The wave of AI has taken over the world and the emerging competition in the industry calls for the expansion of technologies and businesses to thrive ahead of all. Although AI is becoming more and more powerful, its range of capabilities is still limited which encourages companies to join hands with other industry players. Through mergers and acquisitions, many organizations have increased productivity while cutting off the extra costs.
The year 2019 also witnessed a number of AI acquisitions and mergers which made the top headlines so far. These strategic expansions not only enhance the revenue but also improve the technological facet of the companies.
Here is a list of top 5 AI acquisitions that took place this year so far.
McDonald’s – Dynamic Yield
McDonald’s has acquired the personalization company Dynamic Yield. This is the former’s largest acquisitions in the past 20 years. Dynamic Yield works with different brands including e-commerce, travel, finance, and media.
According to McDonald’s, it will use Dynamic Yield’s technology to create a drive-thru menu. This drive-thru menu can be tailored to things like the weather, current restaurant traffic, and trending menu items. The menu display can also recommend additional items based on people’s preferences after they start ordering.
Additionally, the food chain company plans to integrate this technology into other digital products (self-serve kiosks and the McDonald’s mobile app). McDonald’s president and CEO Steve Easterbrook said, “Technology is a critical element of our Velocity Growth Plan, enhancing the experience for our customers by providing greater convenience on their terms. With this acquisition, we’re expanding both our ability to increase the role technology and data will play in our future and the speed with which we’ll be able to implement our vision of creating more personalized experiences for our customers.”
HP – MapR
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) acquired MapR business assets. The latter started off as a company focused on providing a cloud data platform. According to HPE, the transaction includes MapR’s technology, intellectual property, and domain expertise in AI, machine learning, and analytics data management.
HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri said – “MapR’s file system technology enables HPE to offer a complete portfolio of products to drive artificial intelligence and analytics applications and strengthens our ability to help customers manage their data assets end to end, from edge to cloud.”MapR will enhance HPE’s existing big data offerings, which includes the BlueData software it acquired in November.
Phil Davis, president, Hybrid IT, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, stated, “MapR’s enterprise-grade file system and cloud-native storage services complement HPE’s BlueData container platform strategy and will allow us to provide a unique value proposition for customers. We are pleased to welcome MapR’s world-class team to the HPE family.”
Nike – Celect
Nike has acquired Boston-based predictive analytics company Celect. The sports brand marked its latest acquisition in the hope to bolster its direct-to-consumer strategy. With the integration of Celect’s technology into Nike’s mobile apps and website, the latter can better predict what styles of sneakers and apparel customers want, when they want it and where they want to buy it. Chief Operating Officer Eric Sprunk explained, “Our goal is to serve consumers more personally at scale. We have to anticipate demand. We don’t have six months to do it. We have 30 minutes.”
The Boston based company’s founders will continue working as tenured professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and plan to consult with Nike on an ongoing basis as part of the deal.
Uber – Mighty AI
Uber acquired a Seattle startup Mighty AI, which develops training data for computer vision models. The vice president of software engineering for Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, Jon Thomason said, “The team at Mighty AI has built technology to the label at scale using the latest AI and user experience techniques. Training our AI at an increasing pace is critical to scaling our self-driving technology, and I look forward to bringing Mighty AI’s technology together with our existing labeling automation expertise to help us move even faster.”
Uber has acquired Mighty AI’s intellectual property, tooling, tech talent, and labeling community. More than 40 employees from Mighty AI have joined Uber at its Seattle engineering office. The clients of Mighty AI – Samsung, Microsoft, Intel, Accenture, Siemens, and others — have been notified regarding the shut-down of the company’s operations.
Cognex – Sualab
Cognex Corporation which is a leader in machine vision for factory automation and industrial barcode reading, acquired Sualab, a leading Korean-based developer of vision software using deep learning for industrial applications. The deal worth US$195 million. Sualab technology empowers inspection of the manufacturing industry by researching various machine vision systems. These machine vision systems can replace the human eye in the industrial field based on deep learning, machine vision, and supercomputing technologies.
On the other hand, Cognex Corporation is considered as the world’s leader in the machine vision industry, designing, developing, manufacturing, and marketing a wide range of image-based products. All of these products use AI techniques to gain human-like ability to make better decisions on what they see.
The acquisition is expected to extend Cognex Corporation’s deep learning capabilities. It is also likely to increase opportunities to automate difficult visual inspection tasks in industrial markets.