New robots for virtual CES
Increasingly popular stars of CES have been robots. This year’s virtual CES will feature a number of robots including: LG’s UV robot that moves around to disinfect surfaces, Moxie — a Japanese robot that is cute and intended to help entertain and educate children, John Deere’s robotic grain harvester, Daesung’s Hive Controller robot that harvests honey without human beekeepers. CNET
dis-rup-shun: Robots have been slow to become mainstream, instead being heavily utilized in factory automation. As we let go of the misconception that robots are multi-purpose, intelligent servants or companions, and apply AI and automation to repetitive tasks, we will see more frequent adoption. Expect more specialized devices, perhaps not previously considered robots, to be the examples of robotic automation — to prove their value by increasing efficiency and performing tasks that humans find difficult or tedious.
2020: An amazing year for tech
It was a rough year for many, and an amazing year for others. The seven top tech companies increased in value by $3.4 trillion. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, Tesla and Nvidia. The global pandemic and government investigations have not tarnished the meteoric rise of these companies. Surprisingly strong iPhone sales, Amazon’s rise in online sales, Microsoft’s Teams surge, and the strength of Google and Facebook’s advertising stronghold plus Tesla’s record deliver of electric cars in Q3 set new records. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Imagine what 2020 would have been without the economic engines of the top tech companies. There is little doubt that their dominance makes it difficult for others to compete, but our economy, without the strength and growth of these giants, may have been very bleak. COVID-19, moreover, fueled the growth of many smaller tech companies, including Zoom and Slack, that have also had a significant year.
The Walkcar — a new form of transportation
The Walkcar is a new device from Japanese company, Cocoa Motors. It is the size of a large laptop computer with four wheels. Standing on the composite square device will transport the ride at a maximum speed of 10 mph. At just under $2000, and a size that will fit into a large computer bag, the urban dweller has an alternative to the Onewheel. CNET
dis-rup-shun: If a laptop-looking powered skateboard is called the Walkcar, then are perceptions of transportation changing? How do we define cars? Are new entrants to the workforce counting on Walkcar-like devices to be their transportation of choice, knowing that Uber or fractional rentals of real cars are available for those seldom occasions when more is needed.
Cync by GE Lighting is new smart home line
GE Lighting, purchased last year by smart home device maker Savant, is planning to stay firmly planted in the smart home market. Its C by GE line is changing names to Cync — and will release a new outdoor smart plug and a new app to control it. CNET
dis-rup-shun: GE is a strong consumer brand. The mother company, GE, has sold its brand to many companies, including Jasco that makes a large array of electronics products under the GE brand, and now Savant, owner of GE Lighting, will use the brand to drive affordable smart products into the mass market. Smart light bulbs are a top selling smart home product, and Savant is wise to leverage the popularity of the brand.