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.