Morning Brew - ☕️ Grow your own way

Plus: Sony's marriage of VR headset and console.
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Morning Brew November 21, 2022

Emerging Tech Brew

Dell

Good Monday morning. Last Friday, against the backdrop of several contemporary tech company crises, we received some closure on one of the most infamous tech scandals of all: Theranos.

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the now-defunct startup, was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for fraud.

In today’s edition:

Inside one city’s high-tech plan to grow its own veggies
Digging into Sony’s console-heavy VR strategy
Coworking

Jordan McDonald, Hayden Field, Dan McCarthy

SMART CITIES

Sowing in skyscrapers

Sowing in skyscrapers Illustration: Morning Brew, Photo: JohnnyGreig/Getty Images

As the number of farms in the US declines but the population continues to grow, cities are experimenting with indoor farming as a way to produce locally grown food for their residents.

And some cities...Like Phoenix, Arizona—the country’s fifth-largest city by population—are doing it with the help of federal funding.

  • Nestled within the 2021 American Rescue Plan were hundreds of billions of dollars for state, local, and tribal governments, $396 million of which went to Phoenix.
  • The city allocated $16.7 million of that money to the Phoenix Resilient Food System, a set of programs designed to make its food supply more resilient, including everything from community food banks to higher-tech projects like indoor farming.

“We see this kind of farming as a way to, one, address our water issues; we know vertical farming takes much less water, and that’s probably highest on our agenda right now,” Rosanne Albright, environmental programs coordinator in the city of Phoenix’s office of environmental programs, told Emerging Tech Brew.

On the other hand...

Not everyone sees vertical farming as a scalable technology. Climate and environmental scientist Jonathan Foley told Emerging Tech Brew that vertical farms are currently more well-suited to growing specific types of crops than becoming core food sources. 

“These are garnishes, essentially, to people’s diets,” Foley said. “They’re not the mainstay of what people need every day, which are more grains, more vegetables, more fruits, nuts, proteins, pulses, things like this. Those are not really grown in vertical farms. they’re good at growing pot, or they’re good at growing salads. That’s kind of what they were always designed for.”

Read the full story here.JM

        

TOGETHER WITH DELL

Get your head outta the clouds

Dell

And put it in the cloud. While you’re off daydreaming, cyberattackers are gearing up to get their hands on your biz’s most critical data. It’s time to upgrade your security infrastructure by embracing hybrid cloud solutions—and you’ll need a good pilot to help you journey into the skies.

Expert Dell Technologies advisors help you optimize hybrid cloud solutions so you can focus on scaling your business…instead of worrying about cybercrooks.

Still curious about the advantages of a hybrid cloud solution? Here are just a few things the cloud can do for you:

  • protect your data
  • control your costs
  • minimize your risks

Learn more about Dell Technologies products and solutions, powered by Intel® at delltechnologies.com.

VR

To tether, or not to tether

To tether, or not to tether Sony

If the future of gaming is VR, Sony is doing its best to get ready.

The company’s second-generation VR headset, the PS VR2, is set to release in February 2023 and will cost $550.

  • The company plans to make 2 million headsets by March 2023, per Bloomberg; for comparison, in total, 11.2 million VR/AR headsets were sold in 2021, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Big picture: The PS VR2 is Sony’s latest bid to compete in the VR headset market, which Meta currently dominates with 86% market share as of Q2 2022, according to IDC, but it comes with a major caveat. Unlike Meta’s standalone headsets, Sony’s product must be connected to a PS5, of which the company has sold 25 million units since its 2020 release.

“[Sony is] consciously gearing it to a smaller, more lucrative market. I don’t think they’re aiming to get a majority of the VR headset sales,” Yoram Wurmser, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, told Emerging Tech Brew. “In terms of unit sales, that’s definitely going to limit them.”

Even so...Wurmser said Sony’s focus on gaming could be a strength. While Meta’s business strategy is focused on finding an audience for its VR offerings, ranging from workplace apps to fitness to casual gaming, Sony is already a platform for premium gaming.

Read the full analysis here.JM

        

READER SPOTLIGHT

Coworking with…Cari Goodrich

Coworking with…Cari Goodrich Cari Goodrich

Coworking is a weekly segment where we spotlight Emerging Tech Brew readers who work with emerging technologies. Click here if you’d like a chance to be featured.

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in tech?

We are the hype team that drives growth and awareness for our data analytics organization. It’s our responsibility to ensure our products are being represented across the business and that we’re seen as innovators in the industry. We do this by creating transformative sales and marketing programs—everything from training programs for our sellers on how to ensure that they’re seen as the experts around this data analytics landscape, to external marketing campaigns for prospects and customers. In addition, we work on go-to-market strategy to ensure a seamless journey for our buyers.

What emerging tech are you most optimistic about? Least? And why?

My friend and I were recently discussing climate tech. It’s an interesting space to watch and learn how we can create solutions to tackle environmental challenges—for example, how data, AI, and ML can be used to address forest management, track ocean data, and advance agriculture and farming practices. Also, my boyfriend introduced me to VR, and I am hooked.

What am I least optimistic about? As cliché as it sounds: Web3 and crypto. I just can’t get behind it. I need to have a better understanding of the bigger impact this has on the global economy versus a race for a bigger bank account. Perhaps that’s because I have not invested in it yet. Can you ask me this again if I ever get skin in the game?

        

TOGETHER WITH HSBC

HSBC

Get ahead in the enterprise software space. More and more companies are migrating away from the traditional legacy model and using SaaS instead. They’re also finding ways to reduce costs while providing more flexibility and network security (we love a win-win!). HSBC’s dedicated technology team and international footprint can help you stay on top of game-changing tech. Learn more.

BITS AND BYTES

image of a ford factory worker assembling an f-150 lightning Ford

Stat: Ford expects to require 40% fewer workers to build EVs compared with gas-powered vehicles.

Quote: “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?”—Elizabeth Gutschenritter, Cargill’s managing director of alternative protein, to Emerging Tech Brew

Read: Arc could be the new web browser you’ve been looking for.

Read: Neglecting to comply with data regulations puts companies at increased risk of fines, lawsuits and reputational damage. IT Brew released a guide to meeting five key compliance standards; if this is your domain, check it out.

Recession risks: A macro expert explores how rising rates and oil prices sparked past recessions—and outlines what could be different this time and what he’s watching. Read the full story.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Masayoshi Son reportedly personally owes SoftBank nearly $5 billion “because of growing losses on the Japanese conglomerate’s technology bets.”
  • GM claimed that, despite rising input costs, its EV division will be about as profitable as its gas-powered division by 2025.
  • Amazon’s layoffs will extend into 2023.
  • Nio, a major Chinese EV startup, is bringing its battery-swapping model to Europe.
  • Enel, an Italian energy firm, is planning to build what would be one of the US’s largest solar-panel plants. The announcement comes months after the IRA, which incentivizes domestic solar production.

TRIVIA

News quiz branding Francis Scialabba

Time for another news quiz. Can you ace this week’s edition?

Click here to find out.

FROM THE CREW

Become more data driven in 7 weeks

Become more data driven in  weeks Giphy/NBCUniversal

It’s the final countdown till crowded dinner tables where your family asks you questions that you don’t want to answer—until now. The Brew’s Business Analytics Accelerator can fast track that promotion your uncle has been bothering you about. Surprise him with a plan of action and sign up here.

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Written by Jordan McDonald, Hayden Field, and Dan McCarthy

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