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.

The mobile revolution has ended

The skinny on iPhone 11

Rumors are piling up and it appears that all four new iPhone 11 models will be released on September 10th. The iPhone 11’s will feature three cameras on the back, including one wide-angle lens, and one on the front that is capable of slow motion. The phones feature Apple’s A13 processor and will again have touch ID. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: As if Moore’s law has come to an end, innovation in smartphones is now painfully minor. Apple has not been as creative as Samsung when it offered capability to charge others’ devices, but, like Samsung, is making its largest strides in better camera technology. Sadly, the mobile technology revolution has ended, with only incremental feature improvements and processor improvements. What will be the next technology to truly alter our society and culture?

Google smart speakers fall to third place worldwide

A report by Canalys confirms that Amazon’s Alexa devices are well ahead of the pack, shipping 6.6 million units last quarter, with 50% being outside the U.S. China’s Baidu has taken second place, slightly ahead of Google, but focused mostly on the China market. Its annual growth rate of 3700% was the result of deep discounting, while Google’s -19.8% growth is attributed to the company’s questionable efforts to revamp its partner program.

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dis-rup-shun: 26 million units shipped in one quarter, meaning a year’s worth of sales will be over 100 million, and the number of households in the U.S. alone is 130 million. In a few year’s time, nearly half of the world’s broadband households will have a smart speaker meaning that the same number of homes potentially have a smart home hub, capable of controlling lights, temperature, entertainment devices and appliances.

Quick facts about smartphone batteries

Wired offers the keys to smartphone battery longevity. 1. Top off the charge every day instead of letting the battery go to zero power. 2. Avoid exposing your phone to extreme temperatures. 3. Use a corded battery charger that applies a slow, steady charge, rather than rapid wireless chargers. 4. If you aren’t going to use your phone for a while, leave it partially charged – not full. 5. Keep your smartphone software up to date, as each new version has better battery management features. 6. Make adjustments to your apps, such as brightness, to use less power.

dis-rup-shun: As people hold on to smartphones longer, battery health is even more important to device longevity. Apple is now making it difficult for non-Apple authorized service centers to replace batteries, as a software lock is shipped on new iPhones, and once you take your older phone to the Apple store, chances are good that you won’t resist the urge to upgrade the device, rather than keeping it for the extra year.

Disney declares streaming war on Netflix

Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, offers more features for less money than Netflix. Priced at $6.99 per month, the service provides HD and a rich library of content, compared to Netflix’ $8.99 without HD. Disney’s broader bundle adds ESPN+ and (ad supported) Hulu to the mix for the same price as Netflix’ HD bundle, $12.99. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The TV landscape is a bloodbath. AT&T’s TV services lost over 2 million subscribers in the past year. The giant realignment of networks, carriers and studios, including AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner, is notice that traditional TV providers will not cede the markets to upstarts Amazon Prime and Netflix, but will hemorrhage money to maintain market share. Netflix, spending mightily to create new content, does not have the distribution channels of Disney and therefore will not earn as much on original content as established studios. Expect Netflix to be acquired by one of the establish entertainment networks within three years.