This Week in Tech: Cloud, Privacy & Uber Make Waves

Hello from SHIFT, bringing you this week’s roundup of the most notable news from the technology world. These are the stories that have caught our B2B tech PR team’s eye:

Uber makes its IPO

The much talked about Uber IPO filing finally landed Thursday after markets closed. Uber Technologies filed its IPO prospectus, reporting its 2018 revenue – and losses of $1.8 billion, quite out of the norm for a company right before they go public. Still, this could value Uber around $100 billion and be one of the biggest technology IPOs ever.

Uber is so entrenched in our day-to-day lives and has completely disrupted the market, but how it performs as a public company is yet to be seen. Still, what Uber has made clear is there’s a new order when it comes to how technology companies are valued, as shown in the “Monthly Active Platform Consumers” number it reported on in the filing. Physical assets and products aren’t the only measure of worth – platforms that make connections and provide services, and the complex technologies behind them, are worth a lot in today’s on-demand economy.

Tech infrastructure takes center stage in real estate

An article in The New York Times sheds light on just how important “high-tech” has become to commercial real estate. Corporate office developers used to be able to get away with building in the basics: plumbing, heating, walls, electricity. Now, it’s not just location and floor plan wooing tenants. It’s advanced technology capabilities. This spans telecommunications infrastructure, video screens, smart windows that self-tint and more. Internet connectivity was another big one, with one major development project in Cambridge, Massachusetts laying 10 miles of fiber-optic cable for uninterrupted Wi-Fi in every part its six office buildings with 2.1 million square feet of space. These examples are likely just the beginning of what’s to come, and a trend that hardware, software, “smart” device, IoT and many other companies will have play in as high-tech real estate expands.

Amazon workers are listening to your conversations

Apparently, thousands of people are employed by Amazon to listen to voice recordings captured by Amazon Echo devices. Bloomberg explains it’s part of an initiative to “eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands,” but it’s a bit unsettling to know employees and contractors around the world are reviewing audio clips from our home lives.

In the age of smart devices and GDPR, diligence around privacy policies and data sharing is key for both consumers and businesses. But with people wanting everything personalized (from Netflix movies, to Amazon product suggestions, to relevant Instagram ads), there is a trade-off between privacy and sharing data to fuel those experiences. The good news? There’s an option in Amazon Echo and Alexa’s privacy settings to disable the use of our personal voice recordings for the development of new features.

The cloud wars continue

The rivalry for cloud market share continues – in the government sector. The Pentagon announced this week Amazon and Microsoft were the final two candidates in a $10 billion bid for a cloud computing contract with the Defense Department. This cloud migration project is one of the largest federal IT contracts in history. And while many enterprises are employing multi-cloud strategies, meaning they run different applications and tools through different cloud providers, this contract will go to just one cloud vendor.

AWS is the dominant cloud platform today, with Microsoft and Google as other major players. But with the global cloud computing market expected to reach $278B by 2021, and cloud success reliant on players in infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS), there’s a lot of opportunity to go around.  

Related pro tip

Want to hone in on trends to fuel your PR program? There’s lots of data and tools we can tap into to uncover new storylines and areas of opportunity. Check out the resources on the SHIFT blog that can help. Try starting with How to Research Industry Trends Hassle Free, which provides an overview of easy ways to research industry trends. Or, just give us a call!

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