Coronavirus spurs telehealth use

Coronavirus may be catalyst for telehealth

Telehealth applications are proving effective to keep the worried well out of hospitals and clinics. Those who wish to confirm that they do not have the virus are turning to telehealth apps including Teledoc, Anthem’s LiveHealth Online, United Health Group, and Aetna’s CVS Minute Clinics. Remote physician visits, through an app, prevent overcrowding of the health care system, which can be better utilized to treat those with positive symptoms. Reimbursement for telehealth still has some obstacles to overcome, including paying doctors who treat people across state lines. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: There must be some silver linings from coronavirus, and a thorough test of telehealth systems, including reimbursement of healthcare professionals, should be one. Our healthcare systems must lean heavily on telemedicine to address the looming care crisis (that exists without coronavirus) and the burden is on health insurance companies to provide incentives for consumers as well as doctors to use telehealth before crowding doctors offices and clinics for basic care issues.

GM gets serious about beating Tesla

GM showed off a new modular chassis and battery platform designed to be the foundation for a large variety of models from GM, Cadillac, Chevy and Buick. The new battery technology uses less cobalt and more aluminum, and is expected to get ranges of 400 miles on faster charging time. In the mix are a new Cadillac EV as well as a Hummer electric pickup truck. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: Ever since Tesla’s market valuation ballooned to more than 3x that of GM, the big automakers have received the message. The message is that their side agenda of mixing a few electric cars into the fleet is a death wish, as the future is starting to look all electric. Now the question is if the service stations, lube franchises, and auto repair businesses are thinking long term. Certainly petrol burners will be on the road for a decade or two, but with the average family SUV being electric in a handful of years, the demand for combustion engine automobile services will fall like a rock. This will also put a big dent in auto dealership service revenues, as EVs simply require far less repairs and maintenance.

Apple Arcade becoming the Netflix of Games

Apple’s $5 per month game subscription targets the family gaming experience, providing a host of family-friendly game titles without any in-game purchases of weapons, tools or cheats. Designed for a different market from XBox services or Google’s Stadia console killer, the service, like Netflix, offers a variety of titles and genres under one simple subscription price model. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: Apple executives at some point sat down to determine how they could be like Netflix, and one result was Arcade. In addition to creating a new source of revenues, the service further cements children’s’ affections for the Apple brand — catching consumers for life at an early age. Let’s see what future service models Apple has up its sleeve, and how its successful credit card venture can be woven into these services.

The future of tires: AI and self-healing

Goodyear has introduced a very different concept of tires for the future — tires that use AI to determine, based on your driving style, what your tread should be like, and then using cartridges of rubber-like material that a driver injects into the tire frame, an individualized tread is “grown.” The futuristic concept requires a narrow tire on a slim frame that makes flat tires and changing tire pressure a thing of the past. CNET

dis-rup-shun: Generating rubber for tires, either of natural or synthetic rubber, is a resource intensive process. Disposing of tires may be even worse. As our culture takes a hard look at environmental impact, the tire industry has a lot of cleaning up to do. With electric vehicles still requiring at least four tires per car, the future of the tire industry isn’t bleak like the gasoline engine-based industries, and innovations improving efficiency and reducing energy and waste will be well embraced by EV manufacturers.

Console wars nearing last battle

End of console wars: XBox says real competition is Google and Amazon

Arch console rivals Sony and Microsoft will both release next gen consoles for the holiday season, but Microsoft says this is the beginning of a divergence from the console business as it was, as Google, with its Stadia games service, and Amazon, with no game service yet, are the real competitors. Yahoo!

dis-rup-shun: It is fascinating to watch the tectonic plates of tech shift before our eyes and here is a movement. Microsoft, Google and Amazon have something that Sony does not — big, hungry and high profit cloud services. Big clouds, fueled by 5G networks, make for great gaming experiences across any device platform. Will Sony be successful playing the role of old school console maker, or does it have a trick up its sleeve? Apple has launched its Arcade game service and is targeting the casual gamers — a market that is not core to Xbox or Playstation. Keep your old console to show your grandchildren what gaming looked like in the dark ages of the early 21st century.

Smart nuts and bolts — IOT in construction 

Hilti Corporation, a construction parts company based in Lichtenstein, is producing a family of heavy construction nuts and bolts that include a code on each part. The part is scanned with a smartphone running the Hilti app, and data regarding where and when it was installed is recorded and tracked. Dallas Innovates

dis-rup-shun: The productivity gains by both having additional information about every part in a project, as well as the time savings and error reduction from eliminating manual recording and tracking make connected construction safer, faster and less tolerant of errors. Expect to see an increasing number of parts — not just high value parts — coded and easily scanned so that the cloud knows where they are and when they were installed.

Chinese phone makers unite to rival Google Play Store

Google’s Play Store is estimated to have earned Google $8.8 million last year. As the Play Store is banned in China, Chinese phone users have to go to multiple app stores to purchase the apps they want, making it difficult for app developers to create critical mass. Chinese phone makers have united to form a coalition called the Global Developer Service Alliance, enabling developers to upload new apps to multiple app stores at once, replacing the need for the Play Store. Countries expected to participate include China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Malaysia. The Verge

dis-rup-shun: Trade wars and sanctions are painful, but as “they” say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The Chinese tech vendors are finding ways to work around political boundaries and gaining market share while reducing buyer friction. Huawei, cut off from Android services by Google, has begun development of its own phone OS, called Harmony OS. Expect to see other Chinese manufacturers offering Harmony OS phones if Huawei opens up licensing, working around Google in some of the world’s largest markets.

All Google phones will block robocalls

According to the YouMail robocall index, 4.7 billion robocalls were made in the U.S. in January alone. That equates to 1,800 per second and 14.4 calls to each person. All Google Pixel phones will now have the ability to run its Call Screen feature which blocks (some) robocalls. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Despite legislation blocking robocalls, they are a thing of our future. Expect to see phones compete and differentiate on their ability to effectively block calls and intelligently determine when the call is legit. This feature may become as important to smartphone buyers as a snazzy camera as smartphones are quickly becoming our primary business, as well as personal, communications device.

Apple to build smarter devices

What does Apple’s acquisition of mean?

Apple has acquired, for an estimated $200 million, The company was spun off from the Allen Institute, and began to create a process for making machine learning more efficient so that less powerful edge devices can run artificial intelligence. This may signal Apple’s deeper investment in the Internet of Things (IOT) and/or smart home products. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: The next wave of consumer technology is making connected devices much smarter, so that doorbell cams can recognize faces and let you know if your mail man is at the door, or if it is a total stranger. Machine learning is taking place mostly in the cloud, so this move by Apple signals the company’s desire to build smarter products, and differentiate through machine learning. Two contradictory trends are taking place at the current time: edge devices getting smarter and the arrival of 5G, which makes connecting devices to a smart cloud faster and ultimately cheaper. The net effect of faster connectivity to a smart cloud and smarter devices will likely be some amazingly powerful and innovate devices touching our lives at home, in the car, on the go, and at the office.

Alphabet joins trillion dollar club

Google parent Alphabet is now valued at over $1 trillion, joining Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, companies that have all, at one time, broken the trillion mark. Together Big Tech (including Facebook) make up 17% of the value of the S&P 500, up from 11% in 2015. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: While Big Tech is in the sights of regulators, both Federal and state, the companies continue to rapidly grow, crushing smaller companies while acquiring others (see above). The economic engines of GAFAM are some of the biggest job creators, while crushing traditional markets such as print and TV advertising, shipping, brick and mortar shopping, and smart devices, to name a few. The concept of creative destruction is taking place rapidly, and the question is, to what extent should our government regulations protect smaller interests as Big Tech explodes in revenue, influence and value?

Best earbuds for runners

It’s the new year and most of us are resolved to get in better shape. The days of wired earbuds are over, so what is the best earbud product for vigorous exercise? This CNET review looks at 11 possibilities for those most concerned about fit, noise cancellation, water proofing, or prefer an over the head and even glasses configuration.

dis-rup-shun: The hottest product for sale over the holidays was Apple AirPods, with people lining up before stores opened daily in hopes that a new shipment arrived before Christmas day. Investing in things that likely fall off, however, is not helpful and in the gym, being tethered to a treadmill, Peloton or just staying connected to a smartphone with wires is so 2010s.

Kings of the Castle latest Apple Arcade game

Kings of the Castle by Frosty Pop is the newest addition to Apple’s $4.99 per month all you can play gaming arcade service. CNET

dis-rup-shun: According to CNET, Apple’s new gaming service is off to a good start. Apple chose a different path from Google and its Stadia service, which is focused on more serious, traditional gamers. Apple’s Arcade is going for growth by converting casual gamers — people that don’t think of themselves as gamers — into fans of the service. The simple and engaging titles on Arcade are good ways to get another $5.00 per month, of $60 per year from the iPhone faithful, pumping up revenues from the same platform with a host of new services, including gaming, news and Apple’s new credit card. Building new revenues on existing platforms is how Apple the company will continue to grow despite maturing products.


Game changers: Ricoh, Apple Arcade, Vivint Smart Home

Apple Arcade is a game changer

Apple Arcade goes live today along with iOS 13. The game service offers thousands of titles, much like the App Store itself, for a flat monthly fee of $5.00, and puts an end to constant ads and endless solicitations to upgrade to the paid version of a game. For game developers, it offers a massive channel into enormous markets but, like the App Store, a much smaller revenue per user stream. Wired

dis-rup-shun: For all but the most avid gamers who need to own the latest and most unique games Apple has created a way to corner the casual games business. Apple Arcade games offer a better iOS compliant experience, making them visually and audibly better, without the significant annoyance of in app advertising. Many casual gamers are addicted to one or two titles and can be easily lured into a $5 per month expenditure, opening up new worlds of endless fun and focus.

Are you ready for a 360 degree camera?

Ricoh’s Theta Z1 is a small, very portable, two lens camera device for about $1000 that enables amateurs to take high quality 360 degree pictures. The dual 1 inch high quality sensors result in pro quality 360 images and videos. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: The smartphone wars, as often discussed, are being waged on camera quality and the definitions of consumer photography, consequently, are being pushed to new places. Did you ever imagine you might want to take a 360 image of the family at the Thanksgiving dinner table, or capture not only your child’s amazing performance on the soccer field, but the electricity of the crowds on the sidelines? AR viewers, despite being a very niche-y product, will be bolstered by consumers who want a really immersive way to enjoy their own 360 photography. This development begs the question: which smartphone maker will be the first to implement 360 photography in its phone device?

Vivint Smart Home goes public

Through a reverse merger with a Softbank-backed company, Mosaic, Vivint will be publicly traded with a valuation of $5.6 billion. Blackstone Group acquired Vivint in 2012 for $2 billion. Mosaic Acquisition Corp.’s CEO is David Maura, who is CEO of holding company Spectrum brands whose products include a number of lock companies including Kwikset and Black and Decker locks.

dis-rup-shun: Why are traditional, incumbent home security companies so valuable? For several reasons. One, they are cash machines that bill hundreds of thousands of households and businesses every month. Two, the home security hardware and software platform is a platform for many new home services and products, if vendors can just figure out which ones are most valuable to consumers. Maura, by finding synergies between Spectrum Brands’ products, Softbank’s many tech investments, and Vivint’s customer base, can build a powerful channel into the home that offers integrations (and synergies) not yet enjoyed by Google and Amazon. There is something brewing here.

Datadog hot cloud metrics software IPO jumps 39%

Datadog creates software to help companies monitor the health and operations of their cloud resources, either in their own data centers or third party services. The company competes with Amazon, Splunk, Elastic, Cisco and others. Its share price reflects 41 times 12 month trailing earnings. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The future of computing, or shall we say the present and future of computing, is in the cloud. While the cloud giants such as Amazon and Microsoft are building bigger and better clouds and cloud tools, nimble experts such as Datadog are building better tool kits and riding on the coat tails of the giants. It’s a great strategy and a textbook play from Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma. Great investments can be found in the cloud.