Tag: tests

12
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

China’s digital yuan tests leap forward in Shenzhen

Shenzhen, known for its maker community and manufacturing resources, is taking the lead in trialing China’s digital yuan.

Last week, the city issued 10 million yuan worth of digital currency to 50,000 randomly selected residents who applied. The government doled out the money through mobile “red envelopes,” a tool designed to digitize the custom of gifting money in red packets and first popularized by WeChat’s e-wallet.

“Red packets are a common way we’ve seen in China Internet companies to spur adoption like what we’ve seen with Tencent WeChat and Alibaba’s Alipay in the early days, when these products were first launched,” Flex Yang, CEO of crypto finance firm Babel Finance, told TechCrunch.

The digital yuan is not to be mistaken as a form of cryptocurrency. Rather, it is issued and managed by the central bank, serving as the statutory, digital version of China’s physical currency and giving Beijing a better grasp of its currency circulation. It’s meant to supplement, not replace, third-party payments apps like WeChat Pay and Alipay in a country where cash is dying out.

For example, the central government may in the future issue subsidies to local offices by sending digital yuan, which can help tackle issues like corruption.

Shenzhen is one of the four Chinese cities to begin internal testing of the digital yuan, announced a government notice in August without going into the specifics. The latest distribution to consumers is seen as the country’s first large-scale, public test of the centrally issued virtual currency.

Nearly 2 million individuals in Shenzhen signed up for the lottery, according to a post from the local government. Winners could redeem the 200 yuan red envelope within the official digital yuan app and spend the virtual money at over 3,000 retail outlets in the city.

There were previous indications of

12
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

China hands out $1.5 million of its digital currency in one of the country’s biggest public tests

  • Last week, the government in Shenzhen carried out a lottery to give away a total of 10 million yuan (about $1.5 million) worth of the digital currency.
  • The winners can now download a digital renminbi app to receive the digital yuan and spend it at over 3,000 merchants in a particular district of Shenzhen.
  • The digital yuan is not a cryptocurrency like bitcoin. Instead, it is issued and controlled by the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank.



a close up of Mao Zedong holding a piece of paper: A Chinese clerk counts renminbi yuan banknotes at a bank in China on December 2015.


© Provided by CNBC
A Chinese clerk counts renminbi yuan banknotes at a bank in China on December 2015.

GUANGZHOU, China — China has started one of the biggest real-world trials for its digital currency as it pushes closer toward creating a cashless future.

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Last week, the government in Shenzhen carried out a lottery to give away a total of 10 million yuan (about $1.5 million) worth of the digital currency. Nearly 2 million people applied and 50,000 people actually won.

The winners can now download a digital renminbi app to receive the digital yuan and spend it at over 3,000 merchants in a particular district of Shenzhen. The south China technology hub is home to some of the country’s biggest tech giants including Huawei and Tencent.

Local supermarkets and pharmacies are among the participating merchants as well as Walmart, according to a post by the Shenzhen government messaging app WeChat.

China has been pushing toward a cashless society.

The digital yuan is not a cryptocurrency like bitcoin. Instead, it is issued and controlled by the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank. It is not looking to replace digital wallets like Alipay or WeChat Pay. It will likely work together with them and other banks.

In comparison, Bitcoin is decentralized, which means it’s not owned and controlled

11
Oct
2020
Posted in software

Microsoft and Facebook vet leads nonprofit making software to improve COVID-19 rapid tests

Most of the Audere team, gathered together in pre-COVID times. (Audere Photo)

A Seattle-based nonprofit launched to provide digital health solutions for poorer countries is applying its expertise to help with COVID-19 testing.

Audere is building software for administering rapid result COVID tests that can be integrated into products being developed by U.S. manufacturers that use saliva or nasal swab samples.

“There is a critical need for rapid testing,” said Philip Su, CEO and founder of Audere. People are increasingly realizing that the widespread distribution of a vaccine is still many months away. The availability of accurate, inexpensive tests that provide results in minutes can help control the spread of the virus in the meantime, Su said.

Philip Su, Audere CEO and founder. (Audere Photo)

The tests — known generally as rapid diagnostic tests or RDTs — can have high rates of failure, though the basic concept is simple. Imagine a home pregnancy test, as an example. A liquid sample is applied to a testing device, the fluid travels across the testing material and triggers a chemical reaction if a target disease or hormone is present. That reaction is visible as a colored bar or other shape.

In the past 20 years, the tests have grown in popularity, particularly as tools used in low- and middle-income countries for detecting HIV and malaria. They can be administered in clinics by providers with limited medical expertise or by people at home.

The tests “are simple, easy to use, affordable and they’re stable,” said Roger Peck, a senior program officer in diagnostics at PATH, a longstanding global health nonprofit not affiliated with the project. “They’re becoming more and more commonplace, and really accepted by healthcare workers.”

But they’re not fail-proof. Studies show that the tests can give inaccurate results when people take the

07
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

4 Tests For Launching A Venture In The Pandemic

Times of rapid and dramatic change can shift the tectonic plates of opportunity. The current pandemic is such a time — meaning that leaders should looking for suddenly-surfaced opportunities around which to  build a new business.

How can you decide which of these new opportunities is the right one for you? I offer students In my Foundations of Entrepreneurial Management course at Babson College a way to think about this question. The most important principle to keep in mind is that most startup ideas people pitch to me don’t work because the founders are trying to solve the wrong problem.

Here are the four tests potential founders should apply to make sure their new venture idea is solving the right problem:

1. Compelling evidence of ‘customer pain.’

I have interviewed hundreds of company founders over the last 10 years and I’ve found that the most common reason they started their company was to solve a painful problem they faced in their own lives.

Many founders have told me that when they failed to find a company offering a solution to that problem, they started a company aiming to provide such a solution. If after a diligent search, you can’t find a solution to your problem, you can be fairly comfortable that you will not face initial competition from a large, more financially-solid rival.

Consider how the pandemic has destroyed old opportunities and created new ones. A fitness trainer saw that Covid-19 would slash demand for his business but with people riding bikes instead would create a need for bike repair.

According to the Wall Street Journal, that fitness trainer, “Ian Oestreich realized by early March that the coronavirus meant his days as a fitness trainer were numbered. So he began hawking his knack for fixing bikes, leading to the

30
Sep
2020
Posted in technology

Toyota-Backed Startup Successfully Tests Manned Electric Flying Car, Plans Launch By 2023

KEY POINTS

  • Tokyo-based SkyDrive successfully tests flying car
  • Startup claims its prototype is the smallest flying car
  • The vehicle may be commercially available in 2023

A Toyota-backed Japanese startup has said it successfully tested a manned flying car prototype, crossing a major milestone in the race to a trillion dollar futuristic industry that could transform urban transport. SkyDrive expects to market its flying car in Japan in 2023.

The company said its prototype is the smallest electric flying car. About 6.5 feet tall and 13 feet wide, the SD-03 prototype is a little bigger than a standard sedan. It can carry up to 500 kilograms and travel up to 60 kilometers/hour.

It hovered in an enclosed field in Japan before landing safely, the company said. It runs on electric motors that charge four pairs of rotors, lights and other parts.

SkyDrive chief technology officer Nobuo Kishi said the vehicle will be introduced commercially in 2023.

“I would like to help take the industry forward by introducing a lean development process while ensuring the same degree of safety as conventional aircraft, implementing advanced components, and employing innovative mass production processes learned from various industrial sectors,” Kishi said.

The company conducted unmanned tests on the vehicle in December 2018, December 2019 and March 2020. This was the first manned test.

SkyDrive, a 2-year-old startup based in Tokyo, raised $37 million in a Series B funding round on Sept. 1 led by investors like Sumitomo Mitsui and Development Bank of Japan, bringing its total funding since inception to $55 million.

SkyDrive joins other niche startups and major auto players invested in the future of urban mobility. Alibaba-backed Chinese startup Xpeng unveiled its electric flying car concept at the Beijing Auto Show on Saturday. Hangzhou-based Geely Automobile Group launched X-Chimera 25, an all-electric flying