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.

The rapidly changing experience once called TV

Roku and Amazon Fire TV are getting to know you 

Researchers at Princeton and University of Chicago analyzed the frequency and methods of Roku and Amazon Fire TV tracking data about user preferences. They found that 89 percent of Fire TV channels and 69 percent of Roku channels include trackers that collect viewing habits, device IDs, Wi-Fi network names and network IDs. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Viewing advertising to “pay” for “free” content is nothing new. Providing detailed information about viewing preferences customizes what we watch, which makes watching ads more relevant and, theoretically, more bearable. So what’s the objection to data collection? It is the lack of trust consumers have about what will happen to their data and how identifiable is their network. Developing universal standards for what data is collected and how it is safeguarded is a big task — likely too big for the fractured U.S. Federal government, though Europe’s GDPR standard is a good start.

Facebook wants to be a part of your TV

Facebook’s Portal TV is a clip on camera that attaches to your TV and enables you to converse with other Portal TV owners, as well as watch Facebook videos together. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Portal TV is an evolution of Facebook’s line of video chatting portal products, and a way for the company to move social networks to a bigger screen. Portal TV may be a pathway for Facebook to play a larger role as communications backbone, but a number of companies have tried and failed to make the TV a video conferencing device. Two barriers to that evolution will be lack of a keyboard, though smart phones could cast their keyboard to the TV, and lack of privacy, as the TV transforms social networking chat to a semi-public event.

AT&T considers sale of DirecTV

AT&T reported that it would not be influenced by its new 1% shareholder, activist investor Elliot Fund, that is demanding divestiture of some of its lines of business. At the same time, the company is rumored to be contemplating a spin off of DirecTV. That line of business lost 778,000 subscribers last quarter. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: AT&T is stretched quite thin in the TV department, with DirecTV subscriber defections increasing, and fierce competition in the streaming business with new entrants each week. AT&T’s streaming TV service will compete with Netflix, Hulu, Apple, Disney, Vevo, HBO, Amazon Prime, Peacock (NBCU), CBS and others — meaning profits are far off for AT&T’s streaming video business.

Google WiFi 2 is Google Home + router

Google is expected to release, in October, the WiFi 2 which does what Amazon Echo does not, combine a smart speaker with a mesh Wi-Fi router. It is assumed that the device will support the faster, higher coverage Wi-Fi 6 protocol. The device will be branded a Nest device.

The first-gen Google Wifi.

Ars Technica

dis-rup-shun: Google has found a niche that Amazon has not already taken in the combination device. Housing a mesh Wi-Fi broadcaster in the middle of your home where you will locate a speaker makes good sense, as it will improve coverage in your home in a form factor that is aesthetically acceptable, unlike most Wi-Fi hubs and repeaters. Expect to see more appliances also be Wi-Fi repeaters/hubs, as Wi-Fi is expected to cover every inch of home, garage and yard.