Intel film studio for Israeli VR technology

Intel have begun filming its first Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality content using the 360-degree 3D technology from its Israeli subsidiary Replay Technologies. The 25,000 square-foot Intel Studios in Los Angeles features the world’s largest volumetric video capture stage.

Record-breaking year of tech deals

The combined value of acquisitions of Israeli-linked technology companies and Israeli-linked technology IPOs totaled at an all-time high of $23 billion in 2017. Numbers of exits decreased, but values increased - the largest being Intel’s $15.3 billion takeover of Mobileye.

Foreign reserves rise by almost $1 billion

Israel’s foreign exchange reserves increased in December to end at $113 billion – $931 million higher than their end Nov 2017 position. They represent 33.2 percent of GDP.

IKEA to open in Beersheva

Swedish ready-to-assemble retail furniture chain IKEA will open its fourth store in Israel next month. The new store in Beersheva will join existing Israeli outlets in Rishon Lezion, Netanya and Kiryat Ata, near Haifa.

Another partner for Mobileye

I reported previously that Chinese car-maker SAIC is opening an R&D center in Israel.  Now it is partnering with Israel’s Mobileye (part of Intel) to develop autonomous (self-driving) vehicles. Meanwhile, Virginia State is to install Mobileye systems all its public transportation vehicles.

Eilat tourist numbers to quadruple this winter

70,000 tourists came to Eilat on direct flights last winter. The Tourism Ministry expects 280,000 this winter. The Ministry of Tourism has made agreements with low cost airlines Ryanair and Wizz Air to bring overseas tourist directly to Eilat.

Wizz flights from Tel Aviv to Vienna

Low-cost Hungarian airline Wizz is to operate direct flights between Israel and the Austrian capital of Vienna four days a week, starting in June. Wizz Air currently offers 22 routes between Israel and nine countries in Europe.

Israeli bourbon-style whiskey

Norm Cohen and Alan Cohl are creating Israel’s first distillery for American bourbon-style whiskey. The Legends Distillery in Israel’s Elah valley is on the site of the epic fight between David and Goliath. Legends joins Milk and Honey (single malt) and Golan Heights (two-grain).

Nine new Israel-USA projects

The BIRD Foundation is to fund $7.5 million for 9 new joint Israeli-USA projects. The Israeli companies include AgRobics, Axon Vision, Farm Dog, ImageSat, MyndYou, NSLComm, RunEL NGMT and Taranis. They involve agrotech, communications, medical devices, digital health, environment, homeland security and more.

2017 exports top $100 billion

Israel’s Export and International Cooperation Institute (IEICI) has calculated that Israel’s exports of goods and services exceeded $100 billion in 2017 - 5% more than in 2016. Goods exports to the European Union (EU) grew 20% to $16 billion, accounting for 35% of Israel's 2017 total.