UPS first to register drones as airline

UPS wins round one of drone race

UPS is the first company to win approval of its fleet of drones from the FAA, receiving a Part 135 certification — the same as is required to run an airline. With this approval, UPS can fly as many drones as it likes in any locations, subject to FAA flight restrictions. UPS has been operating drones at Wakemed Hospital in Raleigh, NC, and now has the opportunity to expand its services. Wired

dis-rup-shun: UPS’ operations in Raleigh serve an important need for the conveyance of medicine, blood and equipment around a campus. Expect to see many campus applications for drones as currently the FAA requires flights to be within line of sight. Wide scale delivery, replacing courier trucks, is many years away as many obstacles, including buildings, power lines, trees, excessive noise and landing spots are challenges outside of a controlled campus. Expect to see UPS and other couriers vying to be the official drone providers of specific corporate and educational campuses, where a drone control tower can easily see most all parts of the campus.

Study shows that texting speed is close to keyboard typing speed

In a study conducted among 37,000 volunteers from 160 countries, by Aalto University, University of Cambridge, and ETH Zürich, it was determined that average typing speeds via text keypads are nearly as fast as speeds with a keyboard. The study also determined that average keyboard WPM speeds are decreasing and that two-thumb texting is faster than single finger entry. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: We must recall that the qwerty keyboard was invented to slow typists down, as mechanical typewriters were jamming when fast typists perfected speed of entry. We must also realize that today’s child learns to navigate a touch pad well before a keyboard, and well before any typing courses are taken, if those still exist. With smart speakers, reliance of full keyboards will be more about accommodating the habits of older generations, rather than defining an optimal way of tactile input. As voice entry becomes a standard for business communications, we can expect today’s qwerty keyboard to slowly fade from many devices in the coming 20 to 30 years. With the qwerty keyboard dictating the form factor of laptops today, expect the smart phone or tablet to completely replace the laptop when all of us are equally comfortable with touchpads and voice entry.

Tech facilitating dog-to-human communications

Georgia Tech’s FIDO project is a research project equipping working dogs with wearables that, when activated with the press of a nose, for example, warn of impending seizures, high or low insulin levels, the presence of explosives, an episode induced by autism, or other important things that working dogs know that their human handlers don’t. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Working dogs are already heavily utilized for many specialized situations. According to ShareAmerica, there are over 500,000 working dogs in the U.S. alone. According to Statista, there are nearly 90 million pet dogs in American households. So a talking wearable for a pet dog that might notify an owner that a dog needs to go outside has a total addressable market of several hundred million worldwide.

Tesla acquires DeepScale computer vision startup

DeepScale, a Silicon Valley computer vision startup, brings to Tesla needed talent to help outfit cars with the video processing power required to assure autonomous driving. Computer .ision requires heavy processing power, not convenient or cost effective for mass production in cars. DeepScale will help bring computer vision to low powered car processors. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The acquisition reportedly fills a gap left when a computer vision team left Tesla over the summer — an increasing problem in a culture that has been reported to be unfriendly and chaotic. Tesla’s goal is to create and sell cars that can be driven by or without humans. It is unknown if the technology gap required for autonomous cars is greater or less than the legislative gap required to gain acceptance for driver-less cars, but the Federal Government has developed standards for self-driving vehicles. Read about it here.

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.

Drones offshore veterinarians and cattle ranchers

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.

Connected diaper: you knew it was coming

Sleep and pee tracking via an app

There is truly an app for that, and this product, Lumi by Pampers, reports to an app both how long baby slept, as well as if baby is dry, wet or really wet. CNN

dis-rup-shun: It was only a matter of time before the connected diaper debuted — following smart underwear released several years ago. Despite the convenience of a diapering app, successful parenting is usually related to learning to be flexible. This may be an example of too much data not being helpful and, of course, your child becomes another data set to be ‘safeguarded’ by Pampers and their cloud provider. Truthfully, this technology may be better served for senior’s diapers, such as Depends.

Anthem and K Health app improves doctor experience

Finally, Anthem offers an app to help text with doctors, get pricing and information about care, and generally make healthcare more convenient. Visits to primary care physicians have plummeted over 18% by health care insurance holders over the past several years. Healthcaredive

dis-rup-shun: The traditional healthcare industry has, so far, missed the boat on convenience, transparency and competition. Neighborhood walk-in clinics and in-store clinics at drugstores are punishing primary care physicians whose services, thanks to higher deductibles and the escalating prices of treatments, have been pushed to “treatment of last resort.” Technologies to demystify and simplify doctor visits will be critical, but will continue to be resisted by traditional practitioners who never learned the basics of marketing.

Why does facial recognition discriminate?

Facial recognition technologies already in place in travel (airports and customs) applications do not work well on black females. Black men, white women and white men are more accurately detected. French company Idemia has sold its system to law enforcement in France, United States and Australia and readily acknowledges problems identifying blacks and black females in particular. The reasons for the deficiencies are unknown, but could be related to the fact that models used in development of the technology are generally white males. Wired

dis-rup-shun: We expect technology to remove human bias that results in unequal treatment and make our society a better place to live. The idea that software developers, mostly caucasian or Asian, are able to inadvertently build-in racial bias raises new concerns, especially when law enforcement increasingly relies on new technologies. Racial and gender neutrality impartiality must be a part of technology acceptance testing.

VC investment in drones is on the rise

Analysts Teal Group forecast the consumer drone market to triple over the next 10 years, while the commercial markets, including agriculture, construction, insurance, energy, communications and delivery systems, will increase 600 percent to $9.5 billion by 2028. Forbes

dis-rup-shun: While package delivery via drone has been discussed at length, expect the first commercial drone sightings to be of your home insurance agent inspecting your roof and property before renewal or responding to a claim. Construction companies will also utilize drones to scope infrastructure repairs on tall buildings, bridges, and power poles.

Companies work around Chinese export bans

Does the economic invisible hand know any boundaries?

The Trump tariffs have been aimed at China’s telco giant, Huawei, more than any other Chinese company, with the U.S. prohibiting sales of certain products by U.S. companies and by those of its trade partners. Now microprocessor vendors Intel and Micron have determined that many of their products do not violate the ban, and have resumed selling to Huawei. CNN

dis-rup-shun: The politics behind the trade ban are based on two premises: Chinese companies such as Huawei have violated patents, and the U.S. cannot afford for China, therefore Huawei, to be the leader in 5G technologies. If you are a multinational company based in the U.S. but heavily dependent on selling to all major global companies to meet 2019 sales projections and shareholder expectations, do you pursue all sales opportunities, or do you act in a nationalistic fashion to advance the U.S. 5G agenda? The industry leaders have spoken.

The smartphone notification dilemma

Smartphone apps are now providing as many as 73 notifications per day to average users, or roughly every 15 minutes of awake time. App researchers consider if our society should develop appropriate norms for the number of messages we receive and then expect tech providers to conform, or will people continue to have to make constant decisions about when they choose to interrupt their actions, conversations and thoughts. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Smartphone etiquette continues to be uncharted, and given the legitimate business messaging that occurs on the smartphone via Slack, Teams, WeeChat, SMS, iMessage, LinkedIn, and email, to name a few, banning smartphone usage in the conference room is doubtful. Blending attention at home with work alerts, or at work with personal alerts is a skill that must be mastered for success in both domains. A smartphone free zone, meeting, or experience will be transformational to those that get to experience it.

Air traffic control system getting prepared for drones

Raytheon is the company that develops tracking technology for the U.S. air traffic control system. It has signed an agreement with AirMap, a company that maintains the largest unmanned aircraft tracking network, in order to integrate drone tracking into its commercial and military aircraft tracking system. Airmap has $43 million in funding and currently works in the Czech Republic, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: The rate of drone innovation is outpacing regulation, such that effective delivery networks will be ready before regulators are. As an important global infrastructure provider, Raytheon will help bring commercial drone usage to market in the next half decade.

Selling school assets for better wireless

A national dilemma is brewing as spectrum once reserved for educational institutions and often unused may be auctioned off for 5G development by large carriers. Much of the Educational Broadband Service has remained unused, however some school systems have leased the spectrum to carriers who have generated revenue from the assets. Critics of the resale plan are concerned that the sale of spectrum will still not help with the problem of serving rural residents who remain without high speed broadband facilities. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Rural broadband infrastructure is simply a cost that no one wants to bear, as the economics will never work. Spectrum licenses should be sold with the requirement that the buyer fund or directly supply some portion of rural infrastructure to get the job done. If rural communities have access to leading-edge communications infrastructure, workers can reverse migrate from cities and relieve rising cost of living pressures.

Consumers demanding technology to change healthcare

Mary Meeker says digitization of care is well underway

Now famous tech trend investor and publisher of annual trends report, Mary Meeker, has stated that the digitization of the health care industry is responding to consumer pressure to be more transparent and convenient. Areas impacted are health care records, health information, scheduling appointments with providers, measuring health with wearables and devices, and telemedicine. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: The health industry has been slow to embrace technology, primarily as care payers have been unwilling to pay the cost of new technologies. A bonus of the Affordable Care Act has been a restructuring by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of what procedures get reimbursed by the U.S. Government. The shift to consumers paying a larger portion of healthcare has resulted in demand for technologies to increase convenience, offer more information, and reduce costs. Healthcare is shifting to a consumer, not industry, driven marketplace and the growing demand makes it great business for technology companies.

Cozy relationship between DOJ and Apple, Google

The DOJ has been reported to be considering anti-trust investigations against Apple and Google, while the FTC may be looking into Amazon and Facebook. Senator Elizabeth Warren, however, has determined and announced that the person at the DOJ in charge of a potential inquiry is Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, a man who was a paid lobbyist for both Google and Apple. The Senator is calling for Delrahim to recuse himself if any inquiry occurs. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: Senator Warren is doing her part to drain the swamp and expose the increasingly cozy relationships Silicon Valley has formed with Washington through an army of lobbyists. The GAFAM (or FAANG, if you prefer) big-five are increasingly setting pricing and policies on the Internet, and are counting on their political investments to pay off, but an increasing consumer backlash on privacy and data standards will make for a rougher road.

Amazon ends restaurant delivery businesses

Amazon has announced the end of two U.S. food delivery businesses: Amazon Restaurant and Daily Dish. At the same time, the company has increased its stake in delivery business and former competitor, Deliveroo. Deliveroo, based in the UK, is Uber Eats largest competitor. Engadget

dis-rup-shun: We are not accustomed to hearing about Amazon retreating. Amazon is not afraid to lose money in new ventures, and is generally patient. If the company believed that there is no future in food delivery by car, it would likely not have invested in Deliveroo, unless to keep Uber Eats in check as Amazon’s developing drone fleet will challenge Uber’s fleet at some point in the future. Amazon likely wishes to use its stake in Deliveroo to stay connected to the business until it can provide a more profitable form of food delivery than people in cars.

The European Union implements drone regulations

The EU has drafted specific operating requirements for drones, allowing registered drones to fly across borders. The regulations categorize drones in three classes, based on size, purpose and degree of risk. The regulations are likely to be in effect in one year. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: The EU is establishing itself as the efficient and effective regulator of technology. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) data privacy standard, adopted in 2018, changed the way that big data companies operating in Europe store and transmit personal data, including processes and disclosure. Kudos to the EU for taking action and demonstrating leadership in management of personal data, and now drone usage.

Ikea’s robotic furniture makes arranging easy

Ikea launches line of robotic furniture

Ikea’s upcoming furniture line features wheels that, with a push of a button, reconfigure your rooms to convert sitting or work areas into sleeping areas. With the accelerating migration of populations to cities, real estate is becoming costlier and space, accordingly, more efficient.  engadget

dis-rup-shun: Ikea’s line is not yet ‘smart,’ and does not yet boast of AI, but that will inevitably follow so that one can reconfigure their apartment as they are approaching in their Uber, or so the apartment can ready itself as the usual time, or, of course, so that Ikea can collect more data on sleep habits and inform you if you are sleeping well.

11 Great applications for facial recognition technologies 

CBInsights shows the growth of patents for facial recognition technologies, and lists 11 use cases, including law enforcement, accessing and starting a car, banking authentication, virtual makeup sampling, workplace security and worker alertness, insurance quotes, personalizing food orders, healthcare access and diagnosis, hotel check-ins, shoplifting prevention, travel check-in.

dis-rup-shun: If you use facial recognition on your phone or your PC, you have experienced the ease-of-use and effectiveness of the technology, and if you have “enjoyed” long hotel or rental car check-in lines on your latest business trip, you will be willing to risk a compromise of privacy for some convenience.  After all, you do that every time you surf the Internet — why not share your photo with Google, Amazon, Avis and Hilton?

China launches rocket from a ship at sea

China’s National Space Administration successfully launched a rocket from a cargo ship. The March 11 rocket carried five satellites — two which will be part of a global, space delivered Internet network. China is the third country behind Russia and USA to launch a rocket from a ship, though the first country to do so without cooperating with other countries. engadget

dis-rup-shun: Independence is the name of the game for China as the U.S. tries to force China to change its trade practices. As the U.S. shames China’s Huawei, China will be showing off its technology and flexing its strengths very publicly. The race is on for space, and thousands of new satellites and space objects will be cluttering the skies to provide networking services and military defense outposts. It is the Wild West in space and those who get there first will own platforms for both revenue and national defense, worth billions.

Amazon drones use AI to avoid power lines

Amazon is developing a drone called Prime Air, designed to deliver light loads, under 5 pounds, at high speeds. Challenges that must be overcome are identifying hard-to-see dangers such as power lines or clotheslines, and the craft must land and liftoff in tight spots. engadget

dis-rup-shun: Many obstacles remain for commercial drone deployment, but Amazon will not have to rely on others when regulators open the skies. FedEx and UPS cannot rest on their logistics network laurels, as Amazon plans to fly right over them.