Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen. Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.

Donald Trump this week signed an extension of last year’s national emergency declaration aimed at barring commercial trade with certain foreign telecom companies. The extension comes nearly a year to the day after the first order, this time extending things through May of 2021.

Per the original language, the order invokes the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to “deal with the threat posed by the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of information and communications technology… supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries.”

Specifically, it’s aimed at Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE, against which the administration has levied all manner of national security complaints. Chief among them are accusations of government-tied spying and violations of sanctions against countries like North Korea and Iran.

Huawei has been especially hard hit, as the ban restricts the manufacturer’s use of Google app — a massive blow to its software ecosystem. Numbers from analyst firm Canalys earlier this month note than the company’s shipments have declined by 35% in markets outside of its native China. It’s true that the market was already on rocky ground for all manufacturers even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but Huawei’s plummet is four times that of Apple’s in non-China markets, per the firm.

The company has been working on its own in-house alternatives to key Google apps. In the meantime, however, Huawei is going to have to rely on sales of older devices, while shipping new flagships without the necessary apps.


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While The Inside already offers a range of made-to-order furniture like beds, headboards, chairs and ottomans, it’s aiming for the center of your living room today with the launch of its first sofa collection.

Founded by CEO Christiane Lemieux (who previously founded Dwell Studio and sold it to Wayfair) and COO Britt Bunn (who previously worked at One Kings Lane), The Inside uses technologies like digital printing and 3D modeling to rethink the furniture-buying experience — customers can choose from a variety of furniture models and fabrics, then the company will make the furniture from scratch and deliver it within weeks.

When I met with The Inside’s executive team a few weeks ago, Lemieux repeated the company’s motto of taking customers “beyond the beige,” helping them create a home that isn’t just filled with the same boring furniture as everyone else.

“We want you to love your life,” she said. “When you walk into your house, that should be the ultimate destination.”

Bunn, meanwhile, suggested that the sofa launch represents a culmination of the work the company has been doing to build out its supply chain and develop its technology.

“That’s really the centerpiece of the home, one of the first things you buy when you move into a new apartment,” she said. “We want to take all of the value props we’ve been honing for accent furniture and bring that to the sofa category. Yes, people care about price and speed, but we also want someone to feel excited and inspired to pick from one of our hundred-plus fabrics.”

The collection includes prints created in partnership with Scalamandré, SF Girl by Bay, Refinery29’s Christene Barberich, Homepolish’s Katherine Carter and fashion designers Peter Som and Clare V. The Inside says those designs can be paired with six different frames, ranging from modern sofas (where prices start at $ 1,600) to slipcover sectionals (prices start at $ 3,000), all deliverable within four weeks.


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Users of Amazon’s voice assistant will soon be able to talk to Alexa in Hindi. Amazon announced today that it has added a Hindi voice model to its Alexa Skills Kit for developers. Alexa developers can also update their existing published skills in India for Hindi.

Amazon first revealed that it would add fluent Hindi to Alexa last month during its re: MARS machine learning and artificial intelligence conference. Before, Alexa was only able to understand a few Hinglish (a portmanteau of Hindi and English) commands. Rohit Prasad, vice president and head scientist for Alexa, told Indian news agency IANS that adding Hindi to Alexa posed a “contextual, cultural as well as content-related challenge” because of the wide variety of dialects, accents and slang used in India.

Along with English, Hindi is one of India’s official languages (Google Voice Assistant also offers Hindi support). According to Citi Research, Amazon holds about a 30 percent market share, about the same as its main competitor, Walmart-backed Flipkart.


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In China, striving for accuracy in a piece of facial recognition software isn’t enough. As Alibaba’s e-wallet affiliate Alipay has recently demonstrated, the way software presents a user’s look is also crucial to its success.

On Tuesday, Alipay announced on social media platform Weibo (in Chinese) that it’s added beauty filters to its pay-with-face system inside the app. Within a week, the feature will roll out across retail stores equipped with Alipay’s face-scanning solutions.

“We are going to make you look even prettier than with a beauty camera. I bet you’ll be impressed,” Alipay wrote on Weibo.

The new feature was created to address complaints that facial recognition machines make people look ugly. A new poll (in Chinese) ran by news portal Sina Technology showed that more than 60% of respondents think they look uglier through the next-gen payments method than on a regular camera. This could be a real concern for beauty-obsessed people who, at a busy supermarket checkout, find their face displayed unflatteringly on a large computer screen.

The chase of beauty in China has spawned a handful of movers and shakers in the internet space, from Hong Kong-listed selfie-app maker Meitu to plastic surgery marketplace Soyoung that recently raised $ 180 million from a Nasdaq public listing.

Will WeChat Pay, the payments solution of messaging giant WeChat, follows Alipay’s shadow to build a similar offering? Beauty filters can be a competitive advantage to a business, if not a necessity. In an effort to draw more female users, smartphone maker Xiaomi recently joined hands with Meitu to develop new models that place more focus on selfies, stickers and graphics.

Alipay boasts more than one billion monthly active users of late. WeChat doesn’t break out the number for its payments segment but said in March the service processed more than one billion daily transactions.


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