Jason Blessing, CEO of Plex, excitedly told me about an upcoming trip. He had been invited to spend time as a Distinguished Visitor on an US Navy aircraft carrier out in the Pacific. My immediate request (after telling him how jealous I was) “observe the (unclassified) technology and innovations and send me a guest post”.
He readily agreed – the US Navy asks in exchange for the visit is that DV’s pay $50 to cover the cost of chow while aboard and that they share their experiences with their communities. I am glad Jason is doing so with the New Florence community.
The Stennis, in active service for two decades, is a Nimitz class super-carrier with navy and marine F/A-18 Hornet, EA-6B Prowler, MH-60R, MH-60S, and E-2C Hawkeye planes.
Here are some of Jason’s observations
“Some systems and vehicles used in the military are not new, by design. For example, the plane that flew us out to the USS Stennis is over 50 years old and continues to persist because the platform is functional and easy to maintain. In addition, many systems on the carrier have 2 – 3 back-ups, with the older systems serving as the backup. Think about using your landline at home and how you use it when the cell phone is either dead or you can’t get a signal. The same idea applies to navigation and weapons systems aboard an aircraft carrier.
The US government can be innovative. You don’t usually think of our government as innovative, but many of the ideas that get implemented are a result of ideas from our soldiers on the front line. One such example I saw are the flight helmets used by F/A-18 Super Hornet pilots. To activate a weapons system then simply look at target thru the heads-up display in their helmet and then punch a few of buttons to select which targets to engage and what type of ordinance to use.
-When I asked an enlisted sailor what’s the worst thing about being gone, besides missing family, he said Spotify. After 30 days of not connecting to the Internet a Spotify music library deactivates.
-Limited DirecTV is available aboard, including news and sports. The ships also show current run movies and the USS Stennis showed the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight on Saturday night.
-The food is actually pretty good and ships serve 4 meals a day. Cereal, milk and fresh fruit are available 24 hours a day.
-The espirit de corps is remarkable on this ship. Most young sailors are incredibly excited about the important jobs they have the role they play in national security.
-Most sailors work 16 – 18 hours a day when deployed at sea. The sacrifice they make to preserve our freedom is remarkable.
-The most junior sailors actually drive the boat. I love the irony in this. This is a job that requires a huge amount of concentration and physical effort. They also have a lot of people looking over their shoulder.
-The boat is in ship shape. Revelry happens at 6:30 every morning and then the entire ship’s population cleans from 7:30 – 8:30 AM every day.’
See other photos from Jason’s visit here and a video of a catapult launch here
Excellent article in FastCompany on Disney’s ambitious tech enabled tinkering of the UX at its flagship park in Orlando
“While most observers view Disney’s parks as kingdoms of escapism, Neal Gabler, in his definitive biography of Walt Disney, argues that their success actually derives from "crafting a better reality than the one outside," with a reassuring "control and order" where all is "harmonious." But in the ensuing weeks, working from a trailer behind Epcot, the founding five started digging into the problems that made the reality of Disney World something less than "harmonious." There were the endless lines for rides, food, and bathrooms; parents juggling maps, hotel keys, baby carriages, and bottles of SPF 75; and kids pulling families on long treks to try to visit every attraction. The park was filled with complications, such as a tiered ticketing system with wonky rules.
Given Disney World’s ticket prices, families felt obligated to "divide and conquer," says MacPhee. The team created diagrams illustrating how families, seeking to maximize their time, would crisscross Cinderella Castle, the center of the park, as often as 20 times a day. Worse yet: the swarms of people. On average, 8,000 to 10,000 guests flow through the park’s main entrance every hour. "On the surface, we had super happy guests, but in reality, we were making them go through so much hassle at the park that down the road, they would simply say, 'No más!' " says one former longtime Disney manager. As MacPhee, who has the look of a Division II offensive coordinator, admits, Disney World was on the verge of becoming "dangerously complex and transactional." The team soon presented its ideas to Rasulo. He gave them the go-ahead to rethink everything, including turnstile entrances and paper ticketing. That’s when the project got its code name, Next Generation Experience, or NGE. The founding five soon found themselves on a perpetual shuttle between Burbank and Orlando.”
As I wrote here, the quality of vendor analyst summits has improved dramatically in the last couple of years. Looking at the agenda I was sent ahead of coming to this week’s Oracle Cloud Summit I was prepared for an endless stream of Powerpoint presentations.
Instead I was impressed with the variety of perspectives – not just product centric, but executive, sales field, customer, partner as well. Day 2 was similar but focused more on HCM products – a bit of a repeat of the themes I had heard in Washington last month, but with a newer set of customer and executive voices
Thomas Kurian, President, set the tempo for day 1 with a slide a minute for 45 minutes where he summarized Oracle’s growing portfolio of –as-a-service offerings – SaaS, Paas, Iaas and DaaS. The man has a breathtaking command of Oracle products and you have to admire how efficiently he covered the portfolio. Across the two days, 20+ presenters marched through, by my estimate, over 750 slides.
CEO Mark Hurd took a different tack and presented more on state of the industry and a handful of slides with lots of white space, and instead answered several questions from the audience.
The night before as part of a reception, Oracle had several booths to show off its investments in UX. Day 2 we got to visit the applications UX lab with all kids of devices, motion analysis, eye tracking and other technology. The end result is a pleasing front end to a growing set of Oracle apps. Between the two days Oracle, also managed to showcase 20 short demos across the sessions.
Three panels hosted by Shawn Price, SVP Oracle Cloud, showcased 14 Oracle customers/partners, and 5 of Oracle’s field executives representing a breadth of industries and geographies. Many of them were available for conversations during the rest of the day. On Day 2, two HCM customers and two Oracle (internal) HR executives provided additional color
The setting – Half Moon Bay for Day 1 and Redwood Shores for Day 2 -allowed for plenty of fresh air and also pleased my FitBit. With so much to cover, it was thoughtful of Oracle to allow for enough “outside time”
Finally, given the mass of content at most of these summits, I find myself chasing the vendor for copies of slides for days afterwards. Oracle had them all on an internal portal by the afternoon of Day 1 and on a zip drive for Day 2. A minor detail, but again reflective of the logistical feat the event delivered.
I heard a few analysts bitch about information overload – clearly there was with that much content. Others complained there was not enough detail in some sessions. To me, that’s what follow up calls are for.
I for one appreciated the large investment Oracle made and for packing so much into the two days. It’s miniaturization applied to our world of content.
“..all 30 ballparks will have a new tracking system called Statcast that can rank defensive powerhouses just as well as star batters. It uses cameras, radar, and sophisticated AI to put numbers on every element of a play—from the rpm of the pitch to the exact trajectory of the ball to the fielder's split-second defensive moves.”
The Infinity Tower in Seoul, S. Korea will appear invisible using an LED facade system
“Cameras will be placed at three different heights on six different sides of the building to capture real-time images of the surroundings; three other sections, each filled with 500 rows of LED screens, will project the individual digital images.
Through digital processing, images will be scaled, rotated and merged to create a seamless panoramic image that appears on the LED rows to create the illusion of invisibility.
In essence, whatever is going on behind the building will be projected onto the front of the building.”
The Dry Valleys are almost entirely ice-free, except for a few isolated glaciers. The only surface water is a handful of small lakes. Inside the canyons, the climate is extremely dry, cold and windy; researchers have stumbled upon mummified seals in these gorges that are thousands of years old.
Yet there is life in this extreme landscape. For instance, bacteria living under Taylor Glacier stain its snout a deep blood red. The rust-colored brine, called Blood Falls, pours into Lake Bonney in the southernmost of the three largest Dry Valleys. The dramatic colors offer shocking relief to senses overwhelmed by the glaring white ice and dull brown rocks.
Under the test, Amazon customers with Internet-connected Audis agree to give DHL couriers electronic access to their trunks and then set the approximate location of their car and a window of time. The couriers then leave the package inside the trunks.
Amazon said it hopes to roll the service out internationally after the experiment begins in Germany in May.
“Mamedi teamed up with former college buddy Nami Zarringhalam in 2009 to create the app, which catalogs the contact lists of everyone who registers, so if a sufficient number of its 100 million-plus users know the John Smith in Brooklyn you’re seeking, you can find him.
And the app predicts which John Smith you want -- or, more likely Rajiv or Aditya, since it’s gained the most traction in India -- making suggestions based on the people you know. Just as important, Truecaller will show on your phone’s screen the identity of callers who are among the 1.6 billion numbers in its database, and it allows you to block calls you don’t want.”
Manufacturers are aware of that need for speed. Induction ranges and cooktops are growing ever more popular, single-serve coffeemakers are crowding store shelves, and faster settings are being built into washers and dishwashers. Buyers of electronics have a different definition of fast; they want devices that stream, process, and download swiftly. Whatever the product category, all of that clock-watching can pay real dividends: 15 minutes here, an hour there. If you owned one of each type of product on these pages, you could save more than two hours per day. Just think of what you could do with that!
But, wait, as the old infomercials said, there's more to Solar Roadways than just free daytime electrons. Silicon in a roadway brings intelligence and opportunity. You don't really want to paint over photovoltaic cells with lane markers, so LED lighting will serve that purpose, making the lines easier to see at night, and able to change as traffic conditions dictate (or turn off when nobody's around). They can even provide real-time warning signs for upcoming traffic hazards.
Since snow also kills the power collection, heating elements will melt and dry the road, greatly improving safety, slashing plowing budgets, and building the case for this technology in the northern latitudes where less solar energy can be collected. Built-in pressure sensors could detect animal or pedestrian traffic, triggering illumination and warning messages. Finally, the smart panels will know when a neighbor gets damaged and summon a crew to quickly swap out the 110-pound panel. The latest design envisions 2-foot-wide hexagonal panels supported by a roadway underlayment similar to normal roads, the whole works sloped to drain water into a trough with an adjacent cable run that carries power and smart-roadway wiring. These troughs could also be sized to accommodate telecommunications and power cabling, eliminating fragile and unsightly overhead lines.
Still in “Early Access” (invite only) Google’s foray into a wireless service is interesting for several reasons. From the Google blog
“We developed new technology that gives you better coverage by intelligently connecting you to the fastest available network at your location whether it's Wi-Fi or one of our two partner LTE networks. As you go about your day, Project Fi automatically connects you to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots we've verified as fast and reliable. Once you're connected, we help secure your data through encryption. When you're not on Wi-Fi, we move you between whichever of our partner networks is delivering the fastest speed, so you get 4G LTE in more places.”
“…for $20 a month you get all the basics (talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in 120+ countries), and then it's a flat $10 per GB for cellular data while in the U.S. and abroad. 1GB is $10/month, 2GB is $20/month, 3GB is $30/month, and so on. Since it's hard to predict your data usage, you'll get credit for the full value of your unused data. Let's say you go with 3GB for $30 and only use 1.4GB one month. You'll get $16 back, so you only pay for what you use.”
Another in a series of places and things we don’t necessarily consider “cool” but where innovation and technology keep evolving
Have you been to a Best Buy lately?
I had not in a while, and expected a wide range of Apple and Microsoft and Samsung products, but was surprised they only took up a quarter of the floor space. The store has become a wider showcase of technology in our next-gen lifestyles
The new Pacific appliance section has refrigerators with enhanced humidity control technology, convection microwaves, infrared grills, robot vacuums and dishwashers with apps.
The Magnolia home theater section has the latest in 4K Ultra HD TVs, Dolby and other audio gear.
Other sections are focused on the connected home with products like DropCam surveillance, Nest thermostats, and Hue smart LED lighting. Still and connected cars with Zubie tracking/diagnostics, and after market Bluetooth speaker, rear cameras and smart mirrors. Other sections carry FitBits and other trackers and iHealth monitors.
The Geek Squad now does home theater design and connected home installations.
I have a feeling our local, humble Best Buy is going to be a part of our changing lifestyles for a while.
For all its clout, Product Hunt doesn’t have a lot of frills. It’s a website and e-mail newsletter that every day singles out 50 or so recently-introduced things Hoover, his team and a group of discerning volunteers decide are noteworthy. Readers “vote up” what they like, moving them higher on the site, where they get more attention. Startups are so hot in Silicon Valley that the industry needs a startup to curate them.
As readership’s grown, Product Hunt has become a virtual town square for tech’s cheerleaders, with people posting feedback about new products and startup founders like Groupon’s Mason answering questions about their latest inventions. Hoover has guarded who can comment, limiting the number to 8,000 thus far who were brought in through an invitation system. Mason says the biggest challenge for Product Hunt will be ensuring it’s not overrun by the Internet’s default to vitriol.
Dervaes lives on a micro-farm in the middle of Pasadena, where she and her family depend mostly on the land to live. What they have: a chicken coop, dwarf goats, edible landscaping and a front-porch farmstand. With just one-fifth of an acre to work with, she, her siblings and her dad have been able to make a living growing vegetables and hosting workshops. Last year, they produced $60,000 worth of sales on their property.
“The backyard is the most wasted space in America. It’s been a learning process,” Jules Dervaes, the patriarch of the family, says. “To consistently produce a large amount of food for 10 years without depleting the soil has been difficult.”
The operation is called Urban Homestead, and it’s a city farm with an educational focus. Produce is sold on the front porch or online, and workshops, from making bone broth to fermentation, are held inside the house.
If you’re big fan of both wireless charging and IKEA’s affordable line of furniture, then you’re in luck. The world’s largest furniture retailer just announced a new collection called IKEA Home Smart, a series of home furniture with built-in induction charging capabilities.
Created in conjunction with the Wireless Power Consortium, each piece in the line comes fitted with Qi wireless chargers, so you can use it to replenish the battery on any of the compatible devices currently in the market (e.g. LG G3, Moto 360, the new Galaxy S6). That’s right, instead of buying a piece of furniture and a wireless charging pad, you get both in a single purchase.
As I continue my “Humble Things” series, I popped in to see a Norman Rockwell exhibit at a local museum. In his remarkable career, Rockwell brought so many day to day, humble things to life especially in his long series of Saturday Evening Post covers.
As I was admiring his work I kept wondering how it would be different today.
Here's my musing:
I think Rockwell would observe the fading art of the family meal hijacked by all our electronics
He would likely bring out the mood at today's airports, especially the excitement when flights are on time
He would paint himself taking a selfie and instead of the pipe he would likely have a Apple Watch and his glasses would be from Google
He would update the mailman with the UPS man with Amazon deliveries
and the cop would likely be a lady and Rockwell would bring out her body camera, walkie talkie and all.
“We’ll invite a select number of companies to an exotic Mediterranean islandwhere they can escape the mental noise of the day-to-day and focus on the things that really matter. Your co-founding team will be connected to the biggest names in the industry, receive 1:1 mentorship and training, have the opportunity to pitch to international investors, get connected with international media, and will embark on an investors roadshow pitching in five different cities at the end of the program.”
Continuing a series on things we take for granted when we should stop and think how far we have come.
In 1851, Verdi’s classic opera, Rigoletto opened. It was an instant hit and soon gondoliers in Venice were belting out La Donna e Mobile. Then it gradually spread around the world if you could afford to go to the opera. Gradually, as in years.
The walls, carved out of 270-million-year-old limestone deposits, help keep humidity low and temperatures at a constant 68 degrees, eliminating the need for air conditioning or heating. Tenants have reported saving as much as 70 percent on their energy bills, says Ora Reynolds, president of SubTropolis landlord Hunt Midwest. Rents run about $2.25 per square foot, about half the going rate on the surface. "It's also a question of sustainability," says Joe Paris, vice president at Paris Brothers, a specialty foods packager that employs about 200 workers underground. In addition to Paris Brothers, 51 tenants have rented nearly 6 million square feet of space. Others include LightEdge Solutions, a cloud computing company that uses the mild climate to help cool servers, and an underground archive that contains the original film reels to Gone with the Wind and Wizard of Oz.
The U.S. Postal Service keeps hundreds of millions of postage stamps in an underground distribution hub at SubTropolis. There's still plenty of space here, with about 8 million square feet of land to develop—almost 10 times the floor area of Kansas City's tallest building. To reach capacity, Hunt Midwest may have to consider additional uses. Underground real estate has been used to grow mushrooms in Pennsylvania and vegetables in London.
Hundreds of millions of particle collisions take place every second, at the heart of LHC's detectors. The sensors generate about one petabyte of data every second, an amount no computing system in the world could be able to store if it was generated for any prolonged period.
Most of the data is discarded quickly, as sophisticated systems select what could be of interest for the scientists and filter out the clutter. Then, tens of thousands of processor cores go even further and choose just one percent of the remaining events - information which then gets stored and is later analyzed by physicists.
The datacenter can save 6GB of data per second at the peak rate of the LHC. However, this gigantic machine doesn't run 24/7. "We're expecting about 30 petabytes per year of LHC run two - that would represent something like 250 years of high-definition video," Frédéric Hemmer, IT department head, told ZDNet.
Another in a series on places you are pleasantly surprised to see things evolve with technology and innovation. In recent trips to Staples and Office Depot I have seen a range of newer products. They have always carried printers and laptops and navigation units, but the newer products reflect the changing home and small office technology landscape
Point of Sale
Time and attendance
Staples, of course, has a significant foray into home automation with their Connect hub and mobile app
This continues a series of how things we don’t notice much have evolved. Well, it’s tough to ignore the vibrant colors in a paint store but few of us stop and admire how tech savvy the color selection, matching and mixing process has become.
The range of color palettes – physical and virtual – keeps growing
If you have the formula from an earlier can of paint, it’s easy to order more. Mobile apps can help get you “close enough” to a manufacturer's shade. Or take a small sample from a previous can and most stores have a spectrophotometer which can approximate the recipe.
Then the software takes over and precisely mixes the contents and agitates the mix for consistency.
Approximate is the key word, because devices need to be regularly calibrated. And there are so many varieties of sheen – semi-gloss, satin, eggshell etc. Still, it is impressive to watch the whole process.
Buying Minecraft allowed Microsoft to deploy billions in cash parked overseas (and far from the U.S. taxman). Forbes identifies Spotify, Shazam, Soundcloud and other acquisition candidates for US companies looking to use their international cash reserves.
Another in a series on ordinary things we often overlook even though they are much smarter than ever before. The Automated Postal Center, the kiosk available at over 2,500 branches, is said to be capable of doing 80% of tasks the employees there perform. In reality, most people who go into a branch appear to ignore them (in 2013, they generated an average of only about $ 500 a day)
I have tried the kiosks for a range of transactions (buying sheets of first class stamps, renewing PO Box, estimating international postage, printing an Express Mail label) and found them much quicker than waiting in line for personal service.
To me, the most impressive service is around processing of packages. So many components at play - the weighing scale and rulers, zip code look up feature (using touch screen keypad or the pin pad), shipping label printer, credit/debit card reader, the receipt printer ( with tracking information), the security camera and the nearby chute - all combine to make self- shipments of most packages under 70 lbs a breeze. Ok, not so intuitive the first time you do it, but gets easier with each use.
Have you filed your taxes yet? If you don’t eFile, try out the kiosk this week. Yes, it allows you to add a Certified Mail option most use in communicating with the IRS.
When Cossman went to Ambrym, he and his team used a drone to map out every nook and cranny of the volcano, covering both craters. That map was in turn made into a full three-dimensional rendering. Using the Unreal game engine inside an AvayaLive Engage virtual environment, it's possible for anyone with a login to explore Ambrym from the comfort of their laptop screen. Which is what I'm doing. With a jetpack.
The jetpack is a video game conceit. The crater is full of steep edges, and jetpacks are a simple solution to avoid getting stuck. Even without the difficulty of climbing up, the crater itself is huge. The avatars stand about six feet tall in the virtual environment, and while moving in the game is less physically taxing (not to mention less life-threatening) than crawling around an actual volcano, it’s not much faster if you don't use the jetpack.
Part of a series of how things we barely notice are becoming incredibly feature-rich
Let’s start with auto mirrors – I am using examples from my SUV but after-market offerings work with most models and in many cases are even “smarter” with embedded technology.
The Side Mirrors
The Blind spot detection icon flashes on left mirror when a car is approaching in the left lane (right one for right lane). The mirror tilts downwards when the gear is in reverse to allow you to better see the curb when you are parking
The memory settings for seats also adjust the mirrors so other drivers don’t have to fiddle when them, or you when you get the car back. The mirrors can be adjusted remotely, and are also heated – handy in cold winters
The mirror housings have turn indicator lights to supplement those that blink in the front and rear of car. The right mirror has a convex spotter and both housings can be folded for parking in tight spots
Rear View Mirror
Mine is a electrochromic auto-dimming, night vision safety mirror with a Z-Nav compass display. The controls are for HomeLink (radio frequency transmitters for garage and other controls) and Hyundai BlueLink support (for roadside assistance, navigation and other services)
To give you an idea how rich each feature is, the compass can be adjusted for “True North” in each of the 15 Magnetic Zones in N. America.
We have come a long way from the 60s when the side mirrors were an option on cars!
In the early days of video games, much of the industry made money 25 cents at a time. But today’s video game moguls aren’t counting quarters, they’re making millions. Some of them rank among the richest people in the world
Other than the mandatory headphone jack, there's just one port available on the MacBook: a USB Type-C connection that takes care of power, data transfers, and display output.
There was once a time when Apple saw the connected future built around a pair of boldly titled interconnects: Thunderbolt for laptops and desktop computers, and Lightning for its mobile iOS devices. But the company's pursuit of a completely wireless laptop now bodes poorly for the future of Thunderbolt and even casts some doubt over the long-term prospects of Lightning.
Flyability's founding team developed the unique form after analyzing how flies are adept at ricocheting off obstacles without injury. After their research at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the team decided to mimic the same resilience by placing the drone in a lightweight, flexible, and strong geodesic shell. The delicate innards remain unscathed, even if the gadget falls to the ground.
In most other respects, Gimball, which is powered by a lithium battery, is similar to other drones designed for professional use. It's held in the air by two contra-rotating propellers and remains upright with the help of a gyroscope and an accelerometer. The drone also has two cameras—one optical, the other thermal—to relay live footage to the user.
Human Resource Executive’sTop 100 list of largest companies in 2005 contained the names of 31 female chief HR officers. This year's list shows 49. That's a 58-percent jump, folks, in women sitting at the tops of HR organizations. And that's almost 50 percent of those top 100 HR departments now being led by females. Clearly, the business world has woken up to the fact that talent matters more than gender when it comes to leading the HR function at the major institutions.
Also intriguing are the new and different faces this year from our Most Powerful Women in HR a decade ago. While many from that first list have retired, all have been on the move. In fact, the only two chief human resource officers to make both lists are heading up HR at different companies today -- Mirian Graddick-Weir, executive vice president of human resources for Merck & Co., formerly the HR chief at AT&T; and Kathleen S. (Katy) Barclay, senior vice president of human resources for The Kroger Co., formerly the head of HR for General Motors
"So, after $60 million in investment, IMAX has developed a new laser projection system. The first installation will be at the TCL Chinese Theater in LA, and this is the only place you'll be able to see Furious 7 projected with lasers. Sound gets a boost too, with IMAX laser theaters getting 12 channels of sound - double what existing IMAX screens offer. The really important part of all this though is that laser projection offers much more brightness than traditional projection. That's crucial for things like 3D and HDR movies, and gives a much more impressive cinema experience."
In an on-stage interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of products, laid out new details of Project Loon, the company’s outlandish-sounding plan to provide wireless connectivity via hot-air balloons. Each helium-filled balloon will carry a solar-powered LTE antenna and is designed to hover at the edge of the atmosphere, beaming down wireless signals. The balloons are each designed to provide Internet access to an area about the size of Rhode Island, so with enough of them working in tandem, the company will be able to eliminate the need for costly cell towers in the developing world, says Pichai.
Zuckerberg said Facebook’s primary attempt to expand online access is Internet.org, an initiative to establish basic standards for Internet service around the world. In practical terms, that means Facebook has assembled a collection of low-bandwidth apps—such as Wikipedia, health-research tools, and Facebook itself—that it can package and give away to regional carriers for use on the phones they sell. Zuckerberg said he has spent much of the past year traveling to evangelize for the program and to persuade people who have never gone online “why they would ever want to be on the Internet.”
It's also why Cruise's initial product, the RP-1, carries with it a whiff of a beta test. While it costs $10,000, it only works as an aftermarket add-on to the Audi A4 or S4. At launch, it will function only on certain highways around San Francisco — the technology is easier to perfect in a geographically defined area — and at highway speeds. Vogt admits his company will have to expand quickly from the Audi models — within one year, he says — and work with other car brands.
Vogt is betting he can develop new products for cars and roads as you would for the Web — in other words, perfect a minimally viable product, and then gather data from users to improve the technology. (Cruise is set up to push software updates to its customers' cars.) Cruise's vision to expand offerings, by mapping greater swaths of the world and adding on other auto models, rests in part on the data its customers will gather. One factor in its favor is the growing and monied class of tech-savvy consumers who are willing to pay for novel, customized experiences — and for whom a standard car off the assembly line may pale next to the thrill of the next newest, shiniest thing. The other factor in Cruise's favor, besides getting to market first: its iterative approach. So far, Google's self-driving data has been based on a wholly closed system. The big car manufacturers are opting for far less ambitious plans.
“In a perfect world, you would have a system that could provide real data to coaching and training staffs to anticipate injuries or downturns in performance, not just relying on someone to decide, “he looks tired” or “his bat looks slow.” That’s the idea behind The Profiler, a system designed by Kitman Labs, an Irish sports technology company. It has been used by Irish rugby teams and now is being adapted for major league baseball teams. The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed on to use The Profiler, with at least two other clubs, including the San Francisco Giants, expected to follow. “
Think back about 15 years ago, Hackett suggests. Nearly all batting helmets were navy. All the gloves were brown. The bats were raw-looking aluminum. Today, customization has taken over. “The players want it,” she says. “It is our job to make it happen.”
Approximately 52 percent of container ships that leave Asia for the East Coast today opt to traverse the arguably less secure Suez Canal, which cuts through Egypt to connect the Mediterranean and Red Seas. The Panama Canal’s upgrade may soon bring the bulk of intercontinental traffic its way. The expansion will shake up shipping patterns and make trade more efficient by requiring less time, fuel, and money to get more products to U.S. ports--just as the original canal’s opening did in 1914.
Its Annual Auto issue is on the newsstands, and it is nice to see the elaborate testing Consumer Reports puts cars through.
“Situated on 327 acres in rural Connecticut, the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center is home to more than 20 staff members, including automotive engineers, technicians, and support staff. Consumer Reports buys, anonymously, all the cars it tests, about 80 per year, and drives each for thousands of miles. Formal testing is done at the track and on surrounding public roads. The evaluation regimen consists of more than 50 individual tests. Some are objective, instrumented track tests using state-of-the-art electronic gear that yield empirical findings. Some are subjective evaluations-jury tests done by the experienced engineering staff.”
Infor hosted its annual innovation summit at its HQ in New York, and while there were plenty of Powerpoint slides across the day and a half (and I will post my thoughts on Deal Architect) that accented Infor’s wide portfolio of industry solutions and customers, I allowed my mind to drift every so often and enjoy the diverse aesthetics of the event
Celebration of Design and Color
It helps to have a captive design agency, and it shows in the stunning interior of the HQ as I have blogged here before. SL Green Realty Corp is making significant improvements to the outside - to restore the façade of the historic building and to build a bocce court on the rooftop.
The breakfast bar the in-house chef served led me to text my wife photos – she would have devoured the fruit selection. I took time to enjoy the burst of colors.
Celebration of Music
From the antique cello in the executive area and the breakout sessions in the huddle rooms named after music greats, to the jazz music (with pianist Eric Lewis) the guests enjoyed over dessert and coffee at the Southgate at the Marriott Essex House, music always seemed to be in the air
Celebration of People
Charles Phillips (CEO), Duncan Angove (co-President), Pam Murphy (COO) and Riaz Raihan (Chief Solutions Officer) were a small subset of the execs who presented and their early education at USAF Academy, U. of London (UK), U of Cork (Ireland) and S.P. Jain (Mumbai, India) reflects the diversity of talent Charles has pulled together.
Ziad Neimeldeen, Chief Scientist shared a slide on the types of skills at Infor's Dynamic Science Labs near MIT in Cambridge, MA.
I was impressed at the wide range of analysts, bloggers and journalists Infor invited to the event - below is a quarter of the list on the stunning two story digital display that dominates the lobby.
Thanks to the analyst relations team at Infor for a thoughtful agenda that allowed us to enjoy a feast for many of our senses.
First you establish a baseline pattern for a system as it operates normally. PFP sees a particular opportunity in poorly protected infrastructure systems, so take a protective relay for example. That's a device used to sense and cut off voltage surges on power lines.
Once the power signature for the device is recorded, PFP's monitor can detect even the smallest change in that pattern. Maybe the relay has stopped functioning properly—or perhaps a hacker has implanted a piece of malicious code in it. Either way, the technology can alert a human technician to the anomaly within milliseconds.
The technology, made up of sensors and software that analyzes what the sensors pick up, was developed in 2006 at Virginia Tech by Jeffrey Reed, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Carlos Aguayo Gonzalez, one of his Ph.D. students at the time. The research was inspired by the side-channel attack, a way of breaking into an encrypted system by analyzing physical signals such as heat and power consumption, says Reed, PFP's president.
The centerpiece of their work is a smartphone- and tablet-based diagnostic tool called Cellscope, which has been customized to identify a range of problems. One group is using it to diagnose tuberculosis in respiratory tract sputum and malaria in blood. Another is diagnosing eye injuries and diseases. Others are developing Cellscope applications to detect parasites, cancers and diseases that impact agriculture.
Their innovation turns a phone into the image capture and analysis component of a system that uses bright-field and fluorescence microscopy to identify disease-causing organisms in patient fluid samples. They have created another phone attachment with a lens and LED bulbs to scan the eye for signs of injury or disease.
Combining the hardware and software with cellular connectivity also opens up the possibility of telemedicine to bring the diagnostic power once cloistered in hospital labs to regions lacking doctors, clinics and infrastructure. “With these platforms, you can test a patient in one place, transmit the data to another place and get a diagnosis from a distant expert,” says Fletcher.
UberPool and Lyft Line (in graph), available in a handful of cities, match two sets of riders heading in the same direction and charge them a reduced fare. This kind of carpooling, hardly a new idea, may play a major role in the outcome of the San Francisco companies’ furious competition against each other and the $11 billion traditional U.S. taxi and limo industry. “I do think this is the future of ride-sharing—the actual sharing of rides,” says Harry Campbell, an Uber and Lyft driver and author of The Rideshare Guy, an industry blog. “They can lower the price and make the business accessible to people who may not have taken a ride before.”
People either love or hate convention hotels. They tend to be exhausting to navigate, but there is something to be said about not needing a shuttle or rental car to get to the event.
Over the years, I have had a chance to spend time at 3 of the Gaylord properties in Nashville, Orlando, and last week for Oracle HCM World at National Harbor, MD. These are massive properties with between 5 and 15 restaurants, 2,000 and 4,000 guest rooms and between 400,000 and 600,000 sq feet of meeting space.
The Nashville property has a 20,000 sq foot spa, the Orlando one is set in a campus of over 60 acres. They have waterfalls, waterways and giant atriums. Which means they are converging technologies at convention centers, hotels, restaurants, retail stores, and in some cases museums and amusement parks
Hospitality Technology, in this report (sub required) describes some of the technologies restaurants are investing in (click graph to enlarge)
Hospitality Technology, in this report (sub required) describes technologies hotels are investing in.
Swiss Tech in Lausanne provides a glimpse of how convention centers are evolving – in energy management and in flexibility to even change seating into standing spaces.