Weekly Issue: Factors making the stock market melt up a head-scratcher

Weekly Issue: Factors making the stock market melt up a head-scratcher

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Weekly Issue: Verizon is bulls up on 5G, paving the way for a Disruptive Innovator Leader position

Weekly Issue: Verizon is bulls up on 5G, paving the way for a Disruptive Innovator Leader position

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Weekly Issue: As earnings season continues, the market catches a positive breather

Weekly Issue: As earnings season continues, the market catches a positive breather

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Tematica Investing: Thematic Tailwinds for 2019 and Scaling into AXON

Tematica Investing: Thematic Tailwinds for 2019 and Scaling into AXON

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Tematica Options+: A Thematic Look at 2019 and a New Option Trade

Tematica Options+: A Thematic Look at 2019 and a New Option Trade

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HTC’s AI, VR and blockchain applications only start in the healthcare sector

HTC’s AI, VR and blockchain applications only start in the healthcare sector

Long known as a smartphone company, as that market has become more competitive and as its market share has fallen, HTC has turned inwards to reposition itself as many companies have in the past and many very well could if not should in the future. Apple is focused on growing its subscription and services businesses, while Disney is entering the direct to consumer streaming market for its content. HTC has embraced several aspects of our Disruptive Innovation investing theme, including artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality and blockchain, to pivot more towards the education and training markets.

HTC’s first inroads have been in the healthcare sector, which is already changing to not only meet the needs of our Aging of the Population investing theme, but it is also contending with the intersection of our Digital Lifestyle and Digital Infrastructure ones as well in the form of telemedicine. That’s just one example that showcases how healthcare is on the cusp of dramatic change, and there are other Signals to confirm this.

As these and other innovations are embraced by the healthcare industry, odds are we will see a dramatic shift in how our healthcare is administered just like the ones we’ve seen in how we shop, communicate and consume content. As that takes hold, and the costs benefits begin to be realized, the potential to spread across other education and training applications rises. We’re already seeing Boeing and others test augmented reality on the factory floor.

From a selfish perspective, hopefully, HTC’s success means this also means the end of sitting in a waiting room for what seems like eons until one’s name is called.

 

HTC’s efforts in developing AI technologies and platforms for healthcare and other applications have paid off significantly, with its DeepQ AI platform already utilized by hospitals to support diagnosis and VR-aided surgery and by universities for education and training purposes. The company is also actively developing blockchain-based platforms for healthcare applications, according to Edward Chang, president of HTC’s healthcare division.

He revealed that the platform has been adopted by Taipei Medical University Hospital, Mackay Memorial Hospital and Taipei Municipal Wanfang Hospital for diagnosis instructions, personal medicine, patient registration advices, medication monitoring, disease prevention and vaccination services.

The DeepQ platform can also be applied to accelerate AI training and optimize AI application patterns to lower the time and cost for developing AI applications, Chang indicated, adding that top Taiwan universities have incorporated the platform into their AI education programs.

In terms of healthcare VR applications, HTC has launched Vivepaper, surgical theater and 3D organon services. Among them, Vivepaper is an AR product designed to support immersive augmented reality experiences for education, training and entertainment through media contents including graphics, videos, and music, Chang revealed.

The firm’s surgical theater can combine diverse medical equipment such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) instruments to recompose 3D patterns, and can also go with VR to help surgeons work out optimal surgical training programs.

HTC healthcare division is also developing blockchain-based healthcare application platform, with the first platform, dubbed DeeplinQ, set to be launched in 2019. The platform can also be applied to privacy management at social networks and to smart contracts, according to Chang.

Source: HTC revving up AI, blockchain applications to healthcare sector

Amazon aims to put Amazon Pay in stores

Amazon aims to put Amazon Pay in stores

While we’ve witnessed the digital wallet explode in Asia, thus far it remains a rather fragmented nascent market here in the US. We’ve seen efforts by Apple, Google, PayPal, and others, but so far here in the US adoption of mobile payments remains low compared to that in Asia. Yes, there are some successes, like the one enjoyed by Starbucks, but so far there is no “universal” mobile payment platform that has taken the country by storm.

This has prompted Amazon to make its move, leveraging consumer comfort with its online digital wallet and one-click payment capability to bring Amazon Pay to the mobile payments space. While Amazon may not be first or second in the mobile payments space, as we’ve seen time and again from Apple, being early with a new technology or disruptive platform doesn’t get a company across the gold medal. Rather, waiting for the inflection point in adoption and having a simple to use and intuitive solution tends to win the race. That could very well be what Amazon is doing as it looks to pick up another tailwind in our Digital Lifestyle investing theme.

 

Amazon.com Inc.  is gearing up to challenge Apple Inc. in the mobile-payments race.

The e-commerce giant is working to persuade brick-and-mortar merchants to accept its Amazon Pay digital wallet, according to people familiar with the matter, attempting to expand a service now used primarily for purchases online.

To start, the company is looking to work with gas stations, restaurants and other merchants that aren’t direct competitors, a person familiar with the matter said. Retailers that view Amazon as a threat could resist the effort, the people said.

The push to become a bigger player in consumer payments shows Amazon’s desire to further integrate itself into the lives of its customers. It isn’t clear exactly how customers would use Amazon Pay in stores: They could tap their phones at checkout, much the same way they use Apple Pay, or scan a code on their phones, among other options. Apple says Apple Pay was accepted at more than five million in-store locations in the U.S. as of May, and the number of merchants accepting its wallet is growing.

Currently, shoppers can use their Amazon accounts to check out at a small number of Amazon’s brick-and-mortar locations, such as Amazon Go and its bookstores, and a growing number of online merchants accept Amazon Pay, its third-party service. Amazon Pay stores credit- and debit-card numbers, allowing shoppers to skip the step of typing in their account information at checkout and making them more likely to complete purchases.

Currently, shoppers can use their Amazon accounts to check out at a small number of Amazon’s brick-and-mortar locations, such as Amazon Go and its bookstores, and a growing number of online merchants accept Amazon Pay, its third-party service. Amazon Pay stores credit- and debit-card numbers, allowing shoppers to skip the step of typing in their account information at checkout and making them more likely to complete purchases.

Amazon also is working to make Alexa, its virtual assistant, an in-store payments platform, people familiar with the matter said. For example, a customer paying for gas could tell the Alexa voice assistant in the car to use Amazon Pay.

Source: Amazon Pay Accepted Here? Web Giant Aims to Put Digital Wallet in Stores – WSJ

Apple could give veterans iPhone access to Electronic Medical Records

Apple could give veterans iPhone access to Electronic Medical Records

One of the last frontiers of our Digital Lifestyle investing theme is identification as today we still have to carry some physical form of identification – be it a drivers license, passport, Real ID card. There is also the issue of easily transporting our medical records, which candidly despite all of the advances in communication and technology is still a bear to do. As Lenore Hawkins and I spelled out in our book, Cocktail Investing, pain points such as that tend to call for a solution and in this case, it appears Apple is taking a hard look at shaking up electronic health records in a way that would also drive incremental iPhone sales.

Apple Inc. is in discussions with the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide portable electronic health records to military veterans, a partnership that would simplify patients’ hospital visits and allow the technology giant to tap millions of new customers, according to people familiar with the effort and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Under the plans being discussed, Apple would create special software tools allowing the VA’s estimated nine million veterans currently enrolled in the system to transfer their health records to iPhones and provide engineering support to the agency. Apple in January announced its foray into the electronic-records field with a feature that allows patients to import and store medical information.

Tech companies for years have sought, without much success, to bring together disparate troves of medical information and remove technological barriers to giving patients, providers and researchers access to health records. That access, health specialists have said, could improve care and speed the development of cost-effective treatments, but the effort faces technological hurdles and privacy concerns.

The VA partnership has the potential to accelerate Apple’s efforts to overcome past challenges by allowing it to tap into one of the nation’s largest, concentrated patient populations, health-care experts said. To date, the company has had to take a more patchwork approach, signing agreements with hospital networks and relying on them to encourage patients to import their medical records to iPhones using the new “Health Records” feature.

Source: Apple in Talks to Give Veterans Access to Electronic Medical Records – WSJ