In this final TechTalk podcast of 2017, we examine a few of the technology headlines that caught our attention toward the end of the year. In this “potpourri” episode, we discuss net neutrality, the data hack at Uber and some misbehaving drones. We also gives a taste of what might be on the podcast menu for 2018.
Dave Plaskow: Hello and welcome to EisnerAmper’s technology podcast series. With more than 500 technology clients we’re always interested in the latest industry trends and developments, as well as any related business and accounting opportunities and challenges. I’m your host Dave Plaskow, and with us today is Dave Katz, Senior Manager in EisnerAmper’s Technology and Life Sciences practice. It’s another episode of TechTalk. Dave, welcome.
Dave Katz: Great to be here and close out our first year of the TechTalk podcast.
DP: Let’s try something a little different. As we close out 2017, what are a few technology stories bubbling up to the top that may have some legs as we go into the future. Consider this a potpourri podcast.
DK: I think the first story has to be about net neutrality. Trump appointed FCC chairman Ajit Pai, former Verizon executive, put forth a plan that will essentially allow internet providers to speed up or slow down traffic from websites and apps. Proponents say it’s another move towards less onerous regulation while opponents argue it will create data haves and have-nots, with consumers paying more. The FCC expects to approve the measure in early 2018.
DP:That’ll be a big change for the way people use and access the internet. Give me another one.
DK:Troubles at Uber continue. Approximately 57 million of its riders’ and drivers’ information was hacked. Instead of notifying the authorities and those impacted, Uber paid the hackers a $100,000 ransom to destroy the data. It claims data was, in fact, destroyed, but who knows for sure. The company could face repercussions, as most states have security breach of notification laws, and with all that going on, Uber is still working toward an IPO.
DK:As you know, it always goes back to drones on this show so, as a side note, the drone racing league we had previously talked about was on CBS a few weeks ago. So they’re becoming more and more mainstream every day. Over Thanksgiving weekend, though, a person was arrested for using a drone to drop leaflets over the crowd at an NFL game in San Francisco and in Oakland. The leaflets contained some sort of anti-media message. Most were carried away by the wind, but the drone’s owner/operator was arrested because Levi stadium outside San Francisco is near an airport, which is a drone no-fly zone. There’s an ironic free speech message there, but will this be a form of promotion we may see more of going forward?
DP:I read this morning that New Jersey is considering an initiative to make drunken drone flying illegal in this state.
DP:Where do you see the business of technology headed in 2018? Let’s start with some types of hot technology out there.
DK:Electric and driverless cars continue to hit the news feed. You look at Volvo – all of their cars will have electric motors by 2019, and Uber has ordered 24,000 of their autonomous vehicles for its fleet between 2019 and 2021. Ford has a plan in the U.S. to make driverless cars. And then, of course, there’s artificial intelligence. Tesla is making claims that their hardware will be the best AI in the world.
DP:I think AI’s going to be a big one. How about financing?
DK:We’re continuing to see some movement here. Solid funding, some venture-backed activity, especially in the biotech realm. Arcus Bioscience just received another $107 million, led by Google’s venture arm. And we’ve seen some recent IPOs from therapeutic and pharmaceutical companies as well.
DK:New tax laws mean a drop in the corporate rate. So we’ll see if that translates to significant investment and innovation.
DP:And finally, business advisory services needed – what you do every day.
DK:The tax changes certainly require tax advisory discussions. Revenue recognition standard FASB AC606 – we’ve talked about – goes into effect for public companies in Q1 2018 and private companies in 2019 with the requirement to show comparative to ’18. And before we know it the new lease standard will be bearing down on everyone, which is effective in 2019 for public companies. Likewise, public companies who did IPOs under the Jobs Act may be approaching that five-year window where the company was exempt from Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley. So it remains important to meet with business advisors in order to keep these types of things on the radar.
DP:Excellent. Well Dave, thanks as always for your insight. I’m really looking forward to more great tech podcasts in 2018.
DK:As am I.
DP:And thank you for listening to TechTalk as part of the EisnerAmper podcast series. Visit EisnerAmper.com for more information on this, and a host of other topics. And join us for our next EisnerAmper podcast when we get down to business.
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