Tech World: A $24bn HealthTech acquisition, Twitter’s share spike and Uber’s latest ban

Hello, I’m Emily, welcome to Tech World,
your quick round up of the top technology news stories from across the globe. For this
episode’s hot topic interview, we spoke with Amber Mace from EY about why women are
the least likely adopters of VR. First though, here are your top international stories. Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart raised $1.4bn
to take on Amazon and Alibaba. The firm gained a post-money valuation of $11.6bn with investors
including eBay, Microsoft and China’s Tencent. C R Bard, a US developer, manufacturer and
marketer of medical technologies, was acquired by Becton Dickinson for a massive $24bn. This
marked the second acquisition in April 2017 by Becton Dickinson, with the medical technology
company acquiring Caesarea at the start of the month. Twitter shares opened 10% up after the firm
revealed its latest results, which beat expectations with its strongest user growth for more than
a year. The firm reported 328 million active monthly users in Q1 2017, a 6% increase on
Q1 2016. Instagram, on the other hand, announced it
now boasts 700 million monthly active users, double the amount it had two years ago. Facebook
is still top dog, though, with a whopping 1.86bn monthly active users globally. Uber faced another setback after being banned
from operating in Italy. A Rome court ruled the ride-hailing app represented unfair competition
for traditional taxis. The company was given 10 days to shut down its services in the country. That’s it for our global tech news roundup,
but keep watching to see this episode’s Hot Topics interview. We spoke with Amber Mace from EY about why
women are the least likely adopters of VR. Hi Amber, can you tell us a little about the
survey that EY conducted into virtual reality? Sure, so it was commissioned by the TMT Women’s
Network, which is a network that supports women in the technology media and telecoms
industry, there’s a lot of press at the moment around supporting and trying to get more women
into tech, and there’s also a lot of press around disruptive technologies, of which VR
is one. So what we wanted to do was really combine those two themes and take a look at
whether the virtual reality industry was equally appealing or as appealing to men as it is
to women. So the survey found three main themes, the
first is that far less women had actually tried VR to date, and actually less women
were likely to try VR in the future, so of the women in the survey, only 14% of them
had actually used VR, versus 20% of the men and actually over two thirds – 65% – of the
women in the survey said they were unlikely to try virtual reality in the future. So secondly, the survey found that those that
had used VR, women tended to be less impressed with virtual reality as an experience so the
key words describing their virtual reality experience was ‘futuristic’ and ‘underwhelming’,
versus the male experience, which tended to be realistic and positive. So if you put that
into a buying preferences, you can see why perhaps there is a difference for the male
and the female population. And thirdly, the survey found that women tended
to have less affinity with, or knowledge of the key virtual reality brands in the market
so over 63% of the women had not heard of the top five brands in the market and actually
men were found to be more than twice as likely to have heard of the brands across each of
the brands listed. And why do you think more men than women are
adopting virtual reality? Well I think what was interesting in the survey
is it was clear that women were less likely than men to be early adopters of technology,
so they’re less likely to be the first people to run in and buy a new technology when it’s
released and the indication was that, actually, they’d rather wait until the use case around
that technology was more clearly established. If we look at the most high-profile marketing
and use cases for virtual reality, they’ve tended to resonate more with men than with
women and actually it’s perhaps not surprising, because both men and women had as the top
use case in their view for virtual reality being gaming, which is perhaps historically
more of a male past time, and resonated less with women. I think there are a lot of potential
other exciting use cases for virtual reality, whether it’s tourism, communications, movies
and entertainment, but perhaps the message around those hasn’t got out in quite the same
was as gaming has to date. So what can be done to encourage more women
to start using this kind of technology? Well at the back of our survey, we included
three questions for businesses to consider when they’re looking at marketing VR. So the
first is around how do you make sure that you’re appealing to a broad audience, so if
we think about the survey at the moment there does seem to be a bit of a disconnect between
where women see the highest use case for virtual reality being in gaming, but also where they
see themselves most likely to use virtual reality, being in movies and entertainment.
So I think something needs to be done around that disconnect, going forward. In addition
whether businesses are actually targeting a broad enough audience mix, when they’re
commissioning VR content, so I think if we look at movies and entertainment, women were
very keen and saw that as a high-potential area for virtual reality. But actually at
the moment, the content is pretty limited around movies and entertainment. I think that’s
changing in the industry, we are seeing a lot of TV companies partnering with tech startups
around VR, so as long as the content that gets produced is very diverse in nature, then
that could be a real turning point for virtual reality. And then finally, we asked people to think
about how do you balance the investment and marketing around the technology and the innovation
versus the use case? I mentioned that women are far more interested in the use case, than
actually in the technology itself, so perhaps we need a more diverse investment into the
use case for virtual reality so women saw lots of opportunity – I’ve mentioned movies
and entertainment before, but also tourism and travel and communications – perhaps we
could see more investment in those areas. It seems to me that if the industry could
find some form of killer app with a clear entertainment or everyday use, that brought
with it a whole load of additional users, then actually virtual reality could become
more of a mainstream than it is today. Brilliant, thanks for joining us. No problem. That’s all for this episode. To get more
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