Why Qualcomm Acquired A Machine Learning Startup

by Trefis Team
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Last week, Qualcomm (NYSE:QCOM) announced that it had acquired Netherlands-based machine learning startup Scyfer for an undisclosed amount. The company also laid out its vision for artificial intelligence (AI), indicating that it would double down on a device-focused AI implementation. Below, we provide a quick run-down of what Qualcomm has been doing in the AI space and what Scyfer could bring to the table.

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Where Qualcomm Stands In The AI Space

While Qualcomm has been working on AI for about a decade, the company’s more recent efforts have centered around deploying artificial intelligence technology at the device level – in smartphones and cars. While most large companies rely on the cloud for AI processing and machine learning, leveraging large data centers that run an array of graphics chips, Qualcomm notes that it is focusing on on-device solutions in order to enhance reliability, cut latency and bandwidth usage while improving privacy protection. The company has been optimizing its latest Snapdragon chipsets with dedicated modules for machine learning tasks, while also pivoting towards software tools – such as Neural Processing Engine -that allow it to make the most of the conventional computing cores.

Scyfer’s Offers Real World AI Applications

Scyfer develops AI solutions for companies on a contract basis, catering to various industries ranging from healthcare, manufacturing, automation, and finance. Scyfer has built AI tools that carry out operations including revenue prediction, sound recognition for healthcare and quality inspection for manufacturing companies. This could provide Qualcomm with the tools and experience to understand a wide range of real-world applications for AI, above and beyond its typical smartphone focussed applications, potentially allowing to broaden its opportunity set in the long-term. The acquisition could also give Qualcomm access to a team of experienced machine learning experts to aid in these efforts.

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