Bloomberg LP could soon start renting out a room in your apartment if you happen to be over in the Caribbean or Phoenix and don’t want to be exposed to all that traffic and probably are not comfortable with their neighbor’s dog.
The company announced Tuesday it will explore offering an array of services to third-party investors, from artificial intelligence to satellite photos, who have the money to throw at Bloomberg and want other Bloomberg options.
The goal: to find new ways to increase productivity.
“We want to help more people grow their businesses and create greater wealth,” says Bloomberg’s chief executive officer, Daniel Doctoroff. “In the nascent phase of this effort, the focus is on software and A.I., helping companies do more with less, helping communities improve and enabling small and medium-sized businesses.”
Bloomberg has planned to test out these services in “selected areas,” with things like drones that deliver goods to remote locations, robots for employees to do tasks in-house, and a version of its globalized map that users can request for assets on sale.
Doctoroff, who joined Bloomberg in 2017 after serving as commerce secretary during the Obama administration, says there are currently around 25,000 Bloomberg View subscriptions, while there are more than a million Bloomberg Markets monthly readers.
The company says it isn’t looking to monetize the event-based guide to market data and tools, for example.
Bloomberg started thinking about doing something on this scale in 2016 when, in the fall of that year, it formed a new business unit called Bloomberg Next, focused on providing small and medium-sized businesses with information and services to increase revenue.
A key component in this attempt is a partnership with London-based consultancy Shazam, which already handles a large part of Bloomberg’s backend A.I.
“From our perspective, it’s kind of a good marriage because as they start to see the opportunity, Shazam has an array of tools in terms of radio spot buying to more advanced forms of marketing,” says Greg Suarez, Shazam’s head of new products.
Bloomberg is also developing an A.I. program that keeps track of where your employees are and what you need to be done, so that you don’t have to search for data every time.
Bloomberg Point Counter, its point-of-sale tool, is also getting a revamp with a 3-D map of customers’ assets that can display a broader range of choices.
Bloomberg has also formed partnerships with companies from across business verticals like motion and visualization, including Alvine Technologies, Stratolaunch Systems, and Under Armour’s Under Armour Studio.
Bloomberg hopes to find these solutions and others from third-party companies by rolling out a beta version of the program by summer of 2019. There’s no pricing structure yet.
Bloomberg isn’t the only one looking to unlock the value of third-party intelligence. Microsoft is building out similar offerings from a team called AI for Good, which essentially is a home for the world’s brightest artificial intelligence minds. Walmart and Dropbox are also preparing for such a future.
Bloomberg expects the program to take place out of its New York headquarters on the 15th floor of its skyscraper, in one of the investment banking floors. The company is seeking ideas from all kinds of people who might be interested in working at Bloomberg.
Right now, some of the offerings and partner companies aren’t heavily revealed, so that people are not rolling their eyes whenever Bloomberg attempts to capitalize on other people’s work. The company says its valued the many tools that have appeared to be useful.
“We see a lot of ideas, not a lot of problems,” says Doctoroff. “We’ve gotten many, many of these ideas by simply asking people to send us their ideas.”