Drone deliveries approved in Australia
Alphabet’s Project Wing has gained approval in Canberra, Australia to begin delivery by drone of food and medicine. Deliveries will start with a group of 100 homes as drones are not allowed to cross highways or operate after dark. Gizmodo
dis-rup-shun: There exist so many obstacles to commercial drone use, including regulation, technology, trees, power lines, airplanes and weather, that finding profitable mass market applications will take some creativity. Clearly niche applications exist — perhaps in rural areas like the Australian outback — where the ecnomics will work. Emergency deliveries of medicine to battlefields, where profit is not the motive, could be an early application.
Facebook is schooled by the European Commission
EU regulators have asked Facebook to clearly state, in its terms of service, that its services are offered at no charge in exchange for people allowing the company to use individuals’ data and show them advertisements. The company confirms that the EU changes will apply to terms of service globally. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: Facebook is an example of how fast things can turn south in the Internet economy. The high flying unicorn has become an object of consumer distrust and has not yet restored its once-stellar image. This pressure from the EU is an opporutnity for Facebook to take the lead in developing not only very-simple-to-understand terms of service that people will actually read in a minute or two, but also to provide a dashboard of options, enabling users to click on radio buttons to determine how much and for what purpose they wish to share data. If the company really wants to do right, this is a chance.
Verizon prices 5G at extra $10
Verizon’s much touted first rollout in Chicago has been patchy, with few towers equipped with 5G but with speeds of over 600 Mbps. The company has announced that users must have an unlimited data plan to get the $10 per month upcharge to unlock 5G, a fee which is waived for three months while the infrastructure build out continues. ArsTechnica
dis-rup-shun: Cellular data pricing for 5G will follow a familiar pattern: first it will be priced at a premium as customers become convinced that they can’t live without it, then spoilers, such as T-Mobile, that have already promised not to charge extra, will package 5G with new phones and new plans in an effort to grab market share, then AT&T and Verizon will match and beat their deals with attactive new-phone bundles, effectively driving the price down. With the increased data capacity offered by 5G, the race by carriers to monetize new infrastrucure will be great for consumers, developers and entrepreneurs seeking greater connectivity. Remember Metcalfe’s Law?
Stringify, a consumer-friendly language for programming your smart home, dies
Stringify provided an easier than IFTTT if/then-that configuration language to make smart home products super easy to personalize. Comcast purchased the company in 2017 for its Xfinity Home line, but made the decision to kill the product by June of this year. CEPro
dis-rup-shun: Many companies have been acquired, only to be abandoned on the road to smart homes, but it’s hard to understand where Comcast is heading with this decision. Perhaps the acquisition, in the end, wasn’t worth the expense of maintaining, or, perhaps the company that has an excellent voice powered remote, is moving to an audio-based configuration engine. Or perhaps Comcast will be providing a far more sophisticated configuration tool that’s even easier than IFTTT. While today’s DIY smart home systems are easier and easier to use, they still challenge a large percentage of the target market.