Pet cameras take better care of Fido than you do

Pet cameras — only if you love your pet

Pet technology, like other smart home technology, has incorporated the latest intelligence, including Alexa, lasers, cameras, and video montages of your pet’s day. Pet camera/dispensers include sensors to alert you when Fido is having a barking fit, or enable you to control a laser tag session from your smarthphone. Brands reviewed by Wired include Furbo Dog Camera (Alexa-enabled), Petcube Bites 2, Petcube Play 2 Pet Camera, Pawbo+.

dis-rup-shun: The Internet of Pets (IOP?) is alive and well, making it possible to assuage the guilt of a 12 hour day at the office, prevent total annihilation of your apartment or home, and continue training pets even when you are away. According to a 2018 study, Americans spend an average of $126 per month on pets, with spending on fish at $62 per month, mice or rats at $80 per month, and dogs at $139. Technology should be fully deployed to care for all of our loved ones, not only pets, but especially for seniors who are aging-in-place.

Apartments turning to smart home technology to retain renters

Apartment developers in Philadelphia state that the amenities arms race to attract and retain renters has moved from better pools and cooler club rooms to smart home technologies. Philadelphia Inquirer

dis-rup-shun: Just as you would not imagine owning a car today without power windows, door locks, backup cameras and support for tethering your smartphone, soon one would not consider buying a new home or renting an apartment without smart home technology. Expect at least the top half of apartment offerings to include smart home technologies within the next three years.

Doordash preps for IPO, hoping to improve a bad year for Softbank

Food delivery giant Doordash has quietly filed for a future IPO. The firm is valued at $13 billion and delivers one third of on-line food orders in the U.S., passing Postmates, Uber Eats, and GrubHub. Softbank, a major investor in Doordash, needs a win after losing millions on the struggles of WeWork, and its cancelled IPO. Doordash has run afoul of legislation in some cities that classify its contract workers as employees. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The food delivery businesses, like the closely related ride sharing businesses, enjoy a business model in which profits can be elusive. Going public and scaling up will be important before the next economic recession quashes the value of large growth and questionably profitable companies.

Samsung S20 Ultra: Smartphones have bumped their heads

The Samsung S20 Ultra, not named S11 in order to make a statement that this is a new generation of phone, has a larger, splashier 6.9 inch screen, longer battery life, and yes, a better camera. All this comes for the price of $1,399.99. Actually, the better camera is a combination of five camera in the range of 40 to 108 megapixels. The long distance capabilities are superior to the iPhone 11, but portrait shots may be lacking, and a complex array of settings make operating a bit confusing. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: Now, (high-end) phone wars are about stretching the screen and adding more megapixels to the camera — both great features, but are they worth the continuing price escalation of top end cameras? Foldable screens apparently are the great diversion of the product category, giving manufacturers something new to try to excite the public as the costs of acquiring additional points of market share, in a saturated market, are extraordinarily high. Smartphones are so good that manufacturers have painted themselves into a corner — there just aren’t enough significant new features to make the next generation different. Let’s hope, for manufacturers’ sake, that everyone decides that 5G is a “must have” between now and the holiday season.

Tempo perfects connected home weightlifting

Tempo weightlifting provides live coaching online

Peloton has changed home workout equipment forever, and Tempo, with Series A funding of $17 million, is on its way to making home weight lifting state-of-the-art. The six foot tall station includes a flat panel equipped with a 3D camera, which monitors your reps and form and corrects improper form. Live classes not only offer you a just-like-the-gym experience, but the instructor on the other side of the screen can see if you are using poor form and can call you out to correct you across the wire. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Imagine a high end home with a collection of state-of-the-art exercise devices.  Because the owner wants only the best, each piece of equipment has its own programming, its own class subscription plan and pricing, and its own schedule for live classes. It would be like going to the gym and finding that every piece of equipment was made by a different company and worked a bit differently. The home fitness industry is entering a stage in which most devices are connected, offer an experience as good or better than from a live trainer, and demand a hefty monthly subscription fee. If the result is that more people get in better shape for the same or less money than going to the gym, then everybody wins. The question will be to see if gym memberships decline, or if the need for human fellowship keeps the gym buzzing.

After information, controls is next tier of smart speaker usage 

Smart speakers are now found in 35% of U.S. households, according to Interpret’s New Media Measure quarterly survey of 9,000 U.S. households. The screen-enabled version of smart speakers, called smart displays, were heavily promoted for the holidays, with commercials for Facebook’s Portal, Amazon’s Echo Show, and Google’s Nest Home Hub. Smart displays will likely be used more frequently than smart speakers for shopping, as only 8% of respondents claim to make purchases through smart speakers. The primary use case for the devices is asking about the weather (53% of respondents), searching the web to answer questions (34% of respondents), followed by keeping a to-do list and task reminders (27%). An impressive 26% of respondents reported that they control smart home devices through their smart speaker. Interpret Analysis

dis-rup-shun: If half of smart speaker owners are now controlling home systems through their smart speakers, the devices are paving the way for increasing adoption of smart home products that can communicate with Alexa or Google Home. Amazon now owns Ring and Google owns Nest, so both companies are poised to finish what they started — building a full array of smart home systems, from lighting to thermostats, cameras, doorbells and leak sensors. With the riches possessed by both companies, however, one wonders why the companies haven’t moved more quickly to acquire these missing pieces. Perhaps it is only a matter of time.

Disney’s new CEO leaves analysts questioning

On Tuesday, Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, announced his resignation and appointment of Bob Chapek, head of amusement parks, as his replacement. The announcement puzzled analysts who have heard, for the past several years, that Disney’s future is all about streaming video, suggesting that head of Disney streaming, Kevin Mayer, would be tapped for the top job. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The selection was unexpected, but perhaps the toughest job in the room is keeping the magic that is Disney, continuing. The video business is critical to Disney’s future, but what makes the company special is imagination and imaginative content, and perhaps the way to keep imaginations blooming is through the man who kept the theme parks imaginative and fresh.

Home videoconferencing technologies are improving

Share prices for videoconferencing software companies are on the rise, thanks to coronavirus. But the increase in videoconferencing started way before the virus. Gartner Research says that more than 50 percent of global employees will work remotely, on occasion this year, compared to 20 percent in 2016. The result is more software choices, but also better features, such as shared whiteboards, the ability to choose from a variety of backdrops, and even technology from Microsoft that makes you appear to be looking into the camera even when you are surfing Instagram. Wired

dis-rup-shun: The efficiencies of remote work are proving effective, as forming specialized work groups seems to be ever more important in today’s global, connected economies. The industries clobbered are likely the relocation companies: moving vans, corporate apartments and the like, as the reasons for relocating for work are fewer, at least for specialized knowledge workers.


Work: Silicon Valley style

Silicon Valley has ruined work

Wired claims that the new work culture of ping pong tables, nap pods, unassigned cubicles, free juice, paid lunches (and dinners) and unlimited vacation days is an export from Silicon Valley. Furthermore, the author claims that this new work culture has ruined work in that it has eliminated the distinctions between work and personal life as work now has no barriers. The days of leaving work after five or six pm and not resuming until the next work day are over, courtesy of Silicon Valley.

dis-rup-shun: For those of us who started our careers wearing a suit and tie, every day, for the sake of impressing mostly our co-workers, the changes in work culture have been astounding. We have watched offices reflect our status, with size and location, then disappear for all except for senior managers, and we have watched cubicles go from large and tall to non-existent. Work today, more than ever, is defined by the culture of its boss(es), and requires teamwork and collaboration, given the lack of barriers between the most senior and most junior of employees. Making work fulfilling, as it fills a larger space in people’s lives, will be the biggest cultural challenge facing business leaders forthwith.

XBox Series X will be fast

Microsoft has released initial information about the next XBox, coming to us near year’s end. The early information indicates that the device will be long on horsepower, enabling games to load quickly, switch quickly between games, and support high graphics frame rates. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Google has disrupted the console space by offering strong titles via the cloud, at very attractive prices. Some believe a similar service from Amazon is inevitable. To remain relevant, console makers will have to emphasize the unique experience provided by a really powerful machine that sits next to their favorite gaming spot. Expect consoles to become even more powerful and expensive, closing the distance between gaming PCs and mass market devices, as much of the mass market migrates to cloud gaming. Console makers will have to re-examine their business strategy and margins to determine how to profit from lower sales of more expensive devices.

Huawei, the Google of China, rolls on with a smart speaker

Huawei has just released a smart speaker for the EU that will take on Google Home and Amazon Echo variants. The Sound X device does not yet come with its own smart assistant software in Europe, but does offer Xiaoyi, its voice assistant in China. The product will not be offered in the U.S. and is a partnership with French high-end audio specialists Devialet. The partnership is a move to position the product for audiophiles who will pay a premium for sound quality. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Huawei, despite intense and ongoing political pressure from the U.S., continues to release new and diverse products, including telecom equipment, smartphones and now, smart speakers. Blocked from the U.S., Huawei is aggressively competing in all other markets, drawing strength from large markets such as India and Europe, a strategy that will pay many long-term dividends.

Rumors indicate a low cost iPhone in March

The next swath of iPhones, coming as early as March 2020, may include a new low cost unit, possibly called the iPhone SE2. The last low cost iPhone was the iPhone SE, sold for $399 is 2016.  CNET

dis-rup-shun: Apple stands to gain a new following by catering to those not willing to spend for an iPhone 11 or 11 Pro. For those that feel they cannot join in the buzz inside the packed (pre-coronavirus) Apple Store, a lower price point will open up the fun to a new clientele. Additionally, it seems that an increasing number of spendthrifts are operating on iPhones that are 3 and 4 generations old. Apple’s new offering may be what’s needed to refresh a significant number of “sleeper” Apple fans.

New NFL rights could be the end of TV

NFL TV rights are linchpin for the future of TV

NFL broadcasting rights are locked up through 2022, but awarding of future contracts will begin in the next months. Currently, NFL broadcasts are held by owners who distribute through traditional pay TV outlets (cable, satellite, over the air). To be seen is if an exclusive streaming video provider, such as Netflix, Amazon, or You Tube steps up to grab exclusive rights to NFL broadcasts — an act that would forever change and further devalue the traditional TV business. It is more likely, however, that the NFL will award the new contracts to companies such as CBSViacom, Comcast and Disney that own distribution both in traditional as well as streaming channels. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: It is possible that our disruptor friends Amazon, or You Tube would do the unthinkable and pay unprecedented sums to lock up the NFL for streaming only. Such an act would rapidly accelerate the demise-in-progress of the traditional TV business and dislodge the remaining Luddites who are holding onto cable and satellite TV mostly for live sports. The big winners, of course, are the fabulously rich NFL owners.

Buffett trades flip phone for iPhone

Warren Buffet’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 245 million shares of Apple, worth $72 billion. Apple is the third largest component of Berkshire, following the company’s stake in insurance and railroads. Buffett calls Apple “probably the best business I know in the world.” CNBC

dis-rup-shun: This is high praise from the most successful investor of our time, who expresses regret for not owning the company sooner. Buffett has always been an investor in financially stable and traditional companies. Is Apple now the General Electric and General Motors of our time — a traditional, conservative investment? In the highly volatile and high risk world of technology, it is hard to consider any tech player as a low risk investment. Let’s hope Apple continues to lead technology innovation for at least another decade.

Pets go hungry for days as technology failure shocks owners

Petnet, an IOT company backed by a collaborative of investors including Petco, makes the SmartFeeders line of connected products that dispense food to pets on a pre-set schedule. The company experienced an unexplained system failure that took systems offline for a week. While the service is restored, pet owners are left wondering what went wrong and if it will happen again. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: We hope no pets were actually harmed during this outage, and that owners, after some period of time, realized their pets had not been fed. The incident, however, is a reminder that our society is entrusting more and more of the important things in life, including the safety and health of our loved ones, to technology companies. The reasons for the outage are unknown: was it a software glitch, a network outage, or financial turmoil that resulted in kitty not eating for several days? Whatever the cause, vendors will face increasing pressure from consumers to ensure redundancy of technology that is important to them, as consumers expect IOT systems to be as reliable as an electric, water or cellular utility company.

How are your resolutions? Weight Watchers or Noom?

CNET weighs the merits of weight loss mobile app programs from industry veteran Weight Watchers, now re-branded “WW” and newcomer Noom. Both apps include daily tracking of food intake, various levels of coaching, and healthy living advice. WW focuses on a points system, is more flexible, and has three tiers of service and price, whereas Noom is based on calorie counting, heavy on coaching, and has a single, higher price point. Both programs offer clinical evidence that they are effective — with 78% of Noom users losing weight when on the program for over a year.

dis-rup-shun: Weight loss programs such as Weight Watchers had to quickly change to an online program when the world went digital. These programs are examples of human-first services transforming to machine first, with human coaches being offered to support the machine based functions only as needed. While it appears that the digital programs remain effective for weight loss, it will be interesting to learn if the new WW operates at a lower cost, employing fewer humans, than in the days of operating physical Weight Watchers store fronts.


EU threatens to block Fitbit sale

EU to Google on Fitbit: “Not so fast”

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB), an entity of the European Union, has raised concerns about Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit and its 28 million users. The EU has concerns about the big U.S. based tech company acquiring private health data of many European citizens. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: News today is a constant cadence of analysts determining that apps that are not authorized are still transmitting customer location data, and other private data points, all the while with tech companies making constant, and genuine, progress towards device and data security. Data privacy is becoming such an issue in the public’s perception of tech providers that Big Tech must run faster and farther to get ahead of growing consumer unrest. Tech firms would be well served to fund and launch a trusted third-party data privacy and security certification and enforcement agency to create a Good Housekeeping or UL Certified endorsement for products. Google will win and the EU will acquiesce, but good for the Europeans for voicing concerns.

Google Maps receives an upgrade

The battle to be the mapping software for your autonomous future is on, and Google has just updated its maps to be more user friendly, providing a slightly refreshed look and more convenient menu buttons across the bottom of the screen, including Explore, Go, Saved, Contribute and Updates. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Google has to fight back Apple, whose second tier map application has just been improved and updated. The new menu buttons on Google Maps are a threat to some daily app staples that we all enjoy, including Waze, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Facebook. By adding similar functionality at your fingertips, it is likely that reliance on these other apps will decline. Upon further consideration, most of what we do on a smartphone could be integrated into mapping applications — including even text messages — making it harder and harder for other apps to find their place in our lives.

Best Alexa-enabled smart home devices

As Alexa enters its 7th year in our lives and homes, it (she?) continues to play a larger role in a growing number of devices — some not so helpful (microwave oven) and some quite useful. CNET provides a rundown of the ten most useful Alexa-enabled devices:

  • Echo Dot with Clock — the clock radio is reincarnated, but is it listening?
  • Arlo Pro 3 smart cam — view camera streams on Echo Show
  • Ring Peephole Cam — replaces the peephole in your door and provides a great solution for people in apartments or who don’t want to attach something to their door frame
  • Ecobee smart thermostat — if you can talk to your thermostat, you don’t need a separate, stand-alone smart speaker
  • Amazon Echo Show 8 — if you have an Amazon enabled doorbell cam, you have a great front door intercom system
  • August Smart Lock Pro — tell Alexa to unlock the door without getting off the couch
  • SimpliSafe home security system — arm and disarm the home with voice commands
  • Philips White Hue LED — these light bulbs include both Zigbee and Bluetooth radios, and are Alexa enabled. This means you can have smart lighting without an additional hub device — just let your phone and or your Alexa-enabled device talk to your lightbulbs. Simple.
  • TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini — outfitting lamps with a smart bulb or a smart plug is a great convenience if you haven’t tried it. For $30, it is worth a try.

What are people doing with smart speakers?

MarketWatch provides some interesting data on what, exactly, people are using their smart speakers to do. 

dis-rup-shun: With more devices including Alexa or Google Assistant, expect smart home commands, as a use case category, to increase. A home built with all switches voice-enabled is not far away — meaning you never have to flip a switch. But when baby is sleeping, you will want to still flip that switch. Stay tuned next week for more research from Interpret on the role of smart speakers in smart home product adoption.

Microsoft fixes voting

Microsoft seeks to become the voting standard

Microsoft is out to fix broken voting technology through its new ElectionGuard product line that creates dual printed copies of each ballot, encryption, and a certificate validating the vote. If hackers break into the system and change votes, the discrepancy will be more noticeable and traceable. CNET

dis-rup-shun: It is hard for the average voter to fathom how antiquated the polling process is, and why the best minds have not developed as foolproof a system as can be created. If we now bank mostly from home and on our smartphones, why can’t voting be done the same way? And for a fraction of the cost of recruiting all of those volunteers to over-staff polling places.

Redbox offers free ad-supported streaming service

Redbox is feeling the pinch of the slow demise of DVD rentals, and is now launching Redbox Free Live TV. In a world of cord cutters, receiving content via the internet for the price of watching some commercials appeals to many. The free content is organized into channels by theme, and offers a viewing experience more like over the air TV, but with no subscription or per episode charges. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: In the new world of streaming video, there is something for everyone. Premium services, discount services, and free services will all coexist on you internet connected TV, as different services fill different niches. Expect the services that are pumping out original content to take a premium, hybrid price model similar to Amazon Prime Video today, in which one pays an annual subscription fee as well as per-event up-charges. For those that don’t want to pay at all, there is always Redbox over free over the air TV. After all, Redbox offers a better deal than paying a monthly subscription fee and watching commercials.

Can Google watches catch Apple Watch? 

Smartwatches are going after the turf served by the less functional but smaller fitness trackers, such as Fitbit, a company that is being acquired by Google. Apple is doing deals with large health club chains, that now offer discounts to owners and regular users of Apple Watches. Nearly 70% of fitness club members own a device, but only one-third of smartwatch owners belong to a fitness club, meaning incentives to smartwatch owners could be a great enticement to join up. After catering to fitness enthusiasts, the next logical segment for smartwatch makers to target is parents. Smartwatch owners with children under 18 show a high affinity to shop for pizza, jewelry and financial service products — and there is a (smartwatch) app for that. Interpret Research

dis-rup-shun: Digital natives claim they have little need for a watch, since their smartphones provide the time. But digital natives no doubt need an on-wrist communicator to keep them even closer to text messages, so the watch, in its new form as smartwatch, lives on. Once again, apps will define the utility of the device, and Google is running fast to catch Apple, acquiring Fitbit and, in theory some of its users. If Google opens the smartwatch OS, as it did with Android on the phone, then it stands a good chance to at least control the software on the majority of smartwatches after a number of manufacturers catch Apple’s long lead in this category.

Amazon Care now open for Seattle employees

Amazon Care is the company’s internal health care service for employees, providing them for an app for live, remote doctor visits, as well as for scheduling the appropriate Amazon Care health care professional to come visit the employee at home or office. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: It is not unique for a large company to have its own health services for employees, but Amazon is different. It has built its own app, it owns an online pharmacy called PillPack, and it likes to rapidly scale projects that seem to work. This could very well be the test bed for a nationwide alternative care network which would likely change the way we consume health care services — turning the entire care industry on its head in a few short years. Time will tell, but healthcare is an industry very ripe for some Amazon-ization.


Musk: Gates is underwhelming

Elon Musk calls Bill Gates “underwhelming”

Bill Gates just reported that he purchased an all electric Porsche Taycan. Musk took to Twitter to report that his past conversations with Gates were underwhelming. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The Taycan takes electric vehicle ownership to a new level — the ability to be environmentally responsible and drive one of the premier car brands. Gates, whose foundation focuses on climate change, along with many other issues, gives Musk full credit in an interview in Inc. for changing the automotive landscape. Gates, who has long been a Porsche fan and owns a very rare model 959, explains his decision by saying that the Porsche, while premium priced, is “very, very cool.”

Ring gets serious about data security

Ring, owned by Amazon, has been criticized both for its relationship with law enforcement, as well as for the ease that its system can be hacked.  Last month, the company announced a data privacy dashboard, enabling consumers to more easily see and control what data is shared with third parties. The company just announced that it is implementing two-factor authentication for its users, requiring them to input a code sent to a smartphone when they log in.  TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: Ring is doing the right things to make sure its smart home products are protected and that its products are transparent in terms of sharing user data. Ring is on the leading edge of a movement by most product makers to provide consumers with more visibility into data sharing. Consumer displeasure, mixed with the pressures of congressional inquiry, have caused Apple to take the position that it is the “privacy company,” distinguishing itself from rivals Google, Facebook and Amazon. Good news for consumers, other Big Tech firms are following suit. Expect to see data privacy dashboards and two-factor authentication become standard offerings for smart home and consumer electronics products.

Latest squeeze on Huawei – cut off access to chip making equipment

Only days after disclosure that the Equifax heist was conducted by operatives of the Chinese army, the U.S. Commerce Department is considering a new policy to require users of U.S. made semiconductor manufacturing equipment to obtain licenses. This registration effort would seek to prohibit, or at least keep track of machines sold or used for Huawei production. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The international Whack-a-Mole game continues, with the U.S. Commerce Department taking stock of what is left under U.S. control that it has not already used to limit Huawei. Huawei, a marvel in resistance, continues to respond to U.S. sanctions by building its own products, including a new smartphone operating system. The long-term effect of this latest chess move could well be the development of semiconductor manufacturing technology in China. Each obstacle may slow the technology giant, but not for long.

Use Alexa to find your lost phone in the house

If you aren’t yet using Alexa at home, this could be the best use. With a voice command, you can ask Alexa to call your phone and, assuming the phone is not on silent, you are in luck. CNET

dis-rup-shun: Alexa has many tricks to make life easier, but none that will win over those with Big Brother Syndrome. The fear of Jeff Bezos listening in to arguments about whose turn it is to walk the dog or other highly classified in-home discussions will keep the marvels of voice assistants out of the home for the foreseeable future. Amazon’s real technology feat will be to create a feature that convinces people their data is safe, and that they can take a chance on voice technology.

Sex tip app launches with $5M investment

Lover – sex tip app funded by Tinder founder

Lover is an app funded by Tinder founder Sean Rad. Lover is founded by board-certified sexual medicine clinical psychologist Dr. Britney Blair, who shares that the site is built on decades of research. Blair claims that the site not only enables people to have better sex, but overcome sexual problems, including ED. Blair states that in pre-launch testing, 62% of people with ED reported improvements within three weeks of using the app. Lover is free for 7 days then charges $9.99 per month. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: TechCrunch points out that digital pharmacies such as Ro have reached a $500 million valuation in 18 months. Commercials for ED drugs from online pharmacy Roman and Hims are frequent, indicating that there is big money here. A non-pharmaceutical approach to sexual health, along with tips, tricks and “how-to’s” from a legitimate source will be a runaway hit.

Ditch the Disk group calls for new standards for medical imaging

“Ditch the Disk” is a group of tech execs leading a movement to get the medical industry to move beyond storing imaging files on CD-ROM physical disks. The industry’s reluctance to part with physical disks creates significant barriers to sharing images between doctors, causing some patients to carry a disk from provider to provider, hoping that all providers have computers with disk readers. The inaccessibility of images is a frequent cause for duplicate testing, increasing costs and unnecessarily exposing people to radiation. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: This is yet another example of pockets of resistance to new technology standards in the healthcare industry. The goal for healthcare should be to leverage the latest tech standards as quickly as possible in order to reduce costs and maximize transparency to the consumer. The consumer-ization of healthcare is happening much more slowly than it should, and the faster healthcare professionals and companies accept that Amazon or Google or others will turn the healthcare industry into a consumer-friendly marketplace, the better their chances will be at avoiding displacement.

A DIY bidet enables luxury living

Butt tech: for $599, one can transform their bathroom into a luxury experience with the Coway Bidetmega 400. The device dependably warms, washes and dries the butt, making this luxury product “the best thing you didn’t know you needed.” Wired

dis-rup-shun: The author suggests that given the problems with our society, including massive debt and out of reach housing prices, it is the little luxuries, such as a heated toilet seat and bidet, that make life wonderful. He also points out that the Bidetmega 400 is not internet connected, so no one has to fear that their toileting activities are being stored in the cloud.

Percussive massage guns are required for fitness enthusiasts

CNET reviews percussive massage guns — comparing a number of less expensive models to the gold standard, the Theragun. Percussive massage guns provide the same healthy recovery of strained muscles as massage therapy by a real person, but anytime.

dis-rup-shun: If you have never tried a massage gun on sore muscles, then you are missing out on instant relief. As our culture spends more on online workouts and health club memberships, expect to see more home appliances created for our obsessions with exercise.




Phone apps are cheating on you

Your phone apps are leaking data you did not authorize

Security researchers, after analyzing more than 1000 mobile apps, have found that many collect and transmit data to third parties even after you have denied them permission to do so during set up. One example is AccuWeather, an app that keeps transmitting your location even though you have denied it that permission. Third parties using the data are, of course, advertisers, and allegedly, the federal government for tracking immigrants. CNET

dis-rup-shun: The evidence is growing daily that new tech needs limits, clear standards, easy to understand data permission dashboards, and a body enforcing adherence to these policies. This is the role of government agencies such as the FTC and the FCC, but are these agencies too mired in Capitol Hill politics to assert needed leadership?

Sony PlayStation V faces market dilemma

The PSV, the next generation game console from Sony, will be the most advanced console hardware ever sold, with boosted memory, fast graphics and expensive solid state storage. The component costs of the device are estimated to be $450, well above the price of the prior generation PS4, which retailed for $399 before discounting. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: The console market faces a crossroads, as cloud based gaming from Google, Nvidia and possibly Amazon (Apple’s Arcade focused on a different type of gamer) offer serious threats to console makers. It has been speculated that the end of the console is near. Sony, seeking to give gamers an experience better than they can get from cloud games, has created a premium device but now must price it higher than console buyers’ expectations, or take a loss on the device. What do you do when much of your loyal market is moving to the cloud? It’s time for Sony to say goodbye to the budget minded gamers — let them go to the cloud. Sony should rev up the PSV with the very fastest, hottest hardware and raise the price to take its position in the only place the device can survive — providing the “Lexus” experience for more affluent game players. It is time to lower sales projections and milk profits from the endangered console.

Half of homes will have cut cable by 2024

Roku, the streaming video enabler, outperformed expectations in the quarter just ended, buoying its stock 7%, and credibility, even further. The company predicts that half of U.S. homes will not have a traditional cable pay TV subscription in four years. Roku is an enabler of this transition, making old TVs internet-capable. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The reinvention of TV is happening faster than we may have expected, and the results are better TV — TV on our time, with bundles of services (the new channels) that we ourselves choose, and programming far better than anything seen before. As it will be many years before all of our old TVs are replaced with internet-ready smart TVs, Roku has a bright future, and has time to figure out what it will be in its next generation. Meanwhile all homes need to upgrade their patchy internet service to support many video streams all day throughout the house.

Bezos wins one round in the Amazon vs. Trump battle

As you recall, Amazon cried foul at the Department of Defense’s award to Microsoft of the $10 billion JEDI contract to put the military on the cloud. Amazon claims that Trump manipulated the process to tweak Bezos, whose Washington Post has been highly critical of the president. Amazon filed suit in court and won an injunction. The injunction, however, comes with a requirement that Amazon be prepared to pay $42 million in case it was determined that the injunction was unnecessary. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The chances that Amazon will get back into this contract are slim, however the fact that Amazon won an injunction is remarkable. If the courts find evidence that the president directly influenced the DOD’s process, then what other unsuccessful vendors of government contracts will claim that a brush off of their CEO by the Donald requires a review?


Coronavirus takes down Mobile World Congress

Coronavirus could topple the largest telecom trade event in the world

Mobile World Congress, hosted each February in Barcelona, has grown to be the largest telecom and phone related conference, bringing over 100 thousand visitors from around the world and pushing Barcelona to its limits. Due to concerns about coronavirus, many major sponsors and participants have backed out of the event, including Nokia, Siemens, Ericsson, Amazon, Vivo, LG, Facebook, Sony, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and BT. Organizers decided on Wednesday to cancel this year’s event. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The damage of the virus to this industry fixture could be fatal. With two weeks to go before the event, it is nearly impossible for the organizers, the GSMA trade organization, to curtail costs on venues, fixtures, signage, and vendor contracts. Partial payments by sponsors will not be adequate to stem losses, requiring the operators to declare Force Majeure to extract full payment. Hopefully this disaster will not do what the PC bubble of 2001/2002 did to Comdex, the largest tech tradeshow of the time. Comdex had a recession-related off year in 2001 and was never able to recover, shuttering after its 2003 edition. MWC, unlike Comdex, has remained highly relevant, but a strange thing happens when people skip a mainstay trade event and determine that their business didn’t suffer for the absence.

Samsung’s Unpacked event reveals new devices

The new products released at Tuesday’s event include:

  • Galaxy Z Flip — the $1400 foldable phone that we have been waiting for.
  • Three new Galaxy S20 phones now supporting 5G ($1000 to $1400)
  • Galaxy Buds+ – Samsung’s answer to AirPods but with 11 hours of battery life


dis-rup-shun: Samsung’s great looking products continue to be industry leaders and the Galaxy S10’s photos are shockingly great. If the S20 has improved the camera further, then arguments for owning a separate camera device are just about over.

App determines if you have been in contact with coronavirus 

China turns to technology to contain the coronavirus. A number of agencies have developed an app that determines if the user has been in close contact with someone who has the virus, or with someone who has been in close proximity to someone with the virus. The app uses data from popular WeChat and QQ apps, which contain location and contact information for users. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The effectiveness of this app in helping slow the spread of coronavirus will offer insight on the value of sharing location and private contact information. In China, choosing not to share this data may not be an option, but in public debates about the circumstances in which sharing personal data with government bodies should be required, this will provide an important new talking point.

Just how much has TV watching changed?

According to Neilsen, the use of streaming video services has nearly doubled in two years. In 2019 532 original scripted programs aired on TV and 646,152 unique program titles were accessible on a streaming or over the air service. 60% of consumers have more than one streaming service, and nearly half of adults 18 to 34 claimed to have more than two services. It appears that new services are additive — not cannibalizing on the existing two or three services. Hollywood Reporter

dis-rup-shun: This is the golden age of television. Not only are consumers able to watch what they want, when they want, on any device they want, but their insatiable appetite (demand) is driving the supply of programming to unprecedented levels, and that volume of content is forcing studios to compete on quality. And quality is what we are getting, but the bigger question is will the streaming business model support the billions that are being spent on programming? At some point, consumer appetites are satiated and streaming channels are caught in a price war. Such a time appears to be at least a couple of years into the future. In the meantime, binge away.