Startups joining SK Telecom’s accelerator include AI-driven mapping and vision for delivery robots

We don’t often cover telecom technology startups, but it’s periodically worth checking in to see what’s happening in that space. We can get a good indication from the latest cohort to emerge from an accelerator associated with South Korea’s largest wireless carrier, SK Telecom.

This group of startups will join the Telecom Infra Project accelerator in South Korea, which is part of a global program of telecoms specialist centers, and run in partnership with SK Telecom.

The cohort includes a ship berthing monitoring system; an app that turns a group of mobile phones into a TV studio; an AI-powered indoor positioning system which creates interactive maps; a vision system for delivery robots; and one which allows remote audiences to experience live events ‘together’ via a digital stadium.

The selected start-ups include:

Dabeeo: Dabeeo’s AI-powered indoor positioning system which uses vision data produced through smartphone cameras to create interactive maps, used for gaming, marketing and logistics. Crunchbase  

Neubility: Neubility develops vision-based localization and path planning technologies for last-mile delivery robots. Crunchbase

Seadronix: Seadronix is a computer vision-based ship parking monitoring solution that provides an AI-based berthing monitoring system. Through producing around-view images, distance and speed between the ship and the port to pilot or captain it assists ship parking. Crunchbase  

39degC: This is a mobile multi-camera live streaming app. It directly connects multiple smartphone feeds to each other using a technology called WiFi-Direct – turning them into a TV studio.

Kiswe: Kiswe is a supplier of entertainment broadcast technology. Its product CloudCast is a “Broadcast Studio in the Cloud” which enables partners to send a digital feed into the cloud to produce live and non-live content.  Its other product, Hangtime , allows remote audiences to experience live events ‘together’ through creating a digital stadium with chat rooms, and control over viewing angles from within the platform. Crunchbase

Accessibility’s nextgen breakthroughs will be literally in your head

Predicting the future of technology for people with visual impairments is easier than you might think. In 2003, I wrote an article entitled “In the Palm of Your Hand” for the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness from the American Foundation for the Blind. The arrival of the iPhone was still four years away, but I was able to confidently predict the center of assistive technology shifting from the desktop PC to the smart phone. 

“A cell phone costing less than $100,” I wrote, “will be able to see for the person who can’t see, read for the person who can’t read, speak for the person who can’t speak, remember for the person who can’t remember, and guide the person who is lost.” Looking at the tech trends at the time, that transition was as inevitable as it might have seemed far-fetched.

We are at a similar point now, which is why I am excited to play a part of Sight Tech Global, a virtual event Dec. 2-3 that is convening the top technologists to discuss how AI and related technologies will usher in a new era of remarkable advances for accessibility and assistive tech, in particular for people who are blind or visually impaired.

To get to the future, let me turn to the past. I was walking around the German city of Speyer in the 1990s with pioneering blind assistive tech entrepreneur Joachim Frank. Joachim took me on a flight of fancy about what he really wanted from assistive technology, as opposed to what was then possible. He quickly highlighted three stories of how advanced tech could help him as he was walking down the street with me. 

  • As I walk down the street, and walk by a supermarket, I do not want it to read all of the signs in the window. However, if one of the signs notes that kasseler kipchen (smoked porkchops, his favorite) are on sale, and the price is particularly good, I would like that whispered in my ear.
  • And then, as a young woman approaches me walking in the opposite direction, I’d like to know if she’s wearing a wedding ring.
  • Finally, I would like to know that someone has been following me for the last two blocks, that he is a known mugger, and that if I quicken my walking speed, go fifty meters ahead, turn right, and go another seventy meters, I will arrive at a police substation! 

Joachim blew my mind. In one short walk, he outlined a far bolder vision of what tech could do for him, without bogging down in the details. He wanted help with saving money, meeting new friends and keeping himself safe. He wanted abilities which not only equaled what people with normal vision had, but exceeded them. Above all, he wanted tools which knew him and his desires and needs. 

We are nearing the point where we can build Joachim’s dreams.  It won’t matter if the assistant whispers in your ear, or uses a direct neural implant to communicate. We will probably see both. But, the nexus of tech will move inside your head, and become a powerful instrument for equality of access. A new tech stack with perception as a service. Counter-measures to outsmart algorithmic discrimination. Tech personalization. Affordability. 

That experience will be built on an ever more application rich and readily available technology stack in the cloud. As all that gets cheaper and cheaper to access, product designers can create and experiment faster than ever. At first, it will be expensive, but not for long as adoption – probably by far more than simply disabled people – drives down price. I started my career in tech for the blind by introducing a reading machine that was a big deal because it halved the price of that technology to $5,000. Today even better OCR is a free app on any smartphone.

We could dive into more details of how we build Joachim’s dreams and meet the needs of millions of others of individuals with vision disabilities. But it will be far more interesting to explore with the world’s top experts at Sight Tech Global on Dec. 2-3 how those tech tools will become enabled In Your Head!

Registration is free and open to all. 

Pixel 5 and 4a 5g get the same, improved cameras with rear ultrawide lens, Night Sight portraits and more

Google made its newest smartphones official today, unveiling the much-leaked Pixel 4a 5g and Pixel 5. Both smartphones will get the same, improved cameras, despite a $200 price different between the models, which is great news for people who are specifically coming to Google for their excellent mobile camera tech. Here’s an overview of what google did with the new and improved Pixel cameras in terms of both hardware and software.

Ultrawide lens

The biggest new physical change to the new Pixel phones is the addition of a new ultrawide lens to the camera array on the back. This provides a new wide angle field of view that lets you capture a significantly larger perspective, which is great for large group shots and landscapes. This was one of the features that Apple added to the most recent iPhone that Google fans were looking for on their Pixel devices.

Here’s an example of the additional coverage you’re getting (roughly, since the first shot likely wasn’t actually filmed on Pixel):

[gallery ids="2054163,2054134"]

HDR+ with bracketing

The HDR+ feature of Google’s Pixel phones is also very popular with users, providing a way for people to get better lighting in their photos without having to worry about compositing images after the fact to adjust exposure in different parts of the scene. Google has upgraded its HDR+ feature by combining its own machine-learning powered techniques, stacked with traditional, much more old-school exposure bracketing for what the company says is a better final product.

Night Sight in portrait mode

Portrait mode has been popular since its introduction on smartphones, and has improved over time to allow people to get a more accurate depth effect with artificial background blur. Google added the ability to use portrait mode with its Night Sight feature with this generation of devices, meaning you can get that kind of depth effect even when you’re using Google’s software trickery to increase the illumination in a dark scene for clear, static-free results like the shot below.

Portrait Light

Another portrait mode feature is the addition of portrait light, which lets you apply a customizable lighting effect to do things like counteract deep shadows or washed out potions of the image. This works similar to Apple’s studio lighting effects in its own portrait mode in iOS, but it looks to be considerably more customizable, and potentially more powerful thanks to Google’s AI tech on the Pixel devices – though we’ll have to get them in for testing to know for sure.

New stabilization for video, including Cinematic Pan

Finally, there are three new stabilization modes for filming video on the new Pixels – Locked, Active and Cinematic Pan. These were built using tutorials on YouTube, Google said during its event, as well as by studying Hollywood cinematographers. Cinematic Pan looks like potentially the most fun for YouTubers, since it gives that silky smooth, slowed down effect (it’s half actual speed) that makes it look straight out of a film travelogue.

The Lumos Matrix is the ideal urban bike helmet for a smarter, safer day trip

With many of us are still more or less confined to our own homes and limited social spaces for the foreseeable future, and for a lot of you, that has led to a rediscovery of the joys of biking. Bike riding is a great way to spend time outdoors exploring your own town or city, and if you’re just getting into exploring this hobby, or if you’re a long-time bike rider looking for an upgrade, the Lumos Matrix smart helmet is a sensible piece of tech with a solid design that combines a number of connected features into one great package.

The basics

The Matrix is a version of Lumos’ smart helmet updated with modern, urban helmet aesthetics and a new large LED display on the back that can be programmed to show a variety of different patterns, including simple images. It includes a built-in front light in addition to the rear light panel, as well as integrated turn signals that work with an included physical handlebar remote, or in concert with an Apple Watch app. It’s available in either a gloss white finish, or a matte black (as reviewed).


Lumos has designed the Matrix to work with a wide range of head sizes, thanks in part to two sets of included velcro pads for the inside of the helmet, but due mostly to the adjustable, ratcheting sizing harness on the inside. This can be easily dialled to tighten or loosen the helmet, helping it fit heads ranging between 22 and 24-inches in size.

The exterior of the Lumos is made of an ABS plastic that provides full weatherproofing, so that you can wear it in the rain without having to worry about the condition of the embedded electronics. There’s also a MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) option that you can add on if you want an additional level of safety and security, though that’s not yet shipping and should be “available soon” according to the company.

A button integrated into the helmet’s strap lets you turn it on and off, and cycle between the built-in patters. You can pair the helmet via Bluetooth with your smartphone, too, and use the dedicated app to customize features including brightness, and even creating your own custom patterns for the rear display. In the box, you’ll also find a charging cable with a standard USB A connector on one end, and a proprietary magnetic charging surface on the other for powering up both your helmet and the handlebar remote.

Design and performance

The Lumos Matrix features a mostly continuous surface, with four vents on the top of the helmet for airflow, with an integrated brim built into the shell. As mentioned, there’s a front-facing light built-in to the helmet and protected by a transparent plastic covering, as well as a rear panel of 7×11 led lights, which create a dot matrix-style display that can display images or animations, including scrolling text. These LEDs are all full RGB, allowing the user to take full advantage for their own, or built-in display creations.

Lumos also makes the Kickstart, which features a more aerodynamic, thoroughly vented design. The look of the Matrix is more akin to helmets used in skateboarding, and for urban commuter bicyclists. Despite its more solid-looking design, in testing I found that it was actually very comfortable and cool, allowing plenty of airflow. The helmet sits a bit high on the head, but has ample hard foam padding and definitely feels like a solid piece of protective gear. Overall, the extreme quality of the construction and level of the finishes on the Matrix help it earn its higher price tag.

The Matrix is also comfortable, and the adjustable sizing straps ensure a snug fit that means the helmet won’t be shifting around at all while worn. The activation button located on the chin strap near your ear is easy to find and press, with a tactile response combined with an auditory signal so you’ll know it’s on. There’s also a built-in magnetic holder for the included two-button handlebar turn signal remote in the rear interior of the helmet itself, which is super useful when wearing the helmet out on errands.

In terms of the smart features, Lumos has created a very sensible set of defaults for the on-board lighting that make it easy to just turn on the helmet and get riding. The built-in patterns offer a range of options, but all do the job of increasing your visibility – and the bright lighting means that it adds to your ability to be seen by motorists, other cyclists and pedestrians even while you’re biking in bright daylight.

The customizability of the rear dot matrix display is also super handy. Even if you’re not interested in creating colorful designs to express your artistic self, you can use it for much more practical reasons – like displaying a simple scrolling message (ie. ‘biking with kids’) in order to alert anyone else around to reasons to pay heightened attention.

The included Lumos handlebar remote is paired out of the box, and is extremely reliable in terms of activating the turn signals on the helmet. Lumos’ smartwatch app was much more hit-or-miss for me in terms of recognizing my arm gestures reliably to automate the signalling, but that’s really a value-add feature anyway, and totally not necessary to get the full benefit of the helmet. The app’s integration with Apple Health for workout tracking while biking is also fantastic, and really adds to the overall experience of using the Matrix helmet.

Bottom line

The Lumos Matrix is a fantastic bike helmet, with an amazing integrated smart lighting system that’s both bright and highly customizable. There’s a reason this thing is carried at Apple Stores – it’s top quality in terms of construction, software integration and design. That said, its retail price starts at $249.95 – which is a lot when you consider that a good quality MIPS helmet without smart features will only set you back about $60 or so.

When you consider just how much technology is onboard the Matrix, however, the pricing becomes a lot easier to swallow. It’s true that dedicated lights also aren’t expensive, but the ones on the Matrix are very high quality and extremely visible in all lighting conditions. And the Matrix offers unique features you won’t find anywhere else, including active turn signals and automated brake lights, which really add to your ability to safely share the road with other cyclists and vehicles.

Researchers ready world-first vision restoration device for human clinical trials

Over a decade’s worth of work by scientists working at Melbourne, Australia’s Monash University has produced a first-of-its-kind device that can restore vision to the blind, using a combination of smartphone-style electronics and brain-implanted micro electrodes. The system has already been shown to work in preclinical studies and non-human trials on sheep, and researchers are now preparing for a first human clinical trial to take place in Melbourne.

This new technology would be able to bypass the damaged optic nerves that are often responsible for what’s definite as technical clinical blindness. It works by translating information gathered by a camera and interpreted by a vision processor unity and custom software, wirelessly to a set of tiles implanted directly within the brain. These tiles convert the image data to electrical impulses which are then transmitted to neurons in the brain via microelectrodes that are thinner than human hair.

There are still a number of steps required before this becomes something that can actually be produced and used commercially – not least of which is the extensive human clinical trial process. The team behind the technology is also looking to secure additional funding to support the eventual ramp of manufacturing and distribution of its devices as a commercial venture. But its early studies, which saw 10 of these arrays implanted on sheep, saw that one the course of a cumulative total of more than 2,700 hours of stimulation, there weren’t any adverse health affects observed.

Animals studies are a very different thing from human studies, but the research team believes their technology has promise well beyond vision. They anticipate the same approach could provide benefits and treatment options for patients with other conditions that have a neurological root cause, including paralysis.

If that sounds familiar, it might be because Elon Musk recently revealed ambitions to use his company Neuralink’s similar brain implant technology to achieve these kinds of results as well. Musk’s project is hardly the first to imagine how devices paired with modern software and technology could overcome biological limitations, and this effort form Monash has a much longer history of working towards turning this kind of science into something that could impact the lives of everyday people.

Many Canon cameras can now automatically back up pictures to Google Photos

Canon and Google today announced a new software integration that enables automatic Google Photos backup of pictures taken with select Canon cameras – a full list is available here, but it’s most of their recent interchangeable lens cameras dating back basically to when they started getting wifi on board.

The auto backup feature will work via the Canon mobile app, which is available on Android and iOS devices. If you have the most recent version, you can add your Canon camera to the app and set it to automatically transfer full, original-quality photos from your camera to Google Photos when your phone is connected to the camera. That takes out the typically manual process of somehow connecting either your camera or its memory cards physically to either your computer or your smartphone.

This feature does come with some caveats, however, including that it’s only available to Google One members. To ease the financial sting of that requirement (though it’s one of the more affordable and comprehensive cloud photo and data products out there), Canon users new to Google One will get one month of access free, with up to 100GB of cloud storage.

Speaking from experience, I know that a lot of photos I take with my ‘real’ cameras just end up staying on the camera, or on countless backup drives and SD cards I have strewn about. This auto-backup feature makes it much more likely I’ll actually discover and look at more of those photos again – and possibly even print and share them with loved ones. Here’s hoping it expands to other camera-makers in future, too.

Five success factors for behavioral health startups

Telehealth, or remote, tech-enabled healthcare, has existed for years in primary medical care through companies like Teladoc (NYSE: TDOC)Doctors on Demand and MDLIVE.

In recent years, the application of telehealth had rapidly expanded to address specific chronic and behavioral health issues like mental health, weight loss and nutrition, addiction, diabetes and hypertension, etc. These are real and oftentimes very severe issues faced by people all over the world, yet until now have seen little to no use of technology in providing care.

We believe behavioral health is particularly suited to benefit from the digitization trends COVID-19 has accelerated. Previously, we’ve written about the pandemic’s impact on online learning and education, both for K-12 students and adult learners. But behavioral health is another area impacted by the fundamental change in consumers’ behavior today. Below are four reasons we think the time is now for behavioral health startups — followed by five key factors we think characterize successful companies in this area.

Telehealth can significantly lower the cost of care

Traditional behavioral healthcare is cost-prohibitive for most people. In-person therapy costs $100+ per session in the U.S., and many mental health and substance-use providers don’t accept insurance because they don’t get paid enough by insurers.

By contrast, telehealth reduces overhead costs and scales more effectively. Leveraging technology, providers can treat more patients in less time with almost zero marginal costs. Mobile-based communications enable asynchronous care that further helps providers scale. Access to digital content gives patients on-going support without the need for a human on the other side. This is particularly useful in treating behavioral health issues where ongoing support and motivation may be necessary.

Technology unlocks supply in “shadow markets” of providers

Globally, we face an extreme shortage of behavioral health providers. For example, the United States has fewer than 30,000 licensed psychiatrists (translating to <1 for every 10,000 people). Outside of big cities, the problem gets worse: ~50-60% of nonmetro counties have no psychologists or psychiatrists at all.

Even when providers are available, wait times for appointments are notoriously long. This is a huge issue when behavioral health conditions often require timely intervention.

We are seeing new platforms build large networks of certified coaches, licensed psychologists and psychiatrists, and other providers, aggregating supply in what has historically been a scarce and a highly fragmented provider population.

Behavioral/mental health issues are losing their stigma

We believe the stigma associated with mental illness and other behavioral health conditions is dissipating. More and more public figures are speaking out about their struggle with anxiety, depression, addiction and other behavioral health issues. Our zeitgeist is shifting fast, and there’s an all-time high in people seeking help as the Google Trends data below demonstrates.

google trends search: "therapist near me," 2015- 2010

Image Credits: Google

Note: The anomalous dip in March/April ’20 was driven by mandatory shelter-in-place due to COVID-19.

Policy and regulations are changing quickly

The Oura Ring is the personal health tracking device to beat in 2020

The Oura Ring has been getting a lot of attention lately because of its role in a number of COVID-19 studies, as well as its adoption by both the NBA and WNBA as a potential tool for helping prevent any outbreaks of the novel coronavirus as those two leagues get back to a regular schedule of play. Oura has released multiple generations of the Ring, which is a health and fitness tracker that reports a range of data, and I’ve spent the past month using one to see what all the fuss is about.

The basics

The Oura Ring is a health tracker that’s unlike just about any other wearable with a similar purpose. It’s a ring that’s virtually indistinguishable from an actual ring without any smart features, available in a couple of different designs and multiple finishes. The Ring has sensors located on the inside surface, but these barely add to its overall thickness and are totally hidden when the ring is worn.

Despite its small size and low profile, the Oura Ring is still a connected device, with an internal battery, and the ability to talk to a smartphone via Bluetooth to transmit the data its sensors collect. In the box, you also get a USB-C stand for the Oura Ring that powers it up via induction charging.

The built-in battery is good for up to seven days of continuous use – and that includes wearing the Oura Ring during sleep. During my usage, that seemed to be an accurate estimate. In general, though, the battery life just seemed to be ‘long enough,’ prompting me not to really think about specific spans, and charging is so quick that it’s easy to just remember to put it on the dock occasionally when it’s convenient (I would often do this during the work day while at my desk, where I keep the Oura dock). Oura’s app also sends helpful notifications to remind you to charge before bed when you’re getting close to the end of your ring’s battery life.

Design

Oura’s design for this most recent iteration of their Ring is fantastic – both as just a piece of jewelry, and doubly so as a connected health and activity tracker. It’s available in two styles, called “Balance” and “Heritage,” both of which come in multiple metallic finishes. There’s a polished silver and gloss black option for both, while “Balance” has a premium-priced version with inlaid diamonds, and “Heritage” has a matte black finish option (which I reviewed).

All the various finishes ore made of a lightweight titanium, with a molded plastic inner to protect the sensors and provide transparency for them to work. The exterior finishes are all coated with a scratch-resistant outer layer – but just like with just about any other metal jewelry, scratch-resistant isn’t scratch proof. The matte black finish I reviewed is definitely showing some wear and tear after multiple weeks of use, but that’s something I was fully expecting, and it’s surprisingly resilient given how often it comes in contact with other metal surfaces, stone and whatever else you come in contact with on a daily basis. The minor blemishes that appear lend it a pleasing patina, rather than negatively impacting its aesthetics, in my opinion.

The Oura Ring is also fixed in terms of sizing and fit, and the company has come up with a clever way to handle ensuring a good fit for customers. They offer a free sizing kit that they ship out first so that you can figure out which Oura size is most comfortable, and decide on which finger you want to wear it. Size is important because you want the Oura Ring to fit snugly enough that it won’t fall off or shift around too much, but also not too snugly that it becomes uncomfortable.

Ultimately, the design is fantastic because it’s both an attractive ring, and an incredibly comfortable device to wear all day – and through the night. Unlike even an Apple Watch or other wrist-worn wearable, there’s virtually no adjustment required for getting used to wearing it while sleeping, or any discomfort from various types of bands. It’s the first wearable I’ve used where I truly was able to forget that I was wearing one at all, and it’s one that no one else will realize you’re wearing, either.

Features and performance

So what does the Oura Ring actually track? A lot of things, actually. It measures sleep, as mentioned, as well as various other metrics under two other broad categories: Readiness, and Activity. Sleep, Readiness and Activity all provide one overall summary score out of 100 to give you a topline sense of where you’re at, but each is actually calculated from a range of sub-metrics that add up to that larger score.

Oura’s sleep tracking is much more in-depth than the forthcoming Apple Watch sleep tracking that Apple is releasing with its next watchOS update in the fall. It monitors when you go to sleep, how long you sleep, how much of that qualifies as “deep” and how much is “REM,” and gives you a metric or you sleep efficiency, your time in bed, your total sleep time and more. Readiness tracks your ambient body temperature, heart rate variability, respiratory rate and your resting heart rate, while activity automatically measures calorie burn, inactive time, you steps and how close you are to your overall activity goal.

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

For all three of these categories, you can dive into each individual sub-metric and see trends over time or individual scores per day, but you can also just look at the overall score, which is provided in a feed-like dashboard in the app and accompanied by practical, actionable advise about what to do with your day, your activity or your sleep habits based on that score and how it’s trending.

It’s at once both the easiest to understand health tracking app I’ve used, and also one of those with the most depth when it comes to digging into what is actually being tracked, and what that means in greater detail. And because the app focuses heavily on establishing a baseline and then monitoring deviations from that baseline and providing advice based on that, it’s more likely to be useful and specifically relevant to you.

Bottom line

With most wearable tech, including the Apple Watch, I periodically have a sort of internal revolt where I end up finding them too much of an intrusion, or too much of a hassle to maintain continuous use. With the Oura Ring, health self-monitoring reaches a perfect pinnacle of combining convenience, with useful and actionable information, with an unobtrusive and attractive design that actually makes me want to put it on.

The jury remains out on whether the Oura Ring can actually accurately detect COVID-19 or anticipate the onset of its symptoms, but regardless, it’s a fantastic personal health tracking device and a great tool for anyone looking to take more control over how they feel on a daily basis. And by actively establishing an individual baseline and comparing your actual overall state to that every day, Oura provides one of the best potential platforms for long-term personal wellness insight out there.

India smartphone shipments slashed in half in Q2 2020

Even the world’s second largest smartphone market isn’t immune to Covid-19.

Smartphone shipments in India fell 48% in the second quarter compared with the same period a year ago, the most drastic drop one of the rare growing markets has seen in a decade, research firm Canalys reported Friday evening.

About 17.3 million smartphone units shipped in Q2 2020, down from 33 million in Q2 2019, and 33.5 million in Q1 2020, the research firm said.

You can blame coronavirus for it.

New Delhi ordered a nationwide lockdown in late March to contain the spread of the virus that saw all shops across the country — save for some of those that sell grocery items and pharmacies — temporarily cease operation. Even e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Flipkart were prohibited from selling smartphones and other items classified as “non-essential” by the government.

The protracted lockdown lasted until mid-May after which the Indian government deemed that other stores and e-commerce deliveries could resume their services in much of country. New Delhi’s stringent measure explains why India’s smartphone market dipped so heavily.

China, the world’s largest smartphone market, in comparison saw only an 18% drop in shipments in the quarter that ended in March — the period when the country was most impacted by the virus. In Q1, when India was largely not impacted by the virus, smartphone shipments grew by 4% in the country. (Globally, smartphone shipments shrank by 13% in Q1 — a figure that is projected to only slightly improve to a  12% decline this year.)

“It’s been a rocky road to recovery for the smartphone market in India,” said Madhumita Chaudhary, an analyst at Canalys. “While vendors witnessed a crest in sales as soon as markets opened, production facilities struggled with staffing shortages on top of new regulations around manufacturing, resulting in lower production output.”

Smartphone shipment estimates for the Indian market through Q1 2019 to Q1 2020 (Canalys)

Despite the lockdown, Xiaomi maintained its dominance in India. The Chinese smartphone vendor, which has been the top smartphone vendor in India since late 2018, shipped 5.3 million smartphone units in the quarter that ended in June this year and commanded 30.9% of the local market, Canalys estimated.

With 3.7 million units shipment and 21.3% market share in India, Vivo retained the second spot. Samsung, which once ruled the Indian smartphone market and has made major investments in the country in recent months, settled for the third spot with 16.8% share.

Nearly every smartphone vendor has launched new handsets in India in recent weeks as they look to recover from the downtime and several more new smartphone launches are planned in the next one month.

But for some of these players the virus is not the only obstacle.

Anti-China sentiment has been gaining mindshare in India in recent months ever since more than 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a military clash in the Himalayas in June. “Boycott China” — and variations of it — has been trending on Twitter in India as a number of people posted videos destroying Chinese-made smartphones, TVs and other products. Late last month, India also banned 59 apps and services developed by Chinese firms.

Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, which now assumes the fourth spot in India, and other Chinese smartphone vendors command nearly 80% of the smartphone market in India.

Canalys’ Chaudhary, however, believes that these smartphone firms will be able to largely avoid the backlash as “alternatives by Samsung, Nokia, or even Apple are hardly price-competitive.”

Apple, which commands only 1% of the Indian smartphone market, was the least impacted among the top 10 vendors as iPhone shipments fell just 20% year-on-year to over 250,000 in Q2 2020, Canalys said.

Software will reshape our world in the next decade

As I was wrapping up a Zoom meeting with my business partners, I could hear my son joking with his classmates in his online chemistry class.

I have to say this is a very strange time for me: As much as I love my family, in normal times, we never spend this much time together. But these aren’t normal times.

In normal times, governments, businesses and schools would never agree to shut everything down. In normal times, my doctor wouldn’t agree to see me over video conferencing.

No one would stand outside a grocery store, looking down to make sure they were six feet apart from one another. In times like these, decisions that would normally take years are being made in a matter of hours. In short, the physical world — brick-and-mortar reality— has shut down. The world still functions, but now it is operating inside everyone’s own home.

This not-so-normal time reminds me of 2008, the depths of the financial crisis. I sold my company BEA Systems, which I co-founded, to Oracle for $8.6 billion in cash. This liquidity event was simultaneously the worst and most exhausting time of my career, and the best time of my career, thanks to the many inspiring entrepreneurs I was able to meet.

These were some of the brightest, hardworking, never-take-no-for-an-answer founders, and in this era, many CEOs showed their true colors. That was when Slack, Lyft, Uber, Credit Karma, Twilio, Square, Cloudera and many others got started. All of these companies now have multibillion dollar market caps. And I got to invest and partner with some of them.

Once again, I can’t help but wonder what our world will look like in 10 years. The way we live. The way we learn. The way we consume. The way we will interact with each other.

What will happen 10 years from now?

Welcome to 2030. It’s been more than two decades since the invention of the iPhone, the launch of cloud computing and one decade since the launch of widespread 5G networks. All of the technologies required to change the way we live, work, eat and play are finally here and can be distributed at an unprecedented speed.

The global population is 8.5 billion and everyone owns a smartphone with all of their daily apps running on it. That’s up from around 500 million two decades ago.

Robust internet access and communication platforms have created a new world.

The world’s largest school is a software company — its learning engine uses artificial intelligence to provide personalized learning materials anytime, anywhere, with no physical space necessary. Similar to how Apple upended the music industry with iTunes, all students can now download any information for a super-low price. Tuition fees have dropped significantly: There are no more student debts. Kids can finally focus on learning, not just getting an education. Access to a good education has been equalized.

The world’s largest bank is a software company and all financial transactions are digital. If you want to talk to a banker live, you’ll initiate a text or video conference. On top of that, embedded fintech software now powers all industries.

No more dirty physical money. All money flow is stored, traceable and secured on a blockchain ledger. The financial infrastructure platforms are able to handle customers across all geographies and jurisdictions, all exchanges of value, all types of use-cases (producers, distributors, consumers) and all from the start.

The world’s largest grocery store is a software and robotics company — groceries are delivered whenever and wherever we want as fast as possible. Food is delivered via robot or drones with no human involvement. Customers can track where, when and who is involved in growing and handling my food. Artificial intelligence tells us what we need based on past purchases and our calendars.

The world largest hospital is a software and robotics company — all initial diagnoses are performed via video conferencing. Combined with patient medical records all digitally stored, a doctor in San Francisco and her artificial intelligence assistant can provide personalized prescriptions to her patients in Hong Kong. All surgical procedures are performed by robots, with supervision by a doctor of course, we haven’t gone completely crazy. And even the doctors get to work from home.

Our entire workforce works from home: Don’t forget the main purpose of an office is to support companies’ workers in performing their jobs efficiently. Since 2020, all companies, and especially their CEOs, realized it was more efficient to let their workers work from home. Not only can they save hours of commute time, all companies get to save money on office space and shift resources toward employee benefits. I’m looking back 10 years and saying to myself, “I still remember those days when office space was a thing.”

The world’s largest entertainment company is a software company, and all the content we love is digital. All blockbuster movies are released direct-to-video. We can ask Alexa to deliver popcorn to the house and even watch the film with friends who are far away. If you see something you like in the movie, you can buy it immediately — clothing, objects, whatever you see — and have it delivered right to your house. No more standing in line. No transport time. Reduced pollution. Better planet!

These are just a few industries that have been completely transformed by 2030, but these changes will apply universally to almost anything. We were told software was eating the world.

The saying goes you are what you eat. In 2030, software is the world.

Security and protection no longer just applies to things we can touch and see. What’s valuable for each and every one of us is all stored digitally — our email account, chat history, browsing data and social media accounts. It goes on and on. We don’t need a house alarm, we need a digital alarm.

Even though this crisis makes the near future seem bleak, I am optimistic about the new world and the new companies of tomorrow. I am even more excited about our ability to change as a human race and how this crisis and technology are speeding up the way we live.

This storm shall pass. However the choices we make now will change our lives forever.

My team and I are proud to build and invest in companies that will help shape the new world; new and impactful technologies that are important for many generations to come, companies that matter to humanity, something that we can all tell our grandchildren about.

I am hopeful.