Monthly Archives: April 2018

The world’s most expensive „hotel” will be in space

The most expensive hotel will not be situated in Dubai, Seychelles or other exotic places. In 2021, Aurora station will be launched into orbit, which will be a hotel for very wealthy people. A 12-day stay in a space hotel will cost $ 9.5 million, and you can now pay a deposit of $ 80,000 to guarantee your seat.

Orion Span, technological start-up from the USA is responsible for the project. Frank Bunger is the CEO and founder of the company. The Aurora station will be able to accommodate 6 people at once – 4 guests and 2 crew members. The stay in space hotel will take 12 days, interestingly the company does not have its own rockets that would allow to transport the guests and crew to the station. In this regard, Orion Span is negotiating with Space X and Blue Origin for the purpose of lending them their rockets. The flight from Earth to the Aurora station would take 30 minutes and the station would be hanging 200 miles above the Earth. Although the first guests will have to pay as much as $9.5 million, President Frank Bunger says “I think by the mid-2020s, we’re going to see quite a bit of possibilities for getting up there, and the cost going down”.

Guests of the hotel will have the opportunity to stay in touch with the Earth through internet connectivity, as well as participate in experiments such as growing plants in space, which later could be brought to Earth as a souvenir. The company has also developed a special training program, which will be mandatory for anyone who wants to visit the Aurora station. However, the preparation for the flight will take only 3 months, which is a very short period compared to the NASA training program, which lasts up to 24 months.

Below you can watch a short movie with the visualization of the Aurora hotel.

 

Sources:

https://nypost.com/2018/04/06/inside-the-first-ever-space-hotel/

https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/aurora-station-luxury-space-hotel/index.html

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Spotify plans to launch hardware device

A few days ago, Spotify announced that it will announce some news on April 24th. So far, there has not been much information on this subject but it is speculated that it will be a hardware device for handling music in the car.

Spotify certainly has problems generating profit. The company’s revenues grow from year to year, but more and more money is given to artists. From the beginning, the company did not make any profit, but it recently announced a several billion profit in 2021. Spotify understood that they do not earn money on streaming music, which is why the company decided to release the device, which will be available for an additional fee.

Spotify’s in-car music device

According to The Verge, several existing customers of Spotify got an offer to purchase the device together with the above-mentioned device. The price ranged from $ 12.99 to $ 14.99 per month in subscription model. Customers were informed that the device would have built-in data transmission and could operate independently of the smartphone. There is also information that voice control will be available and the device will have support for Alexa’s assistant from Amazon. As part of the subscription, the user would receive a small, round device with buttons to control the device and the LED screen in the center.

It’s difficult to say whether this is a good decision and whether this device is actually needed. More and more cars are equipped with a radio with a Bluetooth module and the connection of a smartphone to the car radio takes a few seconds. For now, however, this is pure speculation, but the first pictures of the device have already appeared, which could indicate that the work on the device is already far advanced.

 

Sources:

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/4/6/17207452/spotify-car-music-player-hardware-leak

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidphelan/2018/04/07/hey-spotify-streaming-giant-rumored-to-launch-4g-smart-music-player-for-the-car/#1af95f342fe7

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South Korea is building Terminators

A few days ago the information was spread saying that KAIST is working on advanced war robots equipped with artificial intelligence. KAIST stands for “Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology”, a university and also a research institute that is responsible for many innovations in the field of robotics.

In order to create a war robots (allegedly), the university established cooperation with Hanwha Systems. The purpose of both brands is to create autonomous robots that will be able to kill the designated targets. As we can read on the corporate website: „As a defense electronics company, Hanwha Systems has significantly advanced the defense capabilities of South Korea’s military since the company was founded in 1978”. Hanwha Systems, with whom KAIST cooperates, is the largest arms producer in Korea and the main supplier of equipment for the South Korean military. It is also worth mentioning that the company is responsible for creating cluster bombs, which are prohibited in over 120 countries.

Boston Dynamic’s Atlas robot

Toby Walsh, a lecturer at the University of New South Wales, is the initiator of a boycott against both Hanwha Systems and the Korean university. Other scientists who worked mainly on artificial intelligence also joined the initiative. There are about 30 of them in total and they announced that they will not cooperate with KAIST so long as this one does not stop researching a new weapon. The president of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology – Sung-Chul Shin said, “I reaffirm once again that KAIST will not conduct any research activities counter to human dignity including autonomous weapons lacking meaningful human control”. It is worth mentioning that not only the Korean university is conducting research on advanced robots that could be used for military purposes. The most known company working on advanced robots is Boston Dynamics, which used to belong to Google (Alphabet).

 

Sources:

https://nypost.com/2018/04/05/south-korean-university-may-be-developing-killer-robots/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KAIST

https://www.hanwha.com/en/about_hanwha/history.html

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Netflix – Cable TV Slayer?

Although Netflix has been heard of as streaming video portal a few years ago, the company has been existing for over 20 years, the origins are dated at 1997. At the beginning it was a traditional cassette tape rental, and later on a DVD rental with a mailing option, which was quite new at that time. You could order your favorite movies online, and Netflix sent them to you by traditional mail. After watching the movies, clients sent back the DVDs by post , and Netflix charged for it several bucks. 2007 was a breakthrough for the company. First of all, the company boasted that it has already delivered more than one billion CDs by mail order, and in the same year they introduced the first content in the form of video streaming.

Netflix has been breaking records for several years, such as, for example, the stock market valuation, the amount of investment in new content or the number of subscribers. It is estimated that Netflix subscribers amount to 120 million people around the world. Taking into account that most accounts are used by several people, the number of Netflix recipients is slowly approaching half a billion. The company is already valued at over $ 120 billion and is year by year an increasingly serious threat to traditional cable networks. These are aware of the competition in the form of a large monopoly of on-demand content provider and they themselves introduce similar solutions to the offer. It seems to me that the days of traditional cable TV are already counted and their agony will not be long.

At the beginning of 2018, Netflix announced that this year it intends to invest about $ 8 billion in new content in just one year! In 2017, Netflix spent $ 6 billion on this purpose. These are very large numbers, and this means that every year its portfolio will be richer. A smart strategy for the series’ premieres causes that every month there are some new good shows introduced and it is difficult to resign from subscription.

Analysts predict that Netflix will at least double its value in the next 10 years. Interestingly, it is generating financial losses all the time, but the company is backed by investors who donated billions of dollars in several financing rounds. Analysts say Netflix will have a $ 3 billion loss this year, but in 2021 it will be $ 4 billion profit. So far, Netflix does not offer its services in China, and it is a market with huge potential that will certainly be exploited in the future.

 

Sources:

https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netflix

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/business/media/netflix-earnings.html

https://www.forbes.pl/biznes/netflix-liczba-subskrybentow-prognozy-do-2028-roku/6n6qml2

https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/NFLX/

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Spotify’s bizarre IPO

The stock exchange debut of Spotify – the largest music streaming service will be coming soon. However, this is not a normal Initial Public Offering (IPO), in which the founders or major shareholders decide to sell some part of the shares and let the company go public. Instead, Spotify will let the minority shareholders or investors who currently hold company shares sell their stake, the ones who could not get rid of them earlier. Generally speaking, this will not be a classic IPO, because Spotify as a company will not sell its shares, but minor investors will.

This will be the next big stock exchange debut of the tech giant after Snapchat company that went public in 2017. What is the reason for this debut? At least a few. Until now Spotify was a private company, which did not have to provide financial data, and thus the value of the company was unknown. After the debut, the market will verify the company’s financial data and evaluate it, so that existing shareholders get to know the true value of the company and will be able to withdraw from this investment (with profit or loss).

CEO – Daniel Ek during Spotify’s investor day in NYC

Various analysts have prepared different company valuations. The biggest ones are talking about $ 40 billion, which is very strange considering that Spotify generates huge financial losses every year and the founders themselves admit that it will be possible to generate profit only after achieving the effect of scale. Today, Spotify has around 70 million paid subscribers all over the world and it is not enough for the company to generate profit. Daniel Ek co-founder and CEO, calms down “Spotify has never been a normal kind of company … our focus is on the initial splash. Instead, we will be working on trying to build, plan, and imagine for the long term “.

On the other hand, existing investors believe in the company and do not plan to withdraw from the investment. Mitchell Green, the founder of Lead Edge Capital, one of the first investors of Spotify says that “Bulls on Wall Street think Spotify to generate $ 2 billion in operating profit in a few years.” Spotify founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon hold a total of 40% of the company’s shares and over 80% of votes at the general meeting of the company, which means that they are still in full power over the company.

 

Sources:

http://money.cnn.com/2018/04/02/investing/spotify-investor-ipo-lead-edge-capital/index.html

What to expect when Spotify goes public Tuesday

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