Lyft enters car rental race

Lyft offers car rentals

Lyft announced that it will now enable people to rent cars through its app, eliminating the requirement that a person go to a rental desk to get a car. Shares of Hertz and Avis were lower on the news. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Rental car companies should have seen this coming and beat the ride share companies to the punch. Silver Car, purchased by Audi, has been renting cars through its app for several years, providing not only the transaction, but the check in and pick up process all through its app. Renting a car and returning it to a specific office is inconvenient, and if Lyft and Uber make this process much easier, then the traditional rental car business, at least off-airport, will be upended.

Connected life vests have arrived

French safety product company Plastimo is working with networking company Sigfox to develop life jackets that can be tracked with low earth orbit satellites and a wide-area ultra-narrowband network near coastal areas. Plastimo states that product costs are less than $2 per unit and falling. Enterprise IOT Insights

dis-rup-shun: Another story to tell your grandchildren… “There was a day when you went out on the water and there were no satellites tracking your location and safety – some people died.” Safety seems an obvious application of IOT and connectivity. The problem is, GPS and battery powered transceivers add costs, and must have a power source. For commercial seamen, maintaining a connected life vest will be critical. Life jackets on a leisure boat likely have a product lifetime of one to two decades. Keeping your life jackets powered will be an additional challenge when keeping a boat running is challenge enough.

The top 44 gadgets released in 2019

CNet provides a look at the best products released to the markets in the past year. Here is a sampling across multiple categories…

  • Motorola’s Moto G7 — maybe the best “lower” cost phone, coming in at under $300 for friends of Android.
  • Apple Watch Series 5 — the wearables continue to improve at a fast pace, providing heart monitoring and now an always on display.
  • Apple AirPods Pro — generation 2.0 of the wireless ear buds get better with noise cancellation and a more customized fit.
  • The LG OLED B9 TV is the cream of the crop, with even better clarity, connectivity and thinness.
  • Google Nest Wi-Fi — not sexy, but a mesh router can solve your home Wi-Fi dead zone problems.
  • Disney + — a streaming service with enough blockbuster content to make it a no-brainer.

dis-rup-shun: The gadget industry continues to deliver faster, better, cheaper products and, considering CPU per dollar, even the most expensive phones continue to get cheaper. The biggest challenge, it seems, is to figure out how to engage customers with new product categories that didn’t exist last year. Product managers need to forecast growth on three potential curves: catching the viral wave, non-viral appeal, and lack of appeal. If you know how to guarantee viral growth, I have several job opportunities for you.

Smart home opportunity: air purification

Indoor air quality is a big business in Asia – expected to be $1.7 billion by 2023 while the US market for air quality is still in its infancy. With increasing focus on health, climate change, sleep quality, diet, exercise, and recurring calamities such as California wildfires, the public is generally more concerned about what we breathe than it was a decade ago. A number of technologies are available to both monitor as well as purify indoor air. A few of note are Airthinx, Awair monitor,  HEPA-filtered Dyson stick vacuum, Molekule, Air Visual Pro. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Add air quality devices to homes is a natural product line extension for HVAC makers, thermostat makers, and small appliance manufacturers. First, however, consumers need to be made aware of the quality of their environment through sensors. Paired with a mobile app, small, in-home air quality monitors that provide information and eventually activate purifying systems are a strong product growth opportunity for the connected home.