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

AI-powered medical clinics headed to grocery stores

AI-powered medical clinics headed to grocery stores

In recent months we’ve seen grocery companies intermingle their businesses with pharmacy companies, which are also looking to drive business with in-store medical clinics. With rising labor costs and other inputs, both grocery and pharmacies are turning to technology to drive their capabilities and services to foster traffic and sale as well as restrain costs if not drive them lower. We are now seeing artificial intelligence and augmented reality, aspects of our Disruptive Innovators investing theme,  starting to be introduced into their effort to capture revenue and profits.


Two Safeway stores in the Phoenix area are now offering artificial intelligence-powered medical clinics through a partnership with Akos Med Clinic.

This first-of-its-kind clinic utilizes technology developed by AdviNOW Medical so that many common conditions, such as sinus infections, earaches, sore throats, rashes, UTIs, strains and sprains, can be quickly and effectively treated.

As patients sit in front of a computer screen and simple-to-use, FDA-approved medical devices, they are guided by AR on how to collect their own data, such as weight, temperature, blood pressure and blood oxygen content, as well as ear, nose and throat images and chest, lung and abdomen sounds. Follow-up questions are asked until a diagnosis can be made, with the total process typically taking less than 15 minutes.

The data collected is then sent electronically to an Akos healthcare provider, who will then video chat with the patient to confirm the AI-collected information, verify the diagnosis and confirm or change the treatment plan. A healthcare professional will also be on-site if assistance is needed.

The AI also sends the prescription and/or test orders to the appropriate healthcare partner, and will follow up with the patient to check health status and schedule a follow-up visit, if needed.

Source: Safeway Stores Offer AI-Powered Medical Clinics |

Emirates thinks robots, AI and big data can improve the airport experience

Emirates thinks robots, AI and big data can improve the airport experience

Team Tematica logs plenty of air miles each year, and we would love to see a more stream lined way to getting not only in and out of the airport, but on and off the airplane as well. It seems, we’re not alone in that thinking and now Emirates, the world’s biggest long-haul carrier, is sharing its view on how using several Disruptive Technologies could improve that experience.

We’ve previously said the adoption of disruptive technologies can take many forms, often with the game changer in terms of adoption coming from an unlikely source. I’m not sure if airline travel is it, but I’d be more than happy for the results… provided my bags don’t get lost.


Outlining what automation, artificial intelligence and big data can do for air travel, the carrier’s President Tim Clark laid out a vision in which robots, with no need for human intervention, would ID bags, put them in prescribed bins and later take them out of the aircraft. His concept also includes cutting back on what is still the most laborious part of flying — the central security search.

“That’s in today’s technology,” he told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday at the International Air Transport Association’s annual general meeting.

The entire process, from arrival at the airport, check-in, immigration through all the way to the boarding gates, would become seamless and uninterrupted, he said. The technology can be deployed even for security searches, said Clark, 68, adding a passenger passing through the system would keep walking while being inspected by “lots of entities.”

Source: Emirates Wants Amazon-Like Robots Sorting Out Airport Baggage – Bloomberg

Applied Materials serves up a better than expected 2017 Analyst Day

Applied Materials serves up a better than expected 2017 Analyst Day

Yesterday was a big day, and while you may be thinking about the headlines surrounding the revealed GOP tax plan I’m talking about the very upbeat 2017 Analyst Day held by Disruptive Technology company Applied Materials (AMAT). I expected the company to deliver a bullish take on the health of its end markets, but candidly it was even stronger than expected as the company offered not one, not two, but three-year guidance. That’s right it offered its take on 2020 with earnings of $5.08 per share and announced a new $3 billion share repurchase program.

As we are fond of saying here at Tematica, context is key and that 2020 EPS of $5.08 compares to consensus EPS of $3.20 this year and $3.60 next year. Continuing the context, adding the new $3 billion buyback program to the mix brings the total outstanding buyback to roughly $4 billion. At current share price levels, ls the company could buy up to 81.6 million shares, roughly 7.5% of the total outstanding share count. As one might suspect, the underlying strength of this outlook lies in robust chip demand not only due to smartphones but also ramping Internet of Things applications, big data and artificial intelligence (A.I.) that are part of our Connected Society and Disruptive Technology investing themes.

Inside its multi-year forecast, Applied is calling for a compound annual growth rate of 23% for its Display business. In our view confirms the growing adoption of organic light emitting diode displays (OLEDs) and reinforces our bullish stance on Universal Display (OLED) shares. When we first introduced Universal Display shares, we compared it to the transition to light emitting diodes that took several years and also started in mobile phones but expanded into other applications as industry manufacturing capacity rose and prices declined. We continue to see the same evolution happening with OLEDs, and that should drive demand for Universal’s chemicals as well as expand its high-margin intellectual property business.

In sum, what was expected to be a positive development for both Applied Materials and Universal Display was even stronger than expected. On the back of this more than favorable outlook, we are boosting our price target on AMAT shares to $60 from $55. For now, our price target on OLED shares remains $175.

  • On the back of this more than favorable outlook, we are boosting our price target on Applied Materials (AMAT) shares to $60 from $55.
  • Our price target on Universal Display (OLED) shares was recently raised to $175 from $135, and we remain quite comfortable with that revision.
Tencent scales thematic investments in payments, AI and cloud

Tencent scales thematic investments in payments, AI and cloud

Our Content is King theme isn’t the only one getting a lot of attention this week as more companies look to invest not only in payments, which we see as Cashless Consumption but also artificial intelligence, a slice of our Disruptive Technologies theme. As we look at these moves, we are reminded of the global nature of our investing themes. This means that Amazon (AMZN), MasterCard (MA), Visa (V), Facebook (FB), Alphabet (GOOGL), Apple (AAPL), PayPal (PYPL) and the like need to be aware of moves made by Tencent (TCHEY), Alibaba (BABA) and other players outside the US.

Tencent, the Chinese mobile games and social media company, is gearing up to increase its investments in online payments, cloud services and artificial intelligence.Still, with competition on the rise in the digital payments market, the investments are necessary. “We think there is still a lot of growth potential from Tencent’s cloud and payment business,” BOCOM International Analyst Connie Gu said in the Reuters report.

China’s Tencent isn’t only investing in artificial intelligence, payments and cloud services. Earlier this month, it showcased how it is also investing in other areas. Essential Products, the smartphone company that was started by Andy Rubin — the creator of the Android mobile operating system — raised $300 million in venture funding from a cadre of investors, including Tencent. According to a news report in The Wall Street Journal, the company announced the list of investors betting it can take on Apple and Samsung Electronics in the smartphone market, reported the paper.

Source: Tencent Increases Investments In AI, Payments |

Is a Safer, More Entertaining and Eventually Autonomous Car Near?

Is a Safer, More Entertaining and Eventually Autonomous Car Near?

It seems every day we hear about the inevitability of the autonomous car, a member of our Disruptive Technology investing theme, with many hoping that it will usher in a new area of safety.  According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, 3,287 people die, on average, every day in road crashes. That translates into 1.3 million deaths annually with an additional 20-50 million injured or disabled. Globally, road crashes are the 9th leading cause of death.

Clearly, there is room for improvement and Apple’s (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook agrees, citing the auto industry as ripe for a major disruption in a recent interview on Bloomberg Television. According to Cook, there are three vectors of change intersecting: autonomous driving, electrification of the auto and ride-sharing. From our thematic investing lens, this is where Disruptive Technologies meet the Connected Society.

Cook revealed that his company is focusing on autonomous systems, referring to it as a very important core technology that is probably one of the most difficult AI (Artificial Intelligence) projects to work on. Apple has hired over 1,000 engineers to work on the technology and just this April secured a permit from the California DMV to test three self-driving sports-utility vehicles. The company is clearly also focused on the ride-sharing vector of change, as last year Apple invested $1 billion — pretty much chump change for the company these days — in Didi Chuxing, the biggest ride-hailing service in China. As for electrification, it remains to be seen if Apple will develop their own electric vehicles or partner and sell their technology.

Apple is not alone, as the electrification leader Tesla (TSLA) continues to break new ground and Alphabet (GOOGL) is working on autonomous technology in partnerships with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU)and Lyft. BMW (BMWYY), in cooperation with Intel (INTC), reports that it intends to have Level 3, 4 and even 5 capabilities for self-driving by 2021. Level 3 is defined as conditional automation that requires a driver to intervene in certain situations, but aren’t obligated to be constantly monitoring progress. Level 4 is full autonomy, while Level 5 requires zero input from a driver to navigate city and highway roads and is expected to be at least on par with the performance level of a human driver.


A Conversation with One of the Pioneers of In-Car Information & Entertainment

To better understand the evolution of the smarter vehicle, on a recent episode of Cocktail Investing, Tematica Research’s Chris Versace and Lenore Hawkins spoke with Ted Cardenas, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Car Electronics Division at Pioneer Electronics Corp (PNCOY). Given that about 95 percent of his company’s business is related to auto and the company will reach its 80th anniversary next year, we thought he’d have some valuable insight. This is the company that introduced the consumer laser disc in 1979, the car CD player in 1984 and GPS car navigation in 1990, with around four decades in the car entertainment space.

Ted pointed out to us that compared to home or office-based technologies, the car is a seriously brutal local for innovation where electronics need to be able to withstand extremes in temperatures, moisture and vibrations – not exactly the friendliest environment! We discussed how the increasingly Connected Society allows for not just millions of on-demand songs, but also delivered the “killer app” of real-time traffic information thanks to all those GPS enabled smart phones tagging along with their drivers.

The Connected Society has materially changed product development for the car as well as it also means connected companies. The need for higher and higher speed data networks and the innovations that allow for and take advantage of them means that companies no longer have to, or should for that matter, go it alone. Each company is only part of the solution as we see more specialization taking place with the consumer benefiting from a simple, usually intuitive solution in which all the complexity has been blissfully hidden.

In this new development paradigm, relationships are increasingly important as companies specialize within the solution set and we’ve seen some of the complexity offloaded to smartphones, allowing for greater flexibility as consumer can choose which device best fits their needs. For Pioneer, this means offering in-dash multimedia receivers that are compatible with popular smartphone interfaces and apps such as Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto ™, and Waze®, as well as features such as Bluetooth® music streaming, hands-free calling, Spotify® and Pandora®.

Pioneer isn’t just innovating within entertainment and communications as the company is also developing advanced driver assist for both OEM and aftermarket, allowing owners of older cars to benefit from the latest in safety improvements. When asked about his expectations around the timeline for the truly driverless car, Ted framed his analysis in the context of the evolution of in-car GPS systems – an evolution by degrees rather than a binary event.

The first GPS systems were developed by Pioneer and were used to figure out where you were on a map, but could not provide point-to-point directions. Those first systems also didn’t provide 100% coverage, so drivers could find themselves driving into a GPS void when traveling in areas not covered by the devices internal maps. Over time the map coverage became increasingly more complete and turn-by-turn directions evolved from available only in highly-trafficked areas into the most remote. He suspects we will see something similar with driver-assist that will offer more thorough assistance in more populated areas with less as one gets into more rural areas. Over time the level of assistance and coverage areas will expand.

Finally, we discussed how the increasingly smart car will also do more of the heavy lifting when it comes to maintenance, providing a more seamless driver experience that not only provides autonomous transportation, but monitors and schedules its own maintenance needs. We likely not alone in looking forward to the day when we no longer find ourselves noticing that little oil change reminder sticker a few months and few thousand miles late. The car of the future will be safer, smarter and a lot more entertaining.


Companies mentioned on the Podcast

  • Alphabet (AAPL)
  • Apple (AAPL)
  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU)
  • Intel (INTC)
  • Pandora (P)
  • Pioneer Electronics (PNCOY)
  • Tesla Motors (TSLA)