UPS first to register drones as airline

UPS wins round one of drone race

UPS is the first company to win approval of its fleet of drones from the FAA, receiving a Part 135 certification — the same as is required to run an airline. With this approval, UPS can fly as many drones as it likes in any locations, subject to FAA flight restrictions. UPS has been operating drones at Wakemed Hospital in Raleigh, NC, and now has the opportunity to expand its services. Wired

dis-rup-shun: UPS’ operations in Raleigh serve an important need for the conveyance of medicine, blood and equipment around a campus. Expect to see many campus applications for drones as currently the FAA requires flights to be within line of sight. Wide scale delivery, replacing courier trucks, is many years away as many obstacles, including buildings, power lines, trees, excessive noise and landing spots are challenges outside of a controlled campus. Expect to see UPS and other couriers vying to be the official drone providers of specific corporate and educational campuses, where a drone control tower can easily see most all parts of the campus.

Study shows that texting speed is close to keyboard typing speed

In a study conducted among 37,000 volunteers from 160 countries, by Aalto University, University of Cambridge, and ETH Zürich, it was determined that average typing speeds via text keypads are nearly as fast as speeds with a keyboard. The study also determined that average keyboard WPM speeds are decreasing and that two-thumb texting is faster than single finger entry. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: We must recall that the qwerty keyboard was invented to slow typists down, as mechanical typewriters were jamming when fast typists perfected speed of entry. We must also realize that today’s child learns to navigate a touch pad well before a keyboard, and well before any typing courses are taken, if those still exist. With smart speakers, reliance of full keyboards will be more about accommodating the habits of older generations, rather than defining an optimal way of tactile input. As voice entry becomes a standard for business communications, we can expect today’s qwerty keyboard to slowly fade from many devices in the coming 20 to 30 years. With the qwerty keyboard dictating the form factor of laptops today, expect the smart phone or tablet to completely replace the laptop when all of us are equally comfortable with touchpads and voice entry.

Tech facilitating dog-to-human communications

Georgia Tech’s FIDO project is a research project equipping working dogs with wearables that, when activated with the press of a nose, for example, warn of impending seizures, high or low insulin levels, the presence of explosives, an episode induced by autism, or other important things that working dogs know that their human handlers don’t. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Working dogs are already heavily utilized for many specialized situations. According to ShareAmerica, there are over 500,000 working dogs in the U.S. alone. According to Statista, there are nearly 90 million pet dogs in American households. So a talking wearable for a pet dog that might notify an owner that a dog needs to go outside has a total addressable market of several hundred million worldwide.

Tesla acquires DeepScale computer vision startup

DeepScale, a Silicon Valley computer vision startup, brings to Tesla needed talent to help outfit cars with the video processing power required to assure autonomous driving. Computer .ision requires heavy processing power, not convenient or cost effective for mass production in cars. DeepScale will help bring computer vision to low powered car processors. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The acquisition reportedly fills a gap left when a computer vision team left Tesla over the summer — an increasing problem in a culture that has been reported to be unfriendly and chaotic. Tesla’s goal is to create and sell cars that can be driven by or without humans. It is unknown if the technology gap required for autonomous cars is greater or less than the legislative gap required to gain acceptance for driver-less cars, but the Federal Government has developed standards for self-driving vehicles. Read about it here.

Cheaper iPhone coming

Future iPhone is smaller, cheaper

Apple is rumored to be prepping an updated version of its iPhone SE, to be smaller (4.7 inch) and cheaper. The company will use many of its newest components in the smaller phone, giving users the latest hardware at lower prices. Business Insider

dis-rup-shun: Apple is smart to not cede the lower end of the smartphone market to upstarts such as Xiaomi, Huawei, and Samsung. As mass markets demand less expensive handsets, and large manufacturers oblige, Apple could lose the platform that runs its new services, including a credit card, streaming video, music and news. Apple sees the hardware writing on the wall — hardware inevitably becomes a commodity while services generate profits — and will not be left behind.

AT&T streaming service confuses even AT&T

AT&T, preparing to do battle with Netflix and Disney+, is creating confusion with its naming schemes. The service formerly known as DirecTV Now will now be called AT&T TV Now. The new service, called AT&T TV, essentially mimics cable, with a two year contract and escalating prices. Both are, oddly, offered through a common AT&T app. AT&T product managers have become confused and used the wrong name in advertisements. Ars Technica

dis-rup-shun: As discussed previously, a streaming TV bloodbath is on the horizon and Disney is in a strong position to lead with aggressive pricing and a rich catalog of original content, including sports from ESPN. Amazon and Netflix are strong incumbents, but since Amazon Prime video is a fringe benefit of Prime shopping and shipping, competition won’t impact Prime Video. AT&T is not doing itself any favors with its confusing marketing. 800 pound gorillas often trip on their own feet, and AT&T may be suffering from too many product managers.

Tesla killer — the Porsche Taycan Turbo is coming

Porsche has raised the bar in electric performance cars, with its Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S sports sedans that can accelerate from 0 to 60 in less then 3 seconds. The cars will sell for $153,510 and $187,610, respectively. Both feature a 93 kilowatt battery, compared to 60 to 73 kilowatts in Tesla models. Business Insider

dis-rup-shun: What we first learned from Tesla is that the electric cars were instant hits because they were novel and luxurious. Luxury buyers traded their Jaguars and Land Rovers to be the first in their cities with Teslas. Now that the novelty of Tesla is long gone, Porsche stands to redefine the high end auto market as high performance, eco-conscious. Expect a sharp rise over the next five years in the percentage of luxury cars that are electric.

Vivint and Control4 integrate

Control4 has long been a leader in affordable but sophisticated home automation, and has been the go-to system for those unwilling to pay for Crestron or AMX. Vivint has long been a technology leader in mass market home security systems. The two have launched an integration partnership whereby Control4 can control Vivint security systems, and Vivint sensors can provide data to initiate events in the Control4 system. CEPro

dis-rup-shun: It is good to see vendors get along and complement one another. It is good for the industry, and good for consumers. This cooperation underscores the rising demand for home automation for mass markets. Consumers want more than simple home security features, and a truly smart home will take any large number of actions based upon its interpretation of input collected from any sensor throughout the home, including changing temperature, lighting, or sending specific alerts.

Delivery robots complete 100,000 deliveries

Starship Technologies makes six wheeled robotic delivery vehicles that travel at 4 mph across college campuses to deliver mostly groceries. The company has completed 100,000 deliveries and plans to roll out the vehicles to over 100 college campuses over the next few years as IOT and AI meet varsity life. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Dominos Pizza needs to act swiftly before being completely displaced by Starship robots that will start whizzing late night munchies across campuses. For those tracking jobs eliminated by AI, pizza delivery person may be at the top of the list.

Walmart sues Tesla for fiery solar panels

Tesla’s solar division, built on its acquisition of SolarCity for $2.6 billion in 2016, was poised to make solar common place on rooftops across America. The company is now installing one tenth of the solar capacity of the acquired company. Tesla has enjoyed a strong relationship with Walmart, having installed solar on 240 stores. The panels have caught fire in 7 locations, and Walmart is suing for removal of all panels, and for damages. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Tesla’s culture across autos, solar and rockets continues to be fiery, with cars, rockets and solar panels catching fire, and employees being fired for complaining about the above. Musk is a change agent and may be able to continue to push through obstacles to change auto and space travel and construction and energy. If Musk is another Steve Jobs and thinks different in order to change the world, then keep pushing, Elon.

Apple health team faces a fork in the road

Key people in Apple’s health team have recently departed, allegedly over indecision in the direction of Apple’s health initiatives. Tim Cook has pledged that Apple will play a major role in health, but has not defined what that means.  CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Connected health comprises a number of segments: consumer or clinical, wellness or disease management. Version 4 of the Apple watch moves beyond wellness device by also being a diagnostic tool — measuring EKG, but remains a consumer product. Those hoping the company will play a role in clinical care are expecting Apple to go outside of its sweet spot of consumer technology — a mistake the company will not make as it chooses its AI and IOT strategy. 

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including ransomware attacks

A rash of ransomware attacks were waged against 23 Texas government entities on August 16 — all from a single source. Ransomware attacks on businesses and governments are up 365%, costing millions in ransom payments and lost productivity. In Texas, at least 7 agencies are working together to get the state entities back online. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Texas school children may be hoping for a cyber crime day since they don’t get to enjoy many snow days, but ransomware attacks are quickly becoming one of the largest and most expensive types of terrorism faced by private and public institutions. Expect consulting companies to develop SWAT teams to fortify institutions and win big prevention contracts. Expect passwords to become far more complex.

Self-driving vans deliver Walmart groceries

Robovan delivers groceries for Walmart

Walmart will test a driverless van made by California firm Gatik to deliver groceries from an Arkansas distribution center to homes nearby in Bentonville. The test will include backup drivers who will sit behind the wheel to monitor the robovans. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Walmart, one of the largest retailers of grocery products, is racing to keep Amazon, the owner of Whole Foods and extensive drone development, from eating its lunch. Gatik estimates that driverless delivery vans could halve the cost of grocery deliveries — making the elimination of driver jobs far more appealing to consumers. 

Google Facebook ad duopoly shrinking

Last week’s earnings reports reveal that Snap, Amazon and Twitter’s ad revenues are up significantly, putting a dent in the 51% dominance of Google and Facebook. eMarketer sizes the global online ad market at $333 billion in 2019. Snap’s revenue was up 48% and Facebook’s 28%. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: A decline in the duopoly of Google and Facebook comes at a convenient time for these providers, as Big Tech is under review by Congress for limiting competition. This data will not help Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for breaking up tech giants, though we see that one of the companies taking share from the duopoly is Amazon, perhaps supporting the calls for limiting Amazon’s rapid dominance of many markets.

All three 2020 iPhones to feature 5G

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is reportedly the most accurate Apple watcher, says all three new iPhone models to be released in 2020 will support the new wireless network standard called 5G. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: To repeat a common saying, the pace of technological change will never be slower than it is today. 5G provides data speeds up to 20 times faster than our current 4G networks, and will support far more devices with smaller antennas, using less power. 5G is a big deal because it will enable exponential growth in both number of devices and amount of data than can be downloaded or uploaded on a carrier’s network. If you live in or around a city, you will be awash in connected devices (see connected diaper). If you live in rural areas, well, you will still struggle with basic high speed Internet.  

SpaceX Starship Mars explorer takes a spin  

Musk’s SpaceX continues to aggressively develop and test space craft. Last Thursday the company’s Starship tested maneuverability by taking off and moving laterally about 60 feet, then landing. Musk claims that this is the craft that will go to Mars. Despite multiple fires and mishaps, Musk has sold a trip around the moon to a Japanese billionaire. Wired

dis-rup-shun: For Musk watchers, a pattern to the billionaire’s operational culture proves that risk is not limited by inactivity. With both car company Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, Musk learns by trying and is not afraid of regular failures. In the business of transporting humans, however, this experimentation is high risk, and a balance between safety regulations (consider the 737 Max) and pressing for innovation is required.

Stargazing permanently impacted by new space objects

Shocking photography of satellite launch

An amateur astronomer captured a photo of the launch of 60 StarLink satellites — the first of 12,000 to be launched in coming years. TheVerge  Astonomers around the world, however, have expressed shock at the realization that each satellite’s solar panel will reflect light back to Earth and be very visible at dawn and dusk — forever chaning views of the night sky. Forbes

dis-rup-shun: Imagine the shock of early farmers and urban dwellers when the first interstate billboards, replete with bright lighting, were erected in their views. Today’s stargazers are the ones shocked, as Elon Musk’s band of low orbit satellites, orbiting Earth to provide a new source of broadband services, will forever change views of outer space. Never fear, the new broadband service will make it easier to surf pictures of uncluttered outer space — the way things looked before space objects changed the view.

Withings smart watch is everything Apple’s is not, and more

Withings, maker of connected health and fitness gear, has released a smart watch that is by bar the most stylish design for lovers of classic watches. The device features fitness and workout monitors, sleep analysis, a vibrating alarm, battery life of 25 days and is water resistant up to 50 meters and okay for showers. Inverse

dis-rup-shun: At a price of $199, Withings enables lovers of fashion watches to enjoy the benefits of a connected device, and with long battery life, the ease of use beats Apple iWatch 4’s expected 18 hours.

Tesla Model 3 is best seller in Norway

Tesla’s allocation of Model 3s arrived in the country in February and quickly put a dent in sales of other luxury models, incluing Mercedes Benz. Norwegians have a high interest in electric vehicles. CleanTechnica

dis-rup-shun: Depite Tesla’s bumpy year, with continuous delays in Model 3 production, softening U.S. orders, and stories of cultural disharmony, the company’s product is still favored by buyers of electric vehicles. For generally affluent and eco-conscious cultures such as Norway, the company’s market leadership will spur accelerated EV development by more established competitors such as Daimler, Toyota, and Volvo.

Alexa intercom feature now on all devices

Alexa’s ability to serve as an intercom between only its flagship devices (Echo, Dot, Show, Spot) has now been expanded to every Alexa-enabled device. The Verge

dis-rup-shun: As many different types of devices, including light fixtures, wall switches, door bells, thermostats and Bluetooth speakers now include Alexa, every home has many intercom possibilities. For busy families with young children or homes with seniors, the application for voice to voice, in-home communications adds a new layer of benefits to smart speakers and further advances Amazon’s lead over Google in this category.