The economics of drones for cattle ranchers
The market value of the average cow raised in the U.S. is about $550. 2.5 million cows die each year due to illness or predators. That’s $1.375 billion in losses. A grant from the USDA is funding research conducted at the University of Kentucky to use drones to monitor the health and movement of individual cows and herds every day, affording ranchers a daily visual inspection of herd health. CNET
dis-rup-shun: As society becomes aware of the dangers of feed lot grown beef, lowering the cost of free range cattle is vital for good health at lower costs. Expect drone technology to transform the veterinary industry — enabling veterinarians in distant places like India to be tracking the health of cows in Kansas or Kentucky. It’s a way to offshore ranching without importing beef from other nations.
BBC launching its own version of Alexa
The BBC has been experimenting with its own digital voice assistant technology, and has chosen the wake word “Beeb” to activate the assistant. The BBC says that developing its own technology will enable it to implement customer experiences in its own way. BBC News
dis-rup-shun: This surprise move raises a number of questions. Does the BBC have the horsepower to develop a highly functioning digital voice assistant that is sufficient to delight customers, or will it fall short of expectations derived from Alexa and Google Assistant? Why wouldn’t the BBC build a library of skills to use on the top three assistants, that combined have over 50% share of the market? Expect the BBC to transition to Alexa or Google Assistant if this experiment continues.
Smart locks are a star of the smart home
One of the best use cases for smart home technology is smart locks. CNET ranks the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect Bundle at the top. With its Wi-Fi module, it can be accessed remotely and is compatible with voice assistants. Others at the top of the list are Yale Assure deadbolt, and Schlage Encode. CNET
dis-rup-shun: If you are old enough to remember cars without power locks, you will recall how this luxury option became a standard for all cars. Similarly, few new homes will be built, starting in 2021, without smart locks. Builders are finding that buyers value smart home technology, and with the AirBnB movement, they are essential. The incumbents in the lock business have been careful to not get displaced by upstarts such as August, that was purchased by industry giant Assa Abloy.
Amazon selling home Wi-Fi security
Amazon purchased mesh Wi-Fi router company Eero earlier this year. In a move for premium revenues, the company is now offering an add-on subscription at $2.99 per month to provide amenities such as home VPN, data encryption, parental controls and phishing warnings. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: The holy grail of any device business is to sell monthly subscriptions along with the device. This lesson was taught well with iPods and iTunes. The commodity home networking business, however, will not allow Amazon to change the rules. Expect leading equipment makers such as Netgear, Linksys, Arris, and others to match the offering without additional fees in an effort to differentiate the commodity products. Service providers, in addition, have always used security features in an attempt to differentiate commodity home broadband offerings. Kudos to Amazon for raising the bar on home network security as these offerings become standard.