The downgrade by Pacific Crest triggered a selloff today which feels like it needs to test $50 given the size of the rally. Note that the recent rally was likely led by speculation that Amazon and Impinj would make an announement with at Future Stores this week. The attendance list for Amazon feels like they are networking and learning so personally I didn't see this venue as yielding any announcements....even if they are negotiating.
If there is something in the works, the RAIN conference in July is a better bet. July 18-20 where PI and AMZN are co-hosts.
The RAIN alliance is a pretty big deal for RFID. Impinj was instrumental in establishing this but it is more about the growth of the market than any individual player. Note Amazon joined last year and has been doing in house research on RFID: RFID TALK BLOG RETAIL GIANTS AMAZON AND C&N JOIN RAIN RFID ALLIANCE JULY 19, 2016 A couple of major names have joined the RAIN RFID Alliance, indicating accelerated interest in the technology. By signing on with the group, online retailer Amazon and French apparel retailer C&N have pushed RAIN’s membership to 120. RAIN RFID was founded in 2014 by Google, Intel, Smartrac and Impinj.
“The strong growth of the RAIN RFID industry shows that it really does provide significant business value, particularly as a key factor in connectivity for the first few meters of the Internet of Things,” says Steve Halliday, president of the RAIN RFID Alliance.
Apparel retailer C&N is in the final stages of rolling out RFID at all of its stores in France.
Last year Amazon announced a joint venture with the RFID Lab at Auburn to explore implementing RFID within its vast supply chain, consisting of more than 100 fulfillment centers worldwide. “RFID is a fascinating technology,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said at the time. “As part of this joint project, we are excited to invent new processes and technology using RFID to enhance the experience for customers through better inventory predictability, faster delivery and, ultimately, lower cost.”
Amazon has utilized RFID technology in its fulfillment centers, the massive facilities where customer orders are picked from shelves, moved on conveyers and loaded onto trucks for rapid shipping and delivery.
Earlier this year European fashion retailer C&A announced that it expects to have RFID deployed at all of its stores in France by the end of the summer. One-third of its France rollout was completed in 2015. An additional 164 stores are being brought online, as is C&A’s France-based distribution center. C&A began its RFID journey in 2013 wit a five-store pilot in Germany.
C&A is integrating Checkpoint Systems’ RFID solution into its France-based DC to significantly scale up the number of RFID-tagged items and enable full merchandise visibility within the supply chain. This move also enables the retailer to shift the creation of store advance ship notices from the supplier to the DC, based on an automated and more accurate process. The reading performance, speed and flexibility of the Checkpoint DC solution, on top of having one single software system for both DC and store, were crucial for C&A to optimize the use of the RFID solution.
“With RFID-enabled DCs and stores, we will improve our stock data accuracy and reduce not-on-shelf-but-on-stock (NOSBOS) so that customers find the right color, size and fit,” says Joachim Wilkens, head of functional IT and supply chain development at C&A Europe. “With RFID, we are building the basis for the C&A omni-channel strategy.”
C&A has already deployed RFID throughout Germany, and recently added RFID source tagging to new product categories including menswear, children’s clothing and suits.
Pacific Crest downgrade today on valuation concerns. Conversations with management indicate pipeline "is as strong as ever" but risk reward profile is no longer favorable after recent stock gains "If the party gets much louder someone may call the cops: downgrade to sector weight" wrote analyst Erickson
U.S. weighs restricting Chinese investment in artificial intelligence
By Phil Stewart | WASHINGTON The United States appears poised to heighten scrutiny of Chinese investment in Silicon Valley to better shield sensitive technologies seen as vital to U.S. national security, current and former U.S. officials tell Reuters.
Of particular concern is China's interest in fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, which have increasingly attracted Chinese capital in recent years. The worry is that cutting-edge technologies developed in the United States could be used by China to bolster its military capabilities and perhaps even push it ahead in strategic industries.
The U.S. government is now looking to strengthen the role of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the inter-agency committee that reviews foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies on national security grounds.
An unreleased Pentagon report, viewed by Reuters, warns that China is skirting U.S. oversight and gaining access to sensitive technology through transactions that currently don't trigger CFIUS review. Such deals would include joint ventures, minority stakes and early-stage investments in start-ups.
"We're examining CFIUS to look at the long-term health and security of the U.S. economy, given China's predatory practices" in technology, said a Trump administration official, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis weighed into the debate on Tuesday, calling CFIUS "outdated" and telling a Senate hearing: "It needs to be updated to deal with today's situation."
CFIUS is headed by the Treasury Department and includes nine permanent members including representatives from the departments of Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, Commerce, State and Energy. The CFIUS panel is so secretive it normally does not comment after it makes a decision on a deal.
Under former President Barack Obama, CFIUS stopped a series of attempted Chinese acquisitions of high-end chip makers.
Senator John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, is now drafting legislation that would give CFIUS far more power to block some technology investments, a Cornyn aide said.
"Artificial intelligence is one of many leading-edge technologies that China seeks and that has potential military applications," said the Cornyn aide, who declined to be identified.
"These technologies are so new that our export control system has not yet figured out how to cover them, which is part of the reason they are slipping through the gaps in the existing safeguards," the aide said.
The legislation would require CFIUS to heighten scrutiny of buyers hailing from nations identified as potential threats to national security. CFIUS would maintain the list, the aide said, without specifying who would create it.
Cornyn's legislation would not single out specific technologies that would be subject to CFIUS scrutiny. But it would provide a mechanism for the Pentagon to lead that identification effort, with input from the U.S. technology sector, the Commerce Department, and the Energy Department, the aide said.
James Lewis, an expert on military technology at the Center for Security and International Studies, said the U.S. government is playing catch-up.
"The Chinese have found a way around our protections, our safeguards, on technology transfer in foreign investment. And they're using it to pull ahead of us, both economically and militarily," Lewis said.
leftright 2/2leftright An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted drone aircraft performs aerial maneuvers over Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, U.S., June 25, 2015. U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Cory D. Payne/Handout via REUTERS 1/2leftright 2/2leftright 1/2 "I think that's a big deal."
But some industry experts warn that stronger U.S. regulations may not succeed in halting technology transfer and might trigger retaliation by China, with economic repercussions for the United States.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Chinese investment should not be "politically overinterpreted" or "interfered with politically".
"We hope the United States can provide a good environment for Chinese companies investing in the United States," Lu told a regular news briefing on Wednesday.
China made the United States the top destination for its foreign direct investment in 2016, with $45.6 billion in completed acquisitions and greenfield investments, according to the Rhodium Group, a research firm. Investment from January to May 2017 totaled $22 billion, which represented a 100 percent increase against the same period last year, it said.
"There will be a significant pushback from the technology industry" if legislation is overly aggressive, Rhodium Group economist Thilo Hanemann said.
AI'S ROLE IN DRONE WARFARE
Concerns about Chinese inroads into advanced technology come as the U.S. military looks to incorporate elements of artificial intelligence and machine learning into its drone program.
Project Maven, as the effort is known, aims to provide some relief to military analysts who are part of the war against Islamic State.
These analysts currently spend long hours staring at big screens reviewing video feeds from drones as part of the hunt for insurgents in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Pentagon is trying to develop algorithms that would sort through the material and alert analysts to important finds, according to Air Force Lieutenant General John N.T. "Jack" Shanahan, director for defense intelligence for warfighting support.
"A lot of times these things are flying around(and)... there's nothing in the scene that's of interest," he told Reuters.
Shanahan said his team is currently trying to teach the system to recognize objects such as trucks and buildings, identify people and, eventually, detect changes in patterns of daily life that could signal significant developments.
"We'll start small, show some wins," he said.
A Pentagon official said the U.S. government is requesting to spend around $30 million on the effort in 2018.
Similar image recognition technology is being developed commercially by firms in Silicon Valley, which could be adapted by adversaries for military reasons.
ALSO IN TECHNOLOGY NEWS
EU fines Google record $2.7 billion in first antitrust case Uber wins right to contest English tests for London drivers Shanahan said he was not surprised Chinese firms were making investments there.
"They know what they're targeting," he said.
Research firm CB Insights says it has tracked 29 investors from mainland China investing in U.S. artificial intelligence companies since the start of 2012.
The risks extend beyond technology transfer.
"When the Chinese make an investment in an early stage company developing advanced technology, there is an opportunity cost to the U.S., since that company is potentially off-limits for purposes of working with (the Department of Defense)," the report said.
China has made no secret of its ambition to become a major player in artificial intelligence, including through foreign acquisitions.
Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc (BIDU.O) launched an AI lab in March with China's state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission. In just one recent example, Baidu Inc agreed in April to acquire U.S. computer vision firm xPerception, which makes vision perception software and hardware with applications in robotics and virtual reality.
"China is investing massively in this space," said Peter Singer, an expert on robotic warfare at the New America Foundation.
The draft Pentagon report cautioned that one of the factors hindering U.S. government regulation was that many Chinese investments fall short of outright acquisitions that can trigger a CFIUS review. Export controls were not designed to govern early-stage technology.
It recommended that the Pentagon develop a critical technologies list and restrict Chinese investments on that list. It also proposed enhancing counterintelligence efforts.
The report also signaled the need for measures beyond the scope of the U.S. military, such as changing immigration policy to allow Chinese graduate students to stay in the United States after completing their studies, instead of returning home.
Venky Ganesan, managing director at Menlo Futures, concurred about the need to keep the best and brightest in the United States.
"The single biggest thing we can do is staple a green card to their diploma so that they stay here and build the technologies here – not go back to their countries and compete against us," Ganesan said.
Alibaba moves Seattle hub to Bellevue with 40 employees, no plans to grow office BY TAYLOR SOPER on August 6, 2016 at 2:34 pm GeekWire Sounders Day, July 19!
Alibaba CTO Jeff Zhang speaks at the company’s Technology Forum in Bellevue, Wash., on Saturday. Alibaba has moved its Seattle engineering office to Bellevue, the Chinese tech giant confirmed today.
The Hangzhou, China-based company, which hosted a Technology Forum in downtown Bellevue on Saturday, employs 40 people — mostly engineers — at the City Center Bellevue building, just down the road from Microsoft’s headquarters.
Alibaba first opened a secretive Seattle office in 2014, just down the street from its rival, Amazon. There were rumors that the company, valued at $211 billion, would move its U.S. headquarters from Silicon Valley to Seattle, where founder Jack Ma first discovered the Internet more than two decades ago.
The crowd at Saturday's event was largely Chinese-speaking and engineering-focused. The crowd at Saturday’s event was largely Chinese-speaking and engineering-focused. But the San Mateo, Calif. office remains Alibaba’s U.S. hub. A company spokesperson told GeekWire today that there are no plans to grow the Bellevue office, but no plans to shrink it, either. Alibaba has two job postings for the Bellevue office on LinkedIn.
While Seattle is known worldwide for its robust tech ecosystem, Bellevue is home to several large tech companies like Expedia, Concur, and T-Mobile, and more than 1,000 startups. The Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), a new technology institute opening later this fall as an equal partnership between University of Washington and China’s Tsinghua University, is also based in Bellevue.
Alibaba is one of more than 80 out-of-town tech companies that have engineering offices in the Seattle area, hoping to tap into the technical talent base in a region that is also more affordable for many folks looking to re-locate from the Bay Area.
Asked about why Alibaba has an office in the Seattle region, Alibaba CTO Jeff Zhang, who gave the keynote address at Saturday’s event, said simply that the area is one of two “technology hubs” in the U.S.
“One is Silicon Valley, and one is Seattle,” said Zhang, who became CTO in April and joined Alibaba in 2004, through an interpreter. “We have offices in both places. It’s not unique to Alibaba — it’s just where the technology hubs of the U.S. are.”
Zhang was one of six top engineers from Alibaba who spoke at the event, where 300 people — lots of engineers, and largely a Chinese-speaking crowd — gathered to learn more about the technology and engineering that powers Alibaba’s business. The company, which is essentially the Amazon, eBay, Google, and PayPal of China, all wrapped into one, said it was not a recruiting event, but rather something to educate folks about Alibaba and connect Alibaba and its team to more people outside of China.
Alibaba, which made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2014, held similar events in the region two years ago, prior to the company opening its Seattle office.
We’ll have more from Zhang on Alibaba’s global growth strategies, its view of Amazon, and other tidbits about China’s top tech giant later on GeekWire, so stay tuned for that.
Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent will be opening a new AI research center in Seattle, according to The Information. The company has long had a core office in Palo Alto, but this will be its first major machine intelligence R&D effort in the country. Earlier this week Tencent announced that it would open its first data center in Silicon Valley.
Yu Dong, formally of Microsoft Research, is said to be leading the U.S. effort. He recently joined Tencent and has traditionally focused on the nexus of speech recognition and deep learning. Tencent has a clear interest in developing a personal assistant that could tie its products together and increase its competitiveness in the market.
Tencent’s investment in machine learning will enable it to deploy the technology across the company. Rather than build one-off services, the smartest tech companies are designing models that can be integrated into older products and services while serving as the basis for new ones. Baidu has been pouring resources into its own AI research lab in Silicon Valley, though it has suffered two key setbacks in recent weeks. Andrew Ng, Baidu’s chief scientist, left the company back in March. And fittingly, Tencent itself nabbed Tong Zhang who led Baidu’s Big Data Lab. Despite the news, Baidu plans to open a second AI research center in the Valley.
Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba, Didi Chuxing and other Chinese tech companies have struggled to convince U.S. AI researchers to move their research overseas. This has led to stiff competition for AI talent in the U.S. as major international tech companies compete for engineers alongside Google, Microsoft and Facebook on their home turf.
One of China’s biggest tech companies, Tencent, is establishing an AI research lab in Seattle, demonstrating a growing determination to master a technology that looks set to define the future of many industries.
Tencent is already one of China’s dominant tech companies. It operates the hugely successful mobile chat app WeChat—which boasts over 889 million active users in China—along with lots of other social tools, e-commerce services, games, and the like.
Based in Shenzhen, a manufacturing hub in the southeastern part of the country, Tencent has the potential to become a key player in the development and commercialization of artificial intelligence. The company has the money, the reach, and the data to attract strong researchers.
Indeed, Tencent also announced a significant new AI hire. Yu Dong, a prominent expert on speech recognition and deep learning, will become the deputy director of the company’s AI lab, and he will oversee the operation of the lab in Seattle. Yu was previously a principal researcher at Microsoft, where he worked on applying deep learning to voice recognition, an approach that has produced dramatic advances in accuracy over the past few years.
Tencent began ramping up its AI operation only last year. I met with researchers from Tencent’s AI Lab in Barcelona last December, at one of the biggest AI conferences of the year, where they had come eager to establish the company’s credentials and recruit talent. Tencent says it now has more than 50 AI researchers at various outposts.
Tencent is far from alone—Chinese companies have been upping their AI game considerably of late. The search giant Baidu is already heavily invested in AI, and operates a lab in Silicon Valley. Alibaba has begun publishing some impressive AI research itself while dozens of Chinese startups are building successful businesses on top of advances in AI and machine learning. China’s academic labs are also advancing, although those in the West are still ahead, which is why companies like Tencent and Baidu have established outposts in the U.S.
In coming years AI is expected to revolutionize all sorts of industries, from transportation to health care and education. So it’s hardly surprising that China’s latest five-year-plan, which defines the country’s priorities, mentions artificial intelligence as a key area where it wants to see progress. This will translate into billions of dollars of investment, as demonstrated by the opening of a National Deep Learning Lab recently.
Frost & Sullivan Commends Impinj for Aiding Healthcare Providers' Asset Tracking Efforts with its Novel RAIN RFID-based Solution June 27, 2017 Impinj's holistic solution streamlines the supply chain of healthcare delivery organizations and greatly optimizes their asset and labor utilization
SANTA CLARA, California, June 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Based on its recent analysis of the radio-frequency identification (RFID) healthcare solutions market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Impinj, Inc. with the 2017 North American Award for Customer Value Leadership. Impinj delivers a range of solutions for passive asset and item tracking using RAIN RFID, a form of wireless communication that employs the global ultra high frequency (UHF) RFID protocol developed by GS1 and ISO. By offering end-to-end RAIN RFID solutions, from tags to management software, Impinj gives healthcare providers new levels of insights into asset and personnel tracking.
"Impinj enables a versatile line of asset and supply management solutions for applications across industry verticals, from retail to food and beverage, as well as pharmaceuticals and healthcare," said Frost & Sullivan Industry Principal, Dilip Sarangan. "In healthcare deployments, the Impinj RAIN RFID platform differentiates itself with its lower costs, expanded capabilities, and a holistic approach to asset tracking."
Unlike traditional, by-hand asset and supply tracking systems that are extremely inefficient, labor dependent, have limited applications, and active RFID systems that cost approximately $40 to $50 per tag, the Impinj system has broken the "sub 10 cents" per tag barrier. At the same time, the solution can scale up for the largest healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) and is highly versatile, finding application even in consumables inventory. It requires no batteries or external power source, has low maintenance and staffing requirements, and boasts a long shelf life, making it greatly superior to legacy solutions.
Impinj's unique integrated platform approach to RFID technology results in a three-layered platform that effortlessly combines RAIN RFID tag chips, gateways/readers, and software to form a wholesome solution to increase performance and ease use. With this streamlined system, the tagged chips with the data and the information about the object stored inside function seamlessly with the reader systems. They feed into the software layer and aggregate the data from readers across the organization to offer a single point of interface and tracking for all systems.
As HDOs increasingly automate their supply chains, there will be more opportunities for RAIN RFID applications to improve efficiencies and lower costs. By enhancing supply chains, RAIN RFID also smoothes over the pain points created by regulations mandating supply chain security, especially when healthcare providers have to cope with personnel and fund shortages.
"As HealthCare providers and pharmaceutical distributors fall under greater degrees of scrutiny by regulators, barcode-based automation cannot scale up to reach the economies of scale required, especially for larger organizations," noted Sarangan. "Impinj's RAIN RFID solutions can manage supply chains containing innumerable items and assets, at a fraction of the cost, without interruption. The solutions reach further back down the supply chain as hospitals, distributors, and partners all require a unified protocol for item management."
Impinj evolved from its role as a mere component company transforming into a complete solution and platform provider. This growth enables it to collaborate with third-party software applications and encourages software companies and device and asset producers to partner with it to enter the passive automation space.
Impinj has consistently stayed at the forefront of technology innovation for 16 years. Overall, its emphasis on innovation and customer centricity ensured its continued success and high brand equity across industries.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that demonstrates excellence in implementing strategies that proactively create value for its customers with a focus on improving the return on the investment that customers make in its services or products. The award recognizes the company's inordinate focus on enhancing the value that its customers receive, beyond simply good customer service, leading to improved customer retention, and ultimately customer base expansion.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.
Seattle Genetics gets a PhIII win for Adcetris, but shares slide as frets linger
by john carroll — on June 26, 2017 06:45 AM EDT Updated: 09:49 AM
Seattle Genetics $SGEN has had a rough Q2 as its lead experimental therapy was put back on hold, forcing investigators to scrap Phase III shortly after the biotech had to drop a deal with Immunomedics. But it’s winding up the quarter with a major win in its favor, posting a hit in its closely-watched Echelon-1 study for frontline Hodgkin lymphoma.
The big biotech says that its flagship therapy, Adcetris, combined with a trio of standard drugs beat a 4-drug mainstay cocktail therapy in frontline Hodgkin disease for modified progression-free survival over a lengthy two-year stretch. The Adcetris package excluded bleomycin, which has been linked to a higher rate of lung toxicity and was used in the 4-drug combo control.
Clay Siegall Company execs tell me that they’re prepping an FDA application anticipated for later this year. Seattle Genetics controls the US and Canadian markets for Adcetris, with its partner Takeda taking on the rest of the world.
Analysts have been watching this key catalyst closely, looking to see if Seattle Genetics has a good chance of significantly expanding its revenue from Adcetris. The answer to that would appear to be a conditional yes, based on the biotech’s top-line data.
The Adcetris combo hit a two-year modified PFS rate of 82.1% compared to 77.2% in the control arm — a 4.9 point, or 6%, improvement. That’s statistically significant, but not the wider, double-digit margin that the bulls have been looking for, according to a recent deep dive on this subject from Leerink.
Analysts there have noted that without a 10%-plus margin in its favor, payers may just stick with the cheaper standard. The difference could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars for Seattle Genetics by 2025.
Investors weren’t happy with the numbers. Seattle Genetics’ shares dropped 11% as the data sank in on Wall Street. Some of the early reactions on Twitter were also critical.
Follow Brad Loncar ✔ @bradloncar 82.1% vs 77.2% (hazard ratio=0.770; p-value=0.035) looks more marginal than meaningful. 3:55 AM - 26 Jun 2017 Retweets 11 11 likes Twitter Ads info and privacy You always prefer a better response, Seattle Genetics CEO Clay Siegall told me in a preview of the announcement. But this marks a clear win for patients and a plus for the company as Siegall remains determined to make Adcetris a billion dollar-plus blockbuster.
“We did a pretty audacious trial,” Siegall says. “People said you’re trying to build on something that already looks pretty good…There wasn’t a lot of headroom.”
Adcetris and the combo delivered a 23% reduction in risk of progression, he says, building the number of durable responses among patients who are often diagnosed in their twenties and thirties. In addition, he says, doctors clearly want to eliminate bleomycin and the risk of lung toxicity, offering another advantage for Adcetris.
Seattle Genetics added that an interim look at overall survival rates — the secondary to watch — appeared to be “trending” in its favor at the interim point. That’s not unexpected. It will probably take 4 years to reach a conclusion on OS, says the CEO, in this population.
There’s also likely to be continued chatter about investigators’ use of “modified” PFS in the study.
Rather than stick with tracking the time until disease progression, researchers modified the endpoint to include the use of an additional therapy for patients who had a “certain lack of response,” says the CEO, who added that that is a simplistic definition. If approved, says Siegall, this would be Adcetris’ 5th OK, with earlier expansions helping to continue to widen the market for their drug.
Siegall also says that the pipeline at Seattle Genetics continues to offer some stellar prospects for beefing up its portfolio of marketed drugs. The biotech remains ready to do new deals, he says, but only on an ‘as wanted’ basis as opposed to an ‘as needed’ basis.
“We think Adcetris has an excellent chance of being a billion-dollar drug in the US,” says the CEO. The next year will provide some insights into just how likely that is.