of Modern Apps” session with insights from IDEO and VMware representatives.

Image: VMware

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, VMware kicked off its annual conference VMworld virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. The first day of VMworld 2020 featured numerous announcements, including the company’s intent to acquire SaltStack. 

Tuesday’s kickoff was filled with virtual question-and-answer sessions, “Quick Talks,” fireside chats, and more. The afternoon schedule featured a session titled “Design Principles of Modern Apps” including a discussion with Iain Roberts, COO at IDEO, Andrew Nusca, digital editor at Fortune, and Edward Hieatt, SVP services and support at VMware. Below, we’ve detailed the highlights from this specific session.

SEE: Linux commands for user management (TechRepublic Premium)

VMware 2020: Design Principles of Modern Apps

On Tuesday, VMware announced expansions to accelerate infrastructure and app

Read more

Adobe announces its UX Designers to Watch 2020

Adobe’s 2020 UX Designers to Watch were chosen based on: Their portfolios, experience, how well they promoted culture, how well they promoted sustainability through UX and design, and how well they challenged the limitations of the design profession, despite it being early in their careers.

The design experiences of the chosen 10 were what Adobe considered inspirational, such as:

  • Sandra Atakora, New York: She started her career in industrial design, but Atakora moved to interaction design and is the director of user-experience at Perch. Perch’s work earned her recognition at the Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards, Forbes Magazine 15 Tech Companies to Watch, and Edison Awards with a Gold Medal for Retail Innovation. Atakora led the interactive design for Macy’s Fragrance Destination, a project rethinking in-store scent discovery across Macy’s fragrance category. Atakora runs a consulting business developing AR experiences and worked with emerging mediums through her role

  • Read more

    Travel activities platform KKDay raises $75 million Series C as it focuses on “staycations” – TechCrunch

    With lockdowns around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the travel industry especially hard. In Asia, however, several startups are adapting by focusing on domestic activities (or “staycations”) instead of international travel. They include Taipei-based KKday, which announced today that it has closed a $75 million Series C led by Cool Japan Fund and the National Development Fund of Taiwan. Existing investors Monk’s Hill Ventures and MindWorks Capital also returned for the round.

    Founded in 2014, KKDay will use its new funding on Rezio, a booking management platform it began piloting in March, starting with Japan and Taiwan.

    Created for tour operators and activity providers, especially those who previously operated mostly offline, Rezio can help reduce operational costs by allowing its users to set up a booking website that works with different payment gateways and manage availability by tracking bookings from different channels. The latter is especially

    Read more

    Innovation is still possible while your team is working from home

    Despite initial results, are executives and employees growing frustrated with working from home and concerned that it’s killing innovation? Yes, but there are other ways to foster innovation.

    Image: iStock/EtiAmmos

    Working from home is affecting all teams differently, but some believe it’s stifling innovation. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal featured excerpts from interviews with various CEOs regarding remote work. More than 60% of the comments were negative about the value and sustainability of working from home, and interestingly only one of those negative comments was related to the logistics and infrastructure of working from home, a common complaint among workers.

    SEE: TechRepublic Premium editorial calendar: IT policies, checklists, toolkits, and research for download (TechRepublic Premium)

    Also interesting was that concerns about productivity and quality of work only concerned a single CEO of a startup. The other executives who expressed a negative opinion of working from home

    Read more

    Windows 10: Lists of vocal commands for speech recognition and dictation

    Windows 10 allows users to talk to their computers, but the list of possible commands is significant. We provide a handy reference to the most common speech recognition commands.

    Image: iStock/fizkes

    Practically from the beginning, navigating commands in Microsoft Windows has been made easier by the inclusion of keyboard shortcut combinations. For some people, these shortcuts are often faster than using the mouse and the GUI. However, for some tasks, an even more efficient method for commanding Windows 10 is available—speech recognition and the power of vocal commands.

    SEE: TechRepublic Premium editorial calendar: IT policies, checklists, toolkits, and research for download (TechRepublic Premium)

    The list of potentially useful vocal commands for the Windows 10 speech recognition feature is considerable. Recognized commands range from simple tasks like opening applications to more complex jobs like editing documents. While it is not likely a user will remember all the various commands, it is

    Read more