The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning has recently accelerated due to: 1) access to faster, cheaper computing power, 2) easier application development due to the release of various open source software frameworks, and 3) increased capabilities of AI due to new techniques such as deep learning. Due to
these innovations, we believe an AI arms race may be breaking out, with large tech companies racing to monetize their unstructured proprietary data sets ahead of the competition.
We see two key areas: 1) Big Data. AI can mine immense, non-standardized data sets and categorize and provide insights on the data. We believe that hyperscale Read the Full Article
Alibaba started as an eCommerce Company. Since 2009, senior management has set a goal of transforming Alibaba into a data company. Its data ecosystem is built to collect, process, and utilize all types of user data to improve the customer experience and facilitate commerce. In the last two years, it has successfully become a mobile commerce company that connects digital commerce, media, and entertainment. The foundation is set to transform Alibaba into a leading data commerce company that leverages big data / cloud computing to upgrade all of its businesses, ecosystem partners, and customers.
In the last two years, Alibaba has successfully become an mCommerce (mobile commerce) company, in our view. The success of its mobile transition Read the Full Article
Indian Internet / eCommerce Companies are focusing on Consumer Loyalty / Spend and Retention, as opposed to primary focus on GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) earlier. We believe this may be a function of limited availability of capital, leading companies to focus on cash generation. Post government regulations that curtailed discounts, companies seem to have done away with the same; most discounts being seen online are being offered by sellers/brands themselves. Amazon has established clear Lead on Website and narrowing the lead with Flipkart on Mobile App.
Customer recall, retention and loyalty are key metrics monitored by companies now, as opposed to an overwhelming focus on GMV earlier. While standard MAUs and app installs are also tracked, orders from repeat customers, and frequency of ordering Read the Full Article
Before wide-spread server virtualization (mid 2000s), corporate IT departments would order a server, wait days or weeks for it to be delivered, install an operating system (usually Windows Server) and then run that server, in support of one application or one part of an application. A significant issue in this pre-virtualization world was maximizing server compute resource utilization by properly matching a server’s compute resources with the necessary computing power needed for an application. Many times, servers would only be needed for part of computing resource, as the hardware needed to be sized for “peak” load. This led to significant inefficiencies in hardware, where as little as 5% of a server’s resource was used by a single application.
Then came server virtualization. Virtualization “slices up” server compute resources to where multiple applications can use the resources of one server, drastically increasing utilization. Each “slice” of a server’s compute resources Read the Full Article
Baidu is the biggest search engine in China. Searching on Baidu.com or Baidu Mobile App is very easy and contains a great amount of content. According to Baidu, over 10% of mobile Baidu search is for local services, and Mobile Baidu has MAU of 630 mn.
Baidu’s founding team believed then that developing bleeding edge Internet applications is the only way to survive and grow. Thus they developed their own mapping platform – Baidu Maps. As Baidu Map is equipped with search nearby functions, more and more users are using it as a local service discovery channel (Local Express) as they can find out the location and distance of service providers and navigate easily. This type of discovery also has a high conversion ratio Read the Full Article
The growth in e-commerce in India is also giving a boost to a wide array of players that are directly or indirectly part of the e-commerce ecosystem. These include manufacturers of packaging material, 3PL (third-party logistics) providers that provide tailor-made solutions for e-commerce, IT companies that help retailers in transitioning from offline to online or provide digital marketing / data analytics services to e-commerce players and traditional media companies that are benefiting from the rising advertising spending of Internet businesses.
Logistics is where the promise of online gets the offline reality check. The challenges of catering to geographically diverse customers and an inadequate and underdeveloped logistics infrastructure are further compounded by complex tax regulations. Given these complexities, some e-commerce players have built inhouse logistics companies (e.g., E-Kart of Flipkart and Amazon Logistics of Amazon) for superior Read the Full Article