Eurobites: London AI Startup Thinks Big

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: EU operators prepare for roaming charges revolution; DigitalRoute beefs up its board; Ryan Reynolds gets BT into trouble (again).

  • Further evidence -- if further evidence were needed -- that artificial intelligence is the coming thing has been provided by bizarrely named UK startup BenevolentAI, which, as Bloomberg reports, is about to embark on a major recruitment drive. The company, which is valued at $1.7 billion and specializes in using machine learning to process medical data, is looking for 50 new members of staff in various disciplines to work at its London office.

  • Tomorrow sees the official coming-into-force of the regulation that ends roaming charges -- the supplementary charging of mobile phone users when they're using their devices while abroad -- within the European Union member states. Several operators have already launched free roaming in anticipation of the new regulation's implementation: In France, for example, Orange (NYSE: FTE) and Sosh customers have since May 18 been able to use their plans within Europe (not just EU countries) and in French overseas territories without incurring extra charges. (See Eurobites: Dunroamin' and EU Agrees to Ban Roaming Charges, Enforce Net Neutrality.)

  • DigitalRoute AB , the Swedish analytics company, has made changes to its board of directors, appointing former Orga Systems boss Wolfgang Kroh as its new chairman. Also joining DigitalRoute's board with immediate effect are Henrik Scharp, Johan Stuart and Roland Svensson. (See LRTV Interviews DigitalRoute CTO Lars Månsson.)

  • The UK's Advertising Standards Authority has ordered BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) to stop showing an advert for its Smart Hub router, which featured Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds and claimed that its router offered the "UK's most powerful WiFi signal." The ASA ruled that the ads gave the impression that the router had been tested against all the other such routers on the UK market, when in reality it had only been tested against the offerings of its three major rivals, Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk. It's not the first time that BT has got into trouble over an advert featuring Reynolds: A broadband ad from last year was also pulled after a complaint from Virgin Media. For those who want to savor Ryan's, erm, hilarious antics one final time, here is the offending item:

  • Boundless Networks, a wireless Internet service provider operating in the north of England, has upgraded its basestations to Cambium Networks Ltd. 's ePMP Elevate offering, replacing more than 300 of its 550 access points and implementing an over-the-air software upgrade to subscribers.

  • There's impressive work being carried out by the charitable Vodafone Foundation in Africa, which has launched its "Instant Schools for Africa" program across the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania to provide free, unlimited access to online educational materials. A similar initiative in South Africa is already benefiting 215,000 children.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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