Trade War consequences: China as innovation leader

China vs. U.S. tech race — who ends up stronger?

A key tenet of U.S. tariffs imposed against China is curtailing the illegal use of intellectual property by Chinese companies. An unintended consequence of the trade war is strengthening of Chinese tech leadership, as China’s tech giants, including Huawei, Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu are developing their own AI microprocessors and mobile operating systems. The U.S. needs to develop and fund a national agenda for reaching new gains in technologies such as AI and 5G, says think tank CFR. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Countless examples throughout history confirm that competition is good. Competition is proving China to be swift and agile in moving from tech follower to tech leader. If trade wars are accelerating innovation in China, it stands to reason that the EU, US and India will step up innovation as well. Would open economies without tariffs reward innovation at the same rate? Perhaps the US agenda of greater enforcement of IP laws will be successful, especially when Chinese companies develop more IP than the US.

Apple CarPlay gets an update

Apple has made some useful updates to CarPlay, the app that enables your in car display to more easily display your iPhone screen. New features include a split screen, allowing you to see a map and media player at the same time. Also, a passenger can now look things up on other apps while connected to CarPlay and the car display still shows the map. The Apple Maps has been enhanced to make it more travel friendly. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: If your car isn’t compatible with CarPlay or Android Auto, then you need a new car. Integration between the car and the smartphone is perhaps the most important car feature aside from the actual car systems, and the ability to seamlessly integrate both in a safe manner will greatly influence the customer experience. Successful integration provides a powerful platform for entertainment and shopping, as Xevo, a division of Leer Corporation, has shown. Xevo’s growing list of merchant vendors are the preferred vendors that are easily displayed when you search for gas, tires, food or other services from your car.

Musk unveils Starship Prototype

Elon Musk’s SpaceX unveiled, this weekend, its enormous Starship rocket prototype. The large, stainless steel reusable craft will be flying in a matter of months, says Musk. What is not understood is the business model for such a large rocket – far larger than needed to launch satellites. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: Musk’s unbounded thinking (and spending) put him in the realm of Steve Jobs, especially if SpaceX is able to make commercial space travel and delivery routine. SpaceX is years late in delivering on a NASA contract for Commercial Crew development, and Musk’s problems and cultural problems at Tesla suggest potential for problems at SpaceX. The Starship concept is way ahead of its time and the business model for a large, reusable rocket is, as of now, unknown, but perhaps that is not as important to Musk as being first at something truly revolutionary.

Motorola Razr re-boot: foldable

The popular Razr will come around again, this time, however, it will be a foldable — the new technology that has proven hard to bring to market. Motorola’s mobile assets are now owned by Chinese PC maker, Lenovo. The phone was supposed to have been delivered this summer, but now appears it will be a late year release. CNET

dis-rup-shun: While innovations in smartphones have continued along existing lines, providing better cameras, batteries and apps, it is time for something different. A phone that incorporates current technology (apps), the latest technology (foldable screens) and yesterday’s iconic memories (Razr) could be a hit and a great change from the status quo.

Amazon employee clinic may be care model of the future

Virtual care clinics and how Amazon may change corporate benefits

Amazon has launched an internal virtual care clinic for its own Seattle based employees. The clinic offers a virtual doctor visit through an app or web portal. The employee can visit the virtual clinic anytime of day or night and consult with a doctor, nurse, physician’s assistant or practitioner. The result of the visit can be a diagnosis, a prescription for medicine, or an in-home visit by a nurse for a follow-up. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: This care model, or something very similar, will become the standard first for corporations that are self-insured, then for the general public. Think of this as an Uber-like care model, where the appropriate clinician is matched to the appropriate need, without regard for location. Doctors will be involved in few of the visits, and will not have to maintain and schedule offices with waiting rooms and high overhead. Nurses will see patients if a face to face is required. The company’s own pharmacy network can emphasize the use of generics and control drug pricing. The faster our society can embrace this or a similar model, the faster costs can be controlled without compromising care quality.

Peloton IPO — a bumpy start

“I feel like we’re six or seven different companies in one,” said CEO John Foley. The stock closed 11% off of its opening price of $27 per share. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: While the company is a unique combination of devices, original content, media and health club, Wall Street likes to put companies in boxes, and investors aren’t sure which is the right box for Peloton. What is clear is that the company has a successful subscription model, amazingly low attrition, and a cult-like following. The question Foley must answer is can the company return a profit before a better Peloton comes along and unseats this pioneer. Expect to see waves of connected fitness products flood the market, but be surprised if others do as good a job of content creation as Peloton has.

Ring-ification of urban living

Wired discusses the new reality of doorbell cameras being frequently installed in neighborhoods and, facing outward, recording the public as it goes by. Ring has aggressively built relationships with local police departments, furnishing crime scene videos in exchange for endorsement. Questions arise, however, of who owns the content of me walking past my neighbor’s house. Is it mine, or is it my neighbors’, or is this a matter requiring new legislation?

dis-rup-shun: The inevitability of inexpensive Internet connected cameras is a loss of privacy. However, in public spaces, I should expect my behavior to be public and subject to both local laws and society’s mores, whatever those may be. Expect to see some interesting legal defenses that seek to disregard evidence recorded by an unrelated third party’s (neighbor’s) camera. The number of crimes and un-resolved crimes, however, will undoubtedly decrease as our cultures understand that someone is nearly always watching.

Apple should buy Sonos says TechCrunch

TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington says the time is right for Apple to purchase Sonos given Apple’s lack of significant smart speaker progress and Amazon’s debut of the Echo Studio, the high fidelity Alexa device. He points out the alignments between the companies: premium pricing, excellent design, strong support of Apple standards such as AirPlay, and robust support of streaming services.

dis-rup-shun: The Sonos experience has always been great — maybe even better than the Apple experience. Such an acquisition could make sense except that Apple would likely disable Alexa support on Sonos devices in favor of Siri only. Perhaps we don’t have favorites of voice assistants for device control as long as they generally work and connect to multiple home devices, but Siri’s third-party device support is lacking. If Apple were to buy Sonos, it would nice to see support for Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant — not likely.

Amazon expands device offerings

Amazon turns up the heat on Google and Apple with a wide array of new devices.

Amazon’s hardware unveiling took place yesterday in Seattle. Here is what they released:

Echo Buds — Earbuds with Bose noise suppression, powered by Alexa.

Echo Frames — $180 eyeglass frames with microphone built in, enabling you to issue voice commands without touching your phone.

Echo Loop — a ring (for your finger) with a microphone and haptic feedback. Again, you can speak to Alexa on your hand without having to touch your phone.

Echo Speaker — a revamp of the former Echo, with a better speaker components and, consequently, sound quality.

Echo Studio — an Echo that is packed with a high quality woofer, tweeter and midrange speakers, designed for 3D sound for those that want good sound in a compact form factor.

Echo Show 8 — an 8 inch diagonal screen Echo Show for those that agree that bigger is better.

Echo Dot Clock — a Dot with a digital clock on one side.

Echo Glow — a globe-like lamp that changes colors and dims or brightens based on alarms.

New Eero — this is the Wi-Fi range extender/mesh network that is a nice way of covering your house with Wi-Fi, if you don’t mind several devices sitting out on tabletops, or tucked into cabinets.

Two new Ring cameras — a stick up version that can run on battery, solar or outlet power, and a plain indoor camera powered by outlet power.

Sidewalk — a new protocol at 900 Mhz (free spectrum) that has better range than Bluetooth.

Alexa Enhancements — some improvements include multi-lingual modes, emotion detection, privacy enhancements, and more Alexa hunches — applications that anticipate what you will be doing around the house based on history, and when you are likely to run out of supplies. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Clearly some of these interesting new product categories, particularly the Echo Loop and Echo Frames, are not likely to be the next must have holiday items, but the innovation is impressive. How to crack the code of Amazon’s strategy? It is clear that the company believes that it can be a very formidable hardware maker, and, unlike Apple, which expects perfection with every product, is willing to launch a few albatrosses. Perhaps the most interesting release is not hardware, but the “Hunches” applications which use machine learning to understand your household sufficiently to set the right temperature, lighting, and music and tell you when you are nearly out of toilet paper. If a device maker has not already offered Alexa support, they better hurry before their product is not compatible with an Alexa-powered home. If a company has already provided support for Alexa, there is no peace of mind, as Amazon could well reinvent that product category and make the partner’s product obsolete.

Apple WatchOS6 warns of loud noises

Apple Watch OS6 warns of hearing damage

Apple is doubling down on connected health applications, mostly through the Apple watch. A new feature found in WatchOS6 is a warning when the wearer is exposed to very loud noises — over 80 decibels, that have the potential to damage hearing. CNet

dis-rup-shun: Apple is leaning heavily into the connected fitness and wellness market. The company did the easier things first — connected fitness, and now is pioneering tools for connected wellness. In a rush to find new value propositions, Apple has invented loud noise warning technology and solving a problem that most consumers didn’t know they had. Most people understand that when a sound hurts their ears, it is likely unhealthy, but now they can measure exactly how unhealthy with the Apple watch. There are some major health issues, such as senior falls, and changes in eating and sleeping that seem to more urgently need a tech remedy than loud noise alerts, and let’s hope Apple addresses them soon.

Human robotics = computer guidance for humans

Dr. Pedro Lopez at the University of Chicago is developing a wearable device that uses electrical impulses to make your muscles move at precise times. This technology has the potential to train people to play a musical instrument, use sophisticated tools, and restore capabilities lost in an accident. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Bridging the gap between humans and computers, Lopez’s invention is the beginning of augmented activity technology. Enabling a human to strap on a device that provides them the skills they don’t otherwise have is far easier, less expensive, and more likely than accomplishing the same through robotics. Perhaps we should call this technology “human robotics.”

Alexa Show helps visually impaired in the kitchen

Amazon’s latest device, the Alexa Show, is designed to sit on a counter top and provide answers, info and control. Now the device can help identify products such as canned food, assisting the visually impaired with everyday tasks. The user holds the device in front of the Show’s camera, and it audible informs them what they have. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Alexa’s use cases are so many, they are staggering. Amazon is finding new applications weekly for the voice and camera technology which is well on its way to being the defacto home hub. Feel good applications like this one help to counteract consumer apprehension about Amazon employees listening in and now watching home activities.

Smart gloves enable fire fighters to move through smoke and dark

Haptic feedback built into gloves give wearers tactile feedback to tell them how close they are to a wall or barrier. Studio@Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: Haptics in clothing can assist the blind, can help keep groggy drivers aware of a twist in the road, and can identify law enforcement of the approach of a wanted suspect. It will be a long time before most of us will be wearing smart clothing, but for people who perform specialized jobs, connected clothing will be coming in the next two years.

Amazon in the fitness device business

Amazon planning fitness earbuds

Amazon’s hardware roadmap will include earbuds powered by Alexa that track motion, running distance, and calories burned. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Amazon is continuing to head the direction of device powerhouse, extending Alexa to ever more products, and creating possibly a new category of device (fitness earbuds) to capitalize on the hot connected wellness market. Reasons for investing heavily in the generally not profitable device business likely include the fact that, as Apple has taught, devices are platforms for online services. A monthly fitness coaching subscription, possibly free to Amazon Prime members, could be in the works. Furthermore, creating an armada of Alexa-powered products could lead Amazon’s Echo family to become the defacto home hub for all things connected, from music players to microwaves, to light switches, driving commerce for grocery delivery, utilities, and music and TV services through an Alexa-powered home transaction hub. So far consumers have not used Echo as a purchasing platform, but that could change.

Streaming Wars: Netflix’s stock tanks

Netflix’s stock price has dropped, giving up all gains from 2019 and sending it negative for the year. The combination of a drop in subscribers, new competition from Apple, Disney, AT&T, CBS, and others at aggressive price points (several below Netflix), and the loss of the blockbuster series The Office, have painted a challenging picture of the company’s future. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: It is amazing to watch how fast a pioneer company that invents new categories, like Netscape, Uber, Blockbuster, Sony and now Netflix, can find itself fighting to keep its place in the race it started. As mentioned before, Netflix, though a beloved brand, is different from its new competitors in that it does not have other revenue streams to help subsidize losses of its subscribers. Differentiation is now all about original content, and if Netflix is tempted to lower its monthly pricing, it will have to cut back its original content budget, blunting its competitive edge.

Microsoft quickly capitalizes on retail’s revolt against Amazon Web Services

Microsoft has released retail friendly tools, Dynamics 365, making it simple for online retailers to build product pages that can get ratings and comments from customers. The tools are tightly integrated with other Office tools. As many retailers have moved their cloud business to Microsoft Azure in order not to further enrich their rival, Amazon, Microsoft is moving quickly to provide advantages to retailers. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Microsoft continues to effectively re-tool its business, both enhancing its core assets (Windows + Office 365) and developing superior products in the cloud race. The company has acted swiftly to capitalize on big retailers’ anti-Amazon movement. Expect the company to continue to find ways to differentiate its cloud services, and to apply similar specialties to other target industries.

Facebook invests in neural monitoring company

Facebook has paid an estimated range between $500 million and $1 billion for neural armband monitoring maker CTRL Labs. The acquisition follows Facebook’s prior investments in methods to control devices with brain waves — eliminating dependence of keyboards, mice and smart speakers. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun:  How does this investment fit into Facebook’s distinctive competencies of social networks? Is this about being able to update one’s status without typing, or is Facebook trying to leapfrog Amazon by building portal devices for video communications and neural controllers since Amazon owns voice control? It is likely a power play to establish the company as a pioneer of a future, undefined product category rather than execution of a defined strategy, but definitely a bold and ambitious (and expensive) initiative.

Connected kitchen dead on arrival (so far)

Connected kitchen is a total miss, according to accomplished cook

So far the connected kitchen has consisted of appliances with fewer physical controls, augmented with Bluetooth and an app. Wired’s Joe Ray states that the problem with smart kitchen gadgets is that they don’t cater to cook’s needs for instant and constant adjustment. The kitchen, he says, is a place where creativity and craftsmanship trump algorithms and automation.

dis-rup-shun: Just automating existing devices is an unfortunate temptation by device makers. Adding highly valued non-existent functionality to kitchen devices is the path to value and customer delight. Device makers should focus on millennials and Gen Xers who have not yet developed kitchen skills, redefining the tools and spaces required to create great food quickly. Companies should emulate the success of Peloton’s exercise bike and top instructor model to bring pros into the kitchen and to create a support network of millions of other novice cooks.

Peloton, to be valued at $8 billion, redefines the home exercise market

Peloton to go public this week to raise $1.16 billion, following $994 million raised through venture capital. The Peloton network has the support of 1.4 million members and a cult like following that has made its trainers celebrities. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Peloton has done a fair job of creating attractive and adequate quality stationary bikes, but has nailed content production, combining strong, attractive personalities with great photography, music, and an interactive network of members. While the company is a long way from profitability, its platform is primed to sell products such as exercise apparel, supplements, other exercise machines, and even premium programming. Expect a very successful IPO and a long line of imitators.

Interlogix — long a provider of basic home security — quits

Interlogix, purchased by UTC from GE, will cease operations by the end of this year. The company that had 11% of the market only two years has lost its place in the market. Security

dis-rup-shun: The home security industry has forever been changed by sophisticated, well-price home automation, and by DIY products that promise peace of mind. With somewhere around 75% of U.S. households without security, the opportunity for low cost, high functioning devices to win a share of the space is increasing. While many channels are pursuing this opportunity, it is clear that security and home automation are inextricable, and companies such as Interlogix who are not leaders in AI and home automation have no place in new security households.

Apple cuts corners on charger for iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 is far less expensive than the Pro or Pro Max, which arrive this Friday. The low priced iPhone, however, ships with a 5 watt charger, rather than the 18 watt charger included with the more expensive units. With an after market 18 watt charger, at the cost of $50 (charger and cable), the iPhone 11 can fully charge in slightly over an hour, an important feature new to the 11 family. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Fast charging is highly valued by consumers. Samsung took the lead on making wireless PowerShare a differentiating feature of the Galaxy S10. Apple will recoup a fair amount of revenues from those that decided to buy the low cost iPhone 11 after they buy Apple accessories — using a time honored tactic of offering lower end models and charging a premium for “dealer add-ons.” Expect to see more of these tactics with consumer electronics as many categories approach maturity.

Game changers: Ricoh, Apple Arcade, Vivint Smart Home

Apple Arcade is a game changer

Apple Arcade goes live today along with iOS 13. The game service offers thousands of titles, much like the App Store itself, for a flat monthly fee of $5.00, and puts an end to constant ads and endless solicitations to upgrade to the paid version of a game. For game developers, it offers a massive channel into enormous markets but, like the App Store, a much smaller revenue per user stream. Wired

dis-rup-shun: For all but the most avid gamers who need to own the latest and most unique games Apple has created a way to corner the casual games business. Apple Arcade games offer a better iOS compliant experience, making them visually and audibly better, without the significant annoyance of in app advertising. Many casual gamers are addicted to one or two titles and can be easily lured into a $5 per month expenditure, opening up new worlds of endless fun and focus.

Are you ready for a 360 degree camera?

Ricoh’s Theta Z1 is a small, very portable, two lens camera device for about $1000 that enables amateurs to take high quality 360 degree pictures. The dual 1 inch high quality sensors result in pro quality 360 images and videos. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: The smartphone wars, as often discussed, are being waged on camera quality and the definitions of consumer photography, consequently, are being pushed to new places. Did you ever imagine you might want to take a 360 image of the family at the Thanksgiving dinner table, or capture not only your child’s amazing performance on the soccer field, but the electricity of the crowds on the sidelines? AR viewers, despite being a very niche-y product, will be bolstered by consumers who want a really immersive way to enjoy their own 360 photography. This development begs the question: which smartphone maker will be the first to implement 360 photography in its phone device?

Vivint Smart Home goes public

Through a reverse merger with a Softbank-backed company, Mosaic, Vivint will be publicly traded with a valuation of $5.6 billion. Blackstone Group acquired Vivint in 2012 for $2 billion. Mosaic Acquisition Corp.’s CEO is David Maura, who is CEO of holding company Spectrum brands whose products include a number of lock companies including Kwikset and Black and Decker locks.

dis-rup-shun: Why are traditional, incumbent home security companies so valuable? For several reasons. One, they are cash machines that bill hundreds of thousands of households and businesses every month. Two, the home security hardware and software platform is a platform for many new home services and products, if vendors can just figure out which ones are most valuable to consumers. Maura, by finding synergies between Spectrum Brands’ products, Softbank’s many tech investments, and Vivint’s customer base, can build a powerful channel into the home that offers integrations (and synergies) not yet enjoyed by Google and Amazon. There is something brewing here.

Datadog hot cloud metrics software IPO jumps 39%

Datadog creates software to help companies monitor the health and operations of their cloud resources, either in their own data centers or third party services. The company competes with Amazon, Splunk, Elastic, Cisco and others. Its share price reflects 41 times 12 month trailing earnings. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The future of computing, or shall we say the present and future of computing, is in the cloud. While the cloud giants such as Amazon and Microsoft are building bigger and better clouds and cloud tools, nimble experts such as Datadog are building better tool kits and riding on the coat tails of the giants. It’s a great strategy and a textbook play from Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma. Great investments can be found in the cloud.

The rapidly changing experience once called TV

Roku and Amazon Fire TV are getting to know you 

Researchers at Princeton and University of Chicago analyzed the frequency and methods of Roku and Amazon Fire TV tracking data about user preferences. They found that 89 percent of Fire TV channels and 69 percent of Roku channels include trackers that collect viewing habits, device IDs, Wi-Fi network names and network IDs. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Viewing advertising to “pay” for “free” content is nothing new. Providing detailed information about viewing preferences customizes what we watch, which makes watching ads more relevant and, theoretically, more bearable. So what’s the objection to data collection? It is the lack of trust consumers have about what will happen to their data and how identifiable is their network. Developing universal standards for what data is collected and how it is safeguarded is a big task — likely too big for the fractured U.S. Federal government, though Europe’s GDPR standard is a good start.

Facebook wants to be a part of your TV

Facebook’s Portal TV is a clip on camera that attaches to your TV and enables you to converse with other Portal TV owners, as well as watch Facebook videos together. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Portal TV is an evolution of Facebook’s line of video chatting portal products, and a way for the company to move social networks to a bigger screen. Portal TV may be a pathway for Facebook to play a larger role as communications backbone, but a number of companies have tried and failed to make the TV a video conferencing device. Two barriers to that evolution will be lack of a keyboard, though smart phones could cast their keyboard to the TV, and lack of privacy, as the TV transforms social networking chat to a semi-public event.

AT&T considers sale of DirecTV

AT&T reported that it would not be influenced by its new 1% shareholder, activist investor Elliot Fund, that is demanding divestiture of some of its lines of business. At the same time, the company is rumored to be contemplating a spin off of DirecTV. That line of business lost 778,000 subscribers last quarter. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: AT&T is stretched quite thin in the TV department, with DirecTV subscriber defections increasing, and fierce competition in the streaming business with new entrants each week. AT&T’s streaming TV service will compete with Netflix, Hulu, Apple, Disney, Vevo, HBO, Amazon Prime, Peacock (NBCU), CBS and others — meaning profits are far off for AT&T’s streaming video business.

Google WiFi 2 is Google Home + router

Google is expected to release, in October, the WiFi 2 which does what Amazon Echo does not, combine a smart speaker with a mesh Wi-Fi router. It is assumed that the device will support the faster, higher coverage Wi-Fi 6 protocol. The device will be branded a Nest device.

The first-gen Google Wifi.

Ars Technica

dis-rup-shun: Google has found a niche that Amazon has not already taken in the combination device. Housing a mesh Wi-Fi broadcaster in the middle of your home where you will locate a speaker makes good sense, as it will improve coverage in your home in a form factor that is aesthetically acceptable, unlike most Wi-Fi hubs and repeaters. Expect to see more appliances also be Wi-Fi repeaters/hubs, as Wi-Fi is expected to cover every inch of home, garage and yard.

Apple strengthens suppliers and fortifies the tech economy

Apple uses its weight to benefit partners

Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund has invested another $250 million in glass maker corning, the primary supplier of glass for iPhones, iPads and watches. The program saw investments of $60 billion in 9,000 American suppliers in 2018, representing 450,000 jobs. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: If you weren’t an Apple fan before, maybe this will convince you. Using its massive cash reserves to strengthen the overall health of its partners is a admirable use of Apple’s strength, and another reason why it is important for the company to continue being a vital, growing tech powerhouse.

More Google Nest woes

CNET bashes Google’s changes of the Works with Nest program and the device connection experience altogether in this scathing criticism of the “improvements” Google has made to Nest products.

dis-rup-shun: The irony of Google’s moves is that Nest, when introduced, was finally the win the complicated and disjointed smart home industry needed. The Nest thermostat was great looking, worked well, and installation was beautifully designed. It was the poster product for the future of smart home — reliable, attractive and cool. Google has transformed a hero product line into one plagued by incompatibilities — spawning user frustration and, inevitably, anger. Perhaps the bigger irony of this unfortunate turn of events is that Google’s device woes are the result of its response to threats from an online bookseller turned smart home master. Amazon’s Echo has not only become the focal point of the smart home, but the company has purchased many strong product companies, such as Ring, and implemented smooth integrations between the product families.

The curious future of the compact camera

Sony’s RX100 VII compact camera sports the photo quality of a large DSLR camera, but is the size of a smartphone. It offers zoom lens range of up to 200mm, fast exposure, and a 1” image sensor — far more than you will find in any smartphone. The price is $1,200. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: The camera business is rough, and Sony’s high end compact is a bold, high cost move into a market that barely exists. Consumers who want a professional-grade camera that will fit in their pocket, yet doesn’t also have to make phone calls or send text messages are rare. Sony, the Apple of the 1980’s, continues to try to thrive on the edges of the mass market that was its bread and butter.

Facebook finding AR glasses more difficult than social media

Facebook, for several years now, has been building augmented reality glasses that enable one to see text messages, speak commands and get directions and additional information without the use of smartphone. Facebook has turned to Luxottica, the parent of Ray-Bans and Oakleys for assitance. The Orion glasses may be available by 2023 to 2025. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: One will be hard pressed to find an example of a smart glasses “hit,” despite a half dozen or so serious attempts. Smart glasses have some obvious applications, like helping with driving, battlefield maneuvers, bar tending (all those recipes) and manufacturing, but consumers have yet to be convinced. Maybe a company like Luxottica that understands fashion can score a hit, but Facebook has enough problems with social media security and protection of personal information to be dabbling in the hardware business. Not every company can be an almost-anything company like Amazon.

ATMs of the future recognize your face

ATMs in Japan use facial recognition, QR codes and AI

NEC’s new line of ATMs are more secure and efficient, in terms of power consumption, self-diagnostics, and currency requirements. The devices authenticate users with facial recognition, then send a QR code to the customer’s smart phone that serves as the key to the transaction. AI tracks the patterns of customers and anticipates currency requirements, while better managing the power requirements of the cash dispensers. Enterprise IOT Insights

dis-rup-shun: Efficiencies will be another benefit of machine learning in everyday devices — anticipating needed maintenance and supplies (like cash). The idea of sending users a unique token for each transaction — in this case a QR code — increases security, making it tough to rob someone’s account without both their face and their smartphone (and fingerprint). Expect to see these technologies in global ATMs in the 2021 and 2022 time frames.

Verizon will bring 5G Home Internet to U.S. cities

Verizon announced that wherever it offers mobile 5G (for your smartphone and your car), it will offer 5G home Internet (replacing your home router). Initially priced at $70 per month, the service will provide really fast service for not much more than people are paying now. Ars Technica

dis-rup-shun: Today, your Internet provider has to drop a line to your home and install a router. Despite the rapid pace of technical innovation, you don’t get an updated router unless you complain, or until you have had it for five or six years. With 5G Internet, your provider just ships a modem to your home and you plug it in, and you have Internet speeds only offered by a few wired modems today. It costs the provider less to provision, and gives you the latest technology. While not likely to be available in rural areas, 5G will make access points in cities super fast, and competition from AT&T and T-Mobile/Sprint will keep prices down. Cable modem-based services from vendors like Comcast will reportedly brand Verizon’s service as their 5G option.

Spain, SEAT and Telefonica leverage drones, 5G for safety

Spanish government agencies, along with car maker SEAT and Telefonica, have proposed and are testing a system to alert drivers of dangers on the road. Using a drone to spot road hazards and 5G to link cars to the cloud, drivers will be informed of hazards before they reach them. Enterprise IOT Insights

dis-rup-shun: The applications for 5G are almost unlimited, and connecting cars will be a major driver for 5G. For safety applications such as this, the question is who will pay for them? As the feature will initially be available only to owners of cars made by SEAT (a subsidiary of Volkswagen), it is unlikely that Spain’s government will cover the cost, and phone company Telefonica will not. At some point, auto customers will be accustomed to paying a monthly connection fee for cars, and perhaps this is best rolled into the cost of the new car so customers will not object to one more monthly fee.

Apple’s low price iPhone 11 selling well in China

Despite the recent struggles between China and the U.S., China’s initial orders for the low cost iPhone 11 are strong. Apple’s shipments to China dropped 14% in Q2 of this year, so Apple needs a win with the new generation of iPhones. Of all pre-orders through a Chinese Apple reseller, 60% were for the lower priced model. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Smartphone sales are a global economic indicator, and Apple’s sales have sputtered in 2019. Given that the flagship models are priced at more than $1000, the handset refresh cycle has slowed. Apple has wisely decided not to cede the mid-market to competitors and is fighting for relevance in this larger market. It is important to see the world’s leading consumer tech company keep sales strong.