Morning Brew - ☕️ Digital depths

Plus: How a 150+ year-old company thinks about the future.
Morning Brew November 18, 2022

Emerging Tech Brew

Miso

It’s Friday, and if you’re a remote worker who misses wasting time chatting with colleagues in the office, Microsoft has a new feature just for you: The company added Minesweeper and a few other games to its workplace productivity platform, Teams.

Another potential use case: Next time you’re on a Teams call and your boss asks for a volunteer to take on an assignment, challenge your colleagues to a Minesweeper duel. The loser does the task.

In today’s edition:

Here’s how city sewers are getting a digital makeover
Why a 150+ year-old food giant is investing in alt-protein
Where digital health investment is headed in 2023

Hayden Field, Jordan McDonald, Maia Anderson, Michael Schroeder

SMART CITIES

Digitizing the drain pipes

Digitizing the drain pipes Illustration: Morning Brew, Photo: AGF/Getty Images

Sewage has a long and storied history worldwide, from Mesopotamian clay pipes and Roman baths’ drainage to the 1.3 million miles of US sewer systems operating today. Popularized in the 1920s and revamped in the 1970s, stateside sewer systems haven’t changed all that much in the past four decades.

That is, until now: Sewers are getting the high-tech treatment in cities ranging from Salt Lake City to South Bend, Indiana, thanks to an emerging crop of tech and science startups helping detect area pathogens, offload unnecessary cleaning for public works teams, and even avert sewer flooding.

  • It’s all part of a growing trend of cities investing billions to modernize sewage systems.

One example: An increasing number of US cities are using sound science to assess blockages in sewers by way of an acoustic device called the SL-RAT. Here’s how it works:

  • Open up two neighboring maintenance holes and place the SL-RAT’s transmitter in one and the receiver in the other.
  • During a three-minute assessment, the transmitter sends sound waves down the pipes, and the receiver picks them up. If the sound signal stays completely intact, the pipe is clear; if it’s garbled, there may be a blockage.

We’ve broken down three of the key technologies that cities are plunging into their deepest depths. Keep reading here.HF

This story is part of our new package exploring smart cities—click here to view the full interactive series.

        

TOGETHER WITH MISO

King of the fast-food court

Miso

All hail King Miso! 

His Majesty’s food-frying, drink-filling robots can do the work of 1.5 human workers and increase efficiency while boosting restaurant profit margins by up to 3x. 

It’s no wonder the kingdoms of Jack in the Box and White Castle are already automating their kitchens with Miso’s RaaS (robot-as-a-service) solutions.

But Miso’s turning his kingdom into an empire… 

Right now, Miso is taking his automation arsenal to the massive $675b global fast-food market. And having already landed a major international brand partner, Miso’s well on its way to establishing a foothold in the 20-million-restaurant global marketplace. 

Want to be part of robot royalty? Invest in Miso before the opportunity ends this Friday, 11/18.

FOOD TECH

Beefing up

Beefing up Cargill

It’s been said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but in the case of food megagiant Cargill, conventional wisdom does not appear to be a limiting factor.

Founded in 1865, Cargill has cemented itself as one of the country’s largest companies and food suppliers. But being a legacy food giant hasn’t stopped Cargill from trying to stay ahead of the technological curve.

In fact...The company—which reported $165 billion in revenue in 2022 and was ranked by Forbes as America’s largest private company in 2021—has invested in the field looking to disrupt conventional meat suppliers: alternative protein.

  • In 2019, Cargill created an alt-protein division and placed Elizabeth Gutschenritter, a 17-year Cargill veteran, in charge.

“Cargill is a big ship, and then there are little boats. How do we create little boats around new categories, emerging trends, new technology, and innovation? How can those smaller boats help drive the bigger ship?” Gutschenritter, who led the company’s retail beef division before becoming managing director of alternative protein, told Emerging Tech Brew.

Read the full story on how Cargill is navigating the future of food.JM

        

HEALTH TECH

The crystal ball for digital health

A person holds a phone with glucose monitoring while a person stands in front of them with the patch on, tracking their vitals. Artur Debat/Getty Images

Investment in digital health has exploded in the past decade as the healthcare industry and consumers increasingly saw technology as a vital tool to potentially optimize everything from patient care to how we develop pharmaceuticals.

  • Digital health tech has even permeated many of our everyday lives, with the rising popularity of telehealth services like BetterHelp and wearables like the Fitbit your mom bought you for Christmas in 2016. (Let’s be honest, you wore it religiously for three weeks and then never touched it again, right?)

Looking ahead: But analysts predict investors could be a bit pickier with their money in 2023.

While venture funding for digital health hit an all-time high last year—jumping to $29.2 billion in 2021 from $8.1 billion in 2019, according to data from digital-health seed fund Rock Health—2022 has been a sobering year. Funding dipped to $12.6 billion for the first three quarters, and Tom Cassels, CEO of the fund’s consulting arm, said he expects 2023 to be “pretty much in line with 2022.”

So, where might investors be aiming their dollars in 2023? Read Healthcare Brew’s story to find out.MA, MS

        

TOGETHER WITH WORKIVA

Workiva

Teamwork makes the ESG dream work. With changes looming for publicly traded companies, your ESG and finance teams need to be totally in sync. Workiva outlined everything you need to know about creating the data dream team and leveraging tech to produce accurate, timely, audit-ready reports. Learn more here.

BITS AND BYTES

layoffs fired lost job Francis Scialabba

Stat: Nearly seven in 10 US tech workers said they feel less confident about their job security now than they did a year ago, according to a survey run by Blind on behalf of Emerging Tech Brew.

Quote: “This is a watershed moment in the history of food.”—Upside Foods CEO and founder Uma Valeti after receiving the FDA’s first-ever approval for cultivated meat in the US. In May, we chatted with Upside’s COO about the challenges of scaling up cultivated meat.

Read: Fast Company’s next big things in tech.

Read: Find out why over 4 million people read Morning Brew—the free daily email covering the latest across business, finance, and tech. Subscribe for free.

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Google announced updates to Maps, Search, and Shopping.
  • Micron slashed production of memory chips by about 20% as the new chip crisis (evaporating demand) deepens.
  • BYD planned to spin off its chipmaking unit, but now it has decided to keep it for a little longer in a bid to maintain vertical integration amid skyrocketing EV demand.
  • TikTok reportedly plans to double its staff, bucking the trend of tech industry layoffs.
  • Vow, which we profiled over the summer, raised a ~$50 million round to continue inventing new forms of meat.

GOING PHISHING

Three of the following news stories are true, and one...we made up. Can you spot the odd one out?

  • Tesla is going to enable drivers to make Zoom calls from their cars.
  • Microsoft and Nvidia will team up to build an AI supercomputer…in the cloud.
  • Taylor Swift is offering a free metaverse version of The Eras Tour for those unable to get tickets this week.
  • Intel announced a deepfake-detection system that works by analyzing, uh, the “blood flow” in video pixels.

BATTLING BURNOUT IN IT 🪫

Burnout is real, but how can we beat it? Signature Healthcare CIO and VP Nick Szymanski talked to IT Brew about how to provide relief to teams that work around the clock, including one key practice: recognition. Read about the challenges he’s faced, the systems he relies on, and the lessons he’s learned. Download his insights here.

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GOING PHISHING ANSWER

We have not heard of any such foray into the metaverse from T-Swift.

 

Written by Hayden Field, Jordan McDonald, Dan McCarthy, Maia Anderson, and Michael Schroeder

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