Direct to consumer prosthetics are game changers

TrueLimb 3D printed prosthetic from Unlimited Tomorrow

Imagine a prosthetic arm that costs one tenth of the current going rate ($80,000), and is custom made and 3D printed to be an exact match for the missing limb. Young entrepreneur Easton LaChappelle is doing just that, using a scanner, and delivering a prosthetic in as short as two weeks. TrueLimb is using a direct to consumer model, cutting out the medical prosthetics industry. Think of it as Warby Parker for prosthetics — sending a limb straight to your door. CNET

dis-rup-shun: Staggering — the way in which a bright mind with a passion for a solution can disrupt a well-established industry and push it to a new level. Expect a big established player to trade twenty-four year old Mr. LaChappelle many hundreds of millions of dollars for his small company so that it (the incumbent) can have a future.

Musk demonstrates Neuralink

On Saturday, Elon Musk, acting as spokesman for his own company, demonstrated Neuralink’s early products, implanted into the brains of three pigs. The coin-sized device combines AI with brain functions. Musk’s demonstration focused on the potential for the product, including helping people with limb damage, blindness, and Parkinson’s disease, to name a few.  The installation of the link node is to be performed by a robot, without blood loss, inside of an hour. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Two years ago it would be easy and convenient to brush off Musk’s bold claims and simply label him an overconfident tech tycoon. With Tesla topping the valuation of global automakers, factories humming on several continents, and with the successful SpaceX journey to the International Space Station and safe return, Musk’s credibility is high. Is he the Thomas Edison of our time? If so, Neuralink could be his most important and useful contribution yet.

Amazon wins FAA approval for package delivery

Amazon is the third delivery company to gain FAA approval for its drone delivery service, following Alphabet owned Wing and UPS. Amazon’s Prime Air drones can deliver packages of five pounds or less to a distance of about 15 miles. The drones are approved to operate in areas of low density. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Interesting to note that the service can operate in low density areas and deliver in a 15 mile radius, which seems counter-productive given that Amazon is unlikely to have its mega distribution centers in low density populations. On the other hand, perhaps it is more efficient to send a drone launching truck to rural and more remote suburban areas where 10 deliveries are scheduled and have drones complete the last ten to fifteen miles, then return to a mobile base, rather than sending a truck to each and every location.

China introduces new legislation for company sales, complicating TikTok

China responded to the U.S. government’s prohibition against certain companies deemed to be a potential security risk by enacting new requirements that the Chinese government must approve sales of certain technologies. This legislation could certainly block the sale of TikTok to whatever party ultimately seeks to purchase it (Walmart/Microsoft, Oracle). CNN

dis-rup-shun: The new legislation is a logical counter-punch to Trump’s executive orders. If the U.S. government is going to intervene in the free market for security reasons, why shouldn’t the Chinese government — for security and strategic asset purposes — do the same? Brick by brick, walls blocking free trade between the two countries continue to rise. Will the next U.S. president continue to raise the wall, or use the current restrictions as a new base from which to redefine rules of trade? Stay tuned.

Amazon goes after wellness tracking

Amazon Halo is a different twist on wellness

Amazon’s Halo smartphone application, fitness band and service is a late and different entry into personal fitness tracking. Some differences from Fitbit and Apple include: a fitness band with no screen that instead transmits data to the smartphone app; a focus on body fat content over weight; a microphone on the band that listens to your voice tone and determines when you are under stress; a body composition base line analysis derived from a selfie of your unclothed body. CNET

dis-rup-shun: Amazon’s approach is creative, and wants to leverage several key trends: voice technology (in which Amazon excels), it is a service more than a gadget, starting at $65 per month for six months, then $3.99; it offers a device that is in a category all by itself (screen-less fitness band). Amazon has a history of breaking the mold, and has been highly successful with its Kindle service and with Alexa, but colossally failed with the Fire Phone. Dave Limp, Amazon’s head of devices, is not afraid to take some big risks, and Halo appears to be the latest biggie.

Walmart teams with Microsoft to acquire TikTok

The TikTok problem — how to comply with Trump’s executive order to stop doing business with the social media platform if it is owned by a Chinese parent company — takes another twist as Walmart teams with Microsoft to acquire the company. Oracle entered discussions two weeks ago. TikTok’s interim CEO says there are synergies with Walmart. Analysts expect a deal to be worth $20 to $30 billion. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: On the surface, synergies with Walmart are hard to envision. On the other hand, Walmart is striving to catch up with Amazon in online presence, and the sheer number of subscribers on TikTok make it a strong advertising platform that could be transitioned to an ecommerce site with some clever and, at first, subtle connections to online shopping.

Xiaomi’s under display camera to ship next year

Who is Xiaomi and what is an under display camera? Xiaomi, for those have not been reading the news, is a Chinese tech giant. Some might call them the Samsung of China. Xiaomi has been gobbling up smartphone market share in China and India, keeping Samsung and Apple nervous about the two largest smartphone markets. An under display camera is a front-facing camera (selfie) lens that is not visible as it lies under the display screen and “looks” through the display screen from the opposite direction so that having a front facing camera does not disrupt the screen layout. The iPhone 11 has a notch in the top of the screen that houses the selfie camera. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: Why does it matter? With global smartphone penetration approaching 50% of people (Statista), finding ways to differentiate smartphones on features other than price has proven extremely difficult. Cameras have recently been the epicenter of new innovation, and Xiaomi is seeking to be the first with a new innovation that makes for more screen real estate. Xiaomi has not been an innovation leader, but instead, a fast follower. Bragging rights for an industry leading innovation could go to the company.

Apple app store flexes its muscles against Facebook app

In the spotlight of Apple’s widely publicized battle with Epic Games, the company has been called out for banning a Facebook app which stated (before Facebook removed it) that “Apple takes 30% of this purchase.” Apple has been very clear that discussions of its business model are not allowed within apps, so the fact that Facebook briefly released the now removed message has observers wondering if Facebook is attempting to call attention to the current Epic battle. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: While not the scale of a Boston Tea Party or an Arab Spring, it seems that app creators are hoping to create a groundswell of support to pressure Apple into new pricing policies. The business decision of risking revenue to make a point is a big one, and it seems that Facebook accomplished its goals (visibility) without risking business, whereas Epic has decided it can afford the losses of revenue resulting from its app’s removal from the app store.

The new face of fast food stores

Fast food in the post COVID world: Taco Bell Go Mobile stores

It is often said that the pandemic has accelerated changes that were in the wings. Such is the case for Taco Bell, whose new Go Mobile store format focuses on drive through customers, minimizing dine-in space. The Go Mobile format will feature dual drive through lanes, with one optimized for customers and food delivery drivers who order using the Taco Bell app and inform the store, through the app and GPS how close they are to the store. CNET

dis-rup-shun: The rate of technology innovation will never be slower than today, and the rate of structural changes to our culture brought about by COVID-19, especially real estate, remain astounding. New homes are being built with not one, but two home offices, and commercial real estate developers are scrambling to determine the future of office life. Space planners, who just finished lowering cubicle walls, are busy raising them. While Taco Bell is modeling the new look of app-powered fast food, the days of the salad bar and self-serve restaurant formats are, for now, done.

Coronavirus exposes the broadband gap

18 million Americans do not have broadband access. In a time when working, learning and staying connected require the internet, the problem is more than an inconvenience. CNET‘s six part podcast explores the problem, how it occurred, the state of National Broadband Plan, the promise of 5G, and thoughts on how we resolve this problem.

dis-rup-shun: Elon Musk can fix it. SpaceX’s Starlink chain of low orbit satellites are supposed to bring broadband to all hard-to-reach parts of the planet, and with the fixed cost of deploying the satellites not dependent on the signal recipients’ locations, the economic problems of serving remote customers is not an issue. That leaves only the issue of economic disparity, which can be addressed by government subsidies.

The first of many rulings on Epic v. Apple

U.S. District Judge Rogers rules that Apple cannot revoke Epic’s developer licenses, though it can continue to block Epic’s Fortnite apps from the Apple App Store. Rogers notes that the “current predicament appears to be of its own making,” regarding Fortnite being banned from the app store. The legal sparring over this incidence is expected to continue for months to years, as this is a precedent setting argument. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: This is a very important battle to watch. Epic broke the rules of the app stores, and Apple and Google responded in a predictable way. Epic is making the case that the app stores limit competition and are monopolistic, which, by the way, is the same point that the U.S. Department of Justice has been making for months. Epic seems willing to be that catalyst that enables change. And the winds of change are blowing, if you haven’t noticed.

Level Touch is the future of smart locks

Hard to get excited about smart locks? According to our research at Interpret, 15% of homeowners say they intend to invest in a smart lock in the next 90 days, and 10% report owning one now. The point is, smart locks will soon be to homes what power locks were to cars in the last century — standard on all but the oldest, or most budget models. Two barriers to adoption in already constructed homes have been aesthetics and battery life. Level Home has released the Level Touch, a smart lock whose battery will last for one year, and whose hardware looks no different from a standard (not smart) lock. Using NFC, a smartphone app or the simple touch of the finger will open or lock your door. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: This company is made up of some former Apple designers, and their experience shows. If homes automatically lock (that’s the default) except when authorized people (smartphones) are nearby, then the entire game of home security changes. Locks, not entry sensors, report to a central controller and app who is in or out, cameras verify when questions arise, and the police are called only in rare circumstances where data and images confirm a real problem. A home will essentially know, at any time, who is in or out, and the homeowner will enjoy that peace of mind.

Police use smart speaker data for evidence

Police increasingly turning to smart speaker data in murder investigations

Amazon reported that it has received 3000 police requests for smart speaker data in the first half of this year, and that it has complied 2000 times. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Smartphones know everywhere you have been. Smart speakers know if you were home and capture some of what you said. Between these two devices, there is a wealth of data that could be used to defend or convict you. Bottom line — if you are going to do something you shouldn’t, leave your phone behind and unplug your smart speaker. Given our increasing use of technology in everyday life, including cameras in our homes, cars and offices, hiding from the law will be increasingly difficult.

Botnet FritzFrog is infecting hundreds of servers

COVID-19 is apparently not the only virus in growth mode. Security firm Guardicore Labs announced the discovery of a botnet — programs that connect many computers together to form a network with no one common control server, making detection and management difficult. The origin of the FritzFrog botnet is unknown, but it has targeted government, university and transportation companies. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Cyber warfare is extremely advanced, and the thought of a government or organization quietly aligning tens of thousands of computing assets for the purpose of shutting them down, stealing information or holding them ransom is very concerning. That person you know who refuses to participate in online banking may not be so crazy, after all. As technology advances, so do the skills of hackers, meaning off-network redundancies are important.

Zoom outage hits back to schoolers

Just when you were counting on Zoom to keep the kids engaged and safely back to school, the service appears to have experience outages in various cities, especially along the East Coast. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: As if remote schooling is not difficult enough on parents, an outage of a utility that we have all taken for granted as the glue that holds together our virtual lives is sputtering. The outage, combined with the story above on the FritzFrog, reminds us that our online lives that we depend on, are more vulnerable than expected. A disruption of our online services will literally leave us cut off for as long as our network is down. No man is an island unless his internet service is out.

SugarCRM acquires Node to add AI to CRM

SugarCRM is a free (at first) customer database management application that has been around almost twenty years and is used by many small businesses not yet ready to invest in customer relationship management assets. By combining Node’s AI to customer databases, SugarCRM will tell you (for a fee) which customers are most likely to churn, and which are the richest targets. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: AI or machine learning — call it what you like — will continue to find its way into most all applications, so that our software applications will begin to “intuit” our end goals and call our attention to things our software think are most important. This is the natural evolution of computing, wherein decision making will increasingly be performed by our computing assets and our job, as managers and humans, will be to decide when to trust AI-based decisions or override them based on our intuition, experience and knowledge.

Fortnite-loaded phones for sale

Fortnite-loaded phones for sale on eBay

If you wanted to play Fortnite on your phone but, for some reason, didn’t have it downloaded before Apple and Google removed it from their app stores, eBay sellers are your friend. Phones with the app loaded are listed for hundreds to $10,000 dollars by sellers. Business Insider

dis-rup-shun: You have to love a free market, where people are free to spend big bucks to buy someone else’s phone, with someone else’s account which could be suspended at any moment and shut down by Apple or Google. Or perhaps you have to love the entrepreneurial spirit of consumers who were quick to think they have something of significant value. The beauty of the free market economy is on display at eBay, and the Boston Tea Party of our time is taking place before our eyes. Will it spark a revolution against the Kings of Tech, or will the rebels remain outcast from the halls of commerce? Stay tuned.

Apple becomes most valuable tech company

Apple’s market valuation hit $2 trillion this week. The company is now valued more than all but eight countries’ economies. Despite Coronavirus, sales of iPhone and subscriptions to services have thrived. The introduction of 5G capable iPhones, that can download content at 10x current speeds, is expected to touch off a wave of new phone sales.  CNET

dis-rup-shun: Many of us recall the year, 1997, when Apple was out of cash and had become a bit of a joke. What company would seek to to offer an alternative against the wave of IBM PC compatibles, and hot companies such as Compaq and Sun Microsystems? Apple is a case study on focus, focus, focus.

Airbnb tests a shaky economy

Another COVID IPO is in the works as Airbnb has filed to launch a public offering amidst a revenue decline of 67%. The company has taken on significant debt to stay afloat, and valuation has fallen off its once lofty $31 billion. NYTimes

dis-rup-shun: With Apple having announced a stock split, and the number of trades being executed by millenials who have flocked to Robinhood to play in the market, breaking records, the time may be now for Airbnb, especially before the bubbling-hot market cools down.

Verizon puts a nail in the coffin of pay TV

Verizon, owners of FIOS TV, have declared the traditional pay TV model dead and cold, as it bundles Netflix, Disney +, and ESPN + into wireless subscription plans. The new plans don’t offer a termination date, moving the core component of video bundles from cable services to wireless phone services. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Verizon’s move is a high stakes game of devaluing TV streaming to lure and keep subscribers on their wireless plan. While they aren’t the first wireless carrier to throw streaming into the package, they are upping the ante, challenging others to follow suit, changing the economics of streaming plans and finding creative ways not to compete by lowering the price of service plans.

Apple reworks radio

Apple retools linear radio

Apple has long been adjusting its radio services, seeking to keep people close to iTunes, then keep them close the brand. The company announced a rebranding of the Beats 1 station, and launch of Apple Music Country and Apple Music Hits. The Music stations will feature a number of high profile musicians and celebrities, hosting music shows. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: The definition of radio is in disarray, or at least in the context of online radio. When we get in the car and turn on a radio station, or even a satellite radio station, we know what to expect. Online radio, however, is in flux. Podcasts are starting to push their way into streaming music services such as Spotify, which has made big, bold investments into podcast content. Amazon has free services for Prime members, but also paid streaming radio. Apple, determined as of late to boost its services business, is offering a confusing assortment of radio options, both streaming and linear. It is likely that Apple is still suffering from having disenfranchised music fans after saving the music business with iTunes. While iTunes was the greatest thing to happen to music in recent history, iTunes’ clunky digital rights technologies frustrating even loyal Apple fans and sent them running to Spotify and Pandora One. Now Apple is struggling to get them back.

Oracle enters the TikTok bidding

Competition is good for everyone, and especially for TikTok owners and investors who were at risk of forcing to sell to Microsoft, due to Trump executive orders. Oracle has now entered the process, reportedly working with venture capital firms that already have a stake in the social network, potentially assembling an offer that will best Microsoft’s interest and increase investors’ returns. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Creating an auction for TikTok will provide TikTok stakeholders with the opportunity to get “market returns” on their investments, albeit sooner than planned. The sting of government intervention will likely be reduced as Oracle’s entry into the transaction may encourage another party or two to jump in and bid up the price further, or will convince Microsoft to fish or cut bait.

SpaceX recycles

Another space first this week will be the lift off of yet more Starlink satellites. Starlink, as as reminder, is the chain of thousands of small, low-orbit satellites that will orbit the Earth in a chain. One goal of Starlink is to deliver Internet access to all corners of the globe, where wires have not yet reached. Today’s launch is unique in that it will be sixth time the SpaceX rocket booster has launched a payload into space, proving that a rocket can, in fact, be recovered and reused. CNET

dis-rup-shun: SpaceX continues to set a new bar in space travel, having just completed its first successful launch and return of two astronauts to the International Space Station. Imagine, in a couple of years, proclaiming your frustration with AT&T or Comcast or Verizon and declaring that you are switching your Internet service to Starlink.

Best outdoor security cameras

CNET lines up top outdoor cameras. The category is hot as people embrace DIY home security. The top players are Arlo on the high end and for the doorbell, and Wyze for the best value.

dis-rup-shun: Features that Arlo offers, such as E911, that enables you to reach law enforcement from within Arlo’s app, redefines home security and blurs the lines between pro-monitored systems and DIY. With many police forces being de-funded, the chances of police responding to your pro-monitored alerts are slimmer, meaning direct contact with authorities may be more effective. Think about it — will politics, rather than technology, topple the current home security industry model?

Uber and Lyft may withdraw from California

California law may sink Uber and Lyft

A California judge has ruled that the ride share companies must classify their drivers as employees, not independent contractors. The move will require the companies to pay benefits such as health insurance and vacation to their drivers, upending the business model that enables these companies to offer their services at less-than-taxi rates. In November, California voters will have the opportunity to decide if ride share drivers can be considered contractors, potentially saving the industry.  CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Is opposition to drivers as contractors coming from drivers, or from operators of taxi companies? Crushing the ride share business model will not help employment and will disappoint consumers, who have voted with their feet that traditional taxi services are sub-optimal. If these companies pull out of California until November, consumers as well as out of work drivers will have some time to decide if they are better off without ride sharing.

Zin electric boats are the Tesla of the lake

Zin has built an electric boat. Aside from the $250K price tag, the benefits are substantial: nearly no maintenance, “fill-ups” are about $5, they are fast, and battery placement in the center of the boat means the craft stays level in almost every maneuver. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Zin, like Tesla, is the early model that will enable the uber wealthy to show off the latest and greatest, and will hopefully be followed by mass market models. Anyone who owns a runabout or even small fishing boat knows that it is rare to be out for more than four or five hours (the life of a battery), and a boat starts up about 50% of the times you wish to use it, making a low maintenance craft a weekend warrior’s godsend.

The Fortnite experiment

Fortnite, one of the most popular games across multiple platforms, including mobile, published by Epic, has taken on Apple and Google, deciding to bypass their app stores and the 30% fees associated for in-app purchases. Apple and Google promptly responded by taking down the apps from their respective app stores. Epic was quick to file suit, claiming the two tech giants are monopolies that restrict open competition. CNET

dis-rup-shun: The move by Epic raises a couple of questions. First, did the company time its move to directly follow the public examination of Big Tech by the U.S. Congress, adding yet another event to the legislators’ investigations? Secondly, did Epic’s economists do the math and determine that even if Apple and Google blocked their products from the apps stores, the 30% increase in margin on transactions would make the company better off? Time will tell, and perhaps Epic has decided that it will be an agent of change, despite the objections of Apple and Google.

Keeping garages smart

Garage door controllers are not something that you replace more than every 20 years or so, so unless you are buying a newly built home, technology to remotely control your garage door and see if you left it open will require retrofit technology. CNETreviews a host of Wi-Fi systems that are add-ons to existing controllers that use cameras and sensors to enable you to let the repair man into the garage when you are away. Leading brands include Chamberlain MyQ, Garadget, Alcidae Garager 2, Nexx Garage.

dis-rup-shun: The garage is a place in the home that smart technology will be enjoyed almost more than any other, given the frequency of people’s use of this home entry. Surveys performed by a number of researchers show that new homes with smart technologies, such as smart garage doors, sell faster and for a slight premium. Expect smartphone controllable and voice controllable garage doors to be the standard for most upscale new homes offered by builders.

Apple bundles services: Apple Prime?

Apple turns to bundling 

Bundling, the practice of offering a number of services or products together for a discount, has built many a company including AT&T, Comcast, Amazon, and soon Apple. Apple will be bundling Music, streaming TV, gaming and iCloud storage, and perhaps other benefits including an online workout service, in an Amazon Prime-like subscription that gives the faithful so much for a flat monthly fee. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: How can you refuse it? Services that you really want (Apple TV) along with some nice-to-haves, like Apple News and Arcade, for just a few more dollars per month. The good people at Peloton probably didn’t see an Apple fitness channel coming, but the data about home workouts is too enticing to pass up. Apple, with this move, is moving more deeply into the wheelhouse of Amazon and AT&T, providing attractive service revenues as well as its blockbuster lineup of Apple devices. Seems that Big Tech’s formula for the future consists of three critical components: cloud-based services, specialized content and apps, and consumer devices.

Microsoft seeks to create a new class of computing

Microsoft’s Surface family of products have been a wild success — offering Apple like design for the Windows crowd. Now Microsoft is going out on a limb with the Surface Duo, a foldable two screen device that is not a Windows computer, but too big to be a phone. The Android-based device is thin and elegant, offering two very portable screens for those who want more screen while on the move. Microsoft has decided to pass on 5G for the first release. The device can be pre-ordered at AT&T, or Best Buy. CNET

dis-rup-shun: It is rare to see Microsoft go all “Apple-like” and think it can create a new product category. The company traditionally has not been good at firsts, but excellent at second or third offerings. After the dismal failure that was the Nokia acquisition, Microsoft has decided to be an innovator. The device looks very tempting to pair some earbuds as a media player and phone, but will an Android-based computer satisfy the mobile office worker? If you want to play with $1,399, it will be a great experiment.

Waze adds contactless fueling to its app

Waze has partnered with both ExxonMobil and Shell, incorporating those companies’ rewards app into its own, enabling the user to purchase fuel at the pump without touching payment screens. CNET

dis-rup-shun: COVID-19 continues to reshape the new normal, and buying gas may never be the same. Even if you have resisted the fuel rewards programs, as you don’t think of yourself as loyal to a gas station, Waze has found a way to keep you from straying to the convenience of Google Maps or Apple Maps. Touchless payments have been popular in other parts of the world, such as Asia, for a number of years, but slow to catch on in the USA. Touchless fueling will accelerate mobile payment adoption assuming Americans start driving again.

Intel counting on next generation chip to put it back on top

Intel, the golden child of the era of computing, has been beaten up lately. Apple has bailed on Intel, AMD’s chips have bested some of Intel’s, and Qualcomm and Nvidia continue to eat away at Intel’s core customer base. Intel’s next generation, generation 11 chipsets, called Tiger Lake, should put the company back on top. Tiger Lake processors are faster, smaller, provide better graphics and use less battery power. CNET

dis-rup-shun: Competition is tough in the chip business, and China has just announced more emphasis on chip making given icy relations with the west. Intel’s corporate structure has served it well in traditional markets, but the company has been slow to be the engine inside of new connected device categories. The future of computing looks a lot less like a computer, and Intel needs to c

Robinhood out trades Schwab and E-Trade combined

Discount online trading platform Robinhood blows past rivals

Robinhood, the online trading platform that offers no charge trading, and no minimum account balances, has smoked its online rivals, facilitating more revenue trades in June than E-Trade and Charles Schwab combined. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Free is a very attractive business model for consumers and one that is most always rapidly embraced. Robinhood shattered the brokerage industry practice of charging dollars for what cost pennies, and offers trades for nothing. The company makes money from the interest of its customers’s deposits, and evidently consumers have been doing a great deal of trading while sheltering in place. Like so many industries, the Internet has stripped the fat profits from stock brokerage. Robinhood appears not to be profitable, but is valued at $8.6 billion. Like Uber and Lyft, the company has shattered the old ways of doing business, but is it sustainable?

TCL expands Roku powered line of smart TVs

CNET says TCL smart TVs are the best value for the money and they feature the very user friendly Roku interface built in. Its new 6-series line of TVs includes mini-LED technology, making for an even better picture at a mid-level price. CNET

dis-rup-shun: During the pandemic, sales of smart TVs have increased, especially of TVs bigger than 65 inches. Right now, there is a good chance you are somewhere in the near, mid, or post cord cutting stage, and asking yourself which path to cutting cable you will take. Roku is a strong alternative to turn all of your TVs, dumb and smart, into smart streaming receivers. TCL makes it easy by adding Roku to a high quality picture.

Walmart reaches out to Instacart to battle Amazon 

Walmart has reached a partnership with Instacart for same day grocery delivery in an effort to challenge Amazon Fresh and Amazon Prime Now with Whole Foods. The service will first be piloted in four markets in California and Oklahoma.  CBNC

dis-rup-shun: The pandemic has been a rocket booster for Amazon’s delivery business for all products. It was in the right place, with the right services, at the right time. Walmart, always a couple of steps behind in the online business, is trying to catch up by offering a rival same-day grocery delivery service. Once again, consumers are the winners and hopefully many of the out of work restaurant workers can get in on the food delivery business as an employment alternative.

Lucid electric car trounces Tesla’s range

The Lucid Air electric luxury sedan, to begin production in September, has a range of over five hundred miles in independent tests — beating Tesla to the 500 mile benchmark. CNET

dis-rup-shun: Think about it. You may well be driving, right now, your last gasoline combustion engine vehicle. If not your last, it is likely to be your second to last. Soon you may be driving a beautiful new luxury electric car from a manufacturer you have never heard of. And that electric car will rarely need the same kinds of service that your current car does, so you can start saying goodbye to your friendly mechanic, the attendant at the corner gas and go, and your lube shop. Do it yourself lawn equipment is already well into the switch to electric, and motorcycles, boats, jet skis and ATVs will follow. Think of the fresh air and peace and quiet.

Zillow cites reshuffling of real estate

Zillow CEO cites the beginning of real estate reshuffling

In an earnings call, Zillow CEO Rich Barton stated that the uncertainty of the duration of the pandemic, combined with indefinite work from home policies by many companies, has initiated a reshuffling of real estate. Major trends include expanding room to work at home with additional privacy, valuing outdoor spaces including yards and courtyards, and fleeing large, expensive cities. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Research by Interpret shows a significant uptick in purchases of TVs and digital entertainment devices during COVID-19. Understandably, people are investing more in their home lives and making repairs and improvements. Barton believes that these trends will last beyond the next few months, signaling a significant shift in living trends. Life in large cities has been arguably more pleasant, with roads less crowded, air less polluted, and fewer people in public places. The question is, ten years from now, will we see 2020 as the year that city planning and home plans changed, as people spent more time in home offices, kitchens, walking in the neighborhood and enjoying their patios and yards?

Packaging as a service

The pandemic has caused online shopping to surge, straining logistics providers and significantly increasing the amount of packaging waste. Enter LivingPackets and The Box, a container intended to be reused hundreds of times, and packed with intelligence that notifies the shipper and receiver of its whereabouts, its contents, and if it has been opened or tampered with. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Smart packaging already makes sense for high value contents, and a number of companies have created packaging with inexpensive sensors. Cheap sensors in a box can be tossed, assisting with security but not with reuse. LivingPackets will have to convince shippers that the costs of maintaining The Box are less than the costs of disposable packaging plus loss claims. For high volume customers who can return the boxes easily when the next shipment arrives, it may make sense.

Interview with Bill Gates: this will be over in 2021

Bill Gates, in a lengthy interview with Wired, expresses optimism that COVID-19 disruption, for rich nations, will be over by the end of 2021. For poorer nations, it will take another year, and it will take several years to recover from the economic damage done by the pandemic. Gates states that the innovation of drug companies will shorten what otherwise would be a five year run before the global population builds natural immunity.

dis-rup-shun: Gates’ ability to cut through the media noise to deliver straight facts is a breath of fresh air, and knowing that Gates has invested essentially all of his wealth, time and talent into making the world a healthier place is inspiring. May his friends Mr. Bezos, Zuckerberg and Musk follow in his footsteps as they become the elder statesmen of tech.

Streaming wars hit tipping point in Q2

The streaming video providers all had a blockbuster second quarter. The pandemic has buoyed old and new services alike, and the question is what is the long term outlook for consumers and how many services will the average household keep after the shelter in place timeframe? Disney + service is several years ahead of growth projections. Netflix subscriptions surged by 10 million new additions. ViacomCBS’ new ad-supported, free to consumers service sold ample advertisements, and NBCUniversal’s new Peacock service signed up 10 million new subs. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Speaking of reshuffling, the pandemic has resulted in consumers taking more action on adjusting their TV spending to provide what they want and when. The big question is how will the return of live sports impact the time and money spent on streaming services, as the hours of viewing time freed up by the absence of live sports has driven, to a large extent, the pursuit of original content.