Atmosphere Inspires is our regular curation of news and views from the digital sphere; the lead stories that are affecting you and your business. In this edition we’re looking at current mergers and acquisitions which are enabling businesses to grow and diversify in the tech world right now.
Retailer giant Walmart has made a number of connections this week: first up is Uber, assisting Walmart in expanding their delivery business. Keen to take advantage of every opportunity, Walmart also plans to team up with Google and rival Amazon’s Echo in the voice shopping market. If companies can be savvy and take advantage of key USP’s in other businesses, they may find they are able to complement and enhance their own offerings. Opportunities await for those not afraid to explore the options available.
Global management and technology consulting firm Accenture has acquired Wire Stone. Wire Stone creates integrated digital marketing campaigns and already has a proven track record, so it's another good match in a line of acquisitions from the bastions of consulting towards more digital first and design-led agency propositions.
Bitcoin miner BTCS has announced a new merger deal with Blockchain Global Limited. As mining Bitcoin becomes less lucrative, BTCS clearly have some difficult decisions ahead. Charles Allen, CEO of BTCS says the company wants to capitalise on blockchain opportunities. From the increasing realisation of the potential for blockchain, both in commercial and govtech applications, and the recent spike in crypto-currencies going public (known as an ICO) built upon distributed ledger technology, this is justified pivot for BTCS to approach.
If you're in a participating country you can now use Google Maps to book a ride directly with French startup company BlaBlaCar. By integrating with maps, this startup has done very well and is already rivalling french bus services thanks to its access and low cost model. Technology tie-ups are key to accelerating adoption, as Uber has proven with CityMapper (although JetPack and catapult sales are still slow).
According to advisory firm Hampleton Partners, UK tech M&A’s are booming, despite the unknowns which remain over Brexit. Hampleton says that many of these deals are happening because ‘non technology’ firms are looking to acquire or merge with technology firms. This is interesting: it seems that businesses are acquiring what they believe to be missing in order for them to grow and compete in their industries quickly. While acquisitions clearly indicate intention and desire for pace, what might be the balanced investment for developing their internal skills?
Another week, another chatbot: this time from Samsung which is investing in Korea’s Cyworld (Korea’s early social media platform) to create Bixby, available on the Galaxy S8 series smartphone. You may have noticed that companies are spending a lot of cash developing artificial intelligent personal assistants - plus they’re becoming smarter and more capable with each new introduction. In various guises, their impact on businesses therefore is likely to be high - take a look at this great roundup of chatbots from Wired, and see how they are already transforming businesses.