California data privacy law enacted

California data privacy law started yesterday

California has now enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act, a law requiring any major company operating in the state to allow consumers to opt out of having data sold to third parties. While enforcement is difficult, the fines for violators are very large — $2,500 per user per data item. Wired

dis-rup-shun: This law is the first of its kind in the U.S. and is long overdue. Other states will likely follow suit, adding pressure on the U.S. Federal Government to pass a similar, and possibly more comprehensive law, making it easier for businesses to comply. The law is similar to Europe’s GDPR, but falls short of the ideal model in which a common data dashboard can be accessed to enable consumers to specific what, when and how data can be used. Expect strong evolution and development of nationwide data privacy laws in 2020, thanks to California’s leadership.

Virtual fitting rooms coming to retail

Former Walmart CEO Bill Simon predicts that retailers will lean heavily on technology to further differentiate brick and mortar stores — seeking to maintain an edge on online retailers. One such technology will be the ability to scan any item into a smartphone and virtually try it on. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Competition makes things better, and we are already seeing the brick and mortar retailers that survived fallout from the Amazon Effect make shopping better with offers such as same day curb-side pickup (Target), and more knowledgeable sales clerks (Best Buy). Better in-store experiences, including great displays, elegant and inviting spaces and cleaner, better lit interiors are benefits. By using better technologies, including holograms, digital signage, Bluetooth beacons, apps and augmented reality, retailers will make certain that the shopping experience is a remarkable experience, and no less convenient than online stores.

Will authentication apps become common in 2020?

Authenticator apps are third party apps that provide a second method, in addition to your password, to secure your applications. Because text messages occur outside of the tightly secured infrastructure of your network providers, third-party authenticators are more secure. A number of leading providers are Google, Microsoft, Authy, LastPass, and DuoMobile, and there is a good chance you will be using one by the end of the year. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: Authenticators are important and a welcome addition, but still a bit clunky to use, and they don’t fix the problem of having to remember dozens of passwords for different accounts. The problem of authentication, however, is being addressed rapidly, and access programs will continue to improve. Bad actors, of course, will move just as quickly as tech innovators and will find ways to break new authentication tools — a reality of the digital age — and assurance that the data security and authentication industries are solid growth industries.

What to expect in smartphones in 2020

Phones will continue to get more expensive, according to CNET as faster charging, better CPUs, higher resolution cameras, and foldable screens find their way into new devices. The question is if foldables will catch on, or be a passing fad.

dis-rup-shun: What we do know is that 5G networks have not been ready for prime time, but that will change by year end and blazing speeds should be perceivable to people who live in major metropolitan areas. This will be a reason to upgrade, and will lead to strong new phone sales in H2 of this year. With higher resolution cameras and blazing fast 5G, expect everyone to be a photo journalist, sharing even more photos and especially more videos, as the hybrid still/video snapshot becomes even more like a video.

The Media Decade

The decade of new media

Ten years ago, Netflix was shipping DVDs, DirecTV was the largest pay TV provider, AT&T was making more from land lines than wireless, and Yahoo! was a $24 billion king of Internet. The decade marks the end of content only companies, as most content creators were swallowed by distributors, as evidenced in the recent merger of CBS and Viacom. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Few industries that have been completely rewired by the Internet are as visible as media companies. We have to also thank the proliferation of Internet attached devices with screens, including smartphones, tablets and smart TVs. Without these connected devices the media distributors could have maintained control of the majority of content. The advent of 5G will accelerate the transition to streaming content services, as accessing anything anywhere at anytime will be even easier than today.

Where will 5G first appear?

The TV commercials have started… 5G networks are here (T-Mobile). But 5G networks are expensive to build and growth will be uneven. The industries that are most anxious to deploy, and therefore invest, in 5G are autonomous cars — providing rapidly updated maps and traffic data in real time, telemedicine — enabling specialists to perform procedures on remote patients, and in manufacturing facilities — 5G will connect assembly robots so that they can be constantly monitored for breakdowns or errors.  Wired

dis-rup-shun: The path to monetization of new networks is clearer in industries that can lower production costs or increase speeds with greater connectivity. Giving consumers faster Internet on smartphones and computers is great, but how much and how quickly will people upgrade to enjoy the pleasures of more speed? We are about to learn.

Amazon bans sellers from FedEx

Amazon told all sellers (58% of all merchandise is from third parties) to cease using FedEx Ground as the carrier’s ability to deliver on time is of concern. This is the latest in a series of jabs between the companies, following a decision in August by FedEx to end express delivery for Amazon. Meanwhile Amazon is building a $1.5 billion air hub in Kentucky,  where 50 planes will be based. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Is Amazon a bookseller, an online department store, an electronic storefront for hire, or a logistics company? The answer, of course, is all of the above and the bigger question is can Amazon continue to compete with its own customers? Can FedEx and UPS develop loyalty programs to keep their own customers from defecting to Amazon shipping when the Seattle giant begins to offer shipping to companies that are not Amazon merchants? Expect to see either FedEx or UPS develop some aggressive loyalty programs for existing customers in anticipation of the Amazon Effect on shipping.

Seniors not on leading edge of autonomous car adoption

Benefits to seniors for self driving cars over-hyped

The number of drivers over 70 on the road has grown 58% between 1997 and 2017, and these drivers have higher accident rates than other drivers. Autonomous car companies have predicted that seniors will be major beneficiaries of this technology, and will help drive adoption. This may be an exaggeration, according to Wired, as two factors need to be considered.  First, seniors’ longer response time requires that cars be completely autonomous (level 5 on the autonomy scale, and today’s cars are at level 2), and that is a long way off. Secondly, cars for seniors need to be designed by and for seniors, with information telling them what is happening at all times, and with knobs and displays that are extremely senior friendly. No one is taken these factors into consideration, according to Wired, and therefore saying autonomous cars are great for seniors is, at this stage, hype.

dis-rup-shun: Seniors are a demographic that will not be on the leading edge of autonomous car adoption. They are likely the last group to jump into a driverless car, and their loved ones will be reluctant to do that to them until the technology is very well proven. As with ride sharing services focused on seniors, there will be autonomous car models that are more senior-friendly (maybe sold by Cadillac?) — a Jitterbug on wheels, so to speak. The point is, there is plenty of time to optimize auto cars for seniors and this demographic will not be a driver for early adoption.

Tesla shows some love to early, abandoned buyers

Tesla is promising to do better to owners of its first car, the Tesla Roadster, released in 2008 through 2012. Tesla stopped making spare parts for the Roadster and does not offer service through the mainstream app used by owners of current models. Jerome Guillen, President of Automotive, indicated in an email to Roadster customers that they will get their own, dedicated service advisor. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Tesla, as well as its customers, are pioneers with a ring-side seat to what could become the transformation of cars as we know them, to predominantly electric. As we know, you can always spot a pioneer because they are the people with an arrow in their backs. Tesla owners are no exception. The next 18 months feel like a tipping point for Tesla — if the company can grow revenues, then it may just make it for the long haul, or be acquired by a larger entity (Apple would be cool). Bad reports from Tesla employees and disgruntled car owners would force the company to focus even more energy and capital on Europe and Asia, where it is receiving a strong reception. Tesla’s withdrawal from the U.S. market would likely cool electric car development efforts by GM, Chrysler, Ford, and Toyota, and that would be unfortunate.

Qualcomm releases 5G chipsets

Qualcomm is a global leader in chipsets found in smartphones, and yesterday the company unveiled two new chipsets that support 5G. When it arrives en masse (in 2020), 5G networks will enable mobile gaming and mobile video at speeds not seen before in consumer products. The new chipsets have faster speeds, more AI capacity, and, of course, the ability to connect to new 5G networks. Wired

dis-rup-shun: The timing of Qualcomm’s announcement means it is likely that many 5G capable phones will flood the market in the second half of 2020. As stated previously, next year’s holiday commercials will be all about special deals to entice users to upgrade their handsets for 5G models. Those who are excited about the potential of 5G won’t be upgrading phones for the next six to eight months as they wait for the new technology.

Amazon releases wireless Echo for India

India has proven to be a hot market for Echo, and the most requested enhancement has been portability. The new mobile model sells for $84 and has a 10 hour battery life. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: If the Echo is really Amazon’s household Trojan Horse, what are the profitable services that the company will grow in India? According to its website, was the source of over 50% of online purchases in the country. The category of highest value for Indian shoppers was smartphones, followed by fashion and consumables, then large appliances. While Echo has not yet become a strong shopping platform, Amazon continues to push aggressively across the globe, and will likely not face in India the regulatory threats being proposed by the U.S. and E.E. regulators, meaning the company could have a lot larger share of a much larger market (albeit with less spending power) in a short period of time.

Cheaper batteries enable home energy storage

Cheaper battery technologies make solar more attractive

The solar industry is being boosted by the falling price of large scale storage in cheaper batteries, and California’s rolling blackouts have helped prime consumer interest. With tax incentives, a California resident purchased whole-home battery backup for $4000 and plans to save $1,500 per year in energy savings. In addition to urgent environmental concerns, the costs of solar work to lower operating costs in many niche commercial and factory applications. The Energy Storage Association estimates that the costs for solar energy will drop 10 to 15 percent each year through 2024. Wired

dis-rup-shun: The awareness of electric cars, thanks to Tesla and its followers, paired with startling new climate change predictions, utility wire-generated wildfires and subsequent law suits that made rolling blackouts a necessity in California, have created a growing interest in electric powered homes, cars and factories. Expect the continued everyday use of solar energy, first on the west coast to move across the nation into our everyday lives.

5G has arrived. But wait.

T-Mobile is launching its nationwide 5G network this Friday. That’s a big deal, but T-Mo’s 5G network is different than others in that it uses low band 5G. That’s a good thing in that it provides vast coverage — able to include many areas that the bigger players can’t (yet). Low band, however, does not penetrate walls and buildings well, meaning that indoors, speeds won’t be drastically improved. AT&T’s and Verizon’s offerings are the opposite. Currently, phones that support all variants of 5G networks aren’t available, so unless you have a specific outdoor need, it is too early to buy a 5G phone. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The introduction of most new technologies is choppy, but by next Christmas (and the one after), expect every other TV commercial to feature Santa on a sleigh dialing up a 5G handset and offering two-for-one if you join in the latest cellular technology upgrade.

Walmart and Target closing the online gap

Cyber Monday sales will test trends spotted in November, when Target and Walmart showed significantly higher online sales growth than Amazon, according to Edison Trends.


Two lessons learned from the Amazon and the flight to e-commerce: 1) As Amazon has made pricing transparent, price is no longer a competitive advantage. Every major retailer is forced to match price and must differentiate through other factors such as shopping experience, informed store clerks, in-store pickup of online orders. 2) Brick and mortar stores are not dead, and Amazon will have to continue to open more physical locations to keep gobbling up market share.

FBI cautions owners of smart TVs

The FBI’s website now features a warning to smart TV buyers stating that TVs have varying levels of security and may be hack-able. In addition, the site warns that TV manufacturers are collecting extensive usage data for their and advertisers’ benefits. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun:  Is this warning politically motivated, given that Congress is in the process of cracking down on Facebook and friends? Is this part of the Trump versus Bezos/Amazon conspiracy? Perhaps it is simply part of a concerted effort on the part of civil servants to make the citizenry aware of the personal data privacy that we have all unknowingly clicked away. Expect to see more consumer friendly policy changes like this one from Zillow

In January 2020, we’re launching a privacy portal to give you more control over your personal information. You’ll be able to see what information about you we’ve collected and, if you choose to, delete that information.

Enabling your customers to take control of how they share their data should be rewarded, and hopefully Big Tech will follow the lead of these customer service leaders.

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.

Government versus Big Tech escalates

New page in government versus Big Tech : State AGs

Attorneys General from 48 states are collaborating in an effort to investigate Google to determine if the company is unfairly dominating the search market. Eight states plus D.C. are pursuing a similar investigation of Facebook. The collective action is separate, and in addition to investigations underway by the FTC and DOJ. Wired

dis-rup-shun: The line to extract a fine from Big Tech is getting long, and tech firms will definitely have to make some concessions and pay some large fees. Market domination is the dream of most every boardroom, but governments have succeeded at keeping the playing field at least open to innovators, who continue to refresh our economies. The pace of innovation among Big Tech ensures that new offerings will continue to find new profits, making up for any concessions won by state and Federal legislators.

How to plan a city with autonomous vehicles

The National Association of City Planning Officials is struggling to determine how to invest in the city of the future. Should parking lots and roadways be reduced to account for lower car ownership, shared rides, scooters and self-driving cars that will rarely park, or is the arrival of autonomous vehicles over-hyped? The association is recommending a network of variable pay per use roadways, based on time of day, as has been implemented in downtown London. Wired

dis-rup-shun: The aggressive pursuit of delivery drones by Amazon and others suggests crowded sidewalks or “drone allies” and the success of scooters and bikes calls for a permanent accommodation to make everyone safer. The auto industry fully expects continuing large shifts in transportation and ownership habits and cities should too. Developing pedestrian zones where use of autos requires an additional fee are highly feasible, given electronic, map-based payment and toll systems. Expect city centers to become far more user friendly and pleasant as they move to encourage ride sharing and less parking.

Really smart video camera keeps your data at home

ShimShine, a smart home camera startup in Shenzhen, China has raised $8 million in funding to build cameras with more intelligence built in the camera, relying less on the cloud and more on the device itself. The benefits include faster processing and less personal data being transferred across public networks. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Two trends occurring in the smart home space are to make devices far more intelligent so that your habits and preferences are already known by your smart home. Thus, your home acts without your having to manage it, unlocking doors and changing lighting and temperature when you normally come home. One way to do this, the second trend, is to pack more intelligence into the device itself, relying less on the cloud to perform the magic. This second trend, however, will be challenged by faster, less expensive cloud services and 5G networks that make wireless data transmission lightning fast. The resulting combination is a future in which devices themselves will be packed with intelligence and will be connected to very fast wireless networks, meaning the home will have an enormous amount of compute power, capable of accurate facial recognition, video analytics and high level security. Smart home compute capacity will exceed the power of home applications for several years to come.

Time again for a Nokia flip phone? 

Nokia is staging an interesting comeback, offering a flip phone that, like its predecessor, connects a caller when opened and hangs up by closing. The top part of the clam shell features a screen where popular apps are displayed. The phone goes on sale in Europe later this month at a price of $98.

CNBC: Nokia 2720 Flip 190903


dis-rup-shun: The new price points for mainstream iPhones and Samsung Galaxies are impacting sales by stretching the time people keep their phones, and by creating strong demand for mid-priced and low-priced phones. While Apple is releasing a lower priced iPhone, the gap for $100 to $600 phones is wider than ever, with a number of Chinese smartphone makers ready to fill it. Novel offerings from Nokia that include some nostalgia will be popular among the crowd that is more excited about saving than about showing off. Expect to see many new mid to low priced phones that have interesting personalities.

5G: the end of home Internet frustration

Cable alternatives coming soon

Many people complain about sporadic Internet and Wi-Fi service at home, and many people have only one or two broadband provider options. Wireless carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint/T-Mobile will soon be viable options for home broadband, providing a wireless 5G modem to replace your cable box or home router. 5G provides wireless data service at speeds of 1 to 1.8Gbps through a small modem attached to the side of your home or apartment. CNet

dis-rup-shun: 5G will be a game-changer in that it will increase the number of carriers competing for your home broadband service. Current equipment fees are high, but the service does not rely on wiring from the street to your home, so in theory, infrastructure is less expensive. Streaming Netflix and listening to Pandora on multiple devices should be easy and fast, as capacity exceeds most current broadband modems. Expect to see the traditional carriers offer some great deals to keep you from switching when 5G rollout starts on a broad scale.

Toyota using Olympics to showcase future of transportation

Toyota will use the 2020 Tokyo summer Olympics to showcase new vehicle concepts, from scooters, to people movers, to electric cars. 3700 vehicles will be provided for the event, 850 will be electric. Toyota’s early lead in electric cars has been obscured by luxury models from Tesla, GM and others, but will release six new electric models in the next five years. The Verge

dis-rup-shun: As Gen Zers are not buying cars at the rate of their predecessors, auto makers are getting aggressive about redefining their business. The rise of electric, autonomous, green, ride sharing, and the high cost of ownership are hammering traditional car buying habits, and Toyota and others are in the process of redefining their roles as providers of conveyance, not just automakers.

LinkedIn training non-technical workers to become coders

There are nearly 500,000 unfilled computer programmer jobs in the U.S. The U.S. immigration policies have increased the talent deficit since 2017. LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, has initiated training programs and is recruiting workers from the food service industry, veterans and mothers, to help solve the labor shortage. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: AI is changing the economy, eliminating many jobs but increasing the demand for technical skills. The impact of AI, named by some, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, requires new methods of training, educating and managing work forces. Companies such as LinkedIn that are proactive in re-training work forces, will have a competitive advantage as knowledge worker scarcity increases. Expect companies that re-train new employees to have higher retention, reversing the trend of shorter employee engagements and frequent job hopping.

Ford adds sensors to create the safer scooter

Ford’s Spin electric scooter company is adding sensors to scooters for a year long experiment at Virginia Tech. The year long project is designed to collect data on how people use scooters and how they get hurt. The outcome will determine what changes need to be made to scooters, sidewalks and laws to make the two-wheeling a mainstream mode of transportation. Wired

dis-rup-shun: People are turning to many substitutes for owning cars, and automakers such as Ford are determined to reinvent their products accordingly. Ford performed enough research on the Purdue campus in 2018 to justify a $100 million acquisition of Spin. Expect the product lines of the big three automakers to be highly diversified by 2023.

Self-driving vans deliver Walmart groceries

Robovan delivers groceries for Walmart

Walmart will test a driverless van made by California firm Gatik to deliver groceries from an Arkansas distribution center to homes nearby in Bentonville. The test will include backup drivers who will sit behind the wheel to monitor the robovans. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Walmart, one of the largest retailers of grocery products, is racing to keep Amazon, the owner of Whole Foods and extensive drone development, from eating its lunch. Gatik estimates that driverless delivery vans could halve the cost of grocery deliveries — making the elimination of driver jobs far more appealing to consumers. 

Google Facebook ad duopoly shrinking

Last week’s earnings reports reveal that Snap, Amazon and Twitter’s ad revenues are up significantly, putting a dent in the 51% dominance of Google and Facebook. eMarketer sizes the global online ad market at $333 billion in 2019. Snap’s revenue was up 48% and Facebook’s 28%. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: A decline in the duopoly of Google and Facebook comes at a convenient time for these providers, as Big Tech is under review by Congress for limiting competition. This data will not help Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for breaking up tech giants, though we see that one of the companies taking share from the duopoly is Amazon, perhaps supporting the calls for limiting Amazon’s rapid dominance of many markets.

All three 2020 iPhones to feature 5G

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is reportedly the most accurate Apple watcher, says all three new iPhone models to be released in 2020 will support the new wireless network standard called 5G. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: To repeat a common saying, the pace of technological change will never be slower than it is today. 5G provides data speeds up to 20 times faster than our current 4G networks, and will support far more devices with smaller antennas, using less power. 5G is a big deal because it will enable exponential growth in both number of devices and amount of data than can be downloaded or uploaded on a carrier’s network. If you live in or around a city, you will be awash in connected devices (see connected diaper). If you live in rural areas, well, you will still struggle with basic high speed Internet.  

SpaceX Starship Mars explorer takes a spin  

Musk’s SpaceX continues to aggressively develop and test space craft. Last Thursday the company’s Starship tested maneuverability by taking off and moving laterally about 60 feet, then landing. Musk claims that this is the craft that will go to Mars. Despite multiple fires and mishaps, Musk has sold a trip around the moon to a Japanese billionaire. Wired

dis-rup-shun: For Musk watchers, a pattern to the billionaire’s operational culture proves that risk is not limited by inactivity. With both car company Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, Musk learns by trying and is not afraid of regular failures. In the business of transporting humans, however, this experimentation is high risk, and a balance between safety regulations (consider the 737 Max) and pressing for innovation is required.

How would you regulate Big Tech?

Media and tech execs agree that regulation is inevitable

Execs gathered at Sun Valley conference agree that more regulation of Big Tech is inevitable, but point out that regulation should not be a matter of size, and must address anti-competitiveness and data privacy separately.  CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The tech industry is resigned that additional regulations are coming. Tech leaders such as Google and Facebook should lead the industry by working together to develop privacy standards along the lines of Europe’s GDPR’s standards and should develop a standard for fines to be paid by companies that fail to uphold privacy. This action would reduce the chances that lawmakers break up Big Tech.

U.S. Congress fails to create federal privacy laws

Lawmakers are angry with the FTC’s proposed $5 billion settlement with Facebook for privacy violations. Senator Hawley (R- Missouri) is pushing to move oversight of tech companies away from the FTC. Senators Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Markey (D-Mass) are pushing for sweeping reform of privacy laws that are seen as too aggressive by conservatives. Meanwhile Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) is calling for breakup of Tech Giants for thwarting competition. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Good news: our elected officials are seeking tighter privacy restrictions which are required for our tech economy to offer services valued, trusted and loved by millions of consumers. Bad news: our lawmakers’ inability to find consensus on nearly any policies will enable Big Tech to continue down its current course of “trust us, we will keep data safe.”

Are virtual reality applications DOA?

For years, news reports of virtual reality for the consumer have said the technology is coming to living rooms soon. VR makers are finding that the high cost of VR hardware, and the high cost of developing content, mean that the enterprise market is a better application for the technology than consumers. HP, Varjo, Microsoft and HTC are developing enterprise-grade VR applications for training and defense. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: Virtual reality applications are similar to 3D TVs, for not one, but three years, the buzz at the Consumer Electronic Show was the advent of 3D in our living rooms. Mass market consumers have been reluctant to sit around the house with a something covering their faces and gamers have not found enough compelling content to make a multi-hundred dollar investment on a headset and game titles. Commercial applications will lower the costs of VR headsets, but it is unlikely that the technology will engage more than hard core game players even in the next half decade.

Verizon offers 5G hotspot

Furthering the race to provide 5G, Verizon has announced a mobile hot spot which enables devices to access its new screaming fast 5G network for a purchase price of $650 and monthly data plans costing $90 per month. Verizon is currently serving portions of 5 cities with 5G, and has announced 30 by year end. The Verge

dis-rup-shun: 5G is coming and changes the economics of the Internet of Things by a) making it possible to provide really fast bandwidth to mobile things like cars, or planes or non-mobile things without copper wires such as new buildings, and b) by making 4G a lot less expensive than it is today, enabling things like water meters, security systems, and traffic lights to be inexpensively connected to central stations, providing vast amounts of data that can be used to improve services.

SpaceVR seeks to spread spirituality of space to Earth

Most travelers to space express spiritual moment called Overview Effect. This experience occurs when one gets a view of the Earth from outer space. SpaceVR is a company that plans to launch a satellite that will beam realtime videos of Earth to users of its virtual reality viewing device. Wired

dis-rup-shun: The race to control a piece of space is now being run my many companies and a number of governments. Only one company is looking to outer space to bring a greater sense of peace and purpose to Earth. Let’s hope they are successful.

Is the magic gone at Apple?

Apple is losing its luster

Forbes says that Apple is going the way of IBM — the once great technology leader that peaked and has slowly lost its market power. The evidence provided includes Apple’s rock star lead designer, Jony Ive’s departure last week. This follows Q1’s revenue decline of 5%. Apple did report a 16% increase in service revenue last quarter but its iPhone revenue, over 50% of its total revenues, fell over 17%. The company’s last megahit was the iPad, launched in 2010.

dis-rup-shun: Tech watchers will agree that a definitive mark of a company’s peak is the moment when it builds a lavish headquarters building. The completion of Apple’s ring campus was an indicator that the company was overly impressed with its own aura to the detriment of customer focus. Apple is the symbol of the post PC tech economy, and it is critical that the company continue to lead innovation, design and sales, despite the loss of key people including Jobs and Ive.

40th anniversary of the Walkman

Sony’s Walkman, released on July 1, 1979, created the first personal, portable music experience — enabling people to take their favorite music with them and experience it privately (the boom box had been around for nearly a decade). While Sony enjoys only a small share of the personal music player market today, the Walkman set the stage for the Discman and for personal music players, eventually perfected by the iPod. The Verge

T-Mobile joins the 5G fray

T-Mobile has now switched on its 5G network in 6 cities, joining Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint with some form of offering. The service results in speeds of 250 Mbps, or 5 to 10x the speeds of 4G. The service, however is not ready for prime time as it rides on spectrum not compatible with many phones. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: The 5G race is a reminder that competition is a great thing. 5G does not make economic sense at the moment, as great amounts of infrastructure, both handsets and network, must be upgraded and carriers simply wouldn’t do it if their competition wasn’t. 

Fireworks — one of the few things you cannot buy from Amazon

Few things are not available on, but fireworks and other explosive devices are prohibited from the online retail system. Amazon has constructed special warehouses for handling hazardous goods and is building its own delivery network, but so far fireworks are not in the plans. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Fireworks stands may be the only mom and pop enterprises not threatened by the Seattle behemoth. Happy 4th of July.