Biggest tech missteps of the decade
CNET has been chronicling the past decade in tech, one in which revenues from Amazon, Google and Facebook have exploded to join Microsoft and Apple as tech giants. Some highlights of the series include:
- Microsoft Kin (2010) — this Blackberry-like phone device was innovative, but data plans were pricey. It’s shelf life was two months.
- Qwikster by Netflix (2011) — Netflix, in one announcement, increased its subscription fee by 50% and spun the DVD by mail business into a new entity called Qwikster. Both moves were reversed within weeks after scathing consumer and industry outrage.
- Palm fizzles (2011) — after developing and selling the most loved PDAs in the industry, including the Palm Pilot, Handspring Visor, and Palm Treo smartphone, the company developed operating system WebOS to better compete with iOS and Android. Instead of becoming the third major mobile platform, the company lost consumer support and was purchased, in 2019, by HP for $1.2 billion. HP’s Mark Hurd, the architect for HP/Palm’s mobile strategy, was dismissed by the board in 2010, ending any hopes of a Palm resurrection.
dis-rup-shun: It seems the many lessons to be learned from failures, big and small, are quickly forgotten, or at least many of CNET’s featured blunders have faded from memory but a common thread is “fail fast, recover fast.” At the speed of technology, missteps must be followed immediately with a correction or an alternative, as long, plodding attempts to gain acceptance of spurned ideas appears to be fatal.
Top trends for installing dealer channel in 2020
CEPro has released its predictions of the top trends impacting home systems integrators (or installing dealers) for the coming year. They are:
- Biophilia — or bringing nature in. This impacts technology in the form of lighting that emulates circadian cycles, as well as sensors to track indoor air quality.
- Landscape Lighting — home integrators will be making landscape lighting a part of smart home systems, with automated scheduling, energy savings and security elements.
- 8K Video Resolution — if you purchase a TV in 2020, then you will consider an investment in 8K resolution.
- 5G Network Adoption — 2020 will see deployment of 5G and the sunset of 3G, which will be a big event for the alarm industry.
- Smart Water Management — water is now a precious resource, and managing its use, as well as detecting leaks, is a new job for smart technologies.
dis-rup-shun: Great opportunities abound in controlling some simple things. Indoor air quality has been rising in importance to consumers over the past hand full of years as people are far more aware of what they are taking in, and HVAC vendors stand to add millions in revenues if they can capitalize on this trend. Water management is another important job for smart technologies, as many cities are increasingly regulating the use of water, especially outside on the front yard. Companies such as Rachio, RainMachine and Orbit as well as leak detectors such as LeakSmart and Roost will find increasing demand, especially in new construction.
TechHive’s list of best leak detectors for smart homes
Amazon putting Alexa into every corner of your life
There’s an Echo for everything, and now Echo Flex is available as a plug-in module to go into small spaces such as bathrooms, pantries, workrooms, or wherever there is no room for wires. The small device sells for $25 and plugs directly into an outlet as to take up no counter space and features a tiny speaker, plus add-on modules for a night light, a motion sensor, and future devices. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: It has been speculated that Amazon’s primary interest in making Alexa a part of every part of your life is to make it easy for you to shop on Amazon.com with your voice. Research shows, however, that shopping is not one of the primary use cases for Alexa. Amazon, nevertheless, is working hard to make Alexa the primary human to machine interface, especially in places where keyboards are not ideal, such as in your car. The question then is how will Amazon monetize Alexa beyond shopping? One answer is in making the growing Amazon family of devices, and the services that run on top of them, more valuable as the ecosystem grows. Replacing the three remote controls on the coffee table with voice commands can make life much simpler. Amazon could easily create tighter integrations between Alexa and Amazon Prime Video, for example, causing its own streaming video service to be preferable to others. It is possible that Amazon has not had time to perfect its grander strategy as it is in a race to put Alexa in every place possible, and will figure out many ways to monetize its dominance later.
Careem helps Uber approach profitability
Uber’s ride has been bumpy ever since its losing IPO. The company has been making some strides to put it on a projection to profitability. Uber’s acquisition of ride sharing company Careem has given it access to over 33 million riders in the Middle East and North Africa, high growth areas that will be instrumental in helping the company earn a profit by its target year of 2021. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Uber paid $3.1 billion for Careem’s 33 million riders, or roughly $94 per rider. The company continues to make investments not only in its core business, but in future gambles such as autonomous cars, helicopter ride sharing and a hourly worker brokerage service called Uber Works. Whether Uber’s value will ultimately be derived from being a large scale service company or from its transaction delivery platform is yet to be seen, as profitability is at least a few years away.