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September 24, 2022

Equity.Guru

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nervous

This Week in Tech: Nervous System Override and Accelerated Culture Edition

Does anyone get nervous when thinking about technology? Maybe I’ve read too much dystopian sci-fi, or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been figuratively steeped in academic science and tech analysis and spent the majority of my teen years marinating in 90’s misanthropic existential angst and distrust of government, and science, and people in general.

Granted, it doesn’t help when social media continually verifies my prejudices about the inherent tribalism and psychological violence of people in large numbers with every click of Facebook or Twitter icon.

Then of course governments want their cut, and if they can make a buck in collusion Silicon Valley, all’s the better. Right?

So you’ll excuse me if I don’t exactly see the positives with a lot of the tech that I’m following.

Let’s start with my favourite—a revolutionary technology that will probably lead to the complete obliteration of our privacy.

Of course I’m talking about:

Blockchain

Color Star Technology wants to offer you tea in the metaverse

One of my final entries for the Crypto version of this weekly roundup featured a nervous theme about existential absurdity—because face it, most of this whole blockchain thing, including the metaverse and coins that have superposition of value based on your perception of them is pretty damn absurd.

Well, Color Star Technology (CSCW.Q) added a whole new depth of absurdity to the metaverse this week.

Camus would’ve well, maybe not approved, but definitely given a nod of nervous recognition. Baudrillard would probably be picketing.

“In the past two years, affected by the pandemic, many branded restaurants have begun to open new channels to seek more diversified development. In 2021, the metaverse trend was blowing around the world, and fast-food restaurants have seized the opportunity, a lot of which registered Metaverse-related trademark content, released limited virtual blind boxes and virtual brand ambassadors. Hence, the merchants ushered in the spring season again. Moreover, based on the current Metaverse trend, the cooperation between Color Star and Star Space will bring the platform with more vitality and commercial profitability.”

It took me a bit to decipher what this and the rest of the press release meant, but what’s essentially happening here is that brands are taking on a digital persona in the various patches of the metaverse. Later on, they mention that you can order tea at their tech and fantasy inspired headquarters in the metaverse, and there will be an offline and online linkage between the two facets of catering.

So essentially, you’ll be able to have your avatar in the metaverse order food or a coffee or maybe cheesecake from a metaverse analog of a real world restaurant, and presumably the real-world version will get its food delivery on and have it to your real world door, so you can mime eating it with your avatar while you actually eat it in real life.  It brings a whole new dimension to online dating.  Twice the cost and half the nervous anxiety.

Meanwhile, the caterer, the restaurant and everyone in the transaction gets revenue, while you get fat because exercise in the metaverse does nothing for you, and your avatar—well, it’s a pixelated NFT, so it stays exactly the same shape. Presumably buff or Bob Dylan or maybe a dragon, because why not?

I can’t possibly be the only one who finds this whole metaverse thing to be extremely disconcerting.

Eplay brings their sports offerings to the metaverse – big tech is gonna love this

Depending on who you ask, the metaverse is either going to be the biggest, most extravagant technology since the internet. It’s going to facilitate the bringing together of the masses in unity and harmony, and punish all the dog kickers and corrupt bankers and right all the wrongs and … okay. It’s hyperbole, but it’s not far off from the tone they actually take and that’s what’s so funny about the metaverse. The other pole of this nervous spectrum—and it’s still a decently new argument (I’ve only heard two people make it) is that it’ll be the best gift in terms of giving up our sovereignty and privacy we could give to our corporate overlords. Nervous yet?

Imagine an entire platform full of items where you literally buy everything from the trees to the house to the land to the people, clothing, brands, water-features and anything else—in the form of a non-fungible token.

A veritable goldmine for data miners, no?

Yes.

Regardless, ePlay Digital (EPY.C) released Klocked Word, itself a virtual and augmented reality sports metaverse. It has its own real estate platform where you can buy property, courses, fields, baseball diamonds and famous sports real estate. The first lots for sale are in London and Paris.

Here’s a list of structures you can get NFT’d up to go in your private metaverse:

  • Scoreboards
  • Leaderboards
  • Buildings
  • Loot boxes
  • Events
  • Hot dog stands
  • Stores
  • Casinos

The new platform will let you participate, host, profit and design sporting events, challenges, digital assets, sneakers, uniforms, gear, trophies, broadcasts and other content for major ePlay games and apps like Fan Freak and Klocked. All evidently using the same core components as the Decentraland metaverse, because everything you can make will be compatible with its builder for creating interoperable sports metaverse.

Let’s exit stage left from blockchains, NFTs and the metaverse and veer headlong into something else entirely. We’ll return here soon enough, we can be sure.

Artificial Intelligence

Visionstate rolls out ViCCi 2.0 customer service kiosk

Visionstate (VIS.V) confirmed the soft launch of their ViCCi 2.0 customer service kiosk today. What’s got me curious, though, is that it’s powered by a conversational chat bot artificial intelligence. There aren’t any specs on the AI, but I’d be interested in chatting with it and seeing what it’s like. Especially given the stories about the bot launched on social media that turned into a Nazi almost overnight.

Either way, I won’t be able to find out until the spring of 2022 for the official launch at an unnamed large Canadian shopping centre. If it’s Metrotown, I’ll be there with bells on.  I don’t know about you, but I for one welcome our robotic overlords.

“The potential application for this new technology is enormous,” said John Putters, Visionstate chief executive officer. “Already, most on-line retailers providing products or services use AI to address the vast majority of questions a consumer may have. We are now taking this technology to physical locations, using conversational AI as a tool to communicate with consumers and collect important analytics that will help shape retailing strategies.”

Visionstate is incorporating conversational AI into the ViCCi 2.0 platform for on-site customer service using artificial intelligence. It will have the platform to support consumers through its ability to be modified to support various languages.

mCloud wants to bring ESG to Saudi Arabia

mCloud Technologies (MCLD.V) inked a memorandum of understanding with Aramco to kick the tires on a development program for a digital tech hub for delivering environmental, social and governance solutions in Saudi Arabia.

The hub would give both parties license to develop AI-powered innovations in an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint of complex energy intensive assets throughout Saudi Arabia and beyond. Lovely how vague that is, huh?

“This MOU with Aramco is the largest, most ambitious agreement signed by mCloud to-date and is the basis for tremendous growth and innovation,” said Russ McMeekin, mCloud President and CEO. “As the world’s largest integrated energy and chemicals company, Aramco is driving the digitalization of oil and gas and the adoption of advanced technologies to decarbonize and drive positive ESG outcomes.”

Becoming a bit more clear.

mCloud acquired Saudi-based Virtual Vision, a cloud computing services company, and they’re hoping to leverage the company’ infrastructure to deliver next-gen ESG-focused apps powered by mCloud’s AssetCare platform. Specifically, what they’re looking to do is provide AI solutions for asset performance management, visual inspection to drive reliability and asset integrity, as well as fugitive gas and leak detection, mobile connected work and digital facility management.

Tenet rebrands and hopes to escape past woes

Fintech and AI-based service provider Tenet Fintech Group (PKK.C) kicked off their rebranding campaign this week. The reasons are the usual ones: it’s in response to their company’s growth and a renewal of its corporate vision. Or something.

“Tenet’s new visual identity is more modern and inviting and we believe better reflects our corporate vision, mission, and its evolution. Given our focus on global expansion and business development, it was the appropriate time to rebrand our company to bring a fresh look as we enter new markets,” said Johnson Joseph, chief executive officer of Tenet Fintech.

This company used to be Peak Fintech, based out of China and the brand revamp is likely as a result of a failed attempt to list their shares on the NASDAQ, which didn’t go well for them after they had announced they were going to list as of September 9th and were forced to backtrack. Naturally, after which came the short-selling campaign, and the negative publicity that comes from such.

Now they’re hoping to turn things around with a brand change.

Now let’s talk about medical technologies.

MedTech

Bad business comes to light for CloudMD’s VisionPros

There’s risk associated with every acquisition. In this case, it’s you don’t know what calibre of business these folks were doing prior to being acquired by CloudMD Software and Services (DOC.V). Regardless, though, if their VisionPros subsidiary was a little lax in terms of certain suppliers for repayment of rebates and reassessments, that’s not on them anymore.

CloudMD is a vertically integrated healthcare tech company with a platform that combines multiple different aspects of healthcare into one convenient package.

The dollar amount attached is $3.73 million and they’re from alleged violations of existing distribution agreements VisionPros had with these suppliers related to business prior to the acquisition.

To CloudMD’s credit they’re taking ownership of it and taking steps to rectify the situation.

Their board has authorized an audit committee to go over the claims and business, dot the i’s and cross the t’s, and determine what needs to be done. It could include a holdback of 1,090,909 shares and $ million in cash from the acquisition agreement. Because seriously. It was their screwup, and it should come out of their pocket.

Just makes sense.

Perimeter Medical Imaging raises $48.7 million

Perimeter Medical Imaging AI (PINK.V) closed a private placement and pulled in $48.7 million this week, including a $43.4 million investment by the company Social Capital.

“This strategic partnering with Social Capital comes at a time when we are ramping up our Perimeter S-Series market development activities and commercialization efforts across the U.S., while also supporting the ongoing clinical development of our next-gen AI technologies. We are very optimistic that the Private Placement will allow the Company to unlock additional growth and potential and we thank Social Capital for its support and endorsement of our vision to transform cancer surgery with ultra-high resolution, real-time, advanced imaging tools,” said Jeremy Sobotta, Perimeter’s CEO.

The proceeds will go towards working capital, commercialization of Perimeter’s tech, as well as clinical studies and other developmental factors for Perimeter’s tech.

Vitalhub gets the Beautiful Information, and rakes in some solid recurring revenue

Vitalhub (VHI.V) acquired Beautiful Information (BI) in an all-share deal for a purchase price of 1.55 million pounds sterling, or roughly USD$2.1 million.

BI offers realtime information to the National Health Service (NHS) trusts to help with planning and resources for clinical services to meet hourly fluctuations in patient flow. They provide solutions across a range of U.K. NHS organizations. BI will make a nice addition to Vitalhub’s portfolio of patient flow product offerings.

It’s not a bad deal for Vitalhub, actually. BI brought in revenue of approximately one million pounds sterling (roughly $1.34 million), and the company anticipates about sixty percent of that to be recurring.

“Adding Beautiful Information’s solutions to our existing suite of patient flow and operational visibility products will serve to increase our customer base, while expanding our technology and advisory capabilities. The BI team brings extensive health care data expertise across the NHS and, when combined with our existing Alamac and Transforming Systems products, creates strong synergies that position Vitalhub as the leader in the U.K. for these types of solutions,” said Dan Matlow, Vitalhub’s CEO.

And finally into another tech will ultimately grow too powerful for us to control and enslave us.  Nervous yet?

Or maybe just provide the world with the world’s best calculator. It’s anyone’s guess, really.

AR/VR

ImagineAR gets a mobile app AR deal with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds

ImagineAR’s (IP.C) latest two year agreement with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC of the USL Championship is structured as structured as a revenue sharing partnership in terms of the augmented reality activations and sponsorships involved. The team is intending to launch the partnership in March of this year.

“We are excited to bring augmented reality to the Riverhounds. ImagineAR will help us deliver content and enhance the experience for Riverhounds fans. Having worked with ImagineAR in my previous position in MiLB, we were successful in keeping our fans engaged with our partnership during the pandemic. We are excited to be the first USL client for ImagineAR and plan to bring our soccer fans into the metaverse this season,” said Vic Gregovits, president of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

Augmented reality and virtual reality are gateways to the metaverse, to be sure. There, presumably you could meet your sports heroes, or a reasonable facsimile thereof (meaning it could be an assistant hired by the company to wear the avatar of your hero and you’d never know) so this deal could be lucrative.

Still can’t get over the nervous feeling that this is all crap.

Because let’s face it. ImagineAR doesn’t exactly have the best track record. But you have to admit—the Riverhounds aren’t exactly a well-known or top-tier team, so this deal may be legit. It’s easier to keep your promises when you’re promising bush league.

We’ll see.

—Joseph Morton

Full Disclosure: Perimeter Medical Imaging is an equity.guru marketing client.

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