Fake News…Anchors? China Unveils AI News Anchors

Virtual AI news anchor The Chinese government has targeted artificial intelligence (AI) as a technology they want to dominate globally. They are pouring billions of dollars annually into AI development and directing universities to focus on the technology in all of their fundamental research. Now, in the first public demonstration of their progress in AI technology, the state-run Xinhua News Agency has introduced and demonstrated a pair of virtual news anchors or avatars based on two known Chinese flesh-and-blood reporters.

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Bowers & Wilkins Restructures in Support of R&D

Photo of B&W's Gregory Lee


Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) announced today it has restructured its company in order to further its research and development initiatives. In a brief announcement, only four paragraphs long, new CEO Gregory Lee (former CEO of Samsung North America) said a new, larger research facility will open in 2019.

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Foxconn’s Double Dose of Bad News

A Negative Financial Report & a New Wisconsin Governor Add to Headaches

No doubt about it, Apple Inc. supplier Foxconn has had a really bad week. First, last Tuesday Wisconsin voters kicked Republican Governor Scott Walker out of office, replacing him with Democrat Tony Evers. Then early this week, the company released financial results with disappointing earnings that missed analysts estimates. Both of these unrelated events have combined to cause market analysts to question the company's strategy going forward.

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Expanding Local Presence, SnapAV Acquires Volutone


Graphic of Volutone/SnapAVSnapAV, a leading provider of custom integration brands and products, announced today that it has acquired Volutone, a respected California-based distributor with seven locations throughout California and Nevada. The move expands SnapAV's local touch points in a key market, a strategy that first emerged with their earlier acquisition of another large regional distributor in March of this year, Chicago's Allnet Distributing.

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Tivoli Partners Learn of a Buyout – 1 Year Later

Tivoli logoWhen we last left Tivoli, the company created many years ago by Tom DeVesto who is now the CEO of Como Audio, it was 2015 and they had just been sold by one private equity company, with the help of another private equity company, to a third private equity company. Now word comes that the third private equity company, Serruya Private Equity of Toronto, which Strata-gee wrote about in June 2015, has sold Tivoli in a buyout to the company's management in conjunction with a financial backer.

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It’s Official – Monster Money is Dead

Monster Money logoBack in June, Strata-gee reported that Monster Products, Inc. (the former Monster Cable) had filed an S-1 registration document with the Securities and Exchange Commission, laying out its plans to launch a new cryptocurrency known as Monster Money. In addition to this, the company would offer shares in the company as well. The filing got a lot of attention at the time, in part because if successful, it would be the largest cryptocurrency launch ever to that point. Now, I've learned that this initiative has been officially rescinded by the company.

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Emerald Expositions CEO Resigns, Q3 Results Released

For Owner of CEDIA Expo, There's Trouble in Emerald City

Emerald Expositions logoEmerald Expositions' stock nose-dived 19% in early afternoon trading last Thursday as the company released its third quarter fiscal results and announced that David Loechner has resigned as the company's President and CEO. Current CFO Philip Evans takes over as Interim President and CEO.

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Troubling Sign: New Home Sales Drop in Sept

New Residential Sales in SeptRecently, I warned of some troubling housing related news. You may recall that a collapse in the housing sector was a key driver of the last recession in 2007-2009 that was so painful for the custom integration community, and for the country as a whole. In my report - Are You Prepared for the Coming Recession? - I noted a pronounced and troubling turn in several housing industry specific data, perhaps presaging another economic downturn. Now new government data shows that, once again, new residential sales have declined in the month of September.

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Gibson to Emerge from Bankruptcy & Stop Singing the Blues

With Old Debt Gone, A New Leader & Team Arrives

Logo for Gibson BrandsGibson Brands is on the verge of emerging from bankruptcy a much healthier business in many respects - with less debt, more money in the bank, and a new leader to help the company shed its consumer electronics debacle and reconnect with the musical instrument market. The fifth time, it appears, was a charm as the court has approved the fifth revision of a company submitted turnaround plan that, cuts debt, jettisons former CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, and puts bondholders KKR in the driver's seat.

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