Bottom Line: A new study by the international organization Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network highlighted the growing concerns of tech companies, governments, academics, activists, and international organizations of the state of the Internet. 95% of the contributors to the study felt that the near future will see an increase in clashes between different countries’ digital rules. Whether it be China’s Great Firewall, Russia making specific apps mandatory on phones and computers, or different interpretations of Europe’s GDPR, applying national laws and sometimes cultural influences rules on the globally accessible content on the Internet is a growing problem.
This means that the big tech companies who have the resources and wherewithal to keep up with the patchwork of regulations may need to spend a little more to continue to do business globally. However, more importantly it means that new entrants and disruptors who could provide competition to big tech will probably increasingly have a regional focus and have difficulty connecting users across the globe… you know what the internet was intended for.
Bottom Line: Slack (NYSE: WORK) is a stock we’ve been following since it’s IPO back in the summer. Since its debut, the stock has lost more than 40% of its value, thanks in part to the narrative that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is getting traction with its competitive and comparable product, Teams. But as our own Scott Willis outlined in his note yesterday, the Software as a Service (SaaS) collaboration platform is continuing to rack up big enterprise customers, fuelling healthy growth and solid retention rates.
Bottom Line: HSBC (LSE: HSBA) is going to digitize paper-based records of private placements using a proprietary blockchain to manage custody by March of next year. The goal of the company’s new Digital Vault platform will be to give investors real-time access to records of private placements.
While in theory the move to digitize these records on the blockchain should reduce costs for maintaining and accessing the paper records, it may take some time for those savings and efficiencies to manifest. With HSBC expecting the value of private placements to grow 60% in the next 5 years, the new platform will be one of the biggest tests thus far of blockchain technology by a major bank.
Bottom Line: With the big cloud computing players like Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) each having their own ways to approach quantum computing, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) didn’t want to be left out of the party. The company recently announced that their cloud computing service, AWS, will be partnering with quantum computer makers, D-Wave, IonQ, and Rigetti to offer access to their systems through a new AWS product called Braket.
Amazon has basically given its AWS users early access to develop and test early quantum algorithms without the exorbitant costs associated with building a quantum computer. The partners also benefit by exposing their nascent systems to more developers and potential applications.
Bottom Line: Did you beat the bots at one of those great deals on a smart TV over Black Friday-Cyber Monday? While setting up that TV you likely clicked through an opt-in to allow the TV manufacturer to collect data on everything you’re watching and doing on that TV.
Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology used by most TV manufacturers typically takes a snapshot of what is on the screen of the TV as much as once a second and relays that back to the manufacturer who can then use the image to determine what you’re watching. Along with capturing the IP address of the TV, the manufacturers then link the data to the rest of your online life and sell that data to marketers and advertisers. The good news is you can opt out of this tracking and not lose any of that smart TV functionality.
Tech Investing Chart of the Week
5G is one of those emerging technology stories we like to keep an eye on, so when Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) released a Mobility Report including forecasts of 5G subscriber and data growth it caught our eye.
Based on Ericsson forecasts seen in the charts below within the next 5 years, 5G will grow to about 30% penetration in subscribers led by North America, Western Europe and North East Asia (i.e. China). Compare this to 4G taking up only about 17% of subscribers 5 years after its debut.
While 5G is definitely going to be an area of interest and capital investment for telecoms, chip makers, and anyone in the mobile space in the coming years, there really isn’t anything groundbreaking about it other than faster mobile speeds.