Facebook reputation hurts Portal product

Facebook’s reputation tarnishing its products

CNET reviewer rips Facebook’s Portal TV companion TV accessory device, not due to any lack of product performance, but due to extreme distrust of the company’s privacy policies and inability to assure the public that its stated policies will be executed. 

dis-rup-shun: Facebook may have a decent TV add-on product in Portal TV, designed to enable users to video chat with other users via their existing TVs and to chat about programs that both people are watching together. If consumer sentiment is that of CNET’s reviewer, the tarnished and getting-worse-by-the-week reputation of Facebook (the company) will clobber any chance that the product will be a hit. This situation is a case study on how poor decision making, communications, and public relations can drag down the revenues of companies with products people love to use. 

Amazon Care app available for employees

Amazon Care, the telemedicine service of employees based in Seattle, has released its app. Employees can use the app as the first level of care — providing information about health concerns and offering the option of chatting with a nurse of conducting a video chat with a health professional. The next level of care, through the app, is scheduling an in-home doctor visit and tracking the doctor’s progress to get to your home (like watching an Uber driver’s progress?). CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The service, which sounds like a fantastic way to get healthcare, must be viewed as a Beta test for a larger, non-employee roll-out. Step two will undoubtedly be offering the service to non-Seattle based Amazon employees. Once the company has built a physician network in multiple cities, expect the service to be offered to the general population in a few pilot cities. Thinking of Amazon as a health care provider is exciting and frightening at the same time. It is exciting in that such an offering will rapidly cause a restructuring of health care delivery that will greatly benefit consumers, and possibly care providers, and provide transparent pricing and simpler filing processes. This development is also frightening in that Amazon’s leadership in shopping, video streaming, and healthcare will provide the company with even greater market power.

Reviewer prefers Amazon buds to Apple

Wired takes Echo Buds for a few runs and daily routines, and finds that sound quality, ear comfort and mostly voice control response offer a better experience than Apple’s AirPods. At $128, the Amazon buds, though with shorter battery life and clumsy ear fins, are a good buy.

dis-rup-shun: It is interesting to see that Alexa’s dominance in voice control continues to provide a better experience than perhaps even better designed products — a strategy clearly intended by Amazon. As Amazon can get more and more manufacturers to build-in Alexa, it will help vendors differentiate their products, gain market share, and make Alexa technology even more valuable. This is why we see Amazon continue to offer Alexa-powered products at very competitive prices, and Google offer even lower prices for its Google Nest Home products, in a desperate attempt to slow the freight train called Alexa.

IOTc Next Summit takes place tomorrow 

The Internet of Things Consortium launches IOTc Next, The Connected Futures Summit. The event takes place in New York City’s TimesCenter on November 12th.

dis-rup-shun: This is the last chance to receive event discounts for the one day event featuring a wide variety of IOT topics and speakers. The agenda topics include: financing IOT projects, user interfaces, media organizations in a connected world, marketing how-to’s, seeing the future, IOT and mobility, smart homes, connected health and wellness, securing devices and networks, connected retail, smart cities, and the ethics of IOT. 

HoloLens2 augmented reality visor now available

Microsoft has released its HoloLens 2 augmented reality visor. This $3,500 visor is lighter and with a wider field of vision than the first generation. To get a sense of the experience delivered, watch Microsoft’s short video on TechCrunch.

dis-rup-shun: Microsoft’s video helps envision how this technology could be applied. At its price point, the device is clearly not for wealthy gamers, but is for industrial, professional, medical, military or other specialized applications where overlaying a training manual, or an alternative view of what you are viewing could increase speed, accuracy or safety and doing so justifies the cost of the technology. Computer technology has, of course, delivered incredible graphics and video tools to thousands of tasks, but comparing those views to the objects they are describing slows down the task, and perhaps the accuracy. By overlaying computer views on actual objects, tasks are performed with greater accuracy, faster, and in many applications, that has profound impacts.

Amazon expands device offerings

Amazon turns up the heat on Google and Apple with a wide array of new devices.

Amazon’s hardware unveiling took place yesterday in Seattle. Here is what they released:

Echo Buds — Earbuds with Bose noise suppression, powered by Alexa.

Echo Frames — $180 eyeglass frames with microphone built in, enabling you to issue voice commands without touching your phone.

Echo Loop — a ring (for your finger) with a microphone and haptic feedback. Again, you can speak to Alexa on your hand without having to touch your phone.

Echo Speaker — a revamp of the former Echo, with a better speaker components and, consequently, sound quality.

Echo Studio — an Echo that is packed with a high quality woofer, tweeter and midrange speakers, designed for 3D sound for those that want good sound in a compact form factor.

Echo Show 8 — an 8 inch diagonal screen Echo Show for those that agree that bigger is better.

Echo Dot Clock — a Dot with a digital clock on one side.

Echo Glow — a globe-like lamp that changes colors and dims or brightens based on alarms.

New Eero — this is the Wi-Fi range extender/mesh network that is a nice way of covering your house with Wi-Fi, if you don’t mind several devices sitting out on tabletops, or tucked into cabinets.

Two new Ring cameras — a stick up version that can run on battery, solar or outlet power, and a plain indoor camera powered by outlet power.

Sidewalk — a new protocol at 900 Mhz (free spectrum) that has better range than Bluetooth.

Alexa Enhancements — some improvements include multi-lingual modes, emotion detection, privacy enhancements, and more Alexa hunches — applications that anticipate what you will be doing around the house based on history, and when you are likely to run out of supplies. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Clearly some of these interesting new product categories, particularly the Echo Loop and Echo Frames, are not likely to be the next must have holiday items, but the innovation is impressive. How to crack the code of Amazon’s strategy? It is clear that the company believes that it can be a very formidable hardware maker, and, unlike Apple, which expects perfection with every product, is willing to launch a few albatrosses. Perhaps the most interesting release is not hardware, but the “Hunches” applications which use machine learning to understand your household sufficiently to set the right temperature, lighting, and music and tell you when you are nearly out of toilet paper. If a device maker has not already offered Alexa support, they better hurry before their product is not compatible with an Alexa-powered home. If a company has already provided support for Alexa, there is no peace of mind, as Amazon could well reinvent that product category and make the partner’s product obsolete.