Ikea invests heavily in a smart home future
Sweden-based home superstore Ikea is making some bold transformations to adjustment to the changing face of retail. Such changes include smaller stores located in city centers, more online sales, services such as assembly, and building out a line of smart home products. Its smart home focus is on lighting, speakers, air cleaners, and smart blinds. Financial Times
dis-rup-shun: What can Ikea do for smart home? The company has always been highly pragmatic. Don’t expect to find excess and luxury home goods here. If Ikea provides a smart home product, it is because they believe it has clear utility (a concept missing from many smart home products), and the potential for large volume. Perhaps it is useful to study what Ikea does not feel to be its essential smart home products at this time — locks, security systems, cameras, thermostats — as it focuses on smart home staples. Volume retailers like Ikea, that have particular appeal to first time home makers, will be successful in defining the essential smart home. Let’s watch them carefully.
Internet enables the sublet economy for boats, cars, houses, pools and backyards
Wired provides an inventory of Airbnb-like businesses for many owned assests: Turo for cars, Boatsetter for boats, Spacer for garage storage, Swimply for swimming pools, Jettly for private jets, Globe for someone’s bed for midday naps, Rent the Backyard for small housing built in people’s yards, and HipCamp for pitching a tent in someone’s yard.
dis-rup-shun: The possibilities for renting assets are endless. How about Artly, to rent some of the art that is in the attic, or Petly, if you wish to try out my dog for a couple of days. The internet-based commerce platform is easy and well proven. Insurance models have been developed to protect both sides of the transaction. The shift in cultural attitudes toward ownership has already spooked auto makers. A complete shift away from ownership to consumption by the hour suggests that people will own less, insure less, live in smaller spaces, and that a new class of businesses — service providers — will be the owners and letters of assets. Such capital efficiency would ruin many industries who sell an asset that is rarely used. If leisure boat makers sold boats based on the time the boat was actually used, their industry would be one twentieth of its current size, or smaller. Makers of such leisure products have a brighter outlook as makers AND renters of these assets.
Tech investors claim the age of synthetic biology begins now
The synthetic biology market is now expected to hit $55 billion by 2025, according to Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO. Synthetic biology is using technology to alter organic items to make crops that don’t require fertilizer or lab grown vegetable products such as the investor darling, Beyond Meat. The investment community has grown frustrated by tech, as Big Tech is embattled with congress for anti-competitive practices, Uber and WeWork’s IPOs have failed to enrich investors, and autonomous vehicles are too far into the future. That makes synthetic biology the venture capital hot spot. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Synthetic biology, also known as GMOs, are considered evil by many naturalists. Synthetic organisms, however, can be valuable assets in preserving, or doing less damage, to natural ecosystems, thereby gaining support. With celebrity investors including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt in the space, the investment community is lining up for its share. We know that the venture community moves and grazes in herds, and synthetic biology is the current popular grazing ground.
Samsung Pay adds features that will hurt banks and wire transfer services
Samsung Pay, the app and service enabling one to make payments from an Android phone, has added the capabilities of a virtual pre-paid credit card (think gift card), and an international money transfer service with Travelex, that enables transfer in many currencies to many countries. CNET
dis-rup-shun: Banks, credit card companies, and payroll cashing services, watch your backs — your business is under attack. Samsung and Apple are happy to make those same fees (or even less) for moving money around, and since we all already have phones, we don’t need your brick and mortar locations and your apps simply add friction to what we can already do with our iPhones and Galaxies. Wonder how many executive boardrooms have gotten these messages?