Marriott wants in on the online Airbnb business


Marriott enters Airbnb territory

In yet another confirmation that the Internet economy is making a sizable dent in legacy businesses, Marriott has announced that it will offer an online home rental service to compete with Airbnb, a company that has announced that it will enter the traditional hotel business. FoxBusiness

dis-rup-shun: A reminder that whatever business you are in, you will be disrupted by technology and, in a tit-for-tat battle, two big players enter one-another’s market space. Airbnb enjoys a large and growing membership of people looking for more personal and more economical travel experiences, and Marriott hosts a large network of Bonvoy loyalty members with branded credit cards and points. Both platforms are competitive advantages and stand to improve the supply of both good hotels and great home rental options.

Robocalls reaching a tipping point

SPAM phone calls, or robocalls, now make up nearly 50% of phone traffic. Number spoofing — displaying a number on caller ID which looks like it could be a friend or neighbor, is commonplace. Carriers are developing new technologies to authenticate calls, ending the robocall tricks. New York Times

dis-rup-shun: I have been using RoboKiller, a smartphone app which is mostly effective at blocking unwanted calls, but unfortunately, a few that I wanted. While apps are helpful, a new technology called Stir/Shaken adds a digital signature to phone calls. Without a valid digital signature, a call will be flagged as SPAM. Clever people will undoubtedly figure a way to fake digital signatures, but hopefully that will take long enough that we can enjoy a year or two of peaceful phone use before the next spoofing technology is prevalent.

Vivint smart home doubles down on innovation

Vivint, the home automation and security company owned by private equity firm Blackstone Group, is one of the largest players in the U.S. home security market, with over 1.4 million subscribers. The company beat out all other organizations in the state of Utah, including the University of Utah, in patent filings in 2018 by filing 74 patents. Deseret News

dis-rup-shun: Vivint has long been respected as a home security leader, but has not been viewed as a technology leader. Clearly the company is very focused on new technology and deploying artificial intelligence to enable the home to better learn the patterns of those inside so that systems will work seamlessly in the background. Like smart home technology provider, People Power, Vivint understands that technologies customized to their owners’ schedules and preferences will lead the smart home market to new levels of adoption.

Ready for smart lighting (cheap)?

CNet provides a guide to smart light bulbs which can be purchased for under $20 to make an apartment or home instantly smart. The guide offers help with the accessories needed to make the bulbs work nicely in the home.

dis-rup-shun: Until you have tried smart lighting, you don’t realize how convenient it can be — enabling you to turn on lights from anywhere in the world if you wish to look like you are home, or set scripts to turn on and off at certain times of day. Most smart bulbs require a hub – used to control other home devices, and this hub could be your Google Home or Alexa device. Lifx offers a bulb for $20 that uses your Wi-Fi router as its hub, so you likely already have everything you need to get going.



Amazon and Microsoft break new records from the cloud

Amazon profits soar, Bezos doubles down on Prime

Q1 2019 saw a doubling of Amazon’s profits, likely driven in large part by continued success with Amazon Web Services (the cloud). The company warned that Q2 profits would be reduced by costs from transforming the Prime service from two-day delivery to one day.  MarketWatch

dis-rup-shun: We know that the Prime service has been one of the most successful programs in shopping history, converting people who are not that interested in shopping to faithful purchasers of anything that can be ordered with a click of the mouse. eMarketer predicts 51% of U.S. households will be Prime members this year. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners reports that Prime members spend $1,300 per year with Amazon, meaning a 1% increase in Prime’s share of U.S. households is worth $1.63 billion. Amazon is one of the few public giants that is not beholden to Wall Street, meaning the company is not afraid of delaying profits for strategic growth — a strategy that other companies would be wise to emulate, given Amazon’s results and stock price.

Microsoft’s valuation surpasses $1 trillion

Microsoft also had a strong quarter, with its revenues from its Azure cloud services growing 73% as the company’s growth overall is up 14% from last year. Azure is giving Amazon Web Services competition in the cloud space. Microsoft joins Apple and Amazon in the Trillion Dollar Club. CBS News

dis-rup-shun: Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, got the memo early enough that sales of software for the PC were declining as computing has shifted to the cloud. Microsoft, unlike its PC partner, Intel, has been able to transform its solutions to be both cloud based and device based, taking advantage of the rise in mobile computing and IoT, even if the company missed being the mobile and IoT operating system provider.

Dumb passwords get hacked 

ZDNet offers a list of the most commonly used passwords that are often used, and often hacked. Your name, favorite football team, and favorite band are at the top of the list and the most commonly hacked password is ‘123456’ used by 23.2 million accounts. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: Consumers are difficult animals — being outraged when hacked but too lazy to at least create a challenging password. Passwords, however, are the most antiquated means of authenticating accounts in an age of facial recognition, retina scans and fingerprint readers. The continuous increase in the damages by hackers, spoofers and phishers should push the market into adopting readily available and superior technologies. Until then, add some special characters, caps and tricky letters to your password.

Kiwi robots delivering food to 12 colleges

If you are a student at one of these colleges, you can get your late night snack deliverd by a semi-autonomous robot on wheels. The devices run on four wheels, have a locked cooler inside, and are guided by operators monitoring the robot’s progress from consoles in South America.  Colleges that will experience Kiwi:

  • Northern Illinois University
  • University of Oklahoma
  • Purdue University
  • Texas A&M
  • Parsons
  • Cornell
  • East Tennessee State University
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Stanford
  • Harvard
  • NYU
  • Rutgers


dis-rup-shun: These are the days of the wild-wild west when it comes to robots and flying robots (drones). Universities, cities and buildings will undoubtedly begin to charge fees for access on streets, sidewalks and even skies, and insurance companies will have to cover drone or robot collision and liability insurance, while police will have to enforce infractions of robotic access regulations. $1.90 of your airplane ticket goes to “landing fees.” Expect similar fees added to your late night burrito delivery.


AT&T successfully loses half a million TV customers

AT&T loses more than 500,000 customers and is “on track”

AT&T continues to hemmorage TV customers, losing over 150,000 per month this year. Stephenson, the company’s CEO, says the company is on track with its priorities of paying off TimeWarner debt, beefing up its streaming content, and converting its network to 5G. Dallas News

dis-rup-shun:  AT&T’s strategic acquisition of TimeWarner was a very big bite to swallow, but the company’s actions do seem in step with market trends: people are abandoning pay TV and moving to streaming services. Streaming services demand premium content to have value and the new delivery vehicle, 5G will eventually replace cable and satellite. AT&T anticipated this and that’s why Stephenson’s compensation is $29.1M.

5G race update: advantage Verizon

Verizon announced that in addition to Chicago and Minneapolis, cities that will receive 5G service this year are: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis, Phoenix, Providence, San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Washington DC. Verge

dis-rup-shun:  This is big. The faster Verizon and AT&T can push out 5G (the real thing, please, AT&T) across the country, the faster the second tier competitors will follow and the faster homes and businesses will implement 5G. Here is the evolution: 1) Super fast phones offer 5G and you upgrade because that is what is offered and everyone is talking about how super fast it is. 2) Companies offer super fast 5G home broadband speeds for a few bucks more than you are paying now. Your existing services fees drop to half as carriers want you to upgrade to 5G broadband. 3) You can stream music and movies to any device at lighting fast speeds, so you decide its time to drop your pay TV service if you haven’t already. 4) Most connected devices start having screens so you can video chat or get video help because Internet video is fast and cheap. 5) Many connected devices don’t have Wi-Fi because mobile data (all that under-utilized 4G capacity) is cheap and reliable — and people quit worrying about hotspots. And on and on …

Smart street lights can save $15B

According to Juniper Research, smart lights will cumulatively save $15B over the next five years. Savings will be derived from both converting lamps to efficent LEDs and by connecting lights so their timing can be better controlled. Enterprise IOT Insights

dis-rup-shun:  These numbers are starting to get interesting and suggest that cities, like homes and buildings, can’t afford to NOT be smart. What exactly, are smart cities? Smart cities are those that connect their energy consuming resources, like lighting, transportation, electricity, water and waste water so that they may be dynamically controlled for more efficient usage, and be monitored for higher up-time.

Brain monitor converts thoughts to speech

A UC San Francisco neurosurgeon has created an input device that, when worn on the head, detects electrical impulses from the brain’s motor cortex and attempts to convert them to words. Wired

dis-rup-shun:  Fantastic. Speech to text has been commercially available for 25 years but only now is truly viable thanks to Siri, Alexa and Google Home. And now that we have tackled speech to text, let’s start working on thought to text, or thought to speech. I bet it won’t take 25 years to make it commercially viable.

5G and the future of Western Civilization

5G, politics, and the future of Western Civilization

The U.S. government has appealed to its allies to “just say no to Huawei” (the Chinese telecommunications manufacturer) when it comes to choosing 5G infrastructure partners. It seems that the U.K. is warming up to the idea of Huawei being a supplier to “edge” portions of its 5G network, despite chidings from the U.S. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: The race to 5G is a battle between the U.S. and China. Why is it so important? Economically, the first economy to deploy 5G will have a strong technical advantage in business and, ultimately, defense. 5G will be an enormous economic and jobs driver as a flood of connected everythings will be developed and deployed. Data associated with the use of just about everything will be stored on the cloud and data security will be more important than ever. The companies that most successfully deploy 5G will likely enjoy fat contracts for the next half-dozen years. Nations around the globe face the choice of following Trump’s admonitions against a not-secure, Chinese government subsidized Huawei, or enjoying the rock bottom prices it offers for inrastructure contracts.

New smart glasses that you might even want

Focals, a new line of smart glasses from North and backed by Intel Capital and Amazon, cost nearly $1000 (with a prescription) but are stylish and easy to wear. The glasses accommodate prescription lenses, project a holographic image onto one lense, and require a joy stick controller on a small ring on your finger to navigate. They are Alexa compatible. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: I am not quite ready to buy smart glasses, but these provide similar functionality as a smart watch and are the first smart glasses that don’t scream “nerd.” Focals provide a glimpse of what smart glasses will be and how we will begin to expect text messages, calendar reminders and navigation reminders to pop up on our lenses. These glasses are almost ready for prime time.

IPO watch

Zoom and Pinterest are out of the gates and onto the public markets. Zoom Video has zoomed past Lyft and increased over 75% since its debut on April 18th, while Lyft has dropped 16%. Next tech giants out of the gates are Uber and Slack.  CNBC

dis-rup-shun: 2019 has been a bumpy ride for tech offerings, but Zoom Video is a rare unicorn that it is both profitable and high growth — its profit doubled last year. Wall Street seems to be treating the latest tech companies a lot like non-tech companies — rewarding those that are profitable and not so much those that are just big. As the market watchers are talking of economic slowdown this year, it seems that investors are again prizing profits over size.

SpaceX and its launch accident

This weekend SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket company, had another setback (last week it lost a rocket that had landed on a floating pad when the pad capsized) when a Dragon rocket firing test went badly and the craft exploded. While not much has been disclosed about the incident, no one was hurt. Wired

dis-rup-shun: The three big international races of this decade are artificial intelligence, 5G and space travel. Since NASA quit building space craft, the U.S. is dependent on Russians who are still shuttling Soyuz rockets to the international space station, and private space industry. NASA is relying heavily on SpaceX and needs the company to be successful to keep the USA in the race. Other private rocket builders include Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, the late Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch, among others.

Drones are heading to Virginia

Drone deliveries in the U.S. approved by FAA

Alphabet’s (Google’s parent) Wing Aviaition division, a company that has been testing drone deliveries in Australia for over a year, has just been cleared by the FAA to deliver products via drone flights. First approvals are for Blacksburg and Christiansburg, VA, and flight paths must be away from airplanes, and must consider residents’ objections to the buzzing whine of drone traffic. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Blacksburg is the home of Virginia Tech, and perhaps a great place to deliver pizzas by air. Drone delivery by the likes of Amazon, Google, Walmart and others could mean telling Alexa that you need something “and make it snappy,” or some other watch word, and the product is delivered by drone from a central warehouse 10 minutes later. Drones will likely be UPS brown or FedEx’s white, orange and blue, but regardless of brand, they will undoubtedly have to clear objections from utilities (power lines), naturalists (trees and birds), the FAA (planes, of course), and residents (noise and visual pollution). It’s a complicated business and likely best for rural areas where medications or specialty items are hard to come by. Much will be learned in Virginia.  

18 year old New Yorker sues Apple for $1 billion

Ousmane Bah, 18, of New York had a bad day when police arrested him for theft of over $1000 worth of merchandise from an Apple store in Boston. Bah was at his senior prom in Manhattan on the day that police claim he was captured on facial recognition software at an Apple store in Boston. He is suing for $1 billion. Bloomberg

dis-rup-shun: Despite police telling Ousmane that he was identified via facial recognition technology,  Apple has stated that they do not use the technology in stores. Bah’s $1 billion point is well taken, however. It is our assumption that technology will make our lives better — but we must not assume that technology is always right. Complete trust in technologies prevent us from steering our Tesla away from oncoming pedestrians, or piloting our 737 Max out of a nose dive, or realizing that a high school student attending his prom is not a criminal, and it will take large judgements, like the one Bah is asking for, to remind us to use our human judgement.

Teens lose interest in parties — blame it on social media

A book by Jean M. Twenge, PhD. provides evidence that current teenagers party less, and have less social interaction, than prior generations because they find what they want on social media, especially Snapchat. Statistics show an equal shift away from parties across ethnic lines, and show that homework time is constant or less. Wired

dis-rup-shun: What are the implications of a generation that is less socially developed than their predecessors? Perhaps they are less able to connect with new people and make friends, less able to negotiate salaries, less able to reach political consensus. Social clubs, country clubs, scouting, Y-Guides, fraternities and sororities will decline with the art of conversation. 2017 teen pregnancy rates are down 7% from the prior year — a direct correlation to party abstention.

While you’re not partying, read a book for free

Wired’s review of the best spring books to read highlights 25 all-time favorites. The review reminds readers that if you have a library card, which you can get for free, you can download books to your Kindle or e-reader, for free. By the way, you can also download videos for free. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Teens are partying less and experiencing life through Snapstories — who has time for books? Interestingly, according to Pew Research, public library attendance is fairly flat, with 50% of library attendees visiting the library to study. People must be tired of Snapchatting alone at home and go to the library to surf social media in the presence of real people.

Uber’s upcoming IPO overly ambitious

Lyft’s share price rear ends Uber’s IPO

Uber’s greatly anticipated IPO is rumored to seek a valuation of $100 billion, a figure that analysts consider extremely unrealistic, especially given that Lyft’s share price is already off 20% from its March 28th opening of $72. Uber is growing at a lower pace than Lyft and will likely be perceived as a less attractive investment. Forbes

dis-rup-shun: Uber lost $3 billion in 2018 and is counting on new revenues from more ride sharing, food delivery, and freight delivery — but if you have spoken to your Uber driver lately, you know they are not very happy with the company, as it continues to squeeze drivers to fatten its take rate. Forbes’ reasons for trouble ahead: there are no barriers to switching ride share providers — it is easy to switch to competitors; revenue growth in 2018 was half of 2017; the firm has been rebuffed in Russia, China and Southeast Asia; and the company will have to pay drivers a bigger share to build up market share — additionally stressing earnings.

Solving the Netflix problem

The problem: struggling to decide what to watch on Netflix, especially when negotiating with another watcher. TechCrunch has proposed three solutions: 1. Create channels for content, like cartoons, action films, sports movies; 2. Package together 2 or 3 shorts into a 45 minute thematic bundle; 3. Feature a “daily pick” that is an anticipated surprise for everyone to discuss the next day at the office. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: It seems to me that the proposed solutions to the Netflix problem are a lot like traditional, or cable TV, where you can select a channel based on your mood or interests or if much of the fun of a new show (like the current episode of GOT) is the anticipation and the impromptu discussions the next day. Perhaps online streaming will start looking even more like traditional pay TV, but without commercials.

Samsung delays the Fold for fine tuning

Samsung’s foldable phone has completely sold out pre-orders, but the company is delaying its April 26th launch due to some reported problems. The flaws may be the tendency of users to peel the outside membrane of the devices, thinking it is a protective shipping film, or may be that a member of the press received a phone that has subsequently quit. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: Samsung cannot afford another publicity disaster now that we have almost forgotten the flaming Galaxy Note 7. Even more, Samsung has gone way out on a market limb, bringing to market a folding phone priced at nearly $2,000. There is an important novelty value coveted by big spenders who need to be the first in their circle to unfold this big device in front of an audience — but after the Early Adopter novelty wears off, is this the shape of phones to come?

Sprint and AT&T settle suit over “5G E”

After AT&T advertised its “5G E” service, Sprint sued, stating that AT&T was misleading consumers to believe that their 4G LTE service was actually 5G. The lawsuit has now been settled. ZDNet 

dis-rup-shun: Perhaps Sprint sued because AT&T’s marketing department is far more clever than Sprint’s, as, in the consumer’s mind, bigger numbers are better and AT&T did not actually say they had 5G. This is yet another reminder that the beauty of our legal system is that it keeps clever marketing departments from crossing the thin line, and protects consumers from harm.


Doubling of smart speaker sales causes decline in tablets


Smart speakers to nearly double in 2019, tablets decline

ZDNet predicts that there will be nearly 208 million smart speakers in businesses and homes this year, and that between smart speakers and larger smartphones, tablets sales will decline over the next two years. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: There are few business applications for smart speakers now, though that will change. There are over 130 million households in the U.S. and Canada, and over 221 million in the E.U. Without considering Asia, Australia or other countries that enjoy smart home technologies, the forecast covers almost 60% of U.S., Canada, and E.U. households. With so many households having a smart speaker, we can expect more and more home systems to be controlled via voice — including thermostats, lights, locks, shades, ovens and cooktops, TVs, streaming music players, and even home finance and home banking applications.

The 10 best smartphones you can buy now

ZDNet offers a ranking of the best smartphones on the market today. Samsung Galaxy S10 is at the top of the list, with the iPhone XS in 4th place. Features like 5 lenses, 6.4 inch AMOLED screens, 1TB of storage, a headset jack, the ability to charge other devices, set the S10 apart.

dis-rup-shun: After Samsung’s disastrous introduction of the sometimes combustible Galaxy Note 7 (2016), the company knew it had to overachieve to regain credibility and gain admiration. If you have seen any photos taken by the S10, you will take a second look — they are incredibly crisp and detailed, and the subject stands out from the background. Once you see it, you will believe it. The team in Korea has really raised the bar and Apple has their work cut out for them.

Now D.R Horton homes include Kwikset smart lock

Regardless of the model of the home you purchase from national homebuilder D.R. Horton, it will come with smart home systems that include a video doorbell (SkyBell), security system (, home hub (Qolsys), smart dead bolt (Kwikset), smart thermostat (Honeywell), smart light switches (Eaton) and voice control from Alexa. CEPro

dis-rup-shun: In a few years it will be assumed that most middle to high-end homes will have smart home technologies. New homes are offering smart systems as a standard feature, which will increase the demand for retrofitting existing homes with smart sytems — providing increasing opportunities from home channels to provide smart systems upgrades to home owners. Which channels are most likely: HVAC dealers, retailers such as Best Buy, Home Depot or Lowe’s (that just shuttered its Iris smart home system a bit too early), electricians, home theater installers, and, of course, telcos, cablecos, insurance companies and energy utilities.

Sri Lanka blocks FaceBook and WhatsApp after Easter massacres

In order to quash false news reports, Sri Lankan officials pull the plug on popular social networks as the country reels from horrendous attacks on the holiest of Christian feast days. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: Facebook is the most successful platform for free speech ever created, and one that is now becoming increasingly accountable for the spread of evil and good, alike. Some now expect social networks to moderate their content, or governments will step in and do it for them. On the other hand, as Facebook is experiencing, many community members don’t trust the company to be the moral arbiter of content. Expect the debate over censure or regulation of social network content to be a large part of future political elections.

Is the keyboard the next floppy disk?

Keyboards going the way of the floppy disks? 

48% of consumers surveyed by Pindrop Solutions expect that keyboards will be used seldomly in four years (2023) as voice technology becomes the primary interface for many devices. The study surveyed over 4000 respondents in France, Germany, UK and US. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: Voice control will remove much of the friction of operating devices today in homes, cars, kitchens, classrooms and offices. Excessive noise from many people speaking to devices in public areas will be a problem to be solved by better microphones that cancel ambient noise and detect whisper-level speech. Just when the latest trend in office cubes is to lower walls to increase interactivity, it will be time to raise them again to muffle noise so that knowledge workers can speak freely to their devices.

Smart homes are source of terror in Chucky remake

The upcoming movie, Child’s Play, features the terrorizing doll, Chucky, who utilizes a smart home control system by the name of Buddi to turn connected appliances and smart devices against his owners. CNET

dis-rup-shun: Aw, Chucky, why’d you have to use smart home products? According to a number of industry analysts, a high percentage of consumers are unwilling to adopt connected home products until they feel they are more secure from hackers. Combine this with fear of AI-powered devices getting a mind of their own, and you have a serious perception problem. At least Chucky will increase awareness of smart home products.

Robot army perfectly synchronizes to move a truck

Boston Dynamics has created a robot army designed to pull heavy loads and, when perfectly synchronized, can pull a large truck down the road. Watch the video. Wired

dis-rup-shun: If you grew up with Star Wars, you wondered how anyone could possibly defeat a large army of drones of different shapes and sizes, all with unique specialized killing skills. Where would you use robots like these? In dangerous places like forest fires, chemical spills, shipwrecks, nuclear reactors — places where only machines should go.

Squishy robots can safely land in bad places

Squishy Robotics, a startup just emerging from stealth mode, is funded in part by NASA. The company’s mission is to create robots that can land from 600 feet or higher, without being damaged, then move toward a target. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: As mentioned above, robots can go places where people shouldn’t, and Squishy’s purpose is to drop into a dangerous place and measure air quality and temperature to detemine if first responders can proceed to a site. If dropped from high altitude, the device can be blown off course, so it must be mobile. Squishy’s geodesic-looking structure absorbs shock upon impact and moves by tightening some of the cables around its structure, causing it to roll in the desired direction.

The best alarm clock isn’t

Philips Hue and Google Home are your new alarm clock

A partnership that pairs the Google Home with Philips Hue light bulbs let’s you control your lighting through your Google Home smart speaker, using lighting to wake you up when you tell Google when you wish to rise. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: This combination of great home products is the next generation alarm clock, except that it is neither clock nor alarm. Coordinating and integrating smart home sensors and devices to work together and make your living more pleasant and efficient — anticipating when you wish to wake or sleep and at what temperature — without having to remember to program or set the devices, is the essence of the intelligent home. Intelligent home is the evolution of smart home, and we are just now entering that stage.

Smart Watch with Alexa built in

Amazfit Verge, a smart watch from a Xiaomi (China) brand, features heart rate tracking, sleep tracking, fitness tracking, three day battery life and Alexa built in, all for $160. AndroidCentral

dis-rup-shun: Apple needs to run fast to stay ahead of Xiaomi, a company that dominates the Chinese smart phone market. And Google needs to run fast to catch up with Alexa’s dominance of voice technologies. Alexa is in light switches, thermostats, microwave ovens, cars, and watches. Alexa’s build-in dominance strategy reminds one of Internet Explorer’s former dominance when it was bundled with Windows — before the Department of Justice asked Microsoft to quit bundling the browser into Windows.

Intel throws in the towel on 4G smart phones

Intel, a company that has struggled mightily to extend its computer dominance to mobile and IOT devices, has quit the race for 5G smart phones. The announcement came on the heals of a settlement between Qualcomm and Apple that secures Qualcomm as Apple’s smartphone chip supplier for the next six years. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The world’s mightiest chip maker has never gained significant traction in the mobile and smartphone world, just as its PC partner, Microsoft, has also failed at grabbing a large share of the mobile market, reminding us that specialization almost always beats scale, at least for a while.

Is facial recognition technology helping or hurting law enforcement?

Microsoft reportedly declined to bid on a California request for facial recognition technology for law enforcement given that its technology’s error rates are higher among minorities, women and children. The product was developed and tested for accuracy with human subjects that were predominantly white males. Reuters

dis-rup-shun: Our society’s expectation is that technology will reduce both human era and situational ethics, providing for less bias in enforcement and resulting in consistent experiences for all people. In recent weeks, however, we have seen more cases where the creators of game-changing technologies have chosen not to implement them as certain groups may be disadvantaged. By creating technologies that can collect data more evenly and not implementing them, are we not creating an ethical dilemma by applying new technologies only in situations that are convenient? Think about that one for a while.


Samsung’s Fold will lead to total video overload

Samsung’s folding phone is aptly named The Fold

Samsung announced availability of Fold, its folding phone, which will retail for $1,980. The two long rectangular halves are thick, then unhinge to create a 7.3″ tablet-like device. The device includes six cameras, so photos can be snapped in open or closed position. Wired

dis-rup-shun: It is time for a new form factor, given that we left the flip phone for the candy bar form over a decade ago. The Fold will be ideal for air travelers in today’s tighter coach cabins, or may be optimal for students to write notes in class with a stylus. The Fold and its competitors will be the leading edge of a plethora of screens that will wrap around walls, furniture, poles, bus and subway interiors and turn most any surface into digital signage. Prepare to be overwhelmed with video advertisements in every public place.

Elon Musk 2, Mother Nature 1

Last Saturday, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched a satellite for Arabsat and returned to earth, with all three rocket sections landing — two on earth and one on a floating drone-pad. The floating pad, while being towed back to land, encountered heavy seas and toppled, dropping the Falcon’s core module into the sea. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: Landing all three sections of the Falcon Heavy rocket last Saturday was a magnificent feat of technology — especially landing on a floating drone-pad. Launching and landing a spacecraft has always been very dependent on weather, and SpaceX is reminded why so many NASA launches and landings were weather delayed. Are the same rocket scientists that figured out how to land on a floating pad the same ones that forgot to check the weather report? Bummer.

Google Home Hub to be renamed Google Nest Hub

According to leaks, Google will be rebranding the 7 inch countertop display as the Google Nest Hub, presumably to control other Nest devices, including doorbells, thermostats and Nestcams. DigitalTrends

dis-rup-shun: Google purchased Nest in 2014 for $3.2 billion in cash in what was one of the fuzziest math acquisitions of all time. Even with the most optimistic forecasts, valuing Nest anywhere north of a few hundred million is difficult, and since the acquisition, Google has gutted the Nest team, then decided to obfuscate the Nest brand name behind the Google brand, and now looks to the Nest name to kick start the hub. The move suggests that both the Nest brand and the Google Hub need a boost.

Indoor air quality to be a smart home benefit

Seattle Times lists indoor air quality as a future benefit of smart homes. Aura Air is a smart device that monitors air contents and begins the appropriate filtration process based on the allergens detected. Its voice warning system informs you of dangerous situations such as high levels of carbon monoxide. Seattle Times

dis-rup-shun: Smart appliances are entering the market swiftly, but what will consumers value? Health and wellness are high on consumers’ heirarchy of needs and enough people have allergies and asthma that smart air purifiers will capture a larger share of the market than smart refrigerators and microwaves.