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Bulletins

Cruise just raised $2 billion

The autonomous car division of General Motors has secured new investment from Microsoft and further investment from Honda and GM as part of a new funding round, taking its valuation up to $30 billion.


Microsoft will work with Cruise to provide cloud and edge computing services via Azure.

Transforming 2021

The future of retail is hiding in an abandoned mall

The warehouse is moving closer to customers' houses as ecommerce eats the world of retail.

Microfulfillment centers could help retailers compete with the largest ecommerce companies.

Photo: Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The American mall has been decimated by the rise in ecommerce. But soon, it may also be their savior — sort of, at least.

Long before the pandemic kept people at home in front of their computers, buying everything they needed to see out lockdown online, malls were on the decline and ecommerce was on the rise.

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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

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The future of computing at the edge: an interview with Intel’s Tom Lantzsch

An interview with Tom Lantzsch, SVP and GM, Internet of Things Group at Intel

An interview with Tom Lantzsch

Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corporation

Edge computing had been on the rise in the last 18 months – and accelerated amid the need for new applications to solve challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Tom Lantzsch, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corp., thinks there are more innovations to come – and wants technology leaders to think equally about data and the algorithms as critical differentiators.

In his role at Intel, Lantzsch leads the worldwide group of solutions architects across IoT market segments, including retail, banking, hospitality, education, industrial, transportation, smart cities and healthcare. And he's seen first-hand how artificial intelligence run at the edge can have a big impact on customers' success.

Protocol sat down with Lantzsch to talk about the challenges faced by companies seeking to move from the cloud to the edge; some of the surprising ways that Intel has found to help customers and the next big breakthrough in this space.

What are the biggest trends you are seeing with edge computing and IoT?

A few years ago, there was a notion that the edge was going to be a simplistic model, where we were going to have everything connected up into the cloud and all the compute was going to happen in the cloud. At Intel, we had a bit of a contrarian view. We thought much of the interesting compute was going to happen closer to where data was created. And we believed, at that time, that camera technology was going to be the driving force – that just the sheer amount of content that was created would be overwhelming to ship to the cloud – so we'd have to do compute at the edge. A few years later – that hypothesis is in action and we're seeing edge compute happen in a big way.

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Saul Hudson
Saul Hudson has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, especially in understanding and targeting messages in cutting-edge technologies. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, in helping companies to build passionate audiences and accelerate their growth. Hudson has reported from more than 30 countries, from war zones to boardrooms to presidential palaces. He has led multinational, multi-lingual teams and managed operations for hundreds of journalists. Hudson is a Managing Partner at Angle42, a strategic communications consultancy.
The Retail Resurgence

Why it's 'almost like Christmas every day' for the trucking industry

Logistics firm C.H. Robinson's CEO Bob Biesterfeld on the future of shipping.

"I don't mean to over-dramatize that at all, but there's so much volatility in the market right now, and I think people are really working to project what the future looks like in a really uncertain environment," says C.H. Robinson CEO Bob Biesterfeld.

Photo: C.H. Robinson

This year, so many people have been stuck at home ordering everything they need to ride out the pandemic. But once that "buy" button has been pressed on a website, it falls upon an intricate network of logistics companies to actually get orders to consumers. This year has highlighted many of the pitfalls in U.S. supply chain infrastructure, but what do the companies on the front lines make of the situation?

"It's almost like Christmas every day," said Bob Biesterfeld, the CEO of C.H. Robinson, one of the largest trucking and logistics companies in the U.S. The entire shipping infrastructure that supports the retail industry has been under strain — both for orders placed online and for the rolls of toilet paper people have been hoarding from grocery stores — and relies on logistics firms like Robinson. The company has been investing heavily in new technology, both to better support customers in an increasingly uncertain world, and to keep up to date with more digital-first entrants into the industry. No one is ever prepared for a world-altering event like a pandemic, but the investments likely didn't hurt.

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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

Transforming 2021

Blockchain, QR codes and your phone: the race to build vaccine passports

Digital verification systems could give people the freedom to work and travel. Here's how they could actually happen.

One day, you might not need to carry that physical passport around, either.

Photo: CommonPass

There will come a time, hopefully in the near future, when you'll feel comfortable getting on a plane again. You might even stop at the lounge at the airport, head to the regional office when you land and maybe even see a concert that evening. This seemingly distant reality will depend upon vaccine rollouts continuing on schedule, an open-sourced digital verification system and, amazingly, the blockchain.

Several countries around the world have begun to prepare for what comes after vaccinations. Swaths of the population will be vaccinated before others, but that hasn't stopped industries decimated by the pandemic from pioneering ways to get some people back to work and play. One of the most promising efforts is the idea of a "vaccine passport," which would allow individuals to show proof that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in a way that could be verified by businesses to allow them to travel, work or relax in public without a great fear of spreading the virus.

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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

The Small Business Recovery

The technology that’ll help small businesses in the next pandemic

COVID-19 has accelerated all sorts of business transformations, but some just weren't quite ready yet.

Robotic deliveries are coming — but not in time for this pandemic.

Photo: Nuro

The weather is turning cooler and you realize you really need a new coat and a warmer face mask. You open your favorite shopping app with retailers from around your neighborhood, and see a coat and mask you like. You stand in front of the mirror, wearing your AR glasses, and try both items on. You like them and decide to buy them. The app triggers a drone to have the items delivered to you from a local fulfillment center a couple towns over. They'll be there in about 15 minutes. While you wait, you order some groceries, and the robot that's sent to deliver them tells you a friend also purchased you an arrangement from the florist down the road that will be in the order with your groceries. She says the flowers are to celebrate your birthday at home, seeing as parties are forbidden right now.

As much as the prospect of another life-altering pandemic is likely the last thing anyone wants to think about as the current one still rages on, experts say it's entirely possible that another one could breach our shores in the near future.

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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

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