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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Walmart’s Flipkart rolls out voice assistant to make shopping easier

Flipkart  is rolling out a voice assistant feature to its platform to make it easier for consumers to shop as the Walmart-owned e-commerce giant looks to expand its reach in the nation.

The AI-powered voice assistant currently supports grocery category, called Supermart, but a company spokesperson told TechCrunch that Flipkart  will soon be extending it to other verticals. The feature began rolling out to Android users on Tuesday, and the company says it is working on bringing it to its iOS app.

The assistant, which supports Hindi and English, will also understand more languages in the future, said the company, which competes with Amazon in India. The feature allows users to explore deals and offers, filter results, add multiple items to cart, receive contextual suggestions, and check out using conversational voice commands.

Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Flipkart, said the company travelled across the country to fine-tune its voice capability. “The launch of voice assistant also aligns well with the growing adoption and comfort of consumers towards voice-based online commerce​,” he said in a statement.

The addition of the voice assistant functionality comes months after Flipkart added an “audio visual guided navigation” feature that was aimed at simplifying the user experience for first-time internet users — and existing customers who are not comfortable with making transactions online. Flipkart also introduced an on-demand video streaming service last year.

Hundreds of millions of Indians have come online in the past decade. Many of them are less-educated and are uncomfortable with typing and navigating services in English. Voice search has become popular among many such demographics in recent years. Google said last year that voice searches were growing 270% year-on-year in India.

“​Voice-led shopping is natural and we wanted to give our users a truly conversational experience, in the most natural way possible,” said Manish Kumar, SVP Grocery and General Merchandise and Furniture at Flipkart.

Amazon India added support for Hindi on its website in 2018; and extended this support to Alexa-enabled smart speakers and other devices last year.

Both the companies have been deeply hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which promoted New Delhi to issue a nationwide lockdown in late March. But India has since eased restrictions, allowing e-commerce firms and ride-hailing giants to resume much of their services.

Last month, Amazon launched its food delivery service in the suburbs of Bangalore. Flipkart, which had applied to enter the food retail market, reported earlier this month that its application was rejected and that it would re-apply soon.

Propzy, a Vietnamese offline-to-online real estate platform, raises $25 million Series A

Propzy, a Vietnam-based startup that guides consumers through the entire process of a real estate transaction, announced it has raised a $25 million Series A led by Gaw Capital and SoftBank Ventures Asia, the early-stage venture arm of SoftBank Group. Other investors included Next Billion Ventures, RHL Ventures, Breeze, FEBE Ventures, RSquare and Insignia.
Instead of proptech, Propzy  founder and CEO John Le prefers the term “firetech” to describe the startup, using “fire” as an acronym for financial, insurance and real estate technology. Founded in 2016, Propzy’s technology covers almost every stage of a real estate transaction, from brick-and-mortar sales centers to an online marketplace for listings, financial products like mortgage lending and, finally, enterprise software for property managers and tenants.
The company’s Series A will be used to grow its product line and provide a balance sheet for its expansion into direct mortgage financing. Most of Propzy’s current operations are in Ho Chi Minh City. It plans to expand into Hanoi through the rest of this year and 2021, before exploring other Southeast Asian markets, including potentially Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Propzy currently has 30 brick-and-mortar sales centers, with a total of 400 sales staff. Over the 18 months, it expects to increase those numbers to 70 sales centers and 1,300 sales staff.
The sales centers complement Propzy’s online marketplace, with tens of thousands of properties pre-screened by its staff before they are entered into listings. Le said Propzy has handled more than $1 billion in property transactions since its launch, making it the largest offline-to-online real estate network in Vietnam.
Le is a serial entrepreneur and his past startups include LoanTrader, a mortgage trading platform that was backed by Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and GE Capital. In 2009, he went to Vietnam to launch an international credit bureau with TransUnion. During that time, he realized how burdensome the process of renting or buying property can be there.
In the United States, consumers benefit from listing platforms like Zillow and Trulia, licensed real estate agents and escrow offices. In Vietnam, however, Le said many listings are on classified sites, similar to Craigslist, and are often not handled by licensed agents. There is also no standardized listing data, which makes comparing multiple properties difficult for consumers.
To replicate the U.S. experience in Vietnam, “you can’t just launch a website and put properties on it,” Le said. “We built an offline agency, but you need to utilize tech to increase its efficiency and performance, so we are an offline-to-online platform. That high-touch customer service needs to go all the way, not just for property matchmaking but to help both parties successfully close and settle transactions.”
Propzy built an automated valuation model using data it has gathered over the last four years to assess homes, help recommend prices and show customers comparable properties. On the financing side, the model is also used by Propzy’s partner banks to help customers get pre-approved for loans based on property value.
After buyers move into an apartment unit, they can use Propzy’s tenant software to report issues or book maintenance services and amenities. If they decide to sell or rent the property, they can also do so through the platform.
The pandemic has put downward pressure on Vietnam’s real estate market, with a 70% reduction in Propzy’s business during the country’s nationwide lockdown in April. On the other hand, more people were doing searches online and inquiring about selling property, Le said.
“We’re carrying an all-time high pipeline of deals, as consumers start to have more confidence and know where the market will be in two to three months,” Le added. “People still need houses, so deals in the pipeline are three times over the fourth-quarter average. We expect them to close quickly, so we are on a good path to hitting our numbers at the end of the year.”
In a press statement about the investment, Gaw Capital managing partner Humbert Pang said, “Given the favorable macroeconomics exhibited by Vietnam and Gaw’s conviction in offline-to-online business models in real estate, we are excited by our investment into Propzy. We see the value proposition and steadfast vision that Propzy and its management team brings to the table and are therefore very optimistic in Propzy’s business and the market within which it operates.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

macOS 10.15: what we want to see

In-the-wild Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus leak arrives a week early

Matt Swider,Mark Knapp

You don’t have to wait for the Galaxy S10 launch event to see Samsung’s new phones for 2019 in the wild.

One week early, a new video leak surfaced today, showing the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus with a screen protector. The video was leaked by Mobile Fun.

Sure, we’ve seen Galaxy S10 screen protectors and cases before, but the phone is allegedly present with this screen protector, and the video shows the screen actually turning on.

In the video, we can see there are holes in the screen protector. One portion is cut out to let the front-facing cameras poke through.

The biggest news from this Galaxy S10 Plus leak is the other hole, which appears in the lower portion of the screen protector. This circular hole backs up rumors that the Galaxy S10 Plus is getting an in-screen fingerprint sensor underneath the glass.

Samsung works closely with Qualcomm on the chipset used inside many of its smartphones, and Qualcomm is now touting its ultrasonic fingerprint sensor technology as part of the Snapdragon 855 chipset.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 line may be the first to get the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, with other phones to follow at MWC 2019.

Cause for skepticism

There are a few reasons to be skeptical, though. While the display does turn on in the video, there is no on-screen indication that a fingerprint scanner is underneath the screen.

The last few generations of Samsung's flagship phones have had their fingerprint scanners on the back of the phone, and the video doesn't rule out the possibility that there's still a scanner around back.

There’s also no telling how necessary the screen protector cutout will be, the OnePlus 6T, for example, still works through a screen protector, but it does use different optical technology.

What else to expect from the Galaxy S10 Plus

This leak does seem to line up with some other rumors we've encountered for the Galaxy S10 Plus.

The dual front-facing cameras are believed to complement up to four more camera sensors on the rear of the phone (though one on each side might be a depth-focused, Time of Flight sensor). 

As the S10 Plus is also expected to included the new Snapdragon 855 chipset, it would make sense for it to include Qualcomm's in-screen fingerprint scanning technology. Though, that does leave the question of what tech will be used in the S10 Plus variants that are built around Samsung's own Exynos chipset.

With all of that, there's even rumor that the S10 Plus will included options for 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. 

Everyday there’s a new Samsung Galaxy S10 leak, so expect to see more of the Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S10e between now and February 20.

February 13, 2019 at 07:29PM

Intel’s secretive 14-core Core i9-9990XE processor sells for $2,300

Kevin Lee

Intel’s 9th generation processor rollout has been a wild ride with the introduction of new F-series CPUs, the company’s first 28-core processor and now the secretive sale of an Intel Core i9-9990XE chip.

According Puget Systems, Intel just held a secret quarterly auction where the company sold a new, unheard of 14-core Core i9-9990XE CPU for $2,300. That’s a fairly extravagant selling price for a high-end desktop processor, especially when Intel’s current Basin Falls Refresh flagship chip, the 18-core Intel Core i9-9990XE, costs noticeably less at $1,999 (£1,999, AU$2,729).

That said, bear in mind that this chip wasn’t just bought at a store, but an auction for the privilege of being one of the first to test this chip.

What makes the Intel Core i9-9990XE worth all that cheddar? Well Puget Systems has shared that this 14-cores and 28-threads CPU comes with a mighty fast 4.0 GHz base clock and an incredible 5.0GHz all-core boost. Comparatively, the Intel Core i9-9980XE might feature 18-cores and 36-threads, but it only runs at clock speeds between 3.0GHz and 4.4GHz.

These high-frequencies makes the Intel Core i9-9990XE a capable performer and Puget Systems also reported that it scored 221 and 3,732 points in Cinebench single-core and multi-core tests, respectively. In our testing, the Intel Core i9-9900K only managed to land 1,873 points in Cinebench multi-core and even the Intel Core i9-9980XE lags behind with a 3,640 point score.

From what we can tell, the Intel Core i9-9990XE seems to be worthy of its name sake. However, Puget Systems has also noted that the processor runs hot nearly all the time, will see limited availability, lacks any warranty and is obviously expensive. 

All told, it seems unlikely that this this CPU come to store shelves as a standalone part, but rather be available in a select few pre-built systems only by speciality brands like Origin or Digital Storm. 

Want one for a custom build? Only time will tell if the Intel Core i9-9990XE actually releases.

Via Tom's Hardware

February 13, 2019 at 07:19PM

UK firms more worried about Brexit than GDPR

Anthony Spadafora

IT decision makers across the UK have begun to see how data regulation can positively impact their organizations' commercial operations according to new research from NetApp.

The firm surveyed IT managers, CIOs and CTOs across 501 UK-based businesses to find that more than half (53%) say that data regulation has or will have a positive impact while only 18 percent have seen or anticipate a negative impact.

The new findings indicate a substantial change since NetApp's survey conducted before GDPR went into effect when only 30 percent of UK IT decision makers said the new regulation would improve their competitive advantage.

Data privacy awareness has also continued to develop among UK organizations with the majority (68%) saying their level of concern for data privacy has increased since GDPR was implemented. However, 30 percent say their level of concern has remained the same since May 2018 and just two percent claim their level of concern has reduced.

Data sovereignty

NetApp's survey also revealed that many organizations have turned to data sovereignty to maintain compliance with data privacy regulations.

When preparing for Brexit, 66 percent of UK companies gave 'major' to 'some' consideration to data sovereignty. Nearly half of the organizations surveyed (47%) think that their Brexit-related data sovereignty concerns will eclipse their pre and post GDPR worries with a quarter (24%) thinking they will be the same.

However, while 23 percent of UK companies cannot say whether they worry more about GDPR or Brexit, only six percent say they worry less about Brexit than they do about GDPR.

NetApp's Cloud Solutions Marketing Manager, EMEA, Martin Warren explained that businesses should continue to build solid data protection policies to help combat their Brexit fears, saying:

“The uncertainties around Brexit affect companies in numerous ways, including in their data management preparations. It is therefore encouraging to see many UK businesses already focussing on data regulation and privacy. Whilst this is partly driven by legislation and specifically the GDPR, there is now also a better understanding of how data regulation positively contributes to the commercial success of an organisation. As more details around Brexit emerge over the coming months, the best course of action for companies is to continue to build solid data protection and data governance processes, to ensure compliance with current legislation and preparedness for any future developments.” 

February 13, 2019 at 06:52PM

Apex Legends kan snart ramme din mobil

James Peckham

Det gratis battle royale-spil Apex Legends er siden sin lancering for en uge siden blevet et kæmpe hit på konsollerne og PC og kan nu risikere også at lande på de mobile platforme.

Helt i stil med Fortnite og PlayerUnknown, som også startede deres liv på konsollerne og sidenhen rykkede videre til mobilernen, undersøger Electronic Arts mulighederne for at portere spillet til både Android og iOS-enheder i fremtiden.

Informationen stammer fra Eas Q3 2019 earnings call, hvor den administrerende direktør for firmaet, Andrew Wilson, sagde: ”Vi ser på hvordan overføre spillet til mobile platforme og over tid tilbyde spil på tværs af platforme. Jeg forventer, at spillet vil have stor værdi i Asien og vi drøfter dette allerede.”

Dette er samtidig første gang vi hører EA nævne understøttelsen af spil på tværs af platforme ”crossplay” til spillet, hvilket måske i fremtiden vil betyde, at du kan spille imod dine venner, som spiller på Xbox One, imens du selv sidder på en PS4 og omvendt.

Det er tvivlsomt, om vi kommer til at se crossplay-understøttelse imellem PC og mobile enheder, når man tænker på hvor forskellig styringen er.

Wilsons ord lyder som om, at firmaet er i de tidlige stadier af udviklingen til den mobile platform, så det er tvivlsom at vi får Apex Legends at se på iOS eller Android i nær fremtid. VI skal dog nok holde jer opdateret, hvis vi hører noget.

Til de der allerede er dybt begravet i Apex Legends, har et tidligere læk indikeret, at spillet snart får en solo og duo-modus, så du ikke behæver spille sammen med to andre spillere.

Via Phone Arena

February 13, 2019 at 06:15PM

A third of businesses can't protect themselves from data breaches

Anthony Spadafora

According to new research from the Ponemon Institute, a third of businesses lack the time and resources needed to prevent the types of cyberattacks that could lead to a data breach.

To compile its report, titled “The Challenging State of Vulnerability Management”, the institute had Balbix conduct a survey of more than 600 cybersecurity professionals which revealed that organizations are having trouble implementing the modern security solutions needed to ensure their data is protected.

The survey suggests that the main barriers to entry for adequate security against data breaches are vulnerability patch management and being able to find the skilled staff needed to maintain basic bug resolution procedures.

Of those surveyed, 85 percent said that their organizations' staffing levels were too low to maintain a “strong cybersecurity posture” while just 15 percent said their patching efforts were “highly effective”.

Vulnerabilities left unpatched

One common problem faced by organizations when it comes to patch management is being able to ascertain which vulnerabilities could impact them and this becomes even more difficult when a lack of visibility prevents them from seeing into increasingly complex networks.

Scanning is another barrier to discovering vulnerabilities with 69 percent of those surveyed saying their companies scan their systems for weaknesses once a month or less while 49 percent scan on either an ad-hoc or quarterly basis.

Surprisingly, 67 percent of respondents said that they do not have the time nor the resources to mitigate every bug that could be exploited by hackers and 63 percent said the “inability to act on a large number of resulting alerts and actions” is a serious security problem.

Founder and chairman of the Ponemon Institute, Larry Ponemon provided further insight on the findings of the report, saying:

"From this research, it is clear that most enterprises recognize not only are they under-resourced in finding and managing their vulnerabilities, but they also have gaps around assessing the risk and getting full visibility across their IT assets. which no doubt led to that low confidence vote in their ability to avoid a data breach." 

Via ZDNet

  • Help protect your systems from the latest threats with the best antivirus
February 13, 2019 at 06:12PM

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Walmart’s Flipkart rolls out voice assistant to make shopping easier

Flipkart  is rolling out a voice assistant feature to its platform to make it easier for consumers to shop as the Walmart-owned e-commerce g...