Apple buys 40 million euros Vilynx Spanish startup that performs video analysis with AI, to improve Siri and its other apps: Apple has rapidly expanded its portfolio in artificial intelligence this year by buying a Spanish startup specializing in artificial intelligence and video for more than 40 million euros, approximately 50 million dollars, as revealed by Bloomberg on Tuesday.

Vilynx, based in Barcelona, creates software that takes advantage of machine vision to analyze the visual, textual and auditory content in videos in order to "understand" what is in them, which helps categorize and tag metadata, generate automatic previews and recommend related content, according to an early version of its own website.

Apple explained to Bloomberg that they buy "small tech companies from time to time "and that they never detail" the purpose or their plans, " but the multinational could use Vilynx technology to improve several of its apps.

The Siri Search Engine, photo albums on iOS, and other apps with which Apple can organize and display information are some of the candidates, as well as Apple TV, Apple Music, Apple News+ and other applications that use a technology to teach related content to users.

Apple buys 40 million euros Vilynx Spanish startup

Apple CEO Tim Cook has also spoken on several occasions about the potential of augmented reality, which could also take advantage of these artificial intelligence-based tools such as those developed by Vilynx.

The purchase also deepens Apple's ambitions within the artificial intelligence industry. 50 engineers and data scientists from the Spanish company, as well as its offices in Barcelona, will become a key AI research hub in Europe for the multinational, according to Bloomberg.

Apple has already starred in relevant forays into the AI field over the past few months, with the purchase of the British company Spectral Edge in December; the Seattle-based firm for 200 million dollars in January; and Voysis and Inductiv in April and May to improve Siri. Apple already has a habit of discreetly buying small signatures. In 2018, CEO Tim Cook said in an interview that the giant had bought 20 companies in the past 6 months, operations of which only six had publicly transcended.

Apple buys 40 million euros Vilynx Spanish startup


An IBM executive shares how robots and artificial intelligence have transformed human resources areas and how the company is using technology in its division

Human Resources (HR) departments are improving in the use of technology, but they are not yet as expert in it as they should be.

This is stated by new research from IBM, which has analyzed how these areas have transformed in the last 10 years. The study concludes that higher performing HR teams automate tasks such as payroll and hiring, as well as spending more time acting as a consulting arm of the organization, especially when it comes to talent search.

CHROs, as the heads of this area call themselves, "need to operate as strategic advisors to larger businesses and use technology to be more of a strategic driver for the company," concedes to Business Insider Amy Wright, IBM's talent and transformation managing partner and co-author of the research.

However, only 10% of all HR teams operate this way, according to the company.

Technology in the field of human resources represents a market of 148.000 million dollars (about 125.000 million euros) and companies spend 310 dollars (262 euros) per employee per year in this sector, according to a report by PwC. And it keeps increasing.

Although teams are spending more money than ever on technology, there are still gaps that prevent them from using it in the best possible way. A 2018 study by the Association of Executive Search and leadership consultants revealed that HR and legal departments were the least digitally advanced of any company.

But the pandemic may be accelerating the adoption of new tools by these areas, according to IBM Research. Business Insider has interviewed Wright about some of the ways HR teams are using technology to be more efficient.

HR technology is not new to IBM. The company is already using, and has been doing so for a long time, a wide variety of tools to increase and automate daily tasks and improve the efficiency of its teams.

The company created a platform that can determine what skills teams may or may not have and what types of new trainings or courses they need based on their resumes. Thus, the tool creates a customized new skills training plan for workers, specifies Wright, and predicts the skills they might need in the future.

The banking and insurance organization KBC, based in Belgium, also uses this technology. Since the introduction of the platform, the company has identified improvements in employee engagement and internal mobility.

In turn, IBM uses artificial intelligence, or AI, to eliminate pay bias. In 2016, the tech giant introduced a compensation advisor that provides HR with salary hike recommendations based on market research. The technology measures the type of work, level and geographical location to determine payment rates, as well as objectively justifying new wages.

Kenjo, the startup to digitize human resources management led by a Spaniard who has raised one of the largest seed rounds of the sector in Europe

However, some AI tools have been found to be as biased as humans when it comes to hiring and other work-related tasks.

The company has also recently partnered with Burger King Brazil to create a virtual assistant called Top (Technology Orienting People). This resource, with which employees can communicate via WhatsApp, provides access to HR resources such as payment statements, income reports and vacation requests.

"We are already used to this type of facilities when you have to share a trip or make a playlist," exemplifies Iuri Miranda, CEO of Burger King Brazil, in an email to Business Insider. "We now want that same ease in every aspect of our lives, even in our HR processes."

IBM is not the only company that is improving its human resources technology. For example, tech company Spoke uses AI software to offer employees information about corporate benefits, and candy company Hershey released Bennie the Bot, AI software with similar capabilities.

Of course, the pandemic has made the need for this type of technology even more crucial.

"Since the pandemic, companies are accelerating their digital transformation to address confinement," says Wright. "They are adopting new ways of working new technologies because many of their employees are teleworking."

The classic function of HR departments involves a lot of administrative work, coordinating interviews and answering questions about working conditions. AI allows teams to automate these tasks so they can focus on other, more complex issues, such as retention and diversity.

The most effective HR teams, according to IBM, act as strategic consultants to your organization, solving problems such as improving employee skills and creating an employer brand.

In the future, Wright hopes that CHROs will need to make even more use of design thinking, or the creative human-centered problem-solving process, and that it is AI that makes decisions about how to modulate the workforce and hire new employees.

"The introduction of AI and automation allows HR teams to assign the manual and highly repetitive work of most tasks to digital workers" - that is, robots that can perform administrative tasks quickly and without errors, Wright tells Business Insider.

This will allow HR teams to focus on helping "their business leaders be social, transparent and empathetic," Apostille.

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