Tag Archives: Demand
This article first appeared in Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the top tech news. To get it delivered daily to your in-box, sign up here.
Today brings news that ticks three of our favorite boxes at Data Sheet: Futurism (the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed), clicks to bricks (online retailers opening physical stores), and the growth of Chinese tech giants (via a unit of Baidu (bidu) in this case). Aaron in for Adam on this four-day U.S. work week, thinking about the future of movies.
The actual news event is of the starting small variety. Baidu’s iQIYI, a video streaming service sometimes dubbed the Netflix of China, opened a tiny movie theater in the city of Zhongshang in the southern province of Guangdong. Adding a few dozen seats to the theater capacity of the city of about 3 million people sounds like a drop in the bucket.
But the new theater, called Yuke, is actually a series of mini-theaters, each with two to 10 seats, that can be rented by the hour to show any content available from iQIYI’s library. With cushy chairs, Dolby audio, and a screen much larger than a home TV, the on demand Yuke theaters represent a new hybrid way to consume streaming video. iQIYI, which went public in the United States a few months ago, says it plans to bring the Yuke concept to all of China’s major cities.
There have been rumors that Netflix (nflx) was pondering a more traditional theater play, as well. The Los Angeles Times reported last month that Netflix considered buying the Landmark Theatres chain, but ultimately rejected the idea as too costly. With malls facing increasing vacancies, maybe something more like iQIYI’s on-demand mini-theaters would be a smarter move for Netflix.
The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office issued an order Friday requiring SCL Elections, the British affiliate of the controversial data mining firm Cambridge Analytica, to turn over all of the data it collected about a United States-based academic named David Carroll. Carroll filed a request for this data in January of 2017 under British data protection law, and received a response in March of that year that the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham describes in the order as “wholly inadequate.” Now, Denham is requiring SCL to comply with the request, or face criminal charges.
The enforcement order comes just days after Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, announced that it would shut down and declare bankruptcy, along with its international affiliates, following revelations that the companies had harvested the data of up to 87 million Americans without their knowledge. The company’s former CEO Alexander Nix was also recorded this year on undercover video, appearing to brag about using tactics like bribery and entrapment on behalf of Cambridge Analytica’s clients.
Long before the name Cambridge Analytica became notorious in households across the country, though, Carroll, a professor of media design at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, became suspicious about the way the company built its so-called psychographic profiles of US voters. These profiles, the company claimed, contained information not only about people’s demographics, but their personalities as well. Given that Cambridge Analytica originally spun out of a British company called SCL Group, Carroll filed a request under the UK’s Data Protection Act seeking access to all of the information the company had collected on him.
When SCL sent Carroll back his file, he was utterly unsatisfied. It ranked his interest in topics like immigration and gun control on a numeric scale, but offered no insight into what data was being used to generate those scores, or who actually used them. In mid-March, the same day Facebook announced it was suspending Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group from its platform as punishment for their transgressions, Carroll filed a request for disclosure in the UK in an attempt to force SCL to hand over the underlying data and answer a litany of questions about how they were being used.
Though that case is still ongoing, the ICO’s order does accomplish some of that work for Carroll. In the order, Denham describes the months-long battle between her office and SCL’s office over Carroll’s data request. According to the order, SCL repeatedly argued that as an US citizen, Carroll had no right to request his data under British laws, going so far as to write in one response that Carroll had no more data access rights in the UK “than a member of the Taliban sitting in a cave in the remotest corner of Afghanistan.”
Denham disagreed with that assessment. In March, after the undercover videos of Nix went public, the ICO stormed the company’s offices and seized its servers. Now, the regulator is giving SCL 30 days to provide descriptions of Carroll’s personal data, the purpose that data served, a list of all the recipients of that data, copies of the data itself, and the sources of that data.
“It’s quite exciting,” Carroll says of the order. “At the minimum, it’s the beginning of a victory and pointing toward winning.”
Still, he says, “It didn’t have to come to this. We’ve been trying for more than a year to do this out of court…It just kept escalating.”
SCL now has the opportunity to appeal the ICO’s order. Representatives for SCL didn’t immediately respond to WIRED’s request for comment.
Cambridge Analytica Exposed
LONDON (Reuters) – Tesla’s shift to a magnetic motor using neodymium in its Model 3 Long Range car adds to pressure on already strained supplies of a rare earth metal that had for years been shunned because of an export ban by top producer China.
Efforts by governments around the world to cut noxious emissions produced by fossil fuel-powered cars is driving demand for electric vehicles and the metals used to make them, such as lithium and cobalt which are key ingredients for batteries.
Now the spotlight is on neodymium. Several auto makers already use permanent magnet motors that rely on the metal because they are generally lighter, stronger and more efficient than induction motors that are based on copper coils.
But it is the switch to neodymium by Tesla, an auto maker that has staked its future solely on the electric vehicle, that is showing the way the industry is moving and the direction of demand for the rare earth metal.
Research group imarc estimates the market for the neodymium-iron-boron magnet used in the motors is now worth more than $ 11.3 billion, with demand for the magnets rising at a compound annual growth rate of 8.5 percent between 2010 and 2017.(For a graphic of Neodymium market balance click reut.rs/2FD6bUb)
“Some electric car motors use the permanent magnet technology, probably the most famous is the Tesla Model 3 Long Range. All the other Tesla models — Model X and Model 3 standard — use induction motors,” said David Merriman, a senior analyst at metals consultancy Roskill.
Global demand of 31,700 tonnes for neodymium last year already outstripped supply by 3,300 tonnes, he said. Demand was expected to climb to 34,200 tonnes this year and 38,800 tonnes in 2018, leaving larger deficits.
“Tesla’s decision to switch to permanent magnets has completely changed the dynamics of the market,” said a source at a fund manager that specializes in metals.
The price of neodymium is now about $ 70 a kg, well below the $ 500 hit after China held back shipments to Japan in 2010 during a row over disputed islands but it is still 40 percent higher than at the start of 2017.
(For a graphic of neodymium prices click reut.rs/2DlOHtE)
China, which resumed neodymium exports in 2015, imposed strict export quotas across a range of rare earth metal in 2010, saying it wanted to curtail pollution and preserve resources.
“People seem to have forgotten China’s export ban. It could happen again. China is really the main producer, no one else has invested as much in rare earths,” a rare earth trader said.
Despite their name, rare earths are found in many places around the world, but the process of extraction is difficult and expensive, as it requires separating multiple different metals from a single deposit. This is unlike the much simpler process, for example, of recovering copper from ore.(For a graphic of Rare Earth Producers click reut.rs/2Fu5HnE)
China has invested heavily in the rare earth metals process but its crackdown on mining, smelting and other polluting industries is forecast to slow supply. It already helped push the neodymium price to a two-year high of $ 96 in September.
“Rare earth production is as bad as you can get in terms of environmental damage,” the trader said. “China used its dominant position before, what’s to stop it doing so again?”
Such supply concerns are encouraging automakers to search for ways of cutting down neodymium use. Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said last month it had found a way to cut use of the metal in electric motors by about a fifth.
The Japanese firm said it had developed a magnet which replaced some of the neodymium with more abundant and cheaper rare earths — lanthanum and cerium. Toyota aims to use the magnets in electric vehicle motors within the next 10 years.
Several companies produce rare earth metals outside China, including London-listed Rainbow Rare Earths (RBWR.L), Canada-listed Namibia Rare Earths (NRE.V) and Australia’s Spectrum Rare Earths (SPX.AX).
But, for now, auto makers making permanent magnet motors remain heavily reliant on China, which according to Roskill accounted for 85 percent of global output of rare earth oxide estimated at 161,700 tonnes in 2017.
Morgan Stanley analysts estimate electric vehicles will total 50,000 units in 2020 or 2.3 percent of the total, rising to 400,000 in 2025 or 17.4 percent, and 975,000 in 2030 or 40.9 percent.
Reporting by Pratima Desai; Editing by Veronica Brown and Edmund Blair
As continuity consultants, MSPs advise customers on contingency plans for cases where the public-cloud computing and storage resources are …