Google Assistant: a new way to parent

Monitronics/Brinks Home Security reorganizes

Monitronics, going to market with the licensed Brinks brand for home security and home automation, filed for bankruptcy protection in May and will emerge in September after restructuring debt. SecuritySales & Integration

dis-rup-shun: The company, long a significant player in the monitoring business, has bought more time to establish an identity as a dealer-installer seller of home security with multiple system options — one is a Nest Secure based DIY option. Straddling the pro monitored market between dealer installed and DIY seems like a good strategy, but only if the company has a marketing war chest to fight an army called ADT on one side and a marketing machine called SimpliSafe on the other. 

Assignable reminders for Google Assistant: helpful or hurtful

Google has added a feature to Google Assistant called Assignable Reminders. One can now request the Assistant to remind someone in your Google family group (up to 6 people) to do something at a specific time. Wired

dis-rup-shun: This is a useful feature and one that could enhance parenting. Tired of your mom pestering you about feeding the dog? How do you feel about being pestered by Google? Removing personalities from daily reminders and messaging could improve productivity at home or office.

The case for electric vehicles

Choices for electric cars continue to increase. According to the EPA, the standard mileage range for EVs has risen from 84 to 107 miles. According to MY EV, 8 models can travel for more than 200 miles on a charge, and several Tesla models claim to be capable of up to 315 miles on a charge. The DOT states that Americans drive, on average, 40 miles per day. Federal tax credits range from $2,500 to $7,500 based on size of car and battery and will be phased out as adoption increases, and state credits are also available. Details on taxes can be found on energy.gov. Farmers.com

dis-rup-shun: With gas prices remaining mostly steady for the past decade, the excitement for EVs could have died down. Thanks to tax credits upheld by the Obama administration and not yet reversed by Trump, EVs have turned the corner — in large part because they were made trendy by Tesla, followed by Porsche, Mercedes, Audi, Volvo, VW and others, and in great abundance thanks to Toyota and Nissan. As ranges reach 400 miles, barriers to EV ownership will be few. 

Smart oven dilemma: allow preheating?

The June Oven is a high end kitchen appliance that contains a camera to identify its contents and can be controlled through an app. After three owners reported that the oven preheated in the night, June is considering limiting the ability to remotely turn on the oven without food being in it.  TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: The road to the smart home is bumpy, and smart devices that can be remotely controlled could be dangerous, even if the network connecting them is secure from hackers. Many people currently experience Siri and Alexa waking up with incorrect trigger words, and if these devices accidentally turn on ovens, or turn off refrigerators, damage will follow. Adding confirmation or double acceptance steps to apps will lessen user error, but using cameras and other sensors to warm people of malfunctions will be an important smart home attribute.

Bezos explains how to succeed in business

Bezos offers the key to business success

Bezos, at Amazon’s re:MARS conference on AI, while wearing a questionable shirt and sportcoat combination for the world’s wealthiest man, offered business leaders advice for success: 1. Focus on a customer need that will not change, such as customers wanting products delivered faster at lower prices; 2. Focus on something for which you are passionate, as without passion, you will get outworked, and 3. Do something risky because if it is not risky, someone is already doing it. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: Bezos’ advice appears elementary, until we consider the very things that the company is transforming: shopping, the grocery business, travel (Blue Origin), package delivery (drones), TV watching, controlling home systems (Alexa), and many other industries. Bezos is saying go where the money is and transform the delivery of fundamental needs. Unfortunately for other entrepreneurs, Amazon has already disrupted, or started to, for most industries.

 

Space X shows how a trip from NYC to Shanghai in 39 minutes

In a concept video, Space X shows how passengers will board a high speed ferry which will deliver them to a floating launchpad, where they will board a rocket that hurls them into orbit and makes a gentle touchdown on another floating platform, from which they will be ferried to downtown Shanghai. YouTube

dis-rup-shun: The concept shows why the Space X test landings on floating platforms are critical to the plan. Using a floating platform for travel introduces more opportunities for nature’s interference. Calling home to inform your loved ones that you missed your rocket due to rough seas will be a big disappointment for all. 

 

All three smart speakers to get smarter this year

The race to dominate home voice control through smart speakers means a constant stream of new features. Alexa will allow a user to complete multiple tasks with one request to Alexa. Google’s voice assistant is getting more friendly in that you can now ask it to go back when reading instructions, or simply to “stop” without using the watch word. Siri is now able to distinguish different voices in one room, a skill already possessed by Alexa and Google Assistant, and in the home space, Apple is a distant third. CNet

dis-rup-shun: While smart speakers are great to use and making interaction with home systems much more natural, the new capabilities mean that the tech companies will be listening and recording your conversations longer, so that they will have more context to carry out commands. Those that are worried about being listened to will not be in favor of these new enhancements, but those that are willing to pay for some convenience with some privacy see it as a good deal.

 

FexEx appears to be aligning with Walmart: ends Amazon Express deliveries

FedEx announced that it will not renew its Amazon Express services, using the capacity to assist other e-commerce companies. Meanwhile FedEx is increasing the number of kiosks inside of Walmart stores. New York Times

dis-rup-shun: The online power players are jockeying for position. Walmart is working overtime to catch up with Amazon’s dominance, and FedEx is threatened by Amazon’s growing fleet of trucks and planes. FedEx is likely terminating a low profit contract with Amazon and seeking higher profit per delivery with other customers, and siding with Walmart as both companies seek defense from Amazon’s tight grip on online selling.