Weekend update: IBM's blockchain shipping platform expands, AI sets its sights on the music industry and sound advice for data scientists

Innovation Enterprise's Weekend update returns with news of multimillion-dollar funding for sports innovation, support for startups and unicorns in China and continued growth in AI systems expenditure


Considering the week started with a day off in both the US and the UK, we can faithfully report that there has been no letup in developments in the tech industry over the past few days.

"AI is changing the world as we speak," remarked IDC senior market analyst Swati Chaturvedi this week, with IDC forecasting spending on  AI systems in APAC would reach $5.5bn this year. In China, TechCode officially launch its Global Unicorn Center which will attempt to assist growth-stage startups entering the country's blossoming tech market, while Tamoco marketing manager James Ewen made his Innovation Enterprise debut with a thought-provoking report on the impact of big data within the hospitality industry.

Early bird ticket are currently available for the second edition of DATAx New York this November. With some of the biggest names from the world of data confirmed to appear at the data festival, including the likes of Microsoft, Sony Music, GlaxoSmithKline and Buzzfeed, now is a great time book your tickets.

Below we present some of our most popular stories and articles from our Channels from the past week.

Key takeaways from DATAx San Francisco

Innovation Enterprise deputy editor Caitlin Stanway-Williams was among the team on the ground at DATAx SanFrancisco this month and her round up of topics, issues and trends that emanated from the event is the perfect read for those wanting to relive the two-day data festival.

Among Stanway-Williams' key takeaways from the most recent incarnation of DATAx were Strava's Cathy Tanimura's advice for those looking for the perfect data insights to build their businesses, the latest industry insider views on data governance, how personalization can help gaming firms succeed and why it's important to find a common language when employing cross-functionally.

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Sporting innovation to be targeted by $75m fund

HYPE Capital has announced the launch of a $75m sports innovation fund which will aim to unearth the next technological sporting breakthrough.

Using it global accelerator network of more than 40,000 members and more than 10,000 sports startups, HYPE will attempt to find the next video assistant referee (VAR).

Former Reebok president Bernd Wahler, chairman of HYPE Sports Innovation, said the fund's investment strategy would see it "only work with elite startups, whom we know personally and are part of our deal flow".

"Sports tech is a fast-moving industry with thousands of companies worldwide and billions of dollars invested over the past five years," Wahler remarked. "We are working to take this sector's strongest startups to the next level and to invite industry experts onto their advisory boards."

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IBM's blockchain shipping platform adds to its fleet

TradeLens, IBM and Maersk's blockchain-enabled digital shipping platform, added global container carriers CMA CGM and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) to its cohort this week.

The platform now stores data for nearly half of the world's ocean carrier cargo – hugely impressive for a shipping solution that set sail less than a year ago.

"Digital collaboration is a key to the evolution of the container shipping industry," remarked André Simha, chief digital and information officer at MSC. "The TradeLens platform has enormous potential to spur the industry to digitize the supply chain and build collaboration around common standards."

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VC firm unveils $57m startup fund to solve "world's most pressing problems"

Early-stage venture capital company Future Positive Capital launched a new $57.1m pan-European fund this week which will aim to invest in "deep tech" startups working to solve "the world's most pressing problems".

Co-founded by ex-Index Ventures associate Sofia Hmich, Alexandre Terrien and Michael Rosen, the firm will work from an investment thesis, penned by Hmich, which suggested that VC investment has been unfairly distributed.

"Our observation is that capital remains incorrectly distributed across the spectrum of opportunity, particularly in the European early stage ecosystem," Hmich wrote. "This leaves a long tail of opportunities for independent investors who are willing to back those visionary entrepreneurs."

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Moving forward, data science needs a holistic approach

Craig Lebrau, associate professor at Yale University and an Innovation Enterprise contributor, wrote that one of the main problems facing the field of data science is that data scientists "see themselves as scientists, not business people".

"The field of data science is exploding as companies find its applications indispensable while innumerable job-seekers look to start or restart their careers in the emerging discipline," Lebrau said. "However, as the supply of eager potential engineers grows, the demand will inevitably become more selective.

"Recent news has shown that it is simply not enough for a data scientist to be a data scientist any more – everyone in the field, from newcomers to seasoned experts, must begin to look at their responsibilities from a holistic point of view, understanding the problems from top to bottom, in order to truly do their best work."

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Amadeus Code raises $1.8m to create AI music

"Music makes the world go round", so the age-old idiom goes. Soon, however, it could be AI providing the notes for the tunes that will keep the planet spinning.

As AI continues to influence ever-more aspects of industry, society and culture, Amadeus Code, an AI-powered songwriting assistant, this week raised $1.8m in a Series A round, which is intends to use to develop its AI music generation platform.

The company's technology breaks melodies down into data, before using AI to create melodies, chord changes, basslines and beats based on user preferences and a library of popular tracks. Users will then be able to utilize the technology to uncover new chord progressions and create new songs.

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