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Are Bitcoin Salaries the Future? This Japanese Internet Company Thinks So

A Japanese internet company with the bitcoin bug will soon allow its employees to receive some of their salaries in the form of cryptocurrency.

Tokyo-based GMO Internet Group announced the new payment option will launch in February 2018, according to digital currency news site coindesk.com. GMO said the option will gradually be opened to all of its more than 4,000 full-time employees.

Those opting in to the new scheme will be able select what portion of their monthly salary to receive in bitcoin between a minimum of 10,000 yen (around $88) and a maximum of 100,000 yen ($882), according to coindesk.

GMO is even reportedly offering an incentive for those who join the new payroll system—a bonus of 10 percent of the selected bitcoin amount.

While Japanese labor laws stipulate paying salaries in yen, GMO told Kyodo News that it was not breaking any regulations since the bitcoin payment would be optional, based on mutual agreement and deducted from an employee’s monthly paycheck.

The tech company, which registers domain names and offers web hosting and other services, joined the bitcoin spree this past May with the opening of an exchange, GMO-Z.com Coin, which was later rebranded as GMO Coin. In September, GMO announced it would invest $3 million in mining bitcoin — the process of obtaining the coin through powerful computers — starting in the first half of 2018.

The firm says it believes cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will evolve into “universal currencies” available to anyone globally, leading to a “new borderless economic zone.”

For more on cryptocurrency, see Fortune’s video:

But not everyone is so optimistic about the rise of digital currencies. A mounting number of experts have warned of a potential bubble effect.

Earlier this week, Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller compared bitcoin to a “contagion” with rapid price fluctuations reflecting the “intensity of the epidemic”.

According to Japanese bitcoin monitoring site Jpbitcoin.com, in November, yen-denominated bitcoin trades reached a record 4.51 million bitcoins, or nearly half of the world’s major exchanges of 9.29 million bitcoin.

Conviction Stands for Manager Who Sabotaged Company Computers With Electronic Time Bomb

Everything Possible/Shutterstock.com

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has confirmed the conviction of the former IT manager of a Plano-based software firm who sabotaged the company’s computer system with an electronic “time bomb” that was set to go off after he submitted his resignation.

Michael Thomas was upset that ClickMotive fired his coworker, so he embarked on a weekend campaign of electronic sabotage, according to the Fifth Circuit’s recent decision.

Thomas deleted over 600 files, disabled backup operations, diverted executives’ emails to his personal account and set a “time bomb” that would result in employees being unable to remotely access the company’s network after Thomas submitted his resignation.

When the dust settled, ClickMotive incurred over $130,000 in expenses to undo the harm Thomas caused. In an interview with the FBI, Thomas stated that he engaged in the conduct because he was frustrated with the company and wanted to make the job harder for the person who would replace him.

Two days before a grand jury was to consider his violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act under Section 1030(a)(5)(A), Thomas fled to Brazil. He was arrested three years later when he surrendered to FBI agents at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

After a jury returned a guilty verdict, an Eastern District of Texas U.S. district judge sentenced Thomas to time served for the four months he’d been detained after returning to the country and placed him on supervised release for three years.

Thomas appealed his conviction to the Fifth Circuit by arguing the evidence was not sufficient to convict him because he was authorized to damage the company’s computer system as part of his IT duties.

In his decision, Judge Gregg Costa rejected Thomas’ argument that he was allowed to damage the company’s computers under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

“We conclude that Section 1030(a)(5)(A) prohibits intentionally damaging a computer system when there was no permission to engage in that particular act of damage,’’ Costa wrote.

Costa noted that the circumstances surrounding the damaging acts provide even more support for the finding of guilt — not to mention his fleeing to Brazil.

“He submitted his resignation immediately after completing the damage spree and timed the most damaging act — the one that would prevent remote access — so that it would not occur until he was gone,” Costa wrote. “Why this sequence of events if Thomas had permission to cause the damage?”

This Chinese Company Just Announced An iPhone X Clone Named The ‘Notch’

Weibo

Behold… the Boway Notch.

The iPhone X has been a generally well-reviewed device, but if there’s one aspect that have drawn the most criticism and mockery — and the one target at which other tech giants have taken shots — it’s that notch at the top of the display, which Apple officials call “sensor housing.”

Personally, the notch (Hong Kong Chinese media amusingly calls it an “M head,” which is Cantonese slang for a receding hairline) doesn’t bother me most of the time when I’m using the phone upright, but when I watch full-screen videos in landscape mode, it is a constant reminder of the design compromises Apple made to mimic a true bezel-less face.

Even Apple’s marketing team seems to be aware of this, as some of its promotional material curiously cuts off the “sensor housing.”

Based in the Hangzhou province of China, Boway is an OEM which has specialized in making printers and cutting machines since 1996. The Notch is its first foray into the world of consumer electronics. And from the looks of the launch event circulating on Weibo, the company is keen to make a big marketing push, even securing two Chinese celebrities to endorse the iPhone X clone.

Weibo

Chinese celebrities endorsing the iPhone X clone.

More on Forbes: My Favorite Smartphones Of 2017, Ranked

I’ve covered my fair share of Chinese ripoff phones — they’ve mostly copied the Samsung Galaxy S8 or Xiaomi Mi Mix so far — and contrary to western perception, they are not unsable. Sure, the lack of respect for intellectual property is amusing/frustrating, but other than that, these phones are fully functional and can get the job done for most average joes who just send emails and browse Facebook and Instagram.

These clones usually sell for under $200 and feature a mid-tier MediaTek processor. There’s no information on the Boway Notch yet, but it appears to be going this route.

Weibo

Another look at the Boway Notch.

It’s worth pointing out that the device has a fingerprint reader on the back — something the iPhone X does not have — which means the Boway Notch will very likely not have facial unlock. This makes the the notch mostly for looks, because the iPhone X’s notch is used to store a very intricate set of sensors that combine to form the “TrueDepth” camera system.

I have reached out to Boway and will definitely try to test the device. From the look of the photos though, it appears to have done a great job of mimicking Apple’s design.

Apple’s director of health leaving company to form his own medical records startup

Anil Sethi with his late sister Tania, the inspiration for his new startup

Apple’s work in the health industry has been well reported thus far, but CNBC reports today that the person running Apple’s health efforts is leaving the company. Anil Sethi was originally named director of the health team last year, when Apple acquired his medical record startup Gliimpse


71f1d_spigen-teka-on-airpods Apple's director of health leaving company to form his own medical records startup

Spigen TEKA RA200 Airpods Earhooks Cover

Prior to his announcement that he would be leaving Apple, Sethi had been on an extended leave of absence to care for his sister, Tania, who passed away from cancer in September. The leave of absence, Sethi told CNBC, was personally granted by Apple COO Jeff Williams.

On his decision to leave Apple, Sethi says he is fulfilling a promise he made to his sister in her final days to improve cancer care for patients. He hopes to do that with his new startup, Ciitizen. The company will focus on providing a better experience by obtaining patient records and getting them to the appropriate doctors.

He since decided not to rejoin the Apple health team and instead is starting a new company, dubbed Ciitizen, which is focused on making it easier for people like Tania to get their information — whether it’s about genomes, labs, ethical wills or advanced directives — and share it with researchers on request. He describes it as “health data as a palliative.”

While it’s been reported that Apple wants to make the iPhone a “one-stop shop” for medical records, Sethi says he will focus on “depth rather than breadth.” He explains that while Apple can help more than 1 billion people, it will do so in ways that aren’t as deep as what his startup will build.

Sethi was sure to note, however, that Apple executives are extremely committed to health care and that he hopes to meet his former colleagues “in the middle” at some point in the future.

Apple originally acquired Sethi’s startup Gliimpse back in August of 2016 for an undisclosed sum. The company explained that its goal was to let users collect their own medical records and share them securely with whomever they trust.

Sethi is expected to formally announce his new startup later today in San Francisco.


Subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here’s what it means for Android …

Qualcomm announced details of its new Snapdragon 845 mobile chip on Wednesday during its event in Hawaii, and it offers a good idea of what improvements and features we can expect from phones that will run on the new chips.

Timing-wise, Qualcomm expects the chip’s release as soon as 2018, so we could potentially see the next generation of top Android devices from Samsung, Google, LG, HTC, and others running on the new Snapdragon 845 next year.

As expected, the chip should bring general improvements to performance and battery life. It’ll also allow Android phone makers to improve photo and video capture quality, as well as improving the functionality of AR, VR, and mixed-reality applications. Smart AI assistants, like Google’s Assistant, will also get an intelligence boost.

Check out what we can expect from Snapdragon 845-powered Android phones:


Android phones will be more power efficient for even better battery life.

245a6_c2675867896ad5f5261e9a29f9bc1dda7c0fe4c8-800x600 The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here's what it means for Android ...

Battery life on many of the top Android phones is very good, especially on the Pixel 2 phones. That’s partly due to the current power-efficient Snapdragon 835 processor running many top Android phones today.

We can expect even better battery life, with 2018-2019 Android phones as Qualcomm claims the Snapdragon 845 will be 30% more power efficient than the 835.


Photos will be even sharper and clearer, especially in low light.

245a6_c2675867896ad5f5261e9a29f9bc1dda7c0fe4c8-800x600 The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here's what it means for Android ...

The Snapdragon 845 chip will let Android phones take advantage of a photography technology called “multi-frame noise reduction” for images up to 16 megapixels. It’ll allow 2018-2019 Android phones to take up to 60 photos per second and combine them into one photo to reduce “noise,” which is that grainy look you most often see in low-light photos.


It’ll add a feature to video recording that will make videos look amazing.

245a6_c2675867896ad5f5261e9a29f9bc1dda7c0fe4c8-800x600 The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here's what it means for Android ...

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 845 chip will allow Android phones to record 4K video in HDR (high dynamic range) at a smooth 60 frames per second (fps). Videos recorded in 4K HDR from smartphones will look fantastic on 4K HDR TVs.

HDR is a feature that enhances contrast ratio. That’s to say it enhances colors, especially those the brighter and darker ends of the spectrum. As my former colleague Jeff Dunn put it: “The result is a picture that is more vivid, and more importantly, noticeably more life-like. Colors are less muted, and objects appear to have more depth. It’s not a gimmick so much as a straight improvement.”

It’ll also allow 2018-2019 Android phone cameras to take videos with a wider color gamut, which could bring even more fine color shades to videos.

So far, no smartphone can record video in HDR, despite the fact that several phones from 2017 have HDR-capable displays.

The Snapdragon 845 will also let Android phones record 720p video at a whopping 480 fps, which is twice as many frames per second as current smartphones that can record in 240 fps for slow-motion. It should make for ultra-smooth slow-motion that can slow down extremely fast movement.


It’ll be faster and more powerful than current 2017 Android phones.

245a6_c2675867896ad5f5261e9a29f9bc1dda7c0fe4c8-800x600 The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here's what it means for Android ...

Qualcomm claims the new Snapdragon 845 will be 25% more powerful than the current Snapdragon 835, and 30% more powerful for games.


It’ll bring great improvements to AR, VR, and mixed-reality applications.

245a6_c2675867896ad5f5261e9a29f9bc1dda7c0fe4c8-800x600 The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here's what it means for Android ...

The Snapdragon 845 will allow you to physically move in AR, VR, and mixed-reality applications, much like you can with HTC/Valve’s Vive VR headset. When you physically move forward, you’ll move forwards in a VR game, for example. The feature is called “6DoF,” which stands for 6 degrees of freedom.

Qualcomm’s new chip will also come with features that help VR, AR, and mixed-reality apps prevent you from colliding into walls and objects while you move around.

We’ll also see an overall improvement in AR, VR, and mixed reality visual quality, performance, and power consumption.


2018-2019 smartphones will be even smarter.

245a6_c2675867896ad5f5261e9a29f9bc1dda7c0fe4c8-800x600 The company that makes chips for top Android phones announced its new model – here's what it means for Android ...

AI performance on 2018-2019 Android phones running on the Snapdragon 845 will be tripled, which will help voice assistants better understand more natural ways of speaking.

Better AI will also make it easier to take good photos and videos, according to Qualcomm. Camera features like Portrait Mode, which use AI to identify the subject in the frame, will also get performance boosts.

Apple VP Greg Joswiak defends iPhone X notch as one of the company’s most impressive pieces of tech

While I personally find the iPhone X notch almost unnoticeable much of the time, and cute when it’s visible, others have been more critical. There have been complaints that it’s asymmetrical and un-Apple-like in its design, and even that it ‘ruins’ the display.

But Apple VP Greg Joswiak has defended it as one of the company’s most impressive technical achievements …


c69e9_screen-shot-2017-03-30-at-14-48-26 Apple VP Greg Joswiak defends iPhone X notch as one of the company's most impressive pieces of tech

NordVPN

Quoted in Tom’s Guide, Joswiak said that the focus should be on everything it achieves.

With all of those components, this is one of the most densely packed technology areas I think we’ve ever done. It’s one of the most sophisticated pieces of technology we’ve ever done in such an incredibly small space.

Apple did, he said, take its usual approach to new technology – not trying to be first to market, but aiming to offer the best possible implementation. And while he may not have called out Samsung by name, it was obvious who he had in mind with one comment.

It doesn’t matter if you’re first to a general idea, it’s about being first to making it fantastic, and that’s what we try to do. Whether it’s the chip team working with our hardware team or our software team with our human interface team — it is one team here. No one else can match that […]

We had a line of sight on how to do real facial recognition, in a way never done before. It would be really hard to do, but we just didn’t want to do it the way others had, which could literally be spoofed with a picture.

Tom’s Guide picked the iPhone X as the overall winner in its 2017 Innovation Awards.

The iPhone X isn’t the first phone to integrate technologies like OLED or facial recognition — it simply executes those features better than the competition. At the same time, the processor inside the iPhone X is miles ahead of anything from the Android camp.

There are three advancements — the Super Retina Display, Face ID and the A11 Bionic chip — that combine to make Apple’s flagship the most innovative product of the year.

Face ID did hit one glitch, with the release of iOS 11.2, some owners reporting a message that the iPhone X was unable to activate the feature. Fortunately, a simple reboot fixed it.

Read the rest of this page »

Martinsburg company nets $3M grant for mental-health, substance-abuse services – Herald

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Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.

Baidu: Should You Own This Fast Growing Internet Company?

Source: fortune.com

Some Fine China For Your Portfolio

Baidu Inc. (BIDU) is the third largest internet company in China, has a market cap of over $80 billion, and is the second most widely used search engine in the world. The company has enormous growth prospects, continuously beats EPS guidance, and appears to be undervalued considering its robust revenue growth and future earning potential. Due to China’s constant growth in internet usage and a low internet penetration rate of roughly 52%, Baidu is likely to grow EPS at a faster pace than is currently expected. The company also appears to be able to sustain a relatively high growth rate for its top and bottom line for a number of years going forward.

Baidu’s current valuation of 24 times this year’s earnings is very likely to decrease to under 20 next year. This seems like a relatively low price to pay for a company with a dominant position in China’s search segment which provides direct access to the country’s nearly $1 trillion online spending market that has been expanding by 32% annually for the past 5 years.

Baidu Growth Potential

China continues to expand economically, and is currently growing GDP at roughly 6.8%. Due to the country’s continuous economic expansion, more and more people in China are on the internet and using mobile every year. The country easily has the most internet users in the world, about 730 million as of October 2017. China also has 5 of the 10 largest internet companies in the world, has an internet penetration rate of only 52% vs the U.S.’s 88%, has online spending of $967 billion vs the U.S.’s $1.1 trillion, and has been growing internet spending at 32% annually for the past 5 years.

Therefore, Baidu has enormous growth potential within China that could be sustainable over a prolonged period of time, at least 5-10 years. The company has a leading position in China’s search market with 76% of total queries performed through its site. Baidu has an even more dominant position in China’s mobile search market with about 82.5% of the share.

Source: chinainternetwatch.com


Although Baidu has enormous growth and profit potential within China, the company may be able to grow market share outside of its home country as well. Baidu has just a 2.75% share of the total world search market, compared to Google’s behemoth share of approximately 92%. However, many Chinese people outside China use primarily Baidu. The company is expanding globally and is currently a leader at the forefront of the developing AI industry as well as other breakthrough technologies and market segments. For example, the company plans to make self-driving car technology available in 2018, and in time these developing businesses should introduce powerful new revenue streams to significantly increase Baidu’s top line.

Source: en.people.cn

Baidu’s Profit Potential

Baidu consistently beats EPS estimates by quite a wide margin, roughly 25% on average the past 2 years. Moreover, Baidu has beat EPS estimates 26 out of the last 30 times the company has reported since 2010. It seems safe to say that analysts regularly underestimate the company’s EPS potential.

Next year’s average revenue projections are at $15.8 billion for Baidu, a 23% increase from this year’s revenues. However, analysts’ average projected EPS growth is just 4% yoy. Judging by the company’s perpetual ability to surpass analysts’ expectations concerning EPS, and the disproportionately low average EPS growth forecasts in relation to next year’s revenue growth, it appears many analysts may be lowballing 2018’s EPS numbers.

So, what is Baidu likely to earn next year? Over the past two years, Baidu has surpassed quarterly consensus earnings estimates by an average of about 25%. The 25% mark is also consistent with the estimated average 23% yoy revenue growth forecast. If we apply a 25% increase to 2018’s average EPS estimate of $9.52 we arrive at earnings of $11.90 for next year.

At the current price of $235, and applying an $11.90 EPS for next year implies that Baidu is presently trading at about 19.75 times next year’s earnings. My estimate is firmly within reason as higher range analyst estimates have 2018 EPS at over $13.00.

Therefore, the current forward valuation seems very cheap for a company that is experiencing roughly 30% growth in its ad business. To put things in context Google’s revenues are projected to rise by just 18% next year and the company trades at about 25 times next year’s projected earnings. It seems that with higher revenue growth and a lower home market saturation rate, Baidu shares should be trading at a premium and not the other way around. Google is still a relatively inexpensive stock considering its dominant market position and robust growth, however, Baidu shares look outright cheap here.

Threats to Baidu

Alphabet (GOOG), (GOOGL) is the largest internet search company in the world, therefore it naturally poses some level of threat to Baidu. However, Baidu derives the vast majority of its revenues and growth from within China, where Google has a smidgen of the online search market worth only about 1.84%, and a less impressive 0.6% of the mobile market’s share. In comparison, Baidu owns about 76% of China’s online search, and 82.5% of mobile search. Google has failed to dominate search in China, and due to its limited popularity and influence is not likely to takeaway noticeable market share from Baidu going forward.

Baidu Earnings

Although Baidu crushed EPS estimates by 90% last quarter $3.98 vs $2.04, the company’s revenue forecast for next quarter came in lower than expected, $3.34 – $3.52 billion vs $3.73 billion consensus estimates. The stock took a hit due to the lower than expected guidance, declining by as much as 18% from recent highs. However, the revenue guidance “miss” does not appear to be the result of any systemic growth issues at Baidu. Instead, it is likely that revenue growth projections simply got ahead of themselves, and the company’s forecast still represents a very healthy yoy revenue increase of 22% – 29%.

Technical Image

Baidu’s stock dropped on heavy volume following the revenue guidance miss in late October. Since then, the stock has held the $230 – $235 level and appears to be in the process of making a triple bottom. If the $230 – $235 level holds over the next days and weeks, BIDU has the potential to go significantly higher and is likely to start hitting all-time highs again.

The technical indicators appear sound right now, and are not illustrating any noticeable abnormalities in price action. BIDU looks to have had a healthy correction of roughly 18%, is now going through a normal consolidation period, and is likely to move higher over the coming weeks and months.

BIDU 1-Year Chart
Source: stockcharts.com

BIDU 5-Year Chart

Valuation and Financial Highlights

Market Cap: $81.6 billion at $235 a share

Quarterly Revenue Growth: 29%

Quarterly Earnings Growth: 160%

2017 P/E: 25 at $9.16 EPS Estimate

2018 P/E: 19.75 at $11.90 EPS Estimate

Profit Margin: 18%

Total Cash: $17.72 billion

Total Debt: $7.84 billion

52 Week Change: 43%

Shares Short: Under 3%

The Bottom Line

Baidu is a powerful online leader in China, the world’s biggest search market with a relatively low penetration rate, and high ad spending growth. The company has a strong balance sheet, is growing revenues at a high rate, and has enormous profit potential. The current valuation seems cheap for a company with such impressive prospects, and next year’s EPS estimates appear to be low, suggesting Baidu is likely to surprise to the upside going into 2018 and beyond, which should translate to a higher stock price going forward.

Note: This article expresses solely my opinions, is produced for informational purposes, and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. Investing comes with risk to loss of principal. Please always conduct your own research and consider your investment decisions very carefully.

Disclosure: I am/we are long BIDU.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: I have been an investor in BIDU since 2007

This Company Will Bring Health Care To Your Door, On Demand

It may be time to give millennials the nickname, “The Now Generation”, because we seem to have, do, and want it all now. With just your mobile phone, you can get just about anything delivered right to your door, be picked up and dropped off, and source any piece of information your mind wonders about.

The latest convenience app that can save you time is in the healthcare space. When you are sick, the last thing you want to do is get in your car, sit in traffic, and interact with more people than absolutely necessary while you wait in a crowded waiting room.

Credit: DispatchHealth.

A patient receives treatment at home with DispatchHealth.

A New Way To Get Well

DispatchHealth is a relatively new service that is bringing the health care to your door. “DispatchHealth is an on-demand, in-home, care delivery platform designed to address the healthcare needs of the on-demand consumer, as well as the needs of the consumer that struggles with access to care,” said Mark Prather, CEO of DispatchHealth.

While the service doesn’t cover something as serious as a broken arm, it does cover most common illnesses that would be an expensive use of an emergency room or urgent care.

“Consumers can access the service via an app on their mobile phones, the DispatchHealth website or simply call directly to request medical care,” said Prather. “Using its proprietary risk-stratification technology, patients are screened to make sure it is appropriate to assign a medical team. Once cleared, board-certified, ER-trained professionals are then dispatched to the home, senior care facility or workplace.”

Millennials Want Convenient Health Care

Would you bet your life savings on a Chinese internet company?

The share we refer to is JSE listed technology company, Naspers, whose one-third holding in a Chinese internet company called Tencent has completely dominated performance of the share and quite astoundingly a big proportion of the total JSE return in 2017.

While the All Share Index was propelled to new all-time highs (breaking through the 60,000 point level) given the strong rally we have seen since the middle of June, the challenge to investors has been just how narrow a base these returns have come off. Since January 2017 only five shares have contributed an astonishing 75% of the total equity market return of 21.34%. With Naspers being the largest share in the index and having a year-to-date return of almost 90% it doesn’t take a maths degree to figure out that a significant portion of the market return has come from just one stock. With such a skewed market index and such dominant performance by a single stock, it is no surprise that the passive investing debate has received so much airtime.

More recently Naspers has been in the news because of their “captured” Multichoice business which forms part of the “rump of Naspers” which is all the assets held by Naspers excluding Tencent. This rump includes well-recognised brands such as Takealot, OLX, Property24, Media24, Spree, Flipcart as well as online German food delivery platform Delivery Hero among others. The majority of these internet businesses are still in the very early stages of their life cycle, still demanding considerable investment as they look to develop, cement and build scale across a number of their internet platforms and still prone to failure. Also, this rump appears plagued by short-term issues relating to governance, management incentive structures, the lack of voting rights for ordinary shareholders, short-term profitability issues in the ramping up phase across a number of these businesses, a cyclical downturn in the pay TV businesses and question marks over management’s ability to efficiently allocate capital. This means that the market actually thinks that this rump has a negative value of some R650-billion. Perhaps the price to pay for “capture”?

So the driver of performance for Naspers is the Chinese internet business Tencent whose share price performance this year has been nothing short of phenomenal, in excess of 120% year to date propelling the company’s market capitalisation past the $500-billion mark and for a brief period of time making it the fifth largest stock in the world ahead of social media operator Facebook. While the prospects for Tencent remain ever promising as the company looks to diversify its earnings base away from purely gaming through increasing its penetration in the mobile advertising market – a market worth some $54-billion in China – it may at face value seem like a sure bet and something one would want to invest all of one’s savings into.

But at what risk? Although Tencent has a similar market capitalisation and revenue base to Facebook it has earnings of around $10-billion compared to Facebook’s earnings of approximately $17.5-billion and while Facebook is global by every imaginable metric, Tencent is Chinese and nothing is certain so investors need to be aware of the risk when they consider just how much of their portfolio to allocate to a single stock.

This rapidly evolving and politically protected Chinese internet business poses a significant concentration challenge to a South African retirement investor given its complete dominance of Naspers’ share price and the size of Naspers in the South African equity market. A simple reality check shows that for the same market value of Naspers (R1,423-trillion) one could own a diversified mix of 44 stocks whose total combined value is R1.42-trillion, such as food retailers Shoprite, Woolworths, Spar, Pick n Pay, clothing retailers Truworths, Foschini, Mr Price, health care counters Mediclinic, Netcare, Life Health Care, mining shares Anglo American Platinum, Northam, Impala, Lonmin, Anglogold, Harmany, Gold Fields, Sibanye, technology and telecoms counters Datatec, Telkom, financial stocks Discovery, Peregrine, industrials Imperial, Barloworld, Nampak, PPC, Invicta, Raubex, food producers Tiger Brands, Pioneer, Tongaat, AVI, Distell, Oceana, Clover, Famous Brands and consumer services shares Clicks, Dischem, Tsogo Sun, Italtile, Curro, Massmart, Sun International and Holdsport.

So in short for the same price as Naspers, an investor could choose to own a diversified set of 44 companies with different drivers of earnings and dividends and most importantly a completely different range of company specific risks. In addition to that, this diverse set of companies currently generates almost six times as much earnings as Naspers does. The question then reverberates: How much of my life savings would I place in just this one opportunity over a diversified set of many opportunities?

Remember that great company Nokia? Your age will probably dictate whether or not you ever owned a Nokia mobile phone. At its peak in the early 2000’s when analysts were the most bullish on prospects for the company (forecasting as many as 1-billion customers on the mobile phone platform) the stock peaked at 20% of the Helsinki stock exchange index. In a period of one year between January 2008 and January 2009, the company shed 75% of its value with the overall index sinking 67.52% resulting in permanent impairment to capital for investors. As Spanish philosopher George Santayana elegantly summarised, “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. DM

Buy Apple because iPhone X will lead to a ‘super long cycle’ for the company, analyst says

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b9834_104818525-GettyImages-869590262-apple-iphone.530x298 Buy Apple because iPhone X will lead to a 'super long cycle' for the company, analyst says

Apple’s innovative features in the new iPhone X this year will pay dividends for years, according to one Wall Street firm.

Piper Jaffray reiterated its overweight rating for the smartphone maker, predicting Apple will benefit from rolling out better displays and 3D sensors to the rest of its iPhone product line next year.

“Apple may be increasingly well positioned to experience a strong multi-year iPhone trajectory, not the short-lived ‘super cycle’ that was anticipated,” analyst Michael Olson wrote in a note to clients Thursday titled “Why AAPL Can Keep Working: ‘Super Cycle’ Is Now ‘Super Long Cycle.'” “We believe an elongated iPhone cycle in FY18, followed by a wider array of iPhone X ‘offspring’ in Fall-18, along with growing awareness and interest in augmented reality (fueled by developers populating app store with new use cases and, longer-term, addition of rear facing 3D sensor), will all push out the need for Apple to answer the question of ‘what’s next?'”

Olson reiterated his $200 price target for Apple shares, representing 18 percent upside to Wednesday’s close.

The analyst expects Apple will release three iPhones next year with the X’s better OLED displays. In addition, he notes 3D sensing component suppliers are being asked to increase their volume by three times next year, according to the firm’s checks.

“IPhone X ‘offspring’ can expand upgrade interest to a larger portion of iPhone Users in Fall-18,” he wrote. “As options for the ‘X’ generation iPhone expand, the ‘shots on goal’ for upgrading increases.”

Apple is one of the market’s best-performing large-cap stocks so far this year. Its shares have rallied 46 percent through Wednesday versus the SP 500’s 17 percent gain.

The analyst is also optimistic over Apple’s opportunity in gaming.

“Longer term … we’re going to be streaming videogames from the cloud and you likely won’t need a console anyway. So that’s when something like an Apple TV will benefit,” Olson said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” Thursday.

The company’s stock rose 1.4 percent Thursday after the report.

Apple’s iPhone X launched on Nov. 3 at a base model price of $999.



b9834_104818525-GettyImages-869590262-apple-iphone.530x298 Buy Apple because iPhone X will lead to a 'super long cycle' for the company, analyst says


b9834_104818525-GettyImages-869590262-apple-iphone.530x298 Buy Apple because iPhone X will lead to a 'super long cycle' for the company, analyst says

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Microsoft has killed a Windows 10 app that was supposed to show Nadella’s vision for the company

  • Microsoft has killed a Windows 10 Office app called Delve.
  • This is interesting and notable because Delve was one of the first apps that demonstrated CEO Satya Nadella’s vision for the company: to improve productivity.
  • Delve was introduced in 2014, a few months after Nadella took over as CEO, with much fanfare. It was supposed to help you automatically find the info you needed.

The Windows 10 app for Office called Delve has been officially put out to pasture.

Delve was an app launched with much fanfare shortly after Satya Nadella became Microsoft CEO in 2014. But it is no longer available on the Windows 10 app store, nor is Microsoft continuing to support it, the company says, although a web version of Delve continues to exist, as do Android and iPhone portions.

Software companies like Microsoft kill unpopular apps all the time. But what makes this one noteworthy is that Delve was mentioned by name in Nadella’s 2014, massive 3,000 -word memo that laid out his new vision for the company involving smarter apps doing more tasks for you and making you more productive.

In that memo, Nadella named Delve as one of two examples of “ambient intelligence” meaning the app can tell the context of what you are doing and automatically find the stuff you want and need. He wrote:

“… people will meet and collaborate more easily and effectively. They will express ideas in new ways. They will experience the magic of ambient intelligence with Delve and Cortana.

Delve took years of work and was the subject of months of teasers. It searched through emails, meetings, contacts, social networks, and corporate documents in Office 365 and then used machine learning to try and figure out all the important stuff you should see.

Microsoft told Foley that it is now planning on beefing up the Windows taskbar with such search functions:

“We’re focusing our efforts on the Windows taskbar search experience which includes content and people inside your organization, as well as content on your local device, and on the rich web search experience including Delve and other search bars within Office 365.”

Microsoft also tells Business Insider that the technology behind Delve is still alive, kicking and important.

“Delve remains an important and popular service for intelligent search in Office 365. Millions of people use Delve to find and discover relevant people and content at work. Delve is currently accessible as a web app, as well as on iOS and Android. Only the Window app is no longer supported. Instead, Windows 10 users will have direct access to personalized search results across people, documents and other content from within the organization right from the Windows 10 taskbar. In addition, we are now mainstreaming Delve to deliver ubiquitous intelligent search and discovery experiences across Office 365 and Windows.”

All of this means that Microsoft hasn’t given up on the vision to build artificially intelligent apps to make us all more productive. However the death of Delve as a Windows 10 app does point to how hard it is to create an app that’s really so smart the world flocks to it.

Apple iPhones could run on the company’s own chips as soon as next year: Report

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88ff2_104819340-GettyImages-869816014.530x298 Apple iPhones could run on the company's own chips as soon as next year: Report

Apple is designing its own main power management chips for use in iPhones as early as in 2018, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday citing sources.

Apple’s move would reduce its dependence on Dialog Semiconductor, that makes power-management chips for smartphone makers.

“Based on Apple’s current plan, they are set to replace partially, or around half of its power management chips to go into iPhones by itself starting next year,” a source said, according to the Nikkei report.

Shares of the Anglo-German chipmaker fell 7.2 percent, while Apple’s shares were up marginally in premarket trading.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Dialog could not immediately be reached for comment.



Apple iPhones could run on the company’s own chips as soon as next year: Report

<!– –>


81c8a_104819340-GettyImages-869816014.530x298 Apple iPhones could run on the company's own chips as soon as next year: Report

Apple is designing its own main power management chips for use in iPhones as early as in 2018, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday citing sources.

Apple’s move would reduce its dependence on Dialog Semiconductor, that makes power-management chips for smartphone makers.

“Based on Apple’s current plan, they are set to replace partially, or around half of its power management chips to go into iPhones by itself starting next year,” a source said, according to the Nikkei report.

Shares of the Anglo-German chipmaker fell 7.2 percent, while Apple’s shares were up marginally in premarket trading.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Dialog could not immediately be reached for comment.



Alphabet’s DeepMind Is Trying to Transform Health Care — But Should an AI Company Have Your Health Records?

DeepMind, the digital brain foundry owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, wants to use artificial intelligence to solve… well, everything. Last year, its software taught itself to play the strategy game Go better than any human on the planet. For its next trick, it wants to move beyond games to a very real-world problem: health care.

The London company has a fast-growing division—now 100 strong—dedicated to health. And while DeepMind’s research on Go may be years away from yielding practical applications, its health-care work is affecting people’s lives today through projects with the U.K.’s National Health Service. These include a mobile app to alert doctors and nurses to changes in a patient’s condition and efforts to research whether computers can analyze various kinds of medical imagery as well as experienced doctors. The company believes AI has the power to save lives. But DeepMind’s maiden voyage into the field has also run smack into an iceberg of privacy and ethical concerns—and the resulting controversy has threatened to sink its ambitions of using AI to transform health care.

In July, after a year-long investigation, U.K. regulators ruled that London’s Royal Free Hospital had illegally provided DeepMind access to 1.6 million patient records going back five years. DeepMind said it needed the records to conduct safety testing of its first product, a mobile app that gives doctors and nurses instant access to medical records and can alert them to patients at risk of deterioration. The first potentially fatal condition DeepMind built an alert for was acute kidney injury (AKI). The Royal Free said it accepts the decision, but disagrees it could have tested the mobile app, called Streams, another way.

Regulators took no action against DeepMind, ruling that it acted on the Royal Free’s instructions. But the company acknowledges it made mistakes. “In our determination to achieve quick impact when this work started in 2015, we underestimated the complexity of the NHS and of the rules around patient data, as well as the potential fears about a well-known tech company working in health,” Mustafa Suleyman, DeepMind’s co-founder and head of its health projects, and Dominic King, the former surgeon who serves as the company’s top clinician, said in a statement.

DeepMind’s stumble has implications far beyond one AI research firm. Tech companies are flooding into health care. IBM claims its Watson artificial intelligence software can help doctors find the best treatments for cancer. Genome pioneer J. Craig Venter’s latest startup, Human Longevity Inc., wants to customize treatments for each patient’s DNA.

Even DeepMind Health is just one of three big health-care bets Alphabet is making. It also owns Verily, which creates medical device software, and Calico, which is trying to stretch human lifespans. Success or failure matters to more than just corporate bottom lines: the U.K.’s NHS is counting on technology to cope with an aging population and shrinking budgets that threaten to bankrupt the entire system. But if AI is going to fulfill the optimists’ hopes, the companies behind it must prove they are trustworthy.

And when it comes to Big Tech, trust is in increasingly short supply. From revelations about Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election to new disclosures about how Apple and Google have avoided paying taxes, tech companies are no longer seen as benign — or even neutral — entities. DeepMind, founded in 2012, may still see itself as a startup, but it is a part of Alphabet, a huge conglomerate. And while Silicon Valley’s clichéd “move fast, break stuff” ethos might have worked in the past, DeepMind is discovering that sometimes it really isn’t better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

a6051_60x-1 Alphabet's DeepMind Is Trying to Transform Health Care — But Should an AI Company Have Your Health Records?

The driving force behind DeepMinds push into medicine is Suleyman, who everyone at DeepMind calls “Moose” (an abbreviation of his first name). Suleyman’s mother was a nurse. After Google bought DeepMind in 2014 for a reported 400 million pounds, he quickly homed in on health care. “There is no other area where we invest so much money in technology and get so little back,” Suleyman said in an interview in mid-August.

Press coverage of DeepMind’s health-care efforts sometimes makes it seem as if the company is developing a software version of Hugh Laurie’s character in “House,” a diagnostic genius able to deduce the solution to any medical mystery. But Suleyman said this is “total nonsense.” “We are going to be solving all kinds of other magical problems in the world before we get to that sort of general diagnostician,” he said.

Hints of what DeepMind Health does want to do can be gleaned from a project at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. Here, in an office cluttered with thick medical tomes, Pearse Keane is staring at an image on his laptop. Keane is a senior ophthalmologist and clinical researcher. The picture is a patient’s retina imaged with optical coherence tomography, or OCT. “It allows us to see things like bleeding and leakage into your retina and diagnose the most common causes of blindness,” Keane said.

Moorfields and DeepMind are trying to see if a computer, using AI, can read OCT scans as well as Keane. The project has achieved “impressive” results, Keane said, but he wasn’t ready to talk about them yet. He and DeepMind hope to publish their research in the coming months. The company has also announced research projects with two London universities to see if AI software can learn to read head and neck scans and mammography scans as well as or better than doctors.

Still, DeepMind said a commercial product using AI is a ways off. Streams, the only product DeepMind has actually deployed, uses no AI. While DeepMind originally set out to use machine learning to improve an existing NHS algorithm to detect AKI, it said it never carried out that research. When DeepMind visited the Royal Free, it found the existing algorithm— which wasn’t half bad— was the least of the problem. Of far more concern were antiquated technology and Byzantine workflows that meant it took too long for doctors and nurses to act on blood test results. The real problems in medicine “are much more gritty and practical,” Suleyman said.

Those pragmatic concerns are front-and-center on the ninth floor of the Royal Free hospital in early August, when a patient’s kidneys suddenly start struggling after a liver transplant. Within seconds of a lab pathologist entering blood test results into a computer database, they are analyzed by a formula the NHS developed, and an alert sounds on nurse Sarah Stanley phone. Opening the Streams app, she sees a graph showing spiking indicators from the blood tests. Using the app, she messages a colleague to check on the patient.

“We have just triaged that patient in less than 30 seconds,” she said. In the past, the process would have taken up to four hours. A few hours delay, Stanley said, can be critical: patients with AKI can deteriorate rapidly.

DeepMind said it wants to move on from the controversy over Streams development. In November 2016, it replaced its original information sharing agreement with the Royal Free with a new five-year contract designed to address the initial deal’s failings. Since then, the company has published, with a few redactions, copies of its contracts with hospitals. It set up and funded a panel of outside reviewers to investigate its work and report publicly each year. The company also announced it will create a digital ledger system—similar to the blockchain technology that underpins the cryptocurrency bitcoin—that would give NHS hospitals a tamper-proof audit trail of who has accessed patient data.

But none of this has assuaged the company’s detractors. Julia Powles is a law professor at the University of Cambridge who has written critically of DeepMind’s initial agreement with the Royal Free. She said DeepMind’s new contract does not explicitly prevent it from transferring patient data to sister company Google. DeepMind said it has not and never would give any data to Google. “If they can’t put that in writing I find it hard to believe them,” Powles said.

She questions whether DeepMind was the best choice given that Streams doesn’t use AI, and thinks that other companies should have been allowed to bid on the project. And while DeepMind has been offering Streams to hospitals for free, Powles wonders if the company has an unfair advantage because it is backed by Alphabet and can afford to lose money on Streams. She said there was a danger hospitals will get locked into technology that they won’t be able to afford if DeepMind eventually decides to charge a market rate.

The Royal Free is not entitled to any money DeepMind makes from Streams. But John Bell, a doctor who chairs the U.K.’s Office of Strategic Coordination of Health Research, recently recommended that the NHS retain an economic interest in any artificial intelligence developed using its data. “Our projects so far have assumed the right way to give value back to the public is through initially providing our resources and technologies to our NHS partners for free,” DeepMind said in an emailed response, adding that it was open to discussion of other ways of valuing its services. The Royal Free said it in a statement that it was “happy with the terms of the agreement” with DeepMind.

Alphabet’s Deepmind Is Trying to Transform Health Care — But Should an AI Company Have Your Health Records?

DeepMind, the digital brain foundry owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, wants to use artificial intelligence to solve… well, everything. Last year, its software taught itself to play the strategy game Go better than any human on the planet. For its next trick, it wants to move beyond games to a very real-world problem: health care.

The London company has a fast-growing division—now 100 strong—dedicated to health. And while DeepMind’s research on Go may be years away from yielding practical applications, its health-care work is affecting people’s lives today through projects with the U.K.’s National Health Service. These include a mobile app to alert doctors and nurses to changes in a patient’s condition and efforts to research whether computers can analyze various kinds of medical imagery as well as experienced doctors. The company believes AI has the power to save lives. But DeepMind’s maiden voyage into the field has also run smack into an iceberg of privacy and ethical concerns—and the resulting controversy has threatened to sink its ambitions of using AI to transform health care.

In July, after a year-long investigation, U.K. regulators ruled that London’s Royal Free Hospital had illegally provided DeepMind access to 1.6 million patient records going back five years. DeepMind said it needed the records to conduct safety testing of its first product, a mobile app that gives doctors and nurses instant access to medical records and can alert them to patients at risk of deterioration. The first potentially fatal condition DeepMind built an alert for was acute kidney injury (AKI). The Royal Free said it accepts the decision, but disagrees it could have tested the mobile app, called Streams, another way.

Regulators took no action against DeepMind, ruling that it acted on the Royal Free’s instructions. But the company acknowledges it made mistakes. “In our determination to achieve quick impact when this work started in 2015, we underestimated the complexity of the NHS and of the rules around patient data, as well as the potential fears about a well-known tech company working in health,” Mustafa Suleyman, DeepMind’s co-founder and head of its health projects, and Dominic King, the former surgeon who serves as the company’s top clinician, said in a statement.

DeepMind’s stumble has implications far beyond one AI research firm. Tech companies are flooding into health care. IBM claims its Watson artificial intelligence software can help doctors find the best treatments for cancer. Genome pioneer J. Craig Venter’s latest startup, Human Longevity Inc., wants to customize treatments for each patient’s DNA.

Even DeepMind Health is just one of three big health-care bets Alphabet is making. It also owns Verily, which creates medical device software, and Calico, which is trying to stretch human lifespans. Success or failure matters to more than just corporate bottom lines: the U.K.’s NHS is counting on technology to cope with an aging population and shrinking budgets that threaten to bankrupt the entire system. But if AI is going to fulfill the optimists’ hopes, the companies behind it must prove they are trustworthy.

And when it comes to Big Tech, trust is in increasingly short supply. From revelations about Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election to new disclosures about how Apple and Google have avoided paying taxes, tech companies are no longer seen as benign — or even neutral — entities. DeepMind, founded in 2012, may still see itself as a startup, but it is a part of Alphabet, a huge conglomerate. And while Silicon Valley’s clichéd “move fast, break stuff” ethos might have worked in the past, DeepMind is discovering that sometimes it really isn’t better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

fd4be_60x-1 Alphabet's Deepmind Is Trying to Transform Health Care — But Should an AI Company Have Your Health Records?

The driving force behind DeepMinds push into medicine is Suleyman, who everyone at DeepMind calls “Moose” (an abbreviation of his first name). Suleyman’s mother was a nurse. After Google bought DeepMind in 2014 for a reported 400 million pounds, he quickly homed in on health care. “There is no other area where we invest so much money in technology and get so little back,” Suleyman said in an interview in mid-August.

Press coverage of DeepMind’s health-care efforts sometimes makes it seem as if the company is developing a software version of Hugh Laurie’s character in “House,” a diagnostic genius able to deduce the solution to any medical mystery. But Suleyman said this is “total nonsense.” “We are going to be solving all kinds of other magical problems in the world before we get to that sort of general diagnostician,” he said.

Hints of what DeepMind Health does want to do can be gleaned from a project at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. Here, in an office cluttered with thick medical tomes, Pearse Keane is staring at an image on his laptop. Keane is a senior ophthalmologist and clinical researcher. The picture is a patient’s retina imaged with optical coherence tomography, or OCT. “It allows us to see things like bleeding and leakage into your retina and diagnose the most common causes of blindness,” Keane said.

Moorfields and DeepMind are trying to see if a computer, using AI, can read OCT scans as well as Keane. The project has achieved “impressive” results, Keane said, but he wasn’t ready to talk about them yet. He and DeepMind hope to publish their research in the coming months. The company has also announced research projects with two London universities to see if AI software can learn to read head and neck scans and mammography scans as well as or better than doctors.

Still, DeepMind said a commercial product using AI is a ways off. Streams, the only product DeepMind has actually deployed, uses no AI. While DeepMind originally set out to use machine learning to improve an existing NHS algorithm to detect AKI, it said it never carried out that research. When DeepMind visited the Royal Free, it found the existing algorithm— which wasn’t half bad— was the least of the problem. Of far more concern were antiquated technology and Byzantine workflows that meant it took too long for doctors and nurses to act on blood test results. The real problems in medicine “are much more gritty and practical,” Suleyman said.

Those pragmatic concerns are front-and-center on the ninth floor of the Royal Free hospital in early August, when a patient’s kidneys suddenly start struggling after a liver transplant. Within seconds of a lab pathologist entering blood test results into a computer database, they are analyzed by a formula the NHS developed, and an alert sounds on nurse Sarah Stanley phone. Opening the Streams app, she sees a graph showing spiking indicators from the blood tests. Using the app, she messages a colleague to check on the patient.

“We have just triaged that patient in less than 30 seconds,” she said. In the past, the process would have taken up to four hours. A few hours delay, Stanley said, can be critical: patients with AKI can deteriorate rapidly.

DeepMind said it wants to move on from the controversy over Streams development. In November 2016, it replaced its original information sharing agreement with the Royal Free with a new five-year contract designed to address the initial deal’s failings. Since then, the company has published, with a few redactions, copies of its contracts with hospitals. It set up and funded a panel of outside reviewers to investigate its work and report publicly each year. The company also announced it will create a digital ledger system—similar to the blockchain technology that underpins the cryptocurrency bitcoin—that would give NHS hospitals a tamper-proof audit trail of who has accessed patient data.

But none of this has assuaged the company’s detractors. Julia Powles is a law professor at the University of Cambridge who has written critically of DeepMind’s initial agreement with the Royal Free. She said DeepMind’s new contract does not explicitly prevent it from transferring patient data to sister company Google. DeepMind said it has not and never would give any data to Google. “If they can’t put that in writing I find it hard to believe them,” Powles said.

She questions whether DeepMind was the best choice given that Streams doesn’t use AI, and thinks that other companies should have been allowed to bid on the project. And while DeepMind has been offering Streams to hospitals for free, Powles wonders if the company has an unfair advantage because it is backed by Alphabet and can afford to lose money on Streams. She said there was a danger hospitals will get locked into technology that they won’t be able to afford if DeepMind eventually decides to charge a market rate.

The Royal Free is not entitled to any money DeepMind makes from Streams. But John Bell, a doctor who chairs the U.K.’s Office of Strategic Coordination of Health Research, recently recommended that the NHS retain an economic interest in any artificial intelligence developed using its data. “Our projects so far have assumed the right way to give value back to the public is through initially providing our resources and technologies to our NHS partners for free,” DeepMind said in an emailed response, adding that it was open to discussion of other ways of valuing its services. The Royal Free said it in a statement that it was “happy with the terms of the agreement” with DeepMind.

Samsung purchases AI company to hopefully make Bixby better

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New King George, Va., Company Looks to Bring High-Speed Internet To Rural County

(TNS) –– Juan Marte helped bring Internet service to a developing nation a decade ago, then came to King George County — and discovered the situation was worse than in his homeland.

He was working this summer with Steve and Michele Wido, missionaries he met years ago when they visited his native Dominican Republic. He was shocked by their lack of access to high-speed Internet service and the fiber-optic cables that supply it.

“This is crazy. How can you live?” Marte told Michele Wido. “We have to have fiber here; the future is fiber.”

The 33-year-old Dominican decided to bring it to the rural county, where he’s invested in the couple’s business, CRC Contracting Inc. He’s also spent more than $200,000 on equipment, licenses and hiring employees for the new company, KGI Communications Inc.

Marte and his wife live in Spotsylvania County so their three children can learn English in a private school. After that, the family plans to move to King George, where he’s chief executive officer of the new company, as well as its primary investor. Michele Wido is the president.

Steve Wido, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the King George Board of Supervisors earlier this month, told the supervisors Nov. 14 that the new business is poised to provide much-needed service in the most rural areas of the county.

The company plans to install equipment on three towers in King George. The cost for each is about $36,000, Marte said.

The rectangular boxes, which Marte described as stations, will broadcast a signal, via a radio frequency, to homes within a 360-degree radius, Marte said. No line of sight is needed.

This “air fiber” will provide the fastest form of broadband technology, according to the company’s website, kgicomm.com.

And the company doesn’t want anything from the county except a contract to put equipment on one of its water towers.

“We’re not looking for grants or money, nothing from the county,” Steve Wido said. “It’s our money that we’re investing, and we want to make sure it succeeds.”

The announcement was one of four presentations the King George board heard on the same night about possible solutions to Internet access problems. The lack of reliable, affordable and fast broadband service has been a regular complaint of county residents and a campaign platform for local candidates.

It’s brought up almost as often as criticisms about the quality and cost of county water.

The problem isn’t limited to King George, but occurs in any area that doesn’t have a dense enough population to make it financially feasible for companies to extend underground fiber optic cables.

Marte said the solution is easier since the government made it possible for small businesses to tap into this radio frequency that provides access to the LTE network. Some of the big technology companies bought licenses just so others wouldn’t have access to them, Marte said, but KGI Communications was able to acquire one.

The company already has gotten permission to put its equipment on a private tower at State Route 218 and U.S. 301. The second tower, still under negotiation, is past the CVS Pharmacy on U.S. 301.

After the company finalizes its second lease, it will work with King George about placing equipment on the water tower at Arnold’s Corner, at State Route 3 and Dahlgren Road.

“We’re going to concentrate on the area where they don’t have anything, in The Meadows and for the Shiloh people,” Marte said.

Installation and monthly fees would vary, based on the proximity to the towers and the desired speed. Those who want to check their email occasionally might want slower speeds, at a monthly cost of about $49, Marte said, while those requiring faster speeds might pay up to $200 a month.

Steve Wido told the supervisors that after negotiations are completed, the company could be up and running within two weeks.

“We’re excited about it, we can’t wait,” he said.

Marte seems calm about the money he’s already spent, saying he’ll need about 1,000 customers to get a return on his investment.

“He’s a risk-taker,” Michele Wido said about Marte, a former race car driver.

“In business,” Marte added, “if you don’t assume risk, you’re never gonna make money.”

©2017 The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

University of Maryland start-up bought by global health tech company

A start-up company launched with technology licensed from the University of Maryland School of Medicine was bought by Royal Philips, the global health technology firm announced.

Baltimore-based Analytical Informatics Inc. and its technology will be rolled into the Philips unit Philips Radiology Solutions, expanding its offerings more quickly.

“Integrating Analytical Informatics’ software tools and applications into our current offerings will enable us to accelerate the delivery of next-generation technology, software and services, to bring the power of operational intelligence and decision support to radiology,” said Sham Sokka, general manager of radiology solutions at Philips.

Netherlands-based Philips did not disclose the financial details of the deal. Philips is a global giant with more than $20 billion in annual sales that employs 73,000 people.

University of Maryland start-up bought by global health tech company

A start-up company launched with technology licensed from the University of Maryland School of Medicine was bought by Royal Philips, the global health technology firm announced.

Baltimore-based Analytical Informatics Inc. and its technology will be rolled into the Philips unit Philips Radiology Solutions, expanding its offerings more quickly.

“Integrating Analytical Informatics’ software tools and applications into our current offerings will enable us to accelerate the delivery of next-generation technology, software and services, to bring the power of operational intelligence and decision support to radiology,” said Sham Sokka, general manager of radiology solutions at Philips.

Netherlands-based Philips did not disclose the financial details of the deal. Philips is a global giant with more than $20 billion in annual sales that employs 73,000 people.