Greetings, Atlanta tech leaders and enthusiasts! 2020 is still upon us, and it’s more important than ever to stay connected (from afar) to the tech community. That’s why we’re committed to bringing you the best in tech news every single week with TechCONNECT. Be sure to subscribe to stay up-to-date on all things business and tech in the Southeast and beyond.
Stay connected (from afar) to Atlanta’s tech scene with this month’s “Atlanta Tech News Roundup.” Stories via @SharecareInc, @EOAtlanta, @getbuckle & more. [www.3ci-mau.com/blog/top-atlanta-tech-news-august-2020-edition]
Without further ado, here are the top twelve tech stories from this past month that you should know about.
Trending: Atlanta’s Top Tech Stories
Atlanta-Based Company, Sharecare, Acquires WhiteHatAI
Atlanta’s digital healthcare company Sharecare is set to acquire its sixteenth healthcare company since its founding in 2010. With the acquisition of North Carolina-based WhiteHatAI, Sharecare will be able to increase its payment processing capabilities and even be able to detect payment fraud. WhiteHatAI’s platform finds inaccurate claims before they are paid out, saving both time and money for healthcare providers. In fact, Jeff Arnold, Sharecare’s CEO, explained that even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, fraud, waste, and abuse in the healthcare system was already a $900 billion problem that was expected to increase 6.5% annually through 2024; but given the necessity to fast-track claims in the face of COVID-19, this challenge is likely to grow even bigger, faster. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but you can learn more about Sharecare and WhiteHatAI by clicking here.
Entrepreneurs’ Organization Atlanta Extends Their Offerings to Non-Members
EO understands that entrepreneurs need one another more than ever right now, which is why they are extending their offerings and services to non-members at no cost. Entrepreneurs’ Organization Atlanta has curated tools, content, and expert advice to address the specific needs of business owners and focuses on three phases of COVID response: Triage, Recover, and Emerge. Click here to access these resources and sign up for EO’s next Connect + Support Zoom session.
Data Science Connect Set to Host Virtual Event October 7-9
Mark your calendar for October 7-9, because Data Science Connect, the largest data science organization in the Southeast, is going virtual this year. Attendees can expect workshops and presentations on a wide variety of advanced data science applications across industry verticals and technical disciplines. All workshops are hands-on and limited to a small group for a more personalized experience. The presentations will allow for plenty of time to network and connect with fellow practitioners. Click here to learn more about the event and here to reserve your seat for the conference.
Fintech South is Going Virtual. Mark Your Calendars!
The largest fintech conference in the Southeast is going virtual this year. TAG’s annual event Fintech South will take place October 5-9 and will feature over 60 hours of content from over 250 speakers representing the top companies in fintech globally. In addition, a ticket to Fintech South will give you access to more than 50 exhibitors and AI-powered networking to help you make the right connections and schedule 1-on-1 video meetings. Click here to reserve your spot now!
Atlanta Funding News
Buckle, Atlanta-Based Fintech Startup, Raises $31 Million in Series A Funding
Buckle, an Atlanta-based fintech startup, is looking to reinvent the insurance model by offering coverage to ride-share drivers. After the recent announcement, the company raised $31 million in a huge Series A funding round. It appears that Buckle will be able to accomplish their goal. The financial services company plans to use the capital to make understanding, accessing, and affording insurance easier for drivers who turn their personal vehicles into ride-sharing assets. Buckle’s real value is in addressing insurance gaps in conventional policies, which are currently lacking in coverage that fit the needs of gig workers. To learn more about all of the ways that Buckle has already begun to shape the insurance industry, be sure to read the Hypepotamus article linked here.
Atlanta Companies and Tech Leaders On the Move
Home Depot, Coca-Cola, NCR, and UPS are Producing New Technologies
Big Atlanta companies — such as Home Depot, Coca-Cola, NCR, and the United Parcel Service — are constantly developing new technologies to patent in order to keep their products and services evolving. In fact, these companies, and a few others like AT&T, have submitted six major US patent applications in the last couple of months. Among these are Coke’s beverage dispenser for dispensing a personalized sports drink based on a consumers’ biometric data, a delivery platform for easier delivery of parcels by drone from UPS, and NCR’s new smartphone app that interacts with airports’ AI to determine a passenger’s identity, location, travel information, and transactions at the terminal. To check out the full list of new patent-pending technologies produced right here in Atlanta, take a look at the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s article by clicking here.
COVID-19 Tech News
Uber Fails to Recover as Pandemic Continues
Uber’s food delivery service, Uber Eats, is going to have help to compensate for the decline in the company’s core ride-hailing business as the COVID-19 pandemic continues on. Last week the tech company reported that bookings for Uber’s rides declined 75% year-over-year in the three months ending June 30. Furthermore, with strict stay at home orders in place, bookings fell 72% from the first quarter when the pandemic first struck; however, Uber’s $1.8 billion net loss from these events, in addition to restructuring costs, is still far smaller than one year ago when one-time costs from its initial public offering drove its largest-ever three-month loss. Even in light of these numbers, Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshah remains optimistic. The chief executive has vowed to make Uber profitable on adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization basis before the end of 2021. Will Uber be able to bounce back and reconcile these losses? Read the full story by clicking here.
Samsung Releases a UV Sterilizer to Banish Bacteria and Germs
In today’s world, personal hygiene is more important than ever, especially to help combat the spread of bacteria and germs. Scientists at the University of Arizona have found that your phone is actually 10x dirty than most toilet seats. Fortunately, Samsung is helping you fix this problem without damaging your device. The company recently released it’s UV Sterilizer to banish 99% of bacteria and germs at the touch of a button, all while you charge your device. This UV Sterilizer with wireless charging offers the perfect solution for disinfecting phones, earbuds, glasses, and other personal items to limit their exposure to harmful bacteria. This product launch comes on the heels of Samsung’s release of six new pieces of technology. To learn more or preorder your device, you can visit Samsung.com or go to your local Samsung store.
Trending: Top National Tech Stories
Could You Take a Trip to Space in the Near Future?
If leaving Earth and heading to space sounds tempting right now, it could be possible, but it is going to cost you a quarter of a million dollars for a single ticket. Also, you are not allowed to bring your smartphone. Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. recently revealed its design for the SpaceShipTwo, the suborbital craft it is building to fly tourists to space. SpaceShipTwo’s cabin, which houses six reclining seats tailored to each passenger’s height and weight, also features 12 windows, two for each passenger, and 18 cameras that will record video and take still photos throughout the flight. Virgin Galactic’s design director, Jeremy Brown, explained that he really wants the passengers to enjoy the moment and not worry about trying to capture the trip through their smartphone; which simply can’t do the spectacle justice. Virgin Galactic hasn’t confirmed when it plans to begin launching tours into space, but you can still get a complete picture of what the experience will be like by clicking the link to the Wall Street Journal article here.
Facebook and MassChallenge are Looking for Startups to Improve Connectivity
Facebook and MassChallenge are looking for startups to receive cost-free training, one-to-one mentorship, and access to a global network of startup peers and successful founders. The Facebook Accelerator Connectivity Program is designed for startups in the Americas that are focused on improving connectivity through technologies, solutions, and new models that address the availability and affordability of internet access. Even in 2020, a significant percentage of the world lacks the infrastructure available to access the internet. A large portion of the communities with internet access are still unable to afford data and/or devices. Up to thirty startups addressing these issues will be chosen to participate in the 12-week virtual program and will be given the opportunity to interact with industry experts and potential investors. Applications are due September 11th, and the program begins November 9th. Click here to learn more and apply.
European Union Places New Sanctions for Cyber-Attacks
Over the last few years, the U.S. has stepped up efforts to sanction, publicly indict, and seek extradition for hackers based in foreign countries. Last week the European Union followed suit. For the very first time, the EU imposed sanctions in response to major cyberattacks. When the 27-country bloc issued asset freezes and travel bans for individuals and organizations tied to the 2017 NotPetya and WannaCry malware attacks and the Cloud Hopper espionage campaign, all of which affected companies in the U.S. and Europe. Chris Painter Coordinator for Cyber Issues at the State Department, during the Obama administration, stressed that more countries need to take similar actions to prevent foreign governments from allowing large-scale hacks. While these sanctions can prevent hackers from traveling or accessing funds in certain countries and can put pressure on foreign governments accused of sponsoring or helping hackers, some argue that these moves don’t recoup lost funds from victim companies and aren’t likely to prevent cyber attacks. To learn more about the EU sanctions and how Russian and Chinese foreign ministries are responding, click here.
What’s Next for AI?
A special report from the Wall Street Journal’s “The Future of Everything,” takes a look at what is next for AI. These advances in technology cover everything from the legal system, agriculture, air travel, and more. While you will want to check out the full list of technology, here are a few highlights from the report. Facial recognition is nothing new for AI, but there is quite a growth of face detection software that is sparking concern amongst both researchers and vendors. Ethnicity recognition could become harmful if companies use it to push marginalized people towards specific products or offer discriminatory pricing. On the flip side, AI might soon be able to make your stressful trip through the airport much easier. While packing a self-driving suitcase, clearing security through an archway, and boarding a pilotless plane may seem like a far-out version of the future, tech companies are currently working on making these a reality. What about counterfeit accessories like handbags and shoes? AI is also a new weapon in the battle against determining what is real and what is fake. Algorithms can now spot features invisible to the human eye to protect retailers and shoppers from a glut of fake goods.
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