Qualcomm acquires artificial intelligence startup, Scyfer

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  • Qualcomm, a multibillion-dollar tech company with a team based at Catalyst Inc in Belfast, has acquired a European artificial intelligence startup for an undisclosed sum.

    Founded in 2013, Scyfer has developed an artificial intelligence platform that has been deployed in the healthcare, manufacturing, retail and finance sectors. The startup bills itself as an AI company driven by Big Data, with the ability to crunch vast quantities of data in order to make its machine learning algorithms as accurate as possible.

    Scyfer’s AI technology will support Qualcomm’s efforts to develop AI solutions that are directly hosted on end-user devices, such as smartphones. Unlike many other artificial intelligence companies, which are often working to develop cloud-based AI solutions, Qualcomm wants to develop machine learning technologies that are capable of functioning whether they are connected to a network or not.

    Qualcomm has been working on artificial intelligence since 2007, when it started researching the use of machine learning solutions for computer vision and motion-control applications.

    "We started fundamental research a decade ago, and our current products now support many AI use cases from computer vision and natural language processing to malware detection on a variety of devices," explained Matt Grob, Qualcomm's executive vice president of technology. "We are researching broader topics, such as AI for wireless connectivity, power management and photography."

    In addition to developing AI solutions for mobile devices, Qualcomm is also working on machine learning for self-driving cars, and recently announced a new partnership with TomTom to compile a wealth of vehicle mapping data for use in autonomous vehicles.

    Qualcomm, which is headquartered in San Diego in the USA, first set up shop in Belfast in 2014 after it acquired Cambridge Silicon Radio for $2.5 billion, which itself had acquired APT Licensing, a CSIT spinout company based at Catalyst Inc.

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