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Artificial Intelligence Breakthroughs Lead to Unprecedented M&A Growth, Reveals Hampleton Partners’ Report

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Hampleton Partners’ latest analysis of the Artificial Intelligence M&A market reveals that over 150 deals were disclosed in 2018, up from 105 deals in 2017. The first half of 2019 is also showing impressive AI-related M&A momentum, with 65 deals already recorded and a total of near 100 deals forecast for the half-year only. In terms of market value, AI is forecast to grow from $21.46 billion in 2018 to $190 billion by 2025 – in other words, to grow nine-fold over the next seven-year period[1].

Heiko Garrelfs, sector principal, Hampleton Partners, said:
“Q1 2019 has set the pace for the rest of the year, with record-breaking M&A transaction volumes in two of three artificial intelligence sub-sectors. With the growth and competitiveness of many industries now dependent on the development of these AI technologies, strategic investors across all sectors and continents are stepping up their acquisitions and investments.

“Artificial intelligence is one of the fastest-moving sectors, thriving off great momentum and yielding game-changing outcomes.”

Artificial intelligence has moved from the experimental into the developmental phase of the innovation cycle. As the application of AI grows increasingly widespread across almost all verticals, several industries are now dependent on AI advancements to ensure their growth and competitiveness, including autonomous vehicles, IoT, healthtech, e-commerce, insurance and smart cities.

These industries look for artificial intelligence that can propel their next technology push, improve efficiency and productivity, streamline business models, and reduce latency and fragmentation.

Machine data analysis and edge AI
The first quarter of 2019 has proven a record period in M&A transaction volume for the machine data analysis sector with 46 deals.

Machine data analysis has recently shown an inclination towards Edge AI – i.e. running AI algorithms on edge devices such as smartphones or cars, rather than communicating with a central cloud or server – which allows devices to safeguard privacy, avoiding the purported insecurity of cloud-based data systems.

Edge computing also allows devices to process information locally and respond more quickly, which is vital for the development of Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous vehicle technology, where immediate response is a necessity.

Computer vision
Computer vision experienced a stellar half-year in 2H 2018, mainly owing to growth in hot trends such as facial recognition, check-out-free retail or motion analysis, all of which enable the collection of more insights and provide information for future market opportunities.

Facial recognition is fast becoming a dominant form of biometric authentication, with early commercial applications in security, retail, payments and consumer electronics – Apple’s latest smartphone technology for Face ID logins and payments being one of the commercially popular use-cases. Retailers are also adopting the technology to recognise returning customers – a strategy used to offer special discounts as part of loyalty programmes.

Furthermore, as increasingly smart city infrastructure adopts security cameras, video analytics can be widely applied using facial recognition to detect and track offenders or suspects in public spaces.

Language analysis and conversational AI
Global tech companies east and west have focused heavily on Conversational AI. Google’s integration of Duplex – its new AI-driven automated reservation-making system – into the Pixel 3 smartphone, transformed the Google handheld device into an AI powerhouse.

However, Apple’s Siri has lagged far behind Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant in terms of voice recognition ability and development. It was no surprise, therefore, that in February 2019 Apple acquired PullString, a speech recognition software development SaaS which enables businesses to build interrelated applications for IoT devices.

Many companies believe the problem is not the speech recognition technology itself, but the lack of focus and reasoning within these systems. As a result, intent detection – i.e. the ability to determine from context what the user wants – has become the new research focus area for speech recognition start-ups who are willing to challenge the hegemons and fill in the gaps in big tech AI.

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Synopsys and Kudan Collaborate to Accelerate Development of Intelligent Computer Vision Processing SoCs

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Synopsys, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNPS) and Kudan, a leading simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) software algorithms licensor, today announced a collaboration to optimize Kudan’s SLAM computer software algorithms for Synopsys’ DesignWare® ARC® EV6x Embedded Vision Processor IP. Kudan’s KudanSLAM software algorithms create and expand a map of an environment while simultaneously keeping track of the camera’s location within it. SLAM is used in autonomous vehicles, drones, robots, and augmented reality applications for concurrent scene mapping and device localization.

Kudan is optimizing its software to offload and accelerate algorithms by taking advantage of the Synopsys DesignWare ARC EV6x Embedded Vision Processors’ scalable hardware architecture, which includes up to four 512-bit vector DSPs and a fully programmable convolutional neural network (CNN) engine. The combined hardware-software solution enables designers to accelerate the SLAM tasks of tracking and mapping that take input from LiDAR, Time of Flight (TOF) cameras, inertial measurement units (IMUs), or odometry data while consuming significantly less power and memory resources than alternative implementations.

“Solutions that increase the efficiency and accuracy of computer vision devices will form the foundation of mass-market SLAM applications,” said Tomo Ohno, founder and managing director at Kudan. “The combination of the ARC EV6x Embedded Vision Processor and KudanSLAM will deliver the best performance and power efficiencies in the market and provide the software infrastructures by which product builders can develop revolutionary applications for automotive ADAS, robotics, and AR/VR.”

The fully programmable and configurable DesignWare ARC EV6x Embedded Vision Processor IP cores are optimized for embedded vision applications, combining the flexibility of software solutions with the low cost and low power consumption of hardware. The ARC EV6x Embedded Vision Processor family is supported by Synopsys’ MetaWare EV Development Toolkit, a comprehensive software programming environment based on common embedded vision standards including OpenCV, OpenVX™, and OpenCL™ C.

“Performance, power consumption, and high accuracy are critical requirements for computer vision applications,” said John Koeter, vice president of marketing for IP at Synopsys. “By collaborating with Kudan to optimize their software for Synopsys’ ARC EV6x Embedded Vision Processor, we are providing designers with a highly efficient and accurate hardware-software solution to accelerate the development of SoCs implementing SLAM functionality.”

 

SOURCE Synopsys, Inc.

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RSM’s Industry Eminence Program Announces Class of 2019

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RSM US LLP (“RSM”) – the nation’s leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market – is pleased to announce the second class of the firm’s Industry Eminence Program. The new eminence class joined the 10 members of the firm’s inaugural class in New York City this month to kick off their participation in the three-year program.

“It’s incredibly exciting to see how the Industry Eminence Program has flourished in just one year,” said Joe Adams, managing partner and chief executive officer with RSM US LLP. “We now have 22 bright, highly accomplished people in the program who will be developing and sharing valuable information that will help drive thoughtful client conversations and further advance RSM’s vision to be the first-choice advisor to middle market leaders globally. We predicted this program would be a game changer for the firm – we were right.”

Created and led by Joe Brusuelas, RSM US LLP chief economist, and Kevin Depew, RSM US LLP deputy chief economist, the cutting-edge program will position this new class of senior analysts during their first year to understand, forecast and communicate business, economic and technology trends shaping the industries RSM serves.

Senior analysts will focus 50 percent of their time on the eminence program and 50 percent on continuing to serve clients. Over the three years of the program, participants will concentrate on learning the foundations of industry analysis and thought leadership development, and they will bring that knowledge to current and prospective clients, the marketplace and their peers within the firm.

The program is an intensive immersion into data analytics, trend analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning designed for experienced managers through partners. Senior analysts will leave the program with the ability to analyze and interpret economic and industry trends and data, and will serve as internal and external thought leaders for clients. They will also become regular contributors to The Real Economy, RSM’s monthly publication focused on economic issues impacting the middle market, and will produce other thought leadership for their industries.

“In this rapidly evolving economy, it’s imperative that we stay attuned to economic indicators so that we can forecast the potential impact on our clients and the industries in which they operate,” said Brusuelas. “Through this program, our senior analysts are trained to anticipate trends and provide actionable insights to help RSM advise clients on the conditions impacting middle market leaders and beyond. We’re excited to expand the program and look forward to the added value that the new class will bring to our clients, our industry teams and the marketplace.”

“The first year of the program has exceeded our expectations due to the commitment of our inaugural class of senior analysts,” said Depew. “We are confident that this impressive new class will apply the knowledge they gain through this intensive curriculum to better serve our clients and our people. I have no doubt that we are in for another great year, and I’m looking forward to it.”

The 2019 class of RSM Industry Eminence Program senior analysts includes:

Name

Focus Industry

Peter Cadigan

Consumer Products

Kennedy Chinyamutangira

Financial Services

Karen Galivan

Consumer Products

Jessika Garis

Health Care

Michael Gerlach

Business and Professional Services

Shruti Gupta

Industrial Products

Scott Helberg

Real Estate

Megan Hicks

Industrial Products

Brandon Koeser

Financial Services

Adam Lohr

Technology

David Mamane

Financial Services

Davis Nordell

Technology

“These 12 talented individuals are passionate about how industry expertise takes client experience to the next level,” said Don Lipari, national industry leader with RSM US LLP. “Each one brings an innovative mindset that will contribute to the continued success of the program. The overall enthusiasm for the program has been rewarding to see, and we are thrilled with how quickly our inaugural class has been able to translate insights into opportunities for our clients. We are sure this class will do the same.”

The second class of industry senior analysts was selected in January 2019. Applications for the next class will be accepted this fall.

 

SOURCE RSM US LLP

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Blue Prism Enables Easier Access and Greater Collaboration to Advance Intelligent Automation Capabilities

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Looking to provide greater flexibility and access to its digital workforce, Blue Prism (AIM: PRSM) today launched its new online user community while also adding ecommerce capabilities to its Digital Exchange (DX), making it easier for organizations to deploy and scale their intelligent automation solutions. These advances build on Blue Prism’s connected-RPA vision of collaborative innovation, by creating a growing community that shares best practices and provides greater access to the latest artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, intelligent document processing and cloud capabilities.

“Our motto of automating together, better and more, is definitely highlighted with these new capabilities,” says Dave Moss, Co-Founder and CTO for Blue Prism. “We are listening and responding by supporting a self-service model, which makes it easier for our customers to share, innovate and deploy intelligent automation solutions. These new capabilities help unify customer experiences and best practices for sharing, while providing the necessary community support to make automation the cornerstone of any digital transformation.”

Enhancements to DX
By way of the ecommerce capabilities, Blue Prism’s Digital Exchange, an intelligent automation marketplace comprising of customers, technology and channel partners, now enables customers or prospects to quickly buy and download software licenses directly from the exchange. This introductory package, which consists of a single software license along with one-year standard support, makes it easy for people to get started, learn more and explore what’s possible with an intelligent digital workforce. In the next 90 days, the ecommerce functionality will also allow other Blue Prism partners to offer their assets and integrations for sale via the DX.

Anyone can now purchase and download this introductory Blue Prism v6.5 package, which includes work queue trends and analytics, full Japanese and simplified Chinese language capabilities, IPv6 support, and data gateways, offering more data control while reducing the amount of storage being used.

Private Assets is another new key feature on the DX. Users control who can view assets outside of a customer or partner’s organization. They can only be seen by the employees of said company and then only after they are logged in. This feature gives enterprise customers more security and control over the assets used by their employees, only those that they approve, license and test are made available.

Since being launched back in November 2018, DX adoption continues to skyrocket with more than 4,120 registered users from nearly 714 registered companies who can download over 110 assets to accelerate the time to market for their intelligent automation projects. It provides business leaders drag and drop access to AI, machine learning, cognitive and disruptive technologies from companies they know and trust. Other new key enhancements to DX include integration with Google Analytics to provide more visibility into how assets are being downloaded and used. Support for open sourced Blue Prism assets being shared via GitHub as well as the ability for partners and customers to securely share proprietary assets has also been added.

According to Forrester Research, the partner of the future will likely not be a pure transacting one. “It doesn’t make sense to the new generation of tech buyers who make two-thirds of all new tech decisions today. As mentioned above, 73 percent of business buyers find the web more convenient to make purchases, and we forecast that 17 percent of all B2B transactions will happen through ecommerce by 2023″.¹

Blue Prism Community Now Live 
The Blue Prism Community is a new online experience where users can share, learn and create. The Blue Prism Community provides a new and exciting platform where users can engage with others who share common interests, goals and objectives. The Blue Prism Community provides:

  • An online space open to everyone that is easy to navigate, and where users can get up to speed on important announcements and industry news.
  • Participation in a growing ecosystem of digital entrepreneurs and innovative companies redefining the nature of work.
  • Access to an innovation corner for new Blue Prism product ideas and features, including DX.
  • A home for regional and industry-specific user groups.
  • Discussion communities and in-person meet-ups for practitioners, professionals and innovators.
  • Latest content and information on upcoming events, learning tools, demos, etc.

 

SOURCE Blue Prism

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