Last week Google (GOOG) acquired its eighth robotics company in almost as many months, Intel (INTC) further beefed up its wireless infrastructure portfolio and Cisco (CSCO) expanded its DaaS offerings.
Google Now Into Robotics
We could have called it exploring, if last week’s purchase of Boston Dynamics had been Google’s lone robotics acquisition. But over the last few months, Google has snapped up seven other robotics companies and also appointed Andy Rubin to look after the project (Rubin was the brains behind Android). So there is in all probability a crystallized plan that is awaiting development.
Boston Dynamics specializes in legged robots, including humanoids and available information indicates that its other acquisitions like Meka, Schaft, Industrial Perception, Redwood Robotics, Holomni, Bott & Dolly and its sister company AutoFuss bring several other capabilities. Some of these capabilities include 3D vision; motion planning; specialization in the making of inexpensive, safe and easily programmable robot arms, as well as head robots and omni-directional wheels for robotic applications.
Some of the capabilities are specifically suited for film production, including Bot & Dolly’s IRIS and SCOUT robotic arms that allow rapid positioning of the camera, lights and other objects to take shots more efficiently, as well as the ability to facilitate motion design, animation and live action production.
Speculation is rife regarding Google’s robotics agenda, with some saying that the company would go for industrial application, some saying military application/disaster recovery, some saying commercial, some goods delivery, some data collection and so forth. But the military and disaster recovery markets are relatively small, so it’s very likely that the search giant is looking for commercial/domestic/data mining application.
Cisco Adds to Desktop Virtualization Solutions
Last week was a good one for Cisco, where the company got a rating upgrade from S&P and also declared its regular quarterly dividend. But that wasn’t all – it also announced a cloud-based Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution. The service is based on Cisco’s Unified Computing System and Unified Data Center architecture and will be provided in collaboration with VMware (VMW) and Citrix (CTXS).
The secular move toward cloud computing, the rising cost and complexity of maintaining desktops, the increasing use of BYOD and increasing security threat indicate that DaaS will pick up rapidly in the years to come. In a DaaS system, the service provider generally takes care of functions such as infrastructure updating, security, storage and backup.
Cisco is currently trying to win over cloud service providers that could use Cisco infrastructure to distribute the service to customers. This is wise, since customer wins could be faster with the service gaining momentum in months.
Intel Picks Up Mindspeed
Intel has been building its portfolio of wireless technologies, mostly through acquisitions. The company made a couple of acquisitions earlier (the wireless assets of Infineon and Fujitsu). It also acquired a large number of patents from InterDigital. The latest acquisition plugs some holes in the base station and brings home small cell technology.
While Intel hasn’t done very well on the processor front, it has been selling some telecom infrastructure products in the last few years. It now possesses Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G LTE technology and intends to integrate modem technology into its Atom chips to provide some true competition to Qualcomm (QCOM).
Mindspeed also has notable presence in Asian countries, particularly China. The wireless infrastructure market in China is likely to grow very strongly and Intel with its integrated solutions is likely to gain some ground.
Last 6 Months
Other stories you may have missed-
Facebook Starts Video Ads: Facebook (FB) started video ads last week amongst mixed reactions. Advertisers that could afford the $2 million per day price tag were thrilled and reactions from Subway, which had enjoyed the service during the test phase were equally as strong. Some users weren’t as thrilled, since the ads will auto-load (guzzling bandwidth, increasing Internet costs and plain irritating by their presence), so it’s not clear if this will drive away a few users.
Zuckerberg selling some shares: CEO Mark Zuckerberg is selling 41.3 million Facebook shares so index funds based on the S&P 500 can buy the required shares. Facebook joined the S&P 500 on Dec 20. Zuckerberg stands to make a neat $2.3 billion, retaining a 56.1% stake in the company that he founded. This is down slightly from the 58.8% he held prior to the sale.
A Downright Creepy Unauthorized App for Google Glass: Stephen Balaban of Lambda Labs is making a facial recognition app that is unauthorized by Google. The app allows the wearer to record every single face or object or computer screen that the user sees with the ability to recall that image upon wearer request.
Not just that – because the clicking of pictures every 10 seconds consumes battery life, it is also coming up with a camera-enabled hat (Lambda Hat for $255) that provides 16 hours of battery life. The ultimate objective is that every face will be linked to personal information on that person to facilitate conversation (or snooping).
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