TransferWise, the London-headquartered international money transfer service most recently valued by investors at $ 3.5 billion, has partnered with China’s Aliplay for international transfers.
The launch enables TransferWise’s now 7 million-plus users to be able to send Chinese yuan from 17 currencies to users of Alipay, which serves more than 1.2 billion people worldwide including via its local e-wallet partners.
Promising “instant” money transfers — under 20 seconds, apparently — TransferWise users simply need the recipient’s name and Alipay ID to initiate a money transfer. The money will then be sent to the bank account linked to the recipient’s Alipay profile.
It could be a potentially smart bit of business by TransferWise, which has sometimes struggled to secure the kind of partnerships that can accelerate its customer base and increase transaction volume. According to a 2019 report the fintech is citing, China is projected to be one of the top remittance recipient countries in the world, with £54bn expected to be sent back home by Chinese expats and migrants living abroad.
“The partnership is a major expansion for TransferWise as it reaches a new, additional market of people managing their money via the Alipay platform,” says the company.
With that said, Alipay is the second meaningful partnership that TransferWise has announced in the last few months. In November, it joined forces with GoCardless, the London fintech that lets customers pay via recurring bank payments (known as Direct Debits in the U.K.). GoCardless is used by more than 50,000 businesses worldwide, spanning multinational corporations to SMBs, and the partnership sees its own FX functionality powered by TransferWise.
Toyota is enlisting the help of startup Preferred Networks, a Japanese company founded in 2014 with a focus on artificial intelligence and deep learning, to help move forward its goal of developing useful service robots that can assist people in everyday life.
The two companies announced a partnership today to collaborate on research and development that will use Toyota’s Human Support Robot (HSR) robotics platform. The platform, which Toyota originally created in 2012 and has been developing since, is a basic robot designed to be able to work alongside people in everyday settings. Its primary uses involve offering basic car and support assistance in nursing and long-term care applications. Equipped with one arm, a display, cameras and a wheeled base, it can collect and retrieve items, and provide remote control and communication capabilities.
Preferred Networks already has some experience with Toyota’s HSR – it demonstrated one-such robot programmed to clean a room fully autonomously at Japan’s CEATEC robotics conference in 2018. The system could identify objects, responsd to specific human instructions and, importably pick up and put down objects it couldn’t define from its database in a safe manner.Toyota will be providing “several dozen” HSR units to Preferred Networks for the startup to work on, and then over the next three years, the two will collaborate on R&D, sharing the results of their work and the resulting intellectual property, with no restrictions on how either party uses the results of the joint work.
One of Toyota’s guiding goals as a company is to develop commercial home robotics that can work with people where they live. The automaker has a number of different projects in the works to make this happen, including through research at its Toyota Research Institute (TRI) subsidiary which works with a number of academic institutions. Toyota also recently revealed a number of robotics projects its bringing to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which will help it field test a number of its projects.
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Facebook will push users to register to vote through a partnership with TurboVote, has partnered with the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute nonprofits to monitor foreign election interference and will publish a weekly report of trends and issues emerging from its new political ads archive. Facebook has also confirmed that its election integrity war room is up and running and the team is now “red teaming” how it would react to problem scenarios such as a spike in voter suppression content.
These were the major announcements from today’s briefing call between Facebook’s election integrity team and reporters.
Much of the call reviewed Facebook’s past efforts, but also took time to focus on the upcoming Brazilian election. There, Facebook has engaged with over 1,000 prosecutors, judges and clerks to establish a dialog with election authorities. It’s partnered with three fact-checkers in the country and worked with them on Messenger bots like “Fátima” and “Projeto Lupe” that can help people spot fake news.
The voter registration drive mirrors Instagram’s plan announced yesterday to work with TurboVote to push users to registration info via ads. Facebook says it also will remind people to vote on election day and let them share with friends that “I voted.” One concern is that voter registration and voting efforts by Facebook could unevenly advantage one political party, for instance those with a base of middle-aged constituents who might be young enough to use Facebook but not so young that they’ve abandoned it for YouTube and Snapchat. If Facebook can’t prove the efforts are fair, the drive could turn into a talking point for congressional members eager to paint the social network as biased against their party.
The partnerships with the Institutes that don’t operate domestically are designed “to understand what they’re seeing on the ground in elections” around the world so Facebook can move faster to safeguard its systems, says Facebook’s director of Global Politics and Government Outreach Team Katie Harbath. Here, Facebook is admitting this problem is too big to tackle on its own. Beyond working with independent fact-checkers and government election commissions, it’s tasking nonprofits to help be its eyes and ears on the ground.
The war room isn’t finished yet, according to a story from The New York Times published in the middle of the press call. Still under construction in a central hallway between two of Facebook’s Menlo Park HQ buildings, it will fit about 20 of Facebook’s 300 staffers working on election integrity. It will feature screens showing dashboards about information flowing through Facebook to help the team quickly identify and respond to surges in false news or fake accounts.
Overall, Facebook is trying to do its homework so it’s ready for a “heat of the moment, last day before the election scenario” and won’t get caught flat-footed, says Facebook’s director of Product Management for News Feed Greg Marra. He says Facebook is “being a lot more proactive and building systems to look for problems so they don’t become big problems on our platform.” Facebook’s director of Product Management for Elections and Civic Engagement Samidh Chakrabarti noted, this is “one of the biggest cross-team efforts we’ve seen.”
Sonos is doubling down on the custom in-home audio market with new products and partnerships. The company today announced a new version of the Sonos Amp and a partnership with Sonance that will result in three architectural speakers — in-wall, in-ceiling and outdoor — that Sonos says will gain additional functionality when paired with a Sonos system.
Sonos is also announcing upcoming Control APIs that the company says will make it easier to integrate Sonos into the ever-evolving smart home. This jibes with Sonos’ long-standing approach of working with other platforms to offer its customers as many services as possible.
The new Amp allows owners to use traditional home audio speakers with a Sonos system. Connect a turntable or stream media with just the Amp and power a set of bookshelf speakers. According to the spec sheet, the Amp has enough power to push most high-end bookshelf speakers.
The Amp replaces the Connect:Amp. The new version is more powerful, works with more platforms and is more expensive at $ 599 rather than $ 499. This new version outputs 125 watts per channel at 8 ohms; it can power four speakers instead of two. The additional power makes the Amp more versatile than its predecessor, too. Sonos says the Amp can be used to add stereo sound to a TV (thanks in part to HDMI Arc support) or add wireless rears to a Sonos theater setup. Or, two Amps can be used to add a complete surround sound system. Multiple Amp units can be stacked or mounted in a rack.
The Amp works with AirPlay 2 and with Alexa when used in conjunction with an Amazon Alexa-enabled Sonos device like a Sonos One or Beam.
With a product like the Amp, Sonos has a new offering for those customers looking to integrate the convenient Sonos line into their high-end home theater setup. That’s a serious market, too, and the company’s new partnership with Sonance shows Sonos is committed to addressing the home audio enthusiast while building products to compete with Apple and Amazon.
Together, they will produce in-wall speakers that when used with a Sonos Amp will offer additional functionality. The company stopped short of detailing the added functionality. These speakers are set for an early 2019 release.
This is Sonos’ first large announcement after going public on August 2.
That’s why we’re announcing Google Measurement Partners, a program that brings together new and existing partnerships to offer brands a variety of options to measure their advertising media.
The program is launching with 20+ verified partners across seven specializations: viewability, reach, brand safety, brand lift, sales lift, app attribution, and marketing mix modeling. Partners offer various solutions that work across Google advertising products, including Google Marketing Platform (including Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360), Google Ads, YouTube, and more. Existing partner programs like App Attribution and Marketing Mix Modeling are now included in Google Measurement Partners.
Our launch partners are recognized leaders within their focus areas and provide solutions widely used by the industry. They meet rigorous standards for accuracy and use reliable methodologies to measure KPIs that matter for marketers. And we work closely with them to ensure the solutions respect user privacy.
With trust and transparency at its foundation, Measurement Partners continues our commitment to providing both quality and choice when it comes to measuring performance and helping marketers better understand their customers. Alongside our partners, we’ll keep working to establish commonly accepted standards and advanced measurement solutions that help raise the bar for the industry.
Posted by Babak Pahlavan, Senior Director of Product Management, Analytics Solutions and Measurement
Earlier this week we announced Google Marketing Platform, which brings together DoubleClick Digital Marketing and the Google Analytics 360 Suite into a single solution to plan, buy, measure and optimize customer experiences across channels and devices. But we all know having great technology is only part of the solution. You also need people with the expertise and knowledge to fully take advantage of everything the technology enables. It’s not unlike relying on Sherpas to help guide you from basecamp to the summit. You may be able to make the ascent on your own, but engaging a team of experts with a track record of success greatly improves your chances of making the summit. That’s why we’re excited to announce Google Marketing Platform Partners, a new program designed to ensure you have access to all the resources you need to get the most value from Google Marketing Platform.
A robust ecosystem of skilled practitioners and companies
More than just a replacement for the existing programs, Google Analytics Certified Partners and the DoubleClick Certified Marketing Partners, the new program is designed to provide a robust ecosystem of resources, no matter your needs. The foundation of the program is scaled training and capability-building across all the Google Marketing Platform products. Whether you’re looking to build skills in-house or partner with a service provider, the program helps ensure the needed skills and resources are readily available. With more than 500 companies in the program at launch, including leading interactive agencies, system integrators, and top technology, data and media companies, you’ll be able to find a partner to support multiple facets of your business.
Three unique designations
From skill-building to broader, strategic partnerships and technology reselling, the program is designed to deliver the range and quality of expertise you expect:
Certified Individuals: To help increase the talent pool available supporting the Google Marketing Platform, individuals will be able to access a growing library of self-study materials and complete individual product certifications. Successful completion signals an individual’s expertise with specific Google Marketing Platform products.
Certified Companies: Certified Companies provide consulting, training, implementation, operations and technical support services for Google Marketing Platform. These companies not only have individuals certified in one or more products, but they have a high level of knowledge, practical and industry experience, as well as stellar customer references. These strict requirements ensure they have both the expertise and a proven ability to deliver results.
Sales Partners: Sales Partners are Google Marketing Platform experts, just like Certified Companies, but partner more closely with Google in providing consulting and support services, in addition to selling the technology on our behalf.
Get started today
Whether you’re looking to add talent to your team, up-level your current talent, or complement your team with a partner company, Platform Partners offers a trusted source to help close the gaps. And we’ll continue to build out additional skill-building resources, refine our certifications and add new partners covering more countries and languages. To get started on taking your marketing to even greater heights, browse our current Partners to find a partner equipped to help you get the most from your investment in Google Marketing Platform.
Posted by Chip Hall, Managing Director, Media Platforms
Boston-based private equity shop Berkshire Partners announced this afternoon that it is acquiring Accela — a nearly 20 year old startup that sells regulatory management solutions to government clients. Accela has gone through a troika of CEOs in the last year. Previously acting CEO Mark Jung replaced Maury Blackman last October who had managed the company for about a decade. We… Read More
Enterprise – TechCrunch
Facebook has made no secret of its wish to do more in the online recruitment market — encroaching on territory today dominated by LinkedIn, the leader in tapping social networking graphs to boost job-hunting. Today, Facebook is taking the next step in that process. Facebook will now integrate with ZipRecruiter — an aggregator that allows those looking to fill jobs to post ads to… Read More
Social – TechCrunch
To beat Facebook and Google’s duopoly, Snapchat needs advertisers to build and buy campaigns with confidence. So today it’s announcing the Snap Publisher tool for building vertical video creative, it’s rolling out its self-serve Ad Manager, and its launching a Snapchat Certified Partners program to connect advertisers to trained third-party ad tech tool providers. Together,… Read More
Social – TechCrunch