Popular online marketplace and hospitality service Airbnb closes $1, 000, 000,000.00 round at $ 31, 000, 000, 000.00 valuation and becomes profitable in 2016.
A source close to the company told a news channel that the round was confirmed in a SEC filing that dropped on Thursday. It is now estimated approximately at $31 Billion.
Airbnb had turned profitable in the second half of the year 2016 and expects that it will be profitable in 2017 too. Airbnb has so far raised about $3.4 billion in total funding across all its rounds.
In November 2016, Airbnb had launched Trips, which gives you beyond the experience facilities like bookable local experiences, insider recommendations, and social meet ups. Trips were initially launched in 12 global cities including in India. At the end of the year, 39 more will be added to its list.
Music experience is an add on to Trips that lets users attend intimate concerts or one can even produce or perform their own music. The press release has stated: “Open to travelers and locals, they can use Airbnb to engage with local music scenes in an authentic way.”
India Gives Green Signal To Net Neutrality!
The country of millennials, India just made a big announcement regarding the latest rules of net neutrality. India wants to make sure they provide an open and fair internet for nearly half a billion people!
Here’s what is in store for the Internet in India!
India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) approved net neutrality rules that bans blocking and zero rating of internet data. The framework of net neutrality which was published last year as a recommendation from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI,) was the culmination of years long campaign for net neutrality. However, they were seeking public opinions on potential changes to internet regulations since 2015. TRAI had recommended the implementation of neutral internet rules in 2017. Now, years later, the news of approval from the government of India comes to the headlines. The new rules by the DoT prevent any internet service provider (ISP) from blocking, throttling, slowing down or granting any special treatment to any content available on the internet. However, these rules do not apply to critical IoT services or specialized services including autonomous vehicles and remote surgery operations. According to sources, TRAI head R.S. Sharma said while comparing the rules to ambulances that can legally disobey traffic rules, or in this case, get prioritized status to maintain service quality. Speaking about the Internet service providers, they need to agree to the deal when they sign license agreements with the Department of Telecommunications. Those who violate the rules could have their licenses cancelled. Internet service providers cannot perform actions involving blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content!
Here’s what the official Twitter handle of TRAI posted!
With Telecom Commission’s endorsement of TRAI’s recommendations on #NetNeutrality, India takes an unambiguous stand on this issue.
– thread –
— TRAI (@TRAI) July 12, 2018
Internet access services should be governed by a principle that restricts any form of discrimination or interference in the treatment of content, the Indian regulations stated.
Facebook To Be Fined A Fortune Over Cambridge Analytica Scandal!
In 2017, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) launched an inquiry into voters’ data being obtained and used by political campaigns. This was following the Observer’s early investigative reports, into Cambridge Analytica, the political research firm. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have been under scrutiny, for harvesting the data of millions of Facebook users around the globe, with the total number of people affected now at 87 million. The social media giant Facebook will be fined $ 664,000 for failing to protect users’ information by the UK’s privacy watchdog. While a fine of $ 664,000 is the biggest possible punishment available to the ICO, it is the same amount of money Facebook makes in just a few minutes. At the time of the infraction, the law on processing data was set out under the Data Protection Act of 1998, which imposed a maximum penalty of £ 500,00. However, Under the new Data Protection Act 2018, companies can be fined up to 4 % of global turnover, a substantially more serious penalty. In Facebook’s case, a fine could be as high as $ 1.9 bn, based on its revenue.
Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner said she would penalize the social network platform as her office investigates how the data of millions of users was improperly accessed. Earlier, the CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by the U.S., and the EU lawmakers over how Cambridge Analytica accessed the personal data of such a huge number of Facebook users. During the EU referendum, Facebook was found to be at fault for failing to be clear about how the information had been harvested by others. According to reports, Denham said Facebook has failed to provide the kinds of protections they’re required to do under data protection laws.
However, the penalty could change as the agency would discuss the matter further with Facebook. Generally, the ICO does not reveal its initial investigations but this time, it shared the details of the amount of the penalty because of the hyped public interest toward the scandal. Also, the agency would next give an update in October, this year.
Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, acknowledged in a statement Facebook should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015. Apart from this, the UK privacy watchdogs said the fallout from Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal is only the beginning. The UK’s early efforts could inform ongoing investigations elsewhere in Europe as well as the United States, where a probe by the Federal Trade Commission could result in a penalty well into the hundreds of billions of dollars. The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission are also looking into Facebook’s ties to Cambridge Analytica.
OYO Acquires Mumbai Based Tech Firm AblePlus
The homegrown hospitality firm OYO acquired the Mumbai based Internet of Things (IoT) company AblePlus, in order to enhance its technology portfolio. AblePlus specialises in developing Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to bring intelligence into every aspect of business. Speaking about the acquisition, neither of the firms disclosed financial details about the deal. With this partnership, OYO aims to create a sustainable ecosystem powered by technology and artificial intelligence for managing its operations. The Chief Technology Officer of OYO, Anil Goel, said with the introduction of IoT into the basic precincts of hotel management, we aim to enhance customer and partner experiences by roping in the best of technology capabilities that are changing how India sees hospitality today.
With the country moving forward at a very fast pace in terms of technology developments, OYO is extremely elated with its latest acquisition of the technology firm, AblePlus. Anil Goel stated we are delighted to announce our acquisition of AblePlus towards pioneering the application of IoT in Indian and global hospitality segment and creating a global impact. Both Akash Goel and Bonish Gandhi (Co founders of AblePlus) are extremely talented individuals and we are excited to welcome them onboard. Through partnerships like this, we envision a smooth road ahead for building the world’s largest technology-enabled hospitality brand.
Recently, OYO also introduced the first initiative of Digital Arrival & Departure Register, which has been adopted by the state governments of Haryana and Rajasthan. Apart from that, OYO also makes use of Machine Learning (ML) based algorithms to personalise the user’s journey. The company is also looking forward to launching technology integrated solutions for its easy functionality. According to sources, the company is aiming to introduce voice enabled assistance in rooms for controlling appliances, lights and other various services. Goel added through increased technology intervention that enables the remote monitoring and management of rooms across properties, we will be able to achieve improved operational efficiency, thus creating a superior stakeholder experience. As one of the first startups that are early adopters of IoT powered technologies, we look forward to delivering new, advanced applications for key vertical markets that will offer an elevated customer experience.
Not so long ago, Oyo announced its foray into the Chinese market. The hospitality firm is keen on expanding its company as well as enhancing its operations! As of now, OYO operates in more than 160 cities across India, China, Malaysia and Nepal with over 5,000 exclusive hotels in its chain and 1,00,000 rooms.
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