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In the News: Coronavirus, industry reinvention & venture capital

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The coronavirus crisis has created heightened awareness of healthcare challenges, which will cause more money to flow to what we have seen as traditionally underfunded areas – medtech, digital health, and research. Historically, venture investing right after major market downturns – such as after the Internet bubble burst in 2000-2002, and after the financial crisis of 2007-2009 — has proved lucrative because you’re buying at a discount. That’s a very good entry point for new venture investors. However this time, there is also a fundamental re-set and expansion of social and economic trends causing major disruption that will lead to further opportunities for those companies leading the change. Read my and others’ thoughts on “Recession, Reinvention and Opportunity” in this Israel21c piece.

As organizations increasingly move their business processes online, threats to data and privacy have exploded. Join us for a webinar Thursday, May 14 at 9:00AM PDT, 12:00PM EDT, 7:00PM IDT on Cybersecurity & Insecurity: The New World of COVID-19 where experts from some of the leading cybersecurity companies around the world will explore the challenges for organizations protecting themselves and their clients from attack.

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Daily Dose

Here’s the latest from Daily Dose: one-minute insight videos based on the news, technologies, and stories I’m seeing and hearing each day. For the whole playlist, click here and catch up. 

                                     

Top Tech News

Protecting businesses, governments and individuals from data breaches and identity theft – with unique military-grade technology and hardware architecture, Hub Security raises $5M Series A for its cryptography platform. Congrats to this team, and our partners at Labs/02.

Following working with Maccabi Healthcare Services in March, Kryon works with the Clalit health fund to automate the process of uploading coronavirus test results to its central database. Instead of taking lab workers up to ten minutes to manually enter the data for of each test, Kryon’s robots process each record in less than one second.

Now, more than ever, big consumer companies need to know what their customers want and Signals Analytics is the solution….Israeli firm tells Nestlé and Roche what consumers want.

By combining breakthrough LED technology, artificial intelligence, and edge computing, Juganu is making smart cities a reality across the world…Juganu Wants to Light the Way Forward in the Digital Revolution.

NBA All Star turned ADvantage Sports Tech Fund venture partner Michael Redd now brings his all into startup investing. Read more.

An exciting new acquisition for Israeli tech: Intel is buying urban mobility platform Moovit in a $900M deal

Watch the latest from OurCrowd

Working from home exposes company data to hackers via weaknesses in home computers. Attacks are rising. ITsMine Data Breach Protection is free of charge during the pandemic and it’s quick and easy to install, CEO Kfir Kimhi shares in this interview. Check out our blog post for more on the topic, and click here to learn more about why OurCrowd is investing in this company.

itsmine tofl

Looking to connect

Despite the coronavirus crisis, 40 new jobs in Israel were added in the past month to the OurTalent job board. See a few recent opportunities below.

Search and filter through OurTalent to find your next challenge.


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Source: https://blog.ourcrowd.com/in-the-news-coronavirus-industry-reinvention-venture-capital/

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Edtech Companies Rush to Take Advantage of the Pandemic Market

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The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be disastrous for world economies. Companies across different countries were forced to shut down temporarily and halt their operations.

Every sector faced losses in some form or the other. However, there were a few sectors for which the pandemic proved to be highly advantageous. Online education was one of them.

“With universities and schools being closed for months, learners had no option but to switch to e-learning.” 

Online training providers like Simplilearn, Vedantu, Khan Academy, and more saw a significant upsurge in the number of users accessing their courses. A high level of interest was also noticed in taking up paid courses and signing up for live instructor-led training. 

E-learning platforms were already becoming popular gradually. But, it was the pandemic that made it a need for millions of students. Those who had access to a smartphone and a reliable internet connection were able to create a classroom-like experience and continued their learning.

Though e-learning cannot give the same look and feel of the physical classroom training, it has many advanced techniques to make learning fun for the students. Through video-conferences, the training sessions can be attended by many learners, and interacting with the instructors is also possible.

E-learning providers are further giving the option for in-person doubt clearing sessions to help the learners. In short, with the growing demand, online learning platforms are leaving no stone unturned to lure more users and give them a rich learning experience. 

Apart from the students, eLearning has also proven to be a boon for professionals. The current work from home scenario has given them a great opportunity to upgrade their skills and survive in the growing competitive market. This was otherwise not possible as many couldn’t find extra time off their busy schedule.

Automation was already thought to be a threat to many manual jobs and brought about the need to master the digital skills that will dominate the near future. The COVID-19 pandemic further fueled this need and many are looking to get certified through online courses and reskilling themselves. As such, courses related to digital marketing certification, project management certification, and prince2 agile certification are being sought by professionals.  

What has particularly impressed the learners regarding the eLearning platforms is the features they offer like:

  • Online forums where mentors can share assignments and students can discuss their queries with peers
  • Interactive videos of short duration as visuals great create a better impact on the human brain
  • Assessment tools that allow online quizzes and tests to be taken.
  • Tracking the performance through attractive charts and graphs, learners also get to understand the areas they are strong or weak.
  • User-friendly Learning Management System (LMS) through which learners can access the course anytime anywhere and refer to the recorded videos any number of times. 
  • Chalk and board-like tools that allow learners to take notes during a live class.

As eLearning platforms continue to provide better services with time, it is your responsibility to make the most of the courses offered by them. If you are a working professional, consider taking courses in evolving fields like artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, big data analytics, project management, and software development.

The more you improve your skills, the better opportunities you’ll get when the job market scenario gets better. A rewarding career awaits you if you are thinking to upskill in any of these fields. Even the entry-level professionals get a better salary compared to other technology jobs if they get to work as a data scientist, a machine learning engineer, or a digital marketer. So, why not update your skills today and land your dream job soon!  

Also, Read E-Learning changing Current Generation

Source: https://www.aiiottalk.com/education/edtech-companies-take-advantage-of-the-pandemic/

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How E-learning Changing Study Pattern of the Current Generation?

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Technology has been vigorously penetrating into different fields and domains and the education sector remains no exception.

“The concept of e-learning has been there for some time now but the COVID-19 pandemic has hugely added to the demand of e-learning and its scope in the world” 

As per a recent survey, the e-learning market is projected to be worth $325 Billion in 2025 worldwide. E-learning is gradually changing the study patterns of learners all over the world and let’s find out how!

Competitive Exam Preparation:

For examination for higher studies or for recruitment, Ed-tech platforms have you covered right from the time when notifications like TNPSC Notification are released. Such e-learning online platforms are empowered with lectures, mock tests, digital learning material like pdfs and ebooks, blogs, quizzes etc.

These platforms also offer doubt solving sessions and personalised coaching for the aspirants where a dedicated tutor helps the student plan his/her strategies for the exams. 

Also, such platforms are often available in the form of a mobile application as well, thus, converting a big coaching building to a laptop or mobile screen. These courses are often available at prices as low as 20% of what a conventional coaching course would cost. E-Learning modules like that for TNPSC group 4 can be accessed 24×7 and multiple times, unlike one-time lectures given in a classroom.

School Education

School students have been in the mode of online education through Zoom and Skype for almost 6 months now. Their assessments, as well as assignment submissions, are happening online.

Even the traditional one-on-one tuition classes are happening online now. Also, there are new formats of online tutoring in the form of applications and websites that offer gamified, interactive and self-paced modules.

Content in audiovisual and textual formats is made available to the learners, which make their learning effective, sustainable, long-lasting and fun. According to a survey conducted in 2019, almost 63 per cent of high school students in the United States are using e-learning tools at school to learn every day.

E-learning customizes the learning structure of a student to match his learning style and cognitive capacity. Learners are also given adaptive tests which increase or decrease the question difficulty as per need. 

“Not just the academic classes, even extracurricular activity classes like Dance and Paintings are also conducted online through structured e-learning modules” 

Higher Education

Top universities across the world like MIT, Harward, Stanford, Yale etc are also offering professional certificate courses online degrees, thus breaking the geographical barriers in learning.

Because most of these e-learning courses are available in the format of mobile applications and downloadable videos, a student can learn as per his/her own convenience and speed. As per recent  survey reports, 43% Of US College Students find digital learning technologies “Extremely Helpful.”

Employee Training/Skill Upgrade in the corporate sector

According to an article in Small Business Trends,98% of all companies are planning to use eLearning by 2020. Since it is challenging to manage training in a classroom environment, companies are using e-learning to improve employee training programs. e-Learning courses often use gamification techniques, audiovisuals and interactive content to deliver training or to impart a new skill as per the convenience of the employee.

These modules can also be often accessed over mobile devices and laptops at any point in time. The progress of an employee is saved after each session, thus, the employees need not rush to complete their training. All this makes learning effective and sustainable. Also, the maintenance of training records and competence of employees can also be easily maintained by the companies. 

Thus, we can say that e-learning is changing the study patterns of the generation and is a concept which is here to stay.

Also, Read Pros and Cons of Online Education

Source: https://www.aiiottalk.com/education/e-learning-changing-study-pattern-of-current-generation/

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Improved OCR and structured data extraction with Amazon Textract

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Optical character recognition (OCR) technology, which enables extracting text from an image, has been around since the mid-20th century, and continues to be a research topic today. OCR and document understanding are still vibrant areas of research because they’re both valuable and hard problems to solve.

AWS has been investing in improving OCR and document understanding technology, and our research scientists continue to publish research papers in these areas. For example, the research paper Can you read me now? Content aware rectification using angle supervision describes how to tackle the problem of document rectification which is fundamental to the OCR process on documents. Additionally, the paper SCATTER: Selective Context Attentional Scene Text Recognizer introduces a novel way to perform scene text recognition, which is the task of recognizing text against complex image backgrounds. For more recent publications in this area, see Computer Vision.

Amazon scientists also incorporate these research findings into best-of-breed technologies such as Amazon Textract, a fully managed service that uses machine learning (ML) to identify text and data from tables and forms in documents—such as tax information from a W2, or values from a table in a scanned inventory report—and recognizes a range of document formats, including those specific to financial services, insurance, and healthcare, without requiring customization or human intervention.

One of the advantages of a fully managed service is the automatic and periodic improvement to the underlying ML models to improve accuracy. You may need to extract information from documents that have been scanned or pictured in different lighting conditions, a variety of angles, and numerous document types. As the models are trained using data inputs that encompass these different conditions, they become better at detecting and extracting data.

In this post, we discuss a few recent updates to Amazon Textract that improve the overall accuracy of document detection and extraction.

Currency symbols

Amazon Textract now detects a set of currency symbols (Chinese yuan, Japanese yen, Indian rupee, British pound, and US dollar) and the degree symbol with more precision without much regression on existing symbol detection.

For example, the following is a sample table in a document from a company’s annual report.

The following screenshot shows the output on the Amazon Textract console before the latest update.

Amazon Textract detects all the text accurately. However, the Indian rupee symbol is recognized as an “R” instead of “₹”. The following screenshot shows the output using the updated model.

The rupee symbol is detected and extracted accurately. Similarly, the degree symbol and the other currency symbols (yuan, yen, pound, and dollar) are now supported in Amazon Textract.

Detecting rows and columns in large tables

Amazon Textract released a new table model update that more accurately detects rows and columns of large tables that span an entire page. Overall table detection and extraction of data and text within tables has also been improved.

The following is an example of a table in a personal investment account statement.

The following screenshot shows the Amazon Textract output prior to the new model update.

Even though all the rows, columns, and text is detected properly, the output also contains empty columns. The original table didn’t have a clear separation for columns, so the model included extra columns.

The following screenshot shows the output after the model update.

The output now is much cleaner. Amazon Textract still extracts all the data accurately from this table and now includes the correct number of columns. Similar performance improvement can be seen in tables that span an entire page and columns are not omitted.

Improved accuracy in forms

Amazon Textract now has higher accuracy on a variety of forms, especially income verification documents such as pay stubs, bank statements, and tax documents. The following screenshot shows an example of such a form.

The preceding form is not of high-quality resolution. Regardless, you may have to process such documents in your organization. The following screenshot is the Amazon Textract output using one of the previous models.

Although the older model detected many of the check boxes, it didn’t capture all of them. The following screenshot shows the output using the new model.

With this new model, Amazon Textract accurately detected all the check boxes in the document.

Summary

The improvements to the currency symbols and the degree symbol detection will be launched in the Asia Pacific (Singapore) region on September 24th, 2020, followed by other regions where Amazon Textract is available in the next few days. With the latest improvements to Amazon Textract, you can retrieve information from documents with more accuracy. Tables spanning the entire page are detected more accurately, currency symbols  (yuan, yen, rupee, pound, and dollar) and the degree symbol are now supported, and key-value pairs and check boxes in financial forms are detected with more precision. To start extracting data from your documents and images, try Amazon Textract for yourself.


About the Author

Raj Copparapu is a Product Manager focused on putting machine learning in the hands of every developer.

Source: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/machine-learning/improved-ocr-and-structured-data-extraction-with-amazon-textract/

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