Smart shoes have arrived

Nike shoes can be laced by Siri

Nike’s Adapt Huaraches, to be released in September, are expected to sell for over $350. The smart shoes include motors controlled by Siri to loosen or tighten laces upon commands via an iPhone or Apple Watch. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: A smart running shoe is a precursor to a connected running shoe. While the convenience of adjustment by voice may be cool, the value (to Nike) is the data collected by your shoe. Nike, Apple and their partners know exactly where you are, what direction you are going, how fast, what your footfall and walking patterns are and can use this data to sell products, segment your lifestyle and buying habits, provide you with directions, and tell you when your shoes will wear out.

Disney’s Netflix killer appears to exceed expectations

According to the UBS Evidence Lab, 43% of respondents expect to subscribe to the Disney+ streaming service after its November debut. Importantly, 57% of these respondents expect to cancel one other service to accommodate Disney+ in their budget. Disney’s content library will include Star Wars, Marvel, The Simpsons and the traditional Disney fare. ComicBook Movies

dis-rup-shunDisney will fight and likely win the streaming wars on two fronts: deeper content and lower price. It’s rivals, Netflix, Hulu, AT&T’s (with Warner) TV Now, do not have the depth of content that Disney has amassed, and will bleed cash in a race to develop unique content. Despite Netflix’s large numbers of subscribers, profitability is years away.

Mass iPhone hacking discovered after two years

In a chilling discovery, researchers at Google discovered a host of websites that, when visited by iPhone users, load malware into phones. This malware is capable of taking passwords, contacts, and tracking locations, and has infected thousands of users per week without their knowledge. Careful examination of the code indicates that an unsophisticated team purchased much of the code from experienced hackers, suggesting it is a state sponsored project. Apple claims to have patched the vulnerabilities last February, closing the doors used by hackers. Wired

dis-rup-shun: The notion that most of our online activities are safe are daily being dispelled. Whether through use of Alexa, Siri, Google, online banking, credit cards, or even our smart phones, our personal data is being compromised. Unplugging is not a viable option at this point in our society, so how do we prepare? Data insurance, reimbursing us from cyber theft, will become a standard product offering. Applications designed to maintain our anonymity as we use mapping tools and shop online will become popular offerings.

Mobile payments slow to be adopted in U.S.

In China, 80% of consumers used mobile payments last year. In the U.S., less than 10%. Despite offerings from Samsung and Apple, Americans are slow to embrace mobile payments. Reasons include the widespread use of loyalty-based credit cards, which haven’t been prevalent in many countries. Also, the large number of payment methods in the U.S. require merchants to manage multiple accounts and expensive POS hardware. 


dis-rup-shun: New payment methods such as Apple and Goldman Sachs’ new credit card is a physical card tied to the iPhone app. This hybrid approach is an evolutionary move that offers the convenience of mobile payments but within a context that consumers are accustomed. Expect to see more alliances between large loyalty card providers and Google and Samsung, as a host of competitors seek to emulate Apple’s hybrid model.

Wi-Fi 6: what is it and why do you care?

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Later this year, routers, PCs and smartphones will support Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi 6 is also know as 802.11ax, but the wise people at the Wi-Fi Alliance have decided to take on consumer friendly naming, so future versions will be incremental numbers. This version is better in several ways: it is up to four times faster, it can serve many more devices simultaneously, and it can connect to devices as far away as a football field. Wired

dis-rup-shun: This Wi-Fi upgrade is coming at an important time. We are all extremely dependent on Wi-Fi and are daily reminded of its failures. Wi-Fi is simultaneously loved and hated. Supporting more devices more reliably is critical to keeping consumers generally happy with technology. With 5G coming this year, all the buzz will be about the newer, faster cellular standard and Wi-Fi will be seen as yesterday’s technology. The Wi-Fi Alliance was wise to keep the standard on the front page.

Apple caves to demands for third party repairs

After announcing new iPhone battery lock software which precluded third parties from replacing batteries, Apple has changed its tact and initiated a program to certify third parties to perform repairs. This is in response to backlash over its restrictive policy. CNBC 

dis-rup-shun: Apple has been seeking to differentiate itself from other Big Tech companies by doing good. It has taken the high road on data privacy in order to distance itself from Google and Facebook. Its policy of discouraging third party repairs was bad for small businesses and bad for consumers, and was an “evil empire” move. Kudos to Apple for changing its stance.

Google moves Pixel phone production from China to Vietnam

Google is equipping a former Nokia factory in Vietnam to be a smartphone factory, as production costs, and, of course, tariffs can be avoided by relocating out of China. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: If the trade war endures beyond another year, we can expect it to reshape some Asian economies that will be beneficiaries of production moves. This evolution will strengthen a number of economies that will be even more attractive global trading partners, will force Chinese factories to be more competitive, and will increase the political stability of the region.

Best Buy online sales up 17%

Best Buy’s Q2 results are mixed, but online sales increased 17% over last quarter. Same store sales were up 1.6%. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: Despite the domination by Amazon of online sales, both Best Buy and Target have posted online sales growth. Why are these brands succeeding online? In the case of Target, the company is blending online and in-store experiences. Best Buy may be benefiting from consumers’ increasing confidence and convenience of online shopping. The Amazon Effect, a term generally describing the destruction of brick and mortar retailing, may also be the cause of an increase in online shopping across brands.

Drones offshore veterinarians and cattle ranchers

The economics of drones for cattle ranchers

The market value of the average cow raised in the U.S. is about $550. 2.5 million cows die each year due to illness or predators. That’s $1.375 billion in losses. A grant from the USDA is funding research conducted at the University of Kentucky to use drones to monitor the health and movement of individual cows and herds every day, affording ranchers a daily visual inspection of herd health. CNET

dis-rup-shun: As society becomes aware of the dangers of feed lot grown beef, lowering the cost of free range cattle is vital for good health at lower costs. Expect drone technology to transform the veterinary industry — enabling veterinarians in distant places like India to be tracking the health of cows in Kansas or Kentucky. It’s a way to offshore ranching without importing beef from other nations.

BBC launching its own version of Alexa

The BBC has been experimenting with its own digital voice assistant technology, and has chosen the wake word “Beeb” to activate the assistant.  The BBC says that developing its own technology will enable it to implement customer experiences in its own way. BBC News

dis-rup-shun: This surprise move raises a number of questions. Does the BBC have the horsepower to develop a highly functioning digital voice assistant that is sufficient to delight customers, or will it fall short of expectations derived from Alexa and Google Assistant? Why wouldn’t the BBC build a library of skills to use on the top three assistants, that combined have over 50% share of the market? Expect the BBC to transition to Alexa or Google Assistant if this experiment continues.

Smart locks are a star of the smart home

One of the best use cases for smart home technology is smart locks. CNET ranks the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect Bundle at the top. With its Wi-Fi module, it can be accessed remotely and is compatible with voice assistants. Others at the top of the list are Yale Assure deadbolt, and Schlage Encode. CNET

dis-rup-shun: If you are old enough to remember cars without power locks, you will recall how this luxury option became a standard for all cars. Similarly, few new homes will be built, starting in 2021, without smart locks. Builders are finding that buyers value smart home technology, and with the AirBnB movement, they are essential. The incumbents in the lock business have been careful to not get displaced by upstarts such as August, that was purchased by industry giant Assa Abloy.

Amazon selling home Wi-Fi security

Amazon purchased mesh Wi-Fi router company Eero earlier this year. In a move for premium revenues, the company is now offering an add-on subscription at $2.99 per month to provide amenities such as home VPN, data encryption, parental controls and phishing warnings. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The holy grail of any device business is to sell monthly subscriptions along with the device. This lesson was taught well with iPods and iTunes. The commodity home networking business, however, will not allow Amazon to change the rules. Expect leading equipment makers such as Netgear, Linksys, Arris, and others to match the offering without additional fees in an effort to differentiate the commodity products. Service providers, in addition, have always used security features in an attempt to differentiate commodity home broadband offerings. Kudos to Amazon for raising the bar on home network security as these offerings become standard.

The mobile revolution has ended

The skinny on iPhone 11

Rumors are piling up and it appears that all four new iPhone 11 models will be released on September 10th. The iPhone 11’s will feature three cameras on the back, including one wide-angle lens, and one on the front that is capable of slow motion. The phones feature Apple’s A13 processor and will again have touch ID. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: As if Moore’s law has come to an end, innovation in smartphones is now painfully minor. Apple has not been as creative as Samsung when it offered capability to charge others’ devices, but, like Samsung, is making its largest strides in better camera technology. Sadly, the mobile technology revolution has ended, with only incremental feature improvements and processor improvements. What will be the next technology to truly alter our society and culture?

Google smart speakers fall to third place worldwide

A report by Canalys confirms that Amazon’s Alexa devices are well ahead of the pack, shipping 6.6 million units last quarter, with 50% being outside the U.S. China’s Baidu has taken second place, slightly ahead of Google, but focused mostly on the China market. Its annual growth rate of 3700% was the result of deep discounting, while Google’s -19.8% growth is attributed to the company’s questionable efforts to revamp its partner program.

table ifnal final

dis-rup-shun: 26 million units shipped in one quarter, meaning a year’s worth of sales will be over 100 million, and the number of households in the U.S. alone is 130 million. In a few year’s time, nearly half of the world’s broadband households will have a smart speaker meaning that the same number of homes potentially have a smart home hub, capable of controlling lights, temperature, entertainment devices and appliances.

Quick facts about smartphone batteries

Wired offers the keys to smartphone battery longevity. 1. Top off the charge every day instead of letting the battery go to zero power. 2. Avoid exposing your phone to extreme temperatures. 3. Use a corded battery charger that applies a slow, steady charge, rather than rapid wireless chargers. 4. If you aren’t going to use your phone for a while, leave it partially charged – not full. 5. Keep your smartphone software up to date, as each new version has better battery management features. 6. Make adjustments to your apps, such as brightness, to use less power.

dis-rup-shun: As people hold on to smartphones longer, battery health is even more important to device longevity. Apple is now making it difficult for non-Apple authorized service centers to replace batteries, as a software lock is shipped on new iPhones, and once you take your older phone to the Apple store, chances are good that you won’t resist the urge to upgrade the device, rather than keeping it for the extra year.

Disney declares streaming war on Netflix

Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, offers more features for less money than Netflix. Priced at $6.99 per month, the service provides HD and a rich library of content, compared to Netflix’ $8.99 without HD. Disney’s broader bundle adds ESPN+ and (ad supported) Hulu to the mix for the same price as Netflix’ HD bundle, $12.99. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The TV landscape is a bloodbath. AT&T’s TV services lost over 2 million subscribers in the past year. The giant realignment of networks, carriers and studios, including AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner, is notice that traditional TV providers will not cede the markets to upstarts Amazon Prime and Netflix, but will hemorrhage money to maintain market share. Netflix, spending mightily to create new content, does not have the distribution channels of Disney and therefore will not earn as much on original content as established studios. Expect Netflix to be acquired by one of the establish entertainment networks within three years.

5G: the end of home Internet frustration

Cable alternatives coming soon

Many people complain about sporadic Internet and Wi-Fi service at home, and many people have only one or two broadband provider options. Wireless carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint/T-Mobile will soon be viable options for home broadband, providing a wireless 5G modem to replace your cable box or home router. 5G provides wireless data service at speeds of 1 to 1.8Gbps through a small modem attached to the side of your home or apartment. CNet

dis-rup-shun: 5G will be a game-changer in that it will increase the number of carriers competing for your home broadband service. Current equipment fees are high, but the service does not rely on wiring from the street to your home, so in theory, infrastructure is less expensive. Streaming Netflix and listening to Pandora on multiple devices should be easy and fast, as capacity exceeds most current broadband modems. Expect to see the traditional carriers offer some great deals to keep you from switching when 5G rollout starts on a broad scale.

Toyota using Olympics to showcase future of transportation

Toyota will use the 2020 Tokyo summer Olympics to showcase new vehicle concepts, from scooters, to people movers, to electric cars. 3700 vehicles will be provided for the event, 850 will be electric. Toyota’s early lead in electric cars has been obscured by luxury models from Tesla, GM and others, but will release six new electric models in the next five years. The Verge

dis-rup-shun: As Gen Zers are not buying cars at the rate of their predecessors, auto makers are getting aggressive about redefining their business. The rise of electric, autonomous, green, ride sharing, and the high cost of ownership are hammering traditional car buying habits, and Toyota and others are in the process of redefining their roles as providers of conveyance, not just automakers.

LinkedIn training non-technical workers to become coders

There are nearly 500,000 unfilled computer programmer jobs in the U.S. The U.S. immigration policies have increased the talent deficit since 2017. LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, has initiated training programs and is recruiting workers from the food service industry, veterans and mothers, to help solve the labor shortage. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: AI is changing the economy, eliminating many jobs but increasing the demand for technical skills. The impact of AI, named by some, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, requires new methods of training, educating and managing work forces. Companies such as LinkedIn that are proactive in re-training work forces, will have a competitive advantage as knowledge worker scarcity increases. Expect companies that re-train new employees to have higher retention, reversing the trend of shorter employee engagements and frequent job hopping.

Ford adds sensors to create the safer scooter

Ford’s Spin electric scooter company is adding sensors to scooters for a year long experiment at Virginia Tech. The year long project is designed to collect data on how people use scooters and how they get hurt. The outcome will determine what changes need to be made to scooters, sidewalks and laws to make the two-wheeling a mainstream mode of transportation. Wired

dis-rup-shun: People are turning to many substitutes for owning cars, and automakers such as Ford are determined to reinvent their products accordingly. Ford performed enough research on the Purdue campus in 2018 to justify a $100 million acquisition of Spin. Expect the product lines of the big three automakers to be highly diversified by 2023.

Target shows Amazon it’s not afraid

Target has figured out omni-channel retailing

Target’s earnings numbers, released this week, exceeded forecasts and reflected same store sales growth of 3.4%. Target has perfected omni-channel retailing, which combines online shopping with in-store pickup or same day delivery through its Shipt offering. Yahoo! Finance

dis-rup-shun: Competition makes companies better, and Target refuses to be crushed by Amazon. Target has determined how to offer both the convenience of in-store shopping and meet the demands of those who want products the same day without entering the store. Expect to see other retail outlets emulate omni-channel retailing — hybrid brick and mortar and online model, and expect Amazon to more aggressively experiment with physical stores.

Bose returns to the leading edge

Bose released a surprise, the Portable Home Speaker, that is both a Bluetooth portable, as well as a Wi-Fi multi-room speaker with voice support from Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: Bose, the coveted speaker brand of the 80s and 90s, let Sonos create and dominate the market for Wi-Fi music as it focused on the highly competitive Bluetooth speaker market. Over the past two decades, two segments of digital music grew in parallel: the Sonos-centered middle market whole-home replacement market, using Wi-Fi to stream music throughout the house, and the low-end portable Bluetooth music player. Bose and Sonos are bridging these segments with products that can both stream via Bluetooth at the lake, as well as be members of the whole-house Wi-Fi music system back at home.

Huawei fires an AI salvo

Huawei, despite its ban by the Trump Administration, has released its NVidia killer AI chip set, called Ascend 910. The chip is designed for AI data centers that require fast processing of large amounts of data to quickly establish data profiles. The chip set will compete head on with Qualcomm, Intel and NVidia, among others. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Earlier this week Cerebras unveiled its giant, AI-optimized processor, signaling a new segment for silicon manufacturers who will serve cloud data centers, autonomous vehicles, drones and robots. Expect a host of similar offerings from Intel, NVidia and Qualcomm as they pursue this specialized category of microprocessors.

Google Photos enables text search in pictures

A new feature in Google Lens, part of the Google Photos app, enables one to search through pictures for text strings, then copy and paste the text using optical character recognition (OCR) technology. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: A number of expense tracking apps have long supported photos of receipts to input data, but this process relied in part on people to assist with character recognition. Greater ability to convert photos to text means students can snap pics of the whiteboard rather than write notes, product managers can circulate sensitive data from photos of competitors’ conference notes, and people can archive their photos by date, based on images of newspapers, magazines or other dated documents that may appear in the photo. Expect select word processing applications to offer a photo-to-text conversion feature.

AI cares for persons with dementia

National Institute of Health taps AI for persons with dementia

People Power (the author’s employer) announced that the NIH is now offering, at no cost, to install smart home systems powered by AI that cares for persons with dementia. The sensor based system alerts care givers when an occupant wanders, experiences abnormal sleep or bathroom habits. The smart home solution is developed by People Power and University of California Berkeley’s Psychophysiology Laboratory, headed by Dr. Robert W. Levenson. PRWeb

dis-rup-shun: The annual costs of assisted living or nursing homes average nearly $90,000. A smart home system that costs a few hundred dollars once, and less than $100 per month to monitor, can save over $7000 per month. A few motion sensors placed strategically in a main room and a bedroom, paired with cloud analytics, quickly learns residents’ habits and notifies a circle of trusted friends when patterns deviate. The high correlations between changes in sleeping, bathroom, walking habits and illness provide an early warning to care givers who can take appropriate action to avoid hospitalization or institutionalization. AI data analytics determine which events are worthy of an alert.

Apple’s credit card squeezes AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile

Apple, with its new consumer credit vehicle, can dis-intermediate wireless carriers who use handset financing plans to lock in subscribers. Apple can more easily invert the relationship so that consumers are leasing phones directly from Apple. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: To go a step further, Apple, as banker and handset provider, is now in a position to resell network access from AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile/Sprint and become a virtual network (MVNO) operator. And a step beyond that, why wouldn’t Apple sell other commodities from its payment platform, including electricity and streaming TV services, to name a few? It’s a tough time to be an incumbent service provider.

Google’s Stadia game platform changes the electronic gaming economy

On Monday, Google demonstrated its cloud based streaming game platform, Stadia. Stadia, like Netflix, offers a library of game content that can be streamed to essentially any device, meaning your favorite games can follow you across various devices as you move about your day. The entry level service is free, with premium offerings for better graphics and premium titles. The $135 billion electronic gaming industry is projected to more than double to $300 billion by 2025. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The gaming economy, like most, has segments ranging from hard core enthusiasts to casual, occasional gamers. While Google will likely not disrupt the hard core gamers who spend big money on souped-up PCs, fast broadband speeds, and premium titles, it will grow the gaming industry by making many more titles available to the mass market, who may be tiring of streaming reruns of the Office. This shift will impact the already beleaguered console makers whose expensive devices and titles will be not be necessary for most young households looking for entertainment.

THX updates its Deep Note — still worth a trip to the movies?

THX has one of the most successful brand signatures — not just a logo, not a tag line, but an audio/visual experience. The new immersive trailer integrates 4K video with the signature acoustics and ends with the familiar synthesizer crescendo. See it here. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Despite many expensive home theater offerings, few can replace the body thumping exhilaration of the THX trailer. It is almost worth the price of a movie ticket, and serves as an important reminder that the in-theater experience is special. Many sources of entertainment compete for the entertainment dollar. Expect the theater experience to continue to improve to differentiate from the living room.

Wired cartoon of the day

Delivery robots complete 100,000 deliveries

Starship Technologies makes six wheeled robotic delivery vehicles that travel at 4 mph across college campuses to deliver mostly groceries. The company has completed 100,000 deliveries and plans to roll out the vehicles to over 100 college campuses over the next few years as IOT and AI meet varsity life. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Dominos Pizza needs to act swiftly before being completely displaced by Starship robots that will start whizzing late night munchies across campuses. For those tracking jobs eliminated by AI, pizza delivery person may be at the top of the list.

Walmart sues Tesla for fiery solar panels

Tesla’s solar division, built on its acquisition of SolarCity for $2.6 billion in 2016, was poised to make solar common place on rooftops across America. The company is now installing one tenth of the solar capacity of the acquired company. Tesla has enjoyed a strong relationship with Walmart, having installed solar on 240 stores. The panels have caught fire in 7 locations, and Walmart is suing for removal of all panels, and for damages. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Tesla’s culture across autos, solar and rockets continues to be fiery, with cars, rockets and solar panels catching fire, and employees being fired for complaining about the above. Musk is a change agent and may be able to continue to push through obstacles to change auto and space travel and construction and energy. If Musk is another Steve Jobs and thinks different in order to change the world, then keep pushing, Elon.

Apple health team faces a fork in the road

Key people in Apple’s health team have recently departed, allegedly over indecision in the direction of Apple’s health initiatives. Tim Cook has pledged that Apple will play a major role in health, but has not defined what that means.  CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Connected health comprises a number of segments: consumer or clinical, wellness or disease management. Version 4 of the Apple watch moves beyond wellness device by also being a diagnostic tool — measuring EKG, but remains a consumer product. Those hoping the company will play a role in clinical care are expecting Apple to go outside of its sweet spot of consumer technology — a mistake the company will not make as it chooses its AI and IOT strategy. 

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including ransomware attacks

A rash of ransomware attacks were waged against 23 Texas government entities on August 16 — all from a single source. Ransomware attacks on businesses and governments are up 365%, costing millions in ransom payments and lost productivity. In Texas, at least 7 agencies are working together to get the state entities back online. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Texas school children may be hoping for a cyber crime day since they don’t get to enjoy many snow days, but ransomware attacks are quickly becoming one of the largest and most expensive types of terrorism faced by private and public institutions. Expect consulting companies to develop SWAT teams to fortify institutions and win big prevention contracts. Expect passwords to become far more complex.

Ikea doubles down on smart home

Ikea commits to become a force in smart home

Ikea revealed its smart home and IOT strategy by announcing a new smart home division that will aggressively ramp up its start in smart home products. Previously the company released a line of lamps with Sonos speakers, and a line of smart lighting before that. The company’s smart home division is an significant part of its future strategy. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: Ikea’s announcement is another good sign for the smart home industry, as the consumer is being surrounded on all sides by all channels with IoT and smart home products. The smart home section in Best Buy has grown from a portion of an isle five years ago, to three isles in many stores. Smart home products are integrated into offerings from telcos, cablecos, security companies, energy providers, retailers, and now furniture makers. Ikea’s excellent design, value and user experience will further elevate the penetration of smart home technology into the mass market.

39% of execs believe China will lead AI

A survey of worldwide execs believe that China will overtake the U.S. as AI leader. 35% believe it unlikely. 50% of executives view machine learning and AI as the leading opportunity and cyber security risks are seen as the top operational challenge. Forbes

dis-rup-shun:  The sprint for world leadership in AI, and the neck and neck contest between the U.S. and China will make for blazing-fast acceleration of technology over the next decade, at least. The contest will create thousands of jobs as well as hopefully displacing fewer. Unfortunately, the contest will include development of increasingly powerful smart weaponry, and, sadly, more sophisticated hacking and cyber attacking technology.

AI changes the course of chip making

The race for AI includes implementing deep learning, or a process whereby AI processes are better with more data. Processing massive amounts of data to make quick and informed “decisions” requires math capable CPUs. For this reason, graphics processors (GPUs) from companies such as NVidia, have enjoyed significant demand for AI. New chip company Cerebras has announced a chip the size of an iPad itself, 56 times the size of NVidia’s most powerful GPU. With 1.2 trillion transistors, compared to NVidia’s 21.1 billion, Cerebras is a supercomputer on a chip. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Autonomous cars, planes and drones, for a few examples of IoT,  have to process thousands of data points and instantaneously adjust to changing external conditions. The compute power required to do so accurately is significant and, quite frankly, no one will trust these new vehicles until they are proven to respond flawlessly. Expect at least two Cerebra scale CPU’s — one primary and one redundant, in critical applications.

Microsoft hires former Siri chief

Bill Stasior, former head of Apple’s Siri products, was previously a senior executive at Amazon. Microsoft’s answer to Siri, called Cortana, was unbundled from Windows 10’s search box last year. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Microsoft has a lot of catching up to do in the areas of voice, as Cortana is not found in many devices and without a force in the smartphone or smart speaker market, Microsoft has mostly missed the voice interface race. Microsoft’s smart home and IOT strategy includes a number of investments in AI and machine learning and has likely tapped Stasior to make voice a key part of future Windows versions, as well as some new products from Microsoft. Expect a new version of voice control to show up in Microsoft devices such as XBox, keyboards, mice, and, of course, Surface tablets and notebooks in about a year.

Helicopters catch rockets and return to Earth

Can Amazon’s Rekognition software read a poker face?

Amazon’s AI team claims to accurately detect fear through facial recognition. The Amazon technology, called Rekognition, can provide readings at the cost of $.001 per image. A study of 1000 images, however, suggest that facial expressions do not reliably provide insight to true emotions. Wired

dis-rup-shun: The survival of the human species relies, in part, on people being able to mask true emotions. Amazon’s software likely accurately detects the emotional message on a person’s face, but not their true state of mind. Some people are wracked with fear every day as they enter a school or office building (or return home), so fear detection may not be as valuable as Amazon hopes, but nonetheless, the technology has many possibilities.

Recovery: the key to the new rocket industry

Launch company Rocket Lab is developing a process for slowing down rocket engines after they fall back into the atmosphere, and grabbing them with a helicopter before they fall into the sea. This is one of many recovery solutions being developed by a host of companies including BlueOrigin (first to land a launcher), SpaceX (lands rockets on platforms in the ocean), United Launch Partners and the German space agency (using a helicopter). Wired

dis-rup-shun: Rocket launches are becoming almost a weekly occurrence, and the importance of space craft to defense, communications, science, politics, and eventually, passenger travel, is increasingly evident. Reusable rockets change the economics of space travel, enabling regular and routine launches. The space companies are on the cusp of making rocket reuse standard operating procedure and that will be the tipping point of this new industry.

Connected swim goggles

Form has released swim goggles that project statistics on the lens in real time, giving you timing on each of your laps and determining what stroke you are swimming. The unit can be synced with your smartphone to connect you to the community of swimmers comparing stats on personal performance. Wired

dis-rup-shun: With connected diapers and connected shorts available, swim goggles are a natural. Consider this device an extension of health and wellness wearables, and a niche extension of the quantified self market is created. According to Statista, 27 million people swim for exercise in the U.S. in 2017. 55.9 million run regularly, according to the same source. Logic says the total addressable market for smart swim trackers is about half or less than that of the running trackers. KBV Research estimates the growth rate (CAGR) for fitness trackers to be 18%, making it a decent niche product category.

Scoop raises $60 million for carpooling

Scoop is a carpool coordination app designed for employers to offer scheduled rides for employees. This round of funding, led by Activate Capital, takes the company’s funding to over $100 million.  TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: In a super tight job market, stacking on extra perks can give an employer a slight edge. Enabling employees to arrange a ride, potentially paid by the employer, is a nice extra, but will it hold up when today’s hot market slows down? should acquire Scoop so that employees can attempt to find a match while commuting.