While many have highlighted Apple Watch’s payments software and health-monitoring capabilities, its ability to connect us to what our phones already know about where we are and what we’re doing—augmenting our reality with a new layer of data—makes me think it could bring about profound behavioral change in its users. As Apple illustrated with the iPhone, it’s changes in what we find it easy and enjoyable to do that beget changes in our habits and social norms. And those are the shifts that create real opportunities for the next billion-dollar startup.
There are 25 Surface tablets available at every NFL game now for each team — 13 on the sidelines, and 12 up in the assistant coaches’ booths. Devices on the sidelines connect to a private, secure in-stadium WiFi network, while assistant coaches hook up to a wired connection. All other features of a consumer-grade Surface Pro 2 have been stripped away. The tablets only allow access to a Sideline Viewing System app that provides the photos of recent plays.
Traditionally, images would be sent to a printer, and a team assistant would have to print the photos and compile them into a binder.
South Africa certainly seems to have embraced mobile payments with enthusiasm - roughly half the population now owns a smartphone.
And one bank, FNB reports that its customers are making 230 million mobile payment transactions per month, compared to 45 million on the popular M-Pesa platform in Kenya.
SnapScan has also partnered with the City of Cape Town to allow motorists to pay parking marshals in the city using the app. Each marshal is equipped with a unique QR code that motorists scan to pay for their parking.
In December, Starbucks will launch an app that will allow customers to pre-order and choose a pickup time. Fast food restaurants such as McDonald's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza Subway, and Dunkin' Donuts are already using, testing, or developing similar apps.
OrderAhead, a three-year-old startup based in San Francisco, is assembling a network of merchants and taking a 5 percent to 10 percent cut of each transaction. Mobile-payment startup Square released its preorder app for restaurateurs in New York and San Francisco in October and has signed up hundreds of businesses. The Starbucks app allows customers to choose their item and pickup location; they will then receive an approximate wait time.
Smartling attacks such problems with a translation hub that eliminates inefficient document-based communication. Developers no longer pass around Excel sheets filled with words; the system automatically sucks up Pinterest’s new content and delivers it to preapproved translators around the world. (Smartling contracts with thousands of translators and has a staff of roughly 160.) Translators then interact with the content in its proper context, with an editing system that resembles changing words on a live website. The “home” button is immediately distinguishable from “Apply for a Home Mortgage.”
“The traditional tools work like a 1995 PC, but Smartling is more like Facebook or Twitter–it’s sexy,” says English-German translator Anja Jones. She expanded her own agency with work from Smartling. Jones says she onboards new freelancers in less than half an hour.
GM is partnering with AT&Tto provide 4G LTE service through its Onstar subsidiary. Because it’s embedded into Onstar’s high-powered antenna and operates any time the car is on, you’ll get a more robust 4G connection in and around the car without draining a mobile device’s battery. Passengers can connect as many as seven devices to the car, making it faster and easier to surf the Web, stream live video, or get improved access to Onstar services like vehicle diagnostics and remote vehicle access. A stronger data connection opens up all kinds of new possibilities for enhanced digital services, which could provide a nice additional revenue stream for GM and Onstar.
Under the plan, all these services will be accessed through a single online platform. People will be able to buy their transport in service packages that work like mobile phone tariffs: either as a complete monthly deal or pay as you go options based on individual usage. Any number of companies can use the platform to offer transport packages, and if users find their travel needs change, they'll be able to switch packages or moved to a rival with a better deal.
It sounds like part Google Maps, part City Mapper, part Boris Bikes, part Uber, and part capitalist free for all — but the Helsinki vision isn't as farfetched as it might sound.
The inspiration behind an initiative that would send many cityplanners running for the hills comes from a master's thesis by transport engineer Sonja Heikkilä. Commissioned by the Helsinki City Planning Department, Heikkilä's thesis argued young people's changing attitudes towards cars, coupled with the growing functionality and takeup of mobile technology, could transform the way people get around the capital.