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voxeljet AG Reports Financial Results for the First Quarter Ended March 31, 2019

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FRIEDBERG, Germany–(BUSINESS WIRE)–voxeljet AG (NYSE: VJET) (the “Company”, or “voxeljet”), a leading
provider of high-speed, large-format 3D printers and on-demand parts
services to industrial and commercial customers, today announced
consolidated financial results for the first quarter ended March 31,
2019.

Highlights – First Quarter 2019(1)

  • Total revenues for the first quarter increased 10.2% to kEUR 5,565
    from kEUR 5,052
  • Gross profit margin decreased to 34.4% from 42.2% to kEUR 1,913 from
    kEUR 2,133
  • Systems revenues increased 75.6% to kEUR 2,415 from kEUR 1,375
  • Services revenues decreased 14.3% to kEUR 3,150 from kEUR 3,677
  • Reaffirm full year 2019 guidance

(1)Certain comparative figures for the 3-month
period ended March 31, 2018 were restated
 for immaterial
errors. For further information, see Note 9 of the Q3-2018 condensed
consolidated interim financial statements.

Dr. Ingo Ederer, Chief Executive Officer of voxeljet, commented, “We had
a strong first quarter with results that confirm why we are so excited
about our potential to establish a new manufacturing standard. Just
recently, we installed the first print engine into VJET X: This print
engine is the heart of our new additive mass manufacturing solution and
I firmly believe one of the most advanced piece of technology in the
whole additive manufacturing industry. The shifts we have made to our
business and our deeper focus on the three core areas of innovation,
integration and speed are igniting the next phase of growth and
profitability for voxeljet.”

First Quarter 2019 Results

Revenues for the first quarter of 2019 increased by 10.2% to kEUR 5,565
compared to kEUR 5,052 in the first quarter of 2018.

Revenues from our Systems segment, which focuses on the development,
production and sale of 3D printers, increased 75.6% to kEUR 2,415 in the
first quarter of 2019 from kEUR 1,375 in last year’s first quarter. The
Company delivered two new and one used and refurbished 3D printer in the
first quarter of 2019, compared to two used and refurbished printers
delivered in last year’s first quarter. Systems revenues also include
all Systems-related revenues from consumables, spare parts and
maintenance. The increase of revenues from our Systems segment was
mainly due to higher revenues from Systems-related revenues, while
revenue from the sale of 3D printers slightly increased. The increase of
Systems-related revenues reflects the higher installed base of 3D
printers in the market and the associated growth in aftersales
activities. Systems revenues represented 43.4% of total revenues in the
first quarter of 2019 compared to 27.2% in last year’s first quarter.

Revenues from our Services segment, which focuses on the printing of
on-demand parts for our customers, decreased 14.3% to kEUR 3,150 in the
first quarter of 2019 from kEUR 3,677 in the comparative period of 2018.
This was mainly due to lower revenue contributions from our German
operation. We received a lower number of orders mainly reflecting a
lower demand from the automotive industry. This was partially offset by
increased revenue contributions from our subsidiary voxeljet America
Inc. (“voxeljet America”). The increase in revenue at our American
service center was mainly attributable to a volume contract which we
entered into during the second quarter of 2018.

Cost of sales was kEUR 3,652 for the first quarter of 2019 compared to
kEUR 2,919 for the first quarter of 2018.

Gross profit and gross profit margin were kEUR 1,913 and 34.4%,
respectively, in the first quarter of 2019 compared to kEUR 2,133 and
42.2%, respectively in the first quarter of 2018.

Gross profit for our Systems segment increased to kEUR 829 in the first
quarter of 2019 from kEUR 381 in the first quarter of 2018. Gross profit
margin for this segment increased to 34.3% in the first quarter of 2019
compared to 27.7% in the first quarter of 2018. This was mainly due to
higher gross profit margin contributions from Systems-related revenues
resulting from a more favorable ratio of revenues to fixed costs
compared to last year’s first quarter.

Gross profit for our Services segment significantly decreased to
kEUR 1,084 in the first quarter of 2019 compared to kEUR 1,752 in the
first quarter of 2018. The gross profit margin for this segment
decreased to 34.4% in the first quarter of 2019 from 47.6% in the first
quarter of 2018. This was mainly related to lower gross profit margin
from the German service center as a result of lower utilization. Our
subsidiary voxeljet America also contributed lower gross profit margin
due to higher depreciation expense, as we added additional 3D printers
to our American service center during the third quarter of 2018,
including one VX4000 system.

Selling expenses remained nearly unchanged at kEUR 1,676 for the first
quarter of 2019 compared to kEUR 1,736 in the first quarter of 2018,
despite an increase in revenues. We incurred higher shipping and
packaging expenses, which vary from quarter to quarter depending on
quantity and types of products, as well as the destinations where those
goods are being delivered.

Administrative expenses were kEUR 1,439 for the first quarter of 2019
compared to kEUR 1,232 in the first quarter of 2018. This was mainly due
to an increase in headcount resulting in higher personnel expenses as
part of management’s remediation efforts on the material weakness
identified in the prior year. In addition, we incurred higher consulting
fees as part of our project to expand our Enterprise Resource Planning
(“ERP”) system. We have hired additional employees in the IT-Team for
the management of SAP ERP system related tasks.

Research and development (“R&D”) expenses increased to kEUR 1,705 in the
first quarter of 2019 from kEUR 1,597 in the first quarter of 2018. The
increase of kEUR 108 was mainly due to higher personnel expenses as a
result of a slight increase in headcount.

Other operating expenses in the first quarter of 2019 were kEUR 13
compared to kEUR 358 in the prior year period. This was mainly due to
lower losses from foreign currency transaction for the first quarter of
2019 compared to the first quarter of 2018.

Other operating income was kEUR 978 for the first quarter of 2019
compared to kEUR 402 in the first quarter of 2018. The increase was
mainly due to higher gains from foreign currency transactions.

The changes in foreign currency gains and losses were primarily driven
by the valuation of the intercompany loans granted by the parent company
to our UK and US subsidiaries.

Operating loss was kEUR 1,942 in the first quarter of 2019, compared to
an operating loss of kEUR 2,388 in the comparative period in 2018. The
improvement was primarily related to a significant increase of other
operating income partially offset by a lower gross profit.

Financial result was negative kEUR 858 in the first quarter of 2019,
compared to a financial result of positive kEUR 678 in the comparative
period in 2018. The significant decrease was mainly driven by the
revaluation of the derivative financial instruments in connection with
the European Investment Bank loan.

Net loss for the first quarter of 2019 was kEUR 2,788 or EUR 0.57 per
share, as compared to net loss of kEUR 1,716, or EUR 0.46 per share, in
the first quarter of 2018.

Based on a conversion rate of five American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”)
per ordinary share, net loss was at EUR 0.11 per ADS for the first
quarter of 2019, compared to a net loss of EUR 0.09 per ADS for the
first quarter of 2018. Earnings per share is computed by dividing net
income attributable to stockholders of the parent by the
weighted-average number of ordinary shares outstanding during the
periods. Earnings per ADS is calculated by dividing the above earnings
per share by five as each ordinary share represents five ADSs.

Business Outlook

Our revenue guidance for the second quarter of 2019 is expected to be in
the range of kEUR 5,000 to kEUR 5,250.

We reaffirm our guidance for the full year ending December 31, 2019:

  • Full year revenue is expected to be in the range of kEUR 27,000 to
    kEUR 30,000
  • Gross margin is expected to be above 40%
  • Operating expenses for the full year are expected as follows: selling
    and administrative expenses are expected to be in the range of
    kEUR 12,000 to kEUR 12,500 and R&D expenses are projected to be
    between approximately kEUR 5,500 and kEUR 6,000. Depreciation and
    amortization expense is expected to be between kEUR 3,750 and
    kEUR 4,000.
  • Adjusted EBITDA for the second half of the year ending December 31,
    2019 is expected to be neutral-to-positive. Adjusted EBITDA is defined
    as net income (loss), as calculated under IFRS accounting principles
    before interest (income) expense, provision (benefit) for income
    taxes, depreciation and amortization, and excluding other operating
    (income) expense resulting from foreign exchange gains or losses on
    the intercompany loans granted to the subsidiaries.
  • Capital expenditures are projected to be in the range of kEUR 2,000 to
    kEUR 2,500, which primarily includes ongoing investments in our global
    subsidiaries.

Our total backlog of 3D printer orders at March 31, 2019 was kEUR 3,422,
which represents six 3D printers. This compares to a backlog of kEUR
3,392 representing six 3D printers, at December 31, 2018. As production
and delivery of our printers is generally characterized by lead times
ranging between three to nine months, the conversion rate of order
backlog into revenue is dependent on the equipping process for the
respective 3D printer as well as the timing of customers’ requested
deliveries.

At March 31, 2019, we had cash and cash equivalents of kEUR 8,482 and
held kEUR 8,924 of investments in bond funds and kEUR 1,253 in one note
receivable, which are included in current financial assets on our
consolidated statements of financial position.

Webcast and Conference Call Details

The Company will host a conference call and webcast to review the
results for the first quarter on Friday, May 17, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.
Eastern Time. Participants from voxeljet will include its Chief
Executive Officer, Dr. Ingo Ederer, and its Chief Financial Officer,
Rudolf Franz, who will provide a general business update and respond to
investor questions.

Interested parties may access the live audio broadcast by dialing
1-877-705-6003 in the United States/Canada, or 1-201-493-6725 for
international, Conference Title “voxeljet AG First Quarter 2019
Financial Results Conference Call”. Investors are requested to access
the call at least five minutes before the scheduled start time in order
to complete a brief registration. An audio replay will be available
approximately two hours after the completion of the call at
1-844-512-2921 or 1-412-317-6671, Replay Conference ID number 13690018.
The recording will be available for replay through May 24, 2019.

A live webcast of the call will also be available on the investor
relations section of the Company’s website. Please go to the website https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1241565&tp_key=90fb6173de
at least fifteen minutes prior to the start of the call to register,
download and install any necessary audio software. A replay will also be
available as a webcast on the investor relations section of the
Company’s website.

Non-IFRS Measure

The Company uses Adjusted EBITDA as a supplemental financial measure of
its financial performance. Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income
(loss), as calculated under IFRS accounting principles, interest
(income) expense, provision (benefit) for income taxes, depreciation and
amortization, and excluding other (income) expense resulting from
foreign exchange gains or losses on the intercompany loans granted to
the subsidiaries. Management believes Adjusted EBITDA to be an important
financial measure because it excludes the effects of fluctuating foreign
exchange gains or losses on the intercompany loans granted to its
subsidiaries. We are unable to reasonably estimate the potential
full-year financial impact of foreign currency translation because of
volatility in foreign exchange rates. Therefore, we are unable to
provide a reconciliation our forward-looking guidance for non-GAAP
Adjusted EBITDA without unreasonable effort as certain information
necessary to calculate such measure on an IFRS basis is unavailable,
dependent on future events outside of our control and cannot be
predicted without unreasonable efforts by the Company.

Management regularly uses both IFRS and non-IFRS results and
expectations internally to assess its overall performance of the
business, making operating decisions, and forecasting and planning for
future periods. Management believes that Adjusted EBITDA is a useful
financial measure to the Company’s investors as it helps investors
better understand and evaluate the projections our management board
provides. The Company’s calculation of Adjusted EBITDA may not be
comparable to similarly titled financial measures reported by other peer
companies. Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered as a substitute to
financial measures prepared in accordance with IFRS.

Exchange rate

This press release contains translations of certain U.S. dollar amounts
into euros at specified rates solely for the convenience of readers.
Unless otherwise noted, all translations from U.S. dollars to euros in
this press release were made at a rate of USD 1.1235 to EUR 1.00, the
noon buying rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the euro on
March 31, 2019.

About voxeljet

voxeljet is a leading provider of high-speed, large-format 3D
printers and on-demand parts services to industrial and commercial
customers. The Company’s 3D printers employ a powder binding, additive
manufacturing technology to produce parts using various material sets,
which consist of particulate materials and proprietary chemical binding
agents. The Company provides its 3D printers and on-demand parts
services to industrial and commercial customers serving the automotive,
aerospace, film and entertainment, art and architecture, engineering and
consumer product end markets. For more information, visit http://www.voxeljet.de/en/.

Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning our
business, operations and financial performance. Any statements that are
not of historical facts may be deemed to be forward-looking statements.
You can identify these forward-looking statements by words such as
‘‘believes,’’ ‘‘estimates,’’ ‘‘anticipates,’’ ‘‘expects,’’ ‘‘projects,’’
‘‘plans,’’ ‘‘intends,’’ ‘‘may,’’ ‘‘could,’’ ‘‘might,’’ ‘‘will,’’
‘‘should,’’ ‘‘aims,’’ or other similar expressions that convey
uncertainty of future events or outcomes. Forward-looking statements
include statements regarding our intentions, beliefs, assumptions,
projections, outlook, analyses or current expectations concerning, among
other things, our results of operations, financial condition, business
outlook, the industry in which we operate and the trends that may affect
the industry or us. Although we believe that we have a reasonable basis
for each forward-looking statement contained in this press release, we
caution you that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future
performance. All of our forward-looking statements are subject to known
and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are in some
cases beyond our control and that may cause our actual results to differ
materially from our expectations, including those risks identified under
the caption “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 20-F
and in other reports the Company files with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission, as well as the risk that our revenues may fall
short of the guidance we have provided in this press release. Except as
required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update
any forward-looking statements for any reason after the date of this
press release whether as a result of new information, future events or
otherwise.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF FINANCIAL POSITION

     
Notes 3/31/2019 12/31/2018 (1)
(€ in thousands)
unaudited
Current assets 36,519 37,936
Cash and cash equivalents 7 8,482 7,402
Financial assets 7 10,177 12,905
Trade receivables, net 4,857 6,030
Inventories 4 11,156 10,064
Income tax receivables 37 13
Other assets 1,810 1,522
 
Non-current assets 35,371 31,416
Financial assets 7 1,632 2,234
Intangible assets 1,404 1,420
Property, plant and equipment, net 2, 5 32,255 27,675
Investments in joint venture 32 33
Other assets 48 54
   
Total assets 71,890 69,352
     
Notes 3/31/2019 12/31/2018 (1)
 
Current liabilities 6,732 6,302
Trade payables 7 2,507 2,945
Contract liabilities 7 1,027 817
Financial liabilities 2, 7 1,377 850
Other liabilities and provisions 6 1,821 1,690
 
Non-current liabilities 20,780 16,575
Deferred tax liabilities 63 76
Financial liabilities 2, 7 20,539 16,321
Other liabilities and provisions 6 178 178
 
Equity 44,378 46,475
Subscribed capital 4,836 4,836
Capital reserves 87,572 86,803
Accumulated deficit (49,184) (46,400)
Accumulated other comprehensive income 907 1,201
Equity attributable to the owners of the company 44,131 46,440
Non-controlling interest 247 35
Total equity and liabilities 71,890 69,352

See accompanying notes to unaudited condensed consolidated interim
financial statements.

(1)The Company has initially applied IFRS 16 as of January 1,
2019, using the modified retrospective approach. Under this approach,
comparative information is not restated and the cumulative effect of
initially applying IFRS 16 is recognized in retained earnings at the
date of initial application. For further information, see Note 2 of the
condensed consolidated interim financial statements.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE LOSS (UNAUDITED)

     
Three months ended March 31,
Notes 2019 2018 (1) (2)
(€ in thousands except share and share data)
Revenues 9, 10 5,565 5,052
Cost of sales (3,652) (2,919)
Gross profit 9 1,913 2,133
Selling expenses (1,676) (1,736)
Administrative expenses (1,439) (1,232)
Research and development expenses (1,705) (1,597)
Other operating expenses (13) (358)
Other operating income 978 402
Operating loss (1,942) (2,388)
Finance expense 8 (917) (268)
Finance income 8 59 946
Financial result 8 (858) 678
Loss before income taxes (2,800) (1,710)
Income taxes 12 (6)
Net loss (2,788) (1,716)
 
Debt investment at FVOCI – net change in fair value 106 (15)
Foreign currency translation differences (400) (64)
Other comprehensive income (294) (79)
Total comprehensive loss (3,082) (1,795)
 
Loss attributable to:
Owners of the Company (2,784) (1,710)
Non-controlling interests (4) (6)
(2,788) (1,716)
 
Total comprehensive loss attributable to:
Owners of the Company (3,078) (1,789)
Non-controlling interests (4) (6)
(3,082) (1,795)
 
Weighted average number of ordinary shares outstanding 4,836,000 3,720,000
Loss per share – basic/ diluted (EUR) (0.58) (0.46)

See accompanying notes to unaudited condensed consolidated interim
financial statements.

(1)The Company has initially applied IFRS 16 as of January 1,
2019, using the modified retrospective approach. Under this approach,
comparative information is not restated and the cumulative effect of
initially applying IFRS 16 is recognized in retained earnings at the
date of initial application. For further information, see Note 2 of the
condensed consolidated interim financial statements.

(2)Certain comparative figures for the 3-month period ended
March 31, 2018 were restated for immaterial errors. For further
information, see Note 9 of the Q3-2018 condensed consolidated interim
financial statements.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN EQUITY (UNAUDITED)

             
Attributable to the owners of the company
Accumulated
other
Subscribed Capital Accumulated comprehensive Non-controlling
(€ in thousands) capital reserves deficit gain (loss) Total interests Total equity
Balance at December 31, 2017 (2) 3,720 76,227 (37,480) 1,380 43,847 71 43,918
Adjustment on initial application of IFRS 15 (100) (100) (100)
Adjustment on initial application of IFRS 9 (63) (63) (63)
Adjusted balance at January 1, 2018 (2) 3,720 76,227 (37,643) 1,380 43,684 71 43,755
Loss for the period (1,710) (1,710) (6) (1,716)
Net changes in fair value of debt investments at FVOCI (15) (15) (15)
Foreign currency translations (64) (64) (64)
Equity-settled share-based payment 129 129 129
Balance at March 31, 2018 (2) 3,720 76,356 (39,353) 1,301 42,024 65 42,089
             
Attributable to the owners of the company
Accumulated
other
Subscribed Capital Accumulated comprehensive Non-controlling
(€ in thousands) capital reserves deficit gain (loss) Total interests Total equity
Balance at December 31, 2018 (1) 4,836 86,803 (46,400) 1,201 46,440 35 46,475
Loss for the period (2,784) (2,784) (4) (2,788)
Net changes in fair value of debt investments at FVOCI 106 106 106
Foreign currency translations (400) (400) (400)
Equity-settled share-based payment 165 165 165
Share-based payment transaction with the non-controlling shareholder
of a subsidiary
604 604 216 820
Balance at March 31, 2019 4,836 87,572 (49,184) 907 44,131 247 44,378

See accompanying notes to unaudited condensed consolidated interim
financial statements.

(1)The Company has initially applied IFRS 16 as of January 1,
2019, using the modified retrospective approach. Under this approach,
comparative information is not restated and the cumulative effect of
initially applying IFRS 16 is recognized in retained earnings at the
date of initial application. For further information, see Note 2 of the
condensed consolidated interim financial statements.

(2)Certain comparative figures for the 3-month period ended
March 31, 2018 were restated for immaterial errors. For further
information, see Note 9 of the Q3-2018 condensed consolidated interim
financial statements.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS (UNAUDITED)

   
Three months ended March 31,
2019 2018 (1) (2)
(€ in thousands)
Cash Flow from operating activities
 
Loss for the period (2,788) (1,716)
 
Depreciation and amortization 1,050 841
Foreign currency exchange differences on loans to subsidiaries (769) (61)
Share-based compensation expense 165 129
Change in impairment of trade receivables (28) 10
Non-cash interest expense on long-term debt 205 189
Change in fair value of derivative equity forward 602 (941)
Change in inventory allowance (9) (226)
Other 9
 
Change in working capital (265) 1,578
Trade and other receivables, inventories and current assets 61 (901)
Trade payables (586) (260)
Other liabilities, contract liabilities and provisions 284 2,739
Income tax payable/receivables (24)
Net cash used in operating activities (1,837) (188)
 
Cash Flow from investing activities
 
Payments to acquire property, plant and equipment and intangible
assets
(173) (234)
Proceeds from disposal of financial assets 4,081 2,526
Payments to acquire financial assets (1,235) (6,170)
Proceeds from disposal of property, plant and equipment 22
Net cash from (used in) investing activities 2,695 (3,878)
 
Cash Flow from financing activities
 
Repayment of bank overdrafts and lines of credit (58)
Repayment of sale and leaseback obligation (118)
Repayment of lease liabilities (2018: Repayment of finance lease
obligations)
(77) (12)
Repayment of long-term debt (250) (197)
Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt 500 40
Net cash from (used in) financing activities 173 (345)
 
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents 1,031 (4,411)
 
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period 7,402 7,569
Changes to cash and cash equivalents due to foreign exchanges rates 49 (18)
Cash and cash equivalents at end of period 8,482 3,140
 
Supplemental Cash Flow Information
Interest paid 66 47
Interest received 43 1

Contacts

Investors and Media
Johannes Pesch
Director Investor
Relations and Business Development
johannes.pesch@voxeljet.de
Office:
+49 821 7483172
Mobile: +49 176 45398316

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Strainprint™ Technologies Welcomes Organic Medical Cannabis Producer to Growing List of Subscribers

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Strainprint™ Technologies Ltd, the leader in cannabis data and analytics is pleased to expand their nation-wide coverage with the addition of Stewart Farms.

Stewart Farms is a late-stage applicant headquartered in Alberta that is building a 100,000 sq. ft. vertical aquaponics farm in Saint StephensNew Brunswick. They will be utilizing automation, vertical farming, and land-based aquaculture to produce medical grade organic cannabis for both recreational and medical markets in Canada. All of their products will be free of herbicides, pesticides and synthetic nutrients. At full capacity, they will reach more than 10,000 kgs per year of organically farmed cannabis and more than 200,000 kgs of organic tilapia.

Stewart Farms’ long term vision is to deliver tools and products to support  future customers and patients during their health and wellness journeys. “Through our partnership with Strainprint we gain direct access to their incomparable data and analytics tools. This will aid us in educating a wider audience on the medical benefits and best practices of cannabis-based medicine,” said Tanner Stewart, Co-founder & CEO of Stewart Farms. “We know our customers are looking to consume more than dried cannabis. We know Canadians of all legal ages are trying to sort through their personal engagement with cannabis as a medicine. What we want to know, on an ongoing basis, is what is and is not working for people. Strainprint’s patient-led data services will give us the insight needed to create custom products and further understand the benefits of our existing products. Finally, our goal is to partner with companies and teams that truly have people’s best interest at heart. Caring about a patient’s success is what makes up the core of the Strainprint team. We couldn’t be happier to move forward with them at our side.”

Stewart Farms will access the Strainprint Analytics web platform, the most sophisticated cannabis analytics platform available to improve product development. Strainprint Analytics is built on top of the largest and most granular scientific data set of its kind in the world, with more than 1.3 million anonymized, patient reported medical cannabis outcomes and more than 65 million data points on strain efficacy.

“We’re thrilled to provide our real-time, crowd sourced data to an environmentally conscious company that uses innovative, cutting edge farming technology to produce top-tier medical cannabis,” said Strainprint CEO, Andrew Muroff. “Our organizations are equally committed to improving lives using cannabis therapy, and our shared core motivation is to provide guidance and support to help cannabis patients achieve their health goals.”

 

SOURCE Strainprint Technologies Ltd.

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Field Trip Ventures Inc. Retains KCSA Strategic Communications as Public Relations Counsel

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Greenery Map, the world’s first and only cannabis search engine to allow users to search for cannabis products based on their desired mood, medicinal use, and method of consumption, is now offering users – both businesses and consumers – the opportunity to register and connect to the app in an entirely mobile way. Previously, businesses were required to access GreeneryMap.com from a desktop in order to manage accounts and connect to the inventory API system, but that road block has been removed, allowing for an entirely mobile experience through the Greenery Map app.

App users turn to Greenery Map to help them decide on the strain of Cannabis and product that is right for them depending on their desired mood or medicinal effect. Following the matching, consumers are given a detailed history and description of the strain so that they can make educated purchases, cutting down on time that budtenders need to spend with patrons and speeding up the purchase process. Consumers can then see all of the ways to purchase said product, including the nearby dispensaries that have it in stock, online options, and even delivery options through the app. Greenery Map fully integrates with a dispensary’s inventory API system to update in real-time and give consumers real-time information on dispensary stock for the item they are looking for. The Greenery Map system also provides cannabis businesses in both the B2B and B2C sectors a private database to share and sell information and products. For Cannabis businesses, Greenery Map also offers the opportunity to open bank and merchant accounts through their partnership with PayHouse Consulting Group.

 

SOURCE Greenery Map

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WeBank, IBM and Other Organizations Jointly Held the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning in conjunction with IJCAI 2019

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Once a concept, AI is now ushering in a key stage of application. What’s the solution to the data silos among businesses? Given the enhanced regulation on data at home and abroad, what’s the solution to data privacy and security concerns? What’s the status quo of Federated Machine Learning and how to establish an ecosystem for FML in the future?

WeBank, IBM and other organizations jointly held the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning for User Privacy and Data Confidentiality (FML’19) in conjunction with the 28th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-19) on Aug. 12, 2019, to further discussion on these issues.

President of IJCAI, Chair of FML Steering Committee, Chief AI Officer of WeBank Professor Qiang Yang delivered opening remarks at the workshop. Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad from IBM and Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google presented keynote addresses. In the panel discussion, top scholars from WeBank, Bar-Ilan University, IBM, Squirrel AI, Google, Huawei, Clustar, Sinovation Ventures and many other renowned enterprises and universities shared and discussed their findings and experience in FML as an emerging AI technology.

This workshop received 40 papers, of which 12 were presented during the workshop, 19 presented via poster. Awards include Best Theory Paper Award, Best Application Paper Award, Best Student Paper Award, Best Presentation Award. Selected high quality papers will be invited for publication in a special issue in the IEEE Intelligent Systems journal. All these attracted numerous scholars to engage in discussions and join efforts for building the FML ecosystem.

Experts from IBM and Google Share Groundbreaking Findings with a Focus on the Theory and Application of FML

Privacy and security are becoming a key concern in our digital age. On 25th May last year, the implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the EU, the toughest Act on data privacy protection, stressed that user data collection must be open and transparent. A series of laws and regulations from China and overseas also pose new challenges to the traditional way of handling data and model for cooperation. Seeking ways for AI to adapt to this new reality became top priority, a demand that led to this workshop on FML.

A wealth of solutions and breakthroughs were shared by Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad from IBM and Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google in their speech on FML.

Besides how FML can help tackle challenges in the business world, Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad also shared the concept of Fusion AI, which means to train models on widely distributed data sets, but fuse them to produce one equivalent to what centralized training would yield. “Unlike traditional machine learning, in Fusion AI, model parameters are shared and data is not transferred, which makes Fusion AI model better than models that moving data centrally.” Given the widely distributed data, the development of Fusion AI and FML became ever important and imminent.

“FML enables machine learning engineers and data scientists to work productively with decentralized data with privacy by default,” said Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google. He also shared with us how FML works and its use cases at Google. In the case of Gboard, as on-device data is privacy sensitive or large or is more relevant than server-side proxy data, and labels can be inferred naturally via user interaction, the application of Federated RNN compared to prior n-gram model can increase the accuracy of next-word prediction by 24%, and the click rate of prediction strip by 10%.

Major Figure Panelists Discuss the Way Ahead for FML

The moderator of the panel discussion, AI Principal Scientist of WeBank Dr. Lixin Fan joined panelists including Professor Benny Pinkas from Bar-Ilan University, Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad of IBM Academy of Technology, Chief Architect of Squirrel AI Dr. Richard Tong, Research Scientist of Google Dr. Jakub Konečný, Dr. Baofeng Zhang from CTO Office of CBG Software in Huawei, Executive VP of Clustar Dr. Junxue Zhang, VP of AI Institute in Sinovation Ventures Dr. Ji Feng and other experts in a host of in-depth exchanges with attendees, to shed light on the way ahead for FML.

Experts shared thoughts in the panel discussion on questions including but not limited to: How to meet the security and compliance requirements? Is there a way to extend the value of data while observing user privacy and data security? Given the classic trade-off between data regulation and development of AI, how to achieve the long-term goal of establishing a stable and win-win business ecosystem?

List of Award-Winners

Best Theory Paper Award, Best Application Paper Award, Best Student Paper Award and Best Presentation Award selected by all attendees were announced at the closing of the workshop.

Best Theory Paper Award: 
Preserving User Privacy for Machine Learning: Local Differential Privacy or Federated Machine Learning? By Huadi Zheng, Haibo Hu & Ziyang Han;

Best Application Paper Award: 
FedHealth: A Federated Transfer Learning Framework for Wearable Healthcare. By Yiqiang ChenJindong WangChaohui YuWen Gao & Xin Qin;

Best Student Paper Award: 
Quantifying the Performance of Federated Transfer Learning. By Qinghe JingWeiyan Wang, Junxue Zhang, Han Tian & Kai Chen;

Best Presentation Award: 
Federated Generative Privacy. By Aleksei Triastcyn and Boi Faltings.

President of IJCAI, Chief AI Officer of WeBank Professor Qiang Yang, Chief Architect of Squirrel AI Dr. Richard TongandVP of AI Institute in Sinovation Ventures Dr. Ji Feng presented the awards.

“The mission of this International Federated Machine Learning Workshop is to facilitate further understanding in the academia, business community as well as legal and regulatory institutions by promoting the establishment of FML ecosystem in the hope that more businesses will join and build a platform for students aspired to work in FML to find research teams that suit them,” said Professor Qiang Yang.

Held Aug. 10-16, 2019 in Macao, China, IJCAI-19 is one of the leading International Academic Conference on AI, attracting over 3000 AI research personnel and experts. The 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning (FML’19) was a highlight for experts joining this event. Visionaries in the academia and industrial sector expressed the willingness to be part of the effort for academic research, application of FML in the future, and the development and boom of AI ecosystem.

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