The end of insurance, transportation and retail

Extinct in 20 years: insurance, transportation and retail

According to Dave Jordan, global head, consulting and services integration at Tata Consultancy Services, these industries will be as good as gone by 2040. Insurance, according to Jordan, will be all but unnecessary with autonomous vehicles and will be absorbed into other transactions. Autonomous vehicles will eliminate car ownership altogether, and maker technologies — that is, the ability to print our own products will eliminate the need for retailers. TechRepublic

dis-rup-shun: While Jordan’s warnings of massive restructuring and redefinition of industries is good to contemplate, his predictions, with the exception of car ownership, are a bit extreme. There are many things in our lives to insure such as houses, so insurance for businesses and consumers will not go away but auto insurance will certainly constrict. Personal car ownership, except for hobbyists, does seem to be a necessary evil that we will be glad to eliminate. Retail, however, serves many purposes, including providing an important communal experience and for that reason, will not go away. Jordan, however, is certainly right to claim that these industries should brace for radical change.

Electric Hummer pickup truck coming in 2021

On the heels of the Tesla CyberTruck announcement comes news of an upcoming, all electric pickup branded Hummer, by General Motors. Release is expected in 2021. CNET

dis-rup-shun: Is it marketing irony that the beloved-by-some and hated-by-environmentalists Hummer is being reborn as an all electric vehicle? The giant gas guzzler was retired in 2010 at the time of GM’s bankruptcy. In an unexpected twist, electric vehicles became status symbols, thanks to Tesla and its CyberTruck announcement that has drawn mixed reactions, but plenty of reactions. The CyberTruck buzz has proved that buyers, including EV buyers, want original, exotic, edgy and even expensive models, and GM plans to deliver in an all new EV Hummer.

IBM’s Rometty follows Brin and Larry Page off the ship

Ginny Rometty has announced her departure from the CEO post at IBM. During Rometty’s eight years at the helm, the company’s value has dropped 24%, making it the worst performing large tech company. The next CEO, Arvind Krishna, comes from IBM’s cloud business. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Rometty took a cue from Google founders Brin and Page and got out under cover of a strong economy and strong sector stock prices. IBM has been living on its strong brand and has been slow to change while Amazon, Google, the Big 4, Tata, Infosys and others have eaten its lunch. Rometty was slow to double down on cloud computing and shake up the old guard that makes up Big Blue, and the board never demanded fresh leadership. Now shareholders look to Krishna to pull off a miracle.

Apple updates its maps and Look Around

Apple has invested millions to upgrade its mapping data, relying less on partners and investing heavily on its own mapping data. These improvements will likely not be noticed by consumers, except that Apple’s Street View-like app, Look Around, that provides a person’s-eye-view of addresses, will be better. Google’s mapping technology has been, and likely will remain, well ahead of Apple, but the Cupertino company is striving to close the gap in hopes that iPhone users will not continue to favor Google Maps on their devices. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Online and interactive maps have become essential to life, whether tethered to an in-car navigation system, guiding an Uber or Lyft, or getting guidance on the streets. Advertisements, websites and weather services are inextricably linked to maps and autonomous vehicles will be critically dependent on mapping data. The company that owns the best maps will be to the rest of the online world what Amazon.com is to the online retail world…in control.

 

 

Nexflix is decade’s best stock

Netflix top stock of the decade

Looking back on the decade, Netflix has won the prize of best performing stock, increasing 4,000%. Subscriber growth went from 12 million who were receiving CDs in the mail, to 158 million subscribers to streaming services. The company divides the world into four regions. After North America, the biggest region is Europe/Middle East/Africa with 47.4 million subscribers, then Latin America with 29.4 million. AsiaPac follows at 14.5 million. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Do you continue to back the stock of a company with razor thin margins that doesn’t consistently make a profit, is being chased by Disney, AT&T and many other companies with deep pockets? The company’s growth is in international markets where competition is far less, but winning this game requires massive spending. This disruptor has been highly valued for completely changing the video market, but, like another game changer called Uber, will the demand for profits sink its high price? 

China helps finance Tesla

Chinese investors have agreed to back Tesla’s Shanghai-based manufacturing plant with a $1.4 billion loan that will, in part, roll over a prior, smaller loan. Tesla broke ground on the plant in January of this year and expects to produce 1000 model S cars per week by end of this year. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: It seems that Musk did not get the trade war memo, and, like Apple, is leading the charge for continued strong trade relations with China. Such big deals will likely keep the trade war political and prevent walls from being built between the economies. Tesla has what China wants — innovative, stylish cars that don’t pollute. Perhaps Musk can lead the way to increasing the number of global ventures that China will back.

Music embraces big data

As we know, the music industry is on a rebound from decimation by digital download. Gone are the talent scouts and record label promoters, replaced by data analysts who study trends on streaming music sites such as Spotify. By analyzing what’s hot, music producers can predict which artists will sell. Artists, by analyzing data, are able to determine where and with what they will become popular. The likely result is more homogeneity in music, making it tougher for off beat artists to be discovered. Wired

dis-rup-shun: This brings up the discussion, made popular a decade ago by Chris Anderson’s book, The Long Tail, of the value of non-popular content. Digital access makes it very inexpensive to find and enjoy the unusual, less popular books, movies and music. Yet, in the digital age, data analytics helps big business spend its resources finding or making the 20% of content that earns 80% of the revenues. This suggests a streaming service dedicated to the fringe artists, where lots of good stuff is less commercialized, would be interesting to those of us who like fringe stuff.

In-home manicure machine

Coral is a company founded by a former Dolby executive who has received $4.3 million to create an in home manicure machine. Put your finger in a hole in the machine, and out comes a completed, painted nail. Tech Crunch

dis-rup-shun: The salon experience seems, from an observer’s perspective, to be part ritual — going somewhere and spending a few minutes being pampered. While many people don’t have the time to go to a salon but want nails to look nice, this may be a better solution than DIY manicures. Peloton has brought the community workout experience home, and massive multi-player games gives one a sense of community experience at home. Coral likely needs to make its machine deliver more of an experience — perhaps by playing soothing music or brewing tea while it gives its auto-manicure.

 

Seniors not on leading edge of autonomous car adoption

Benefits to seniors for self driving cars over-hyped

The number of drivers over 70 on the road has grown 58% between 1997 and 2017, and these drivers have higher accident rates than other drivers. Autonomous car companies have predicted that seniors will be major beneficiaries of this technology, and will help drive adoption. This may be an exaggeration, according to Wired, as two factors need to be considered.  First, seniors’ longer response time requires that cars be completely autonomous (level 5 on the autonomy scale, and today’s cars are at level 2), and that is a long way off. Secondly, cars for seniors need to be designed by and for seniors, with information telling them what is happening at all times, and with knobs and displays that are extremely senior friendly. No one is taken these factors into consideration, according to Wired, and therefore saying autonomous cars are great for seniors is, at this stage, hype.

dis-rup-shun: Seniors are a demographic that will not be on the leading edge of autonomous car adoption. They are likely the last group to jump into a driverless car, and their loved ones will be reluctant to do that to them until the technology is very well proven. As with ride sharing services focused on seniors, there will be autonomous car models that are more senior-friendly (maybe sold by Cadillac?) — a Jitterbug on wheels, so to speak. The point is, there is plenty of time to optimize auto cars for seniors and this demographic will not be a driver for early adoption.

Tesla shows some love to early, abandoned buyers

Tesla is promising to do better to owners of its first car, the Tesla Roadster, released in 2008 through 2012. Tesla stopped making spare parts for the Roadster and does not offer service through the mainstream app used by owners of current models. Jerome Guillen, President of Automotive, indicated in an email to Roadster customers that they will get their own, dedicated service advisor. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Tesla, as well as its customers, are pioneers with a ring-side seat to what could become the transformation of cars as we know them, to predominantly electric. As we know, you can always spot a pioneer because they are the people with an arrow in their backs. Tesla owners are no exception. The next 18 months feel like a tipping point for Tesla — if the company can grow revenues, then it may just make it for the long haul, or be acquired by a larger entity (Apple would be cool). Bad reports from Tesla employees and disgruntled car owners would force the company to focus even more energy and capital on Europe and Asia, where it is receiving a strong reception. Tesla’s withdrawal from the U.S. market would likely cool electric car development efforts by GM, Chrysler, Ford, and Toyota, and that would be unfortunate.

Qualcomm releases 5G chipsets

Qualcomm is a global leader in chipsets found in smartphones, and yesterday the company unveiled two new chipsets that support 5G. When it arrives en masse (in 2020), 5G networks will enable mobile gaming and mobile video at speeds not seen before in consumer products. The new chipsets have faster speeds, more AI capacity, and, of course, the ability to connect to new 5G networks. Wired

dis-rup-shun: The timing of Qualcomm’s announcement means it is likely that many 5G capable phones will flood the market in the second half of 2020. As stated previously, next year’s holiday commercials will be all about special deals to entice users to upgrade their handsets for 5G models. Those who are excited about the potential of 5G won’t be upgrading phones for the next six to eight months as they wait for the new technology.

Amazon releases wireless Echo for India

India has proven to be a hot market for Echo, and the most requested enhancement has been portability. The new mobile model sells for $84 and has a 10 hour battery life. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: If the Echo is really Amazon’s household Trojan Horse, what are the profitable services that the company will grow in India? According to its website, Amazon.in was the source of over 50% of online purchases in the country. The category of highest value for Indian shoppers was smartphones, followed by fashion and consumables, then large appliances. While Echo has not yet become a strong shopping platform, Amazon continues to push aggressively across the globe, and will likely not face in India the regulatory threats being proposed by the U.S. and E.E. regulators, meaning the company could have a lot larger share of a much larger market (albeit with less spending power) in a short period of time.

Cheaper batteries enable home energy storage

Cheaper battery technologies make solar more attractive

The solar industry is being boosted by the falling price of large scale storage in cheaper batteries, and California’s rolling blackouts have helped prime consumer interest. With tax incentives, a California resident purchased whole-home battery backup for $4000 and plans to save $1,500 per year in energy savings. In addition to urgent environmental concerns, the costs of solar work to lower operating costs in many niche commercial and factory applications. The Energy Storage Association estimates that the costs for solar energy will drop 10 to 15 percent each year through 2024. Wired

dis-rup-shun: The awareness of electric cars, thanks to Tesla and its followers, paired with startling new climate change predictions, utility wire-generated wildfires and subsequent law suits that made rolling blackouts a necessity in California, have created a growing interest in electric powered homes, cars and factories. Expect the continued everyday use of solar energy, first on the west coast to move across the nation into our everyday lives.

5G has arrived. But wait.

T-Mobile is launching its nationwide 5G network this Friday. That’s a big deal, but T-Mo’s 5G network is different than others in that it uses low band 5G. That’s a good thing in that it provides vast coverage — able to include many areas that the bigger players can’t (yet). Low band, however, does not penetrate walls and buildings well, meaning that indoors, speeds won’t be drastically improved. AT&T’s and Verizon’s offerings are the opposite. Currently, phones that support all variants of 5G networks aren’t available, so unless you have a specific outdoor need, it is too early to buy a 5G phone. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The introduction of most new technologies is choppy, but by next Christmas (and the one after), expect every other TV commercial to feature Santa on a sleigh dialing up a 5G handset and offering two-for-one if you join in the latest cellular technology upgrade.

Walmart and Target closing the online gap

Cyber Monday sales will test trends spotted in November, when Target and Walmart showed significantly higher online sales growth than Amazon, according to Edison Trends.

CNBC

Two lessons learned from the Amazon and the flight to e-commerce: 1) As Amazon has made pricing transparent, price is no longer a competitive advantage. Every major retailer is forced to match price and must differentiate through other factors such as shopping experience, informed store clerks, in-store pickup of online orders. 2) Brick and mortar stores are not dead, and Amazon will have to continue to open more physical locations to keep gobbling up market share.

FBI cautions owners of smart TVs

The FBI’s website now features a warning to smart TV buyers stating that TVs have varying levels of security and may be hack-able. In addition, the site warns that TV manufacturers are collecting extensive usage data for their and advertisers’ benefits. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun:  Is this warning politically motivated, given that Congress is in the process of cracking down on Facebook and friends? Is this part of the Trump versus Bezos/Amazon conspiracy? Perhaps it is simply part of a concerted effort on the part of civil servants to make the citizenry aware of the personal data privacy that we have all unknowingly clicked away. Expect to see more consumer friendly policy changes like this one from Zillow

In January 2020, we’re launching a privacy portal to give you more control over your personal information. You’ll be able to see what information about you we’ve collected and, if you choose to, delete that information.

Enabling your customers to take control of how they share their data should be rewarded, and hopefully Big Tech will follow the lead of these customer service leaders.

Best Buy folds branded smart home line

Best Buy pulls the plug on its own smart home

Best Buy’s house brand, Insignia, announced on its website, that the company has discontinued its Insignia Connect products, which consist of smart plugs, IP camera, light switch and a refrigerator/freezer. Except for the IP camera, the other devices will continue to work, but will not connect to an app. The article does not suggest that Best Buy will discontinue selling the plethora of smart home products from other manufacturers that now make up a large part of its shelf space. Wired

dis-rup-shun: What’s the problem with smart home products? The industry analysts continue to forecast strong growth (IDC – 23.5%, Forrester – 26.2%, Security Sales & Integration – 31%, McKinsey – 31%), yet Best Buy joins Lowe’s as two big retailers who have pulled the plug on their own branded systems. Best Buy, by the way, is the same company that paid $800 million to acquire another form of smart home products — Great Call, makers of devices to connect seniors to family, friends and care givers. One of the clearer answers to the smart home riddle is that consumers buy solutions to problems, and home automation is not a mass market problem. Home security, remote monitoring and safety of seniors, and utilities needing to save energy are large scale problems that smart home products and systems solve. A number of companies, including Alarm.com, have forged relationships with new home builders such as Toll Brothers who have found that home automation increases home value and who will lead a gradual transformation to making automation a new home standard. Much of the success of smart home is the result of single products such as door bell cameras, smart speakers, and smart thermostats, that are both cool and helpful in solving point solutions. These hot products, however, are DIY install products. When people want a whole home system integrating multiple devices, they are more inclined to call a home systems integrator than to put a system together themselves, as big retailers have discovered.

Facebook creates Venmo-like payment system

In an effort to link Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, the company will equip all of those applications with a common pay system. This pay method is separate from Calibra, which is part of the doomed Libra cryptocurrency consortium. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Facebook serves a majority of social media users, so it makes sense that a common pay platform will be convenient, but what about the Facebook trust factor? As reported Monday, Facebook’s tarnished image is hurting its success in new product areas. If the Facebook brand has some rot, isn’t tying the company’s brands together a bad move?

Tesla will open fourth Gigafactory in Berlin

Musk stated that he intends to sell more Teslas in Europe, and appears to be following through with his intentions. The factory will be located near Berlin’s new airport, and will be in addition to factories in Reno, Buffalo and Shanghai. While sales of Teslas were down in the U.S. for Q3, sales in Europe have been trending upward for the last three quarters. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Musk is out to change the world, and despite some bumps in the road, he is well on the way to making Tesla a global brand. With manufacturing in three continents with high interest in electric vehicles, the company will continue to disrupt traditional automakers and, very likely, will be acquired by another global brand, as developing new car models, especially with a completely different engine, is a huge undertaking for traditional players. Many existing car companies already have electric cars at the dealer or in the pipeline. Perhaps a Tesla company buyer will come from another industry. Virgin Auto or Amazon Auto, anyone?

Disney + Streaming Service is live and ready for your credit card

Disney’s new streaming service is up and running, and has the advantage of content from the Mouse House, from Pixar, National Geographic, Fox, Marvel and Star Wars. Not only does the company have a content advantage over new and incumbent streamers, it also has a technology advantage, having purchased BAMTech in 2017 — an expert in streaming content infrastructure and encryption. Wired

dis-rup-shun: As stated many times on this site, Netflix has a serious battle on its hands as its future relies on the difficult task of creating a long string of big hits. Disney + must also keep the hits coming, but it has the advantage of leveraging many beloved franchises for an infinite number of sequels and prequels. Netflix is a beloved brand which will likely not be displaced, but subscriber growth will likely be more difficult and the costs of operations, thanks to expensive original content, will continue to rise.

Amazon makes second healthcare move

Amazon makes second healthcare acquisition

Amazon has purchased Health Navigator, a company that helps physicians route patients to the correct care givers and a facilitator of telehealth. The company currently serves a number of companies but has informed them it will not renew its contracts after the Amazon merger. Amazon intends to make Health Navigator a part of its Amazon Care group, a division focused on providing care to its growing armies of employees. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Amazon is building a new care model for its internal employees that makes use of remote care and physicians’ assistants and nurses to better apply the proper set of skills to the appropriate needs. While this is wonderful news for employees, one must assume that this is also a pilot for a new care model which would be rolled out nationally, perhaps with Amazon’s prior acquisition, online pharmacy PillPack. Given the direction of our healthcare industry, Amazon’s disruption could be a welcome catalyst to a more efficient and more affordable healthcare market.

Tesla earns a profit and scores in China

Tesla reported earnings for the quarter which show the company returning to profitability with a slim margin. At the same time, the company reported that its new Shanghai plant is up and running and will produce one thousand Model 3s per week.

dis-rup-shun: Elon Musk is a pioneer. Pioneers have to be tough as nails, have unbridled belief in their missions, and not be worried about others’ perceptions of them. Musk qualifies in these regards and is on a path to change the auto industry as well as U.S. – China trade relations. In a time when U.S. companies are moving production out of China, Musk has jumped in, taking advantage of a new Chinese regulation requiring foreign manufacturers to build products in country in order to avoid a 25% tariff. Tesla is in place to be a huge success in China, with high fuel prices and rising incomes. Success in China will help the company continue to win U.S. and global buyers as Tesla’s technologies will be better tested and better financed, continuing to entice auto owners to retire their gasoline cars.

License plate recognition technology: a good thing?

Axon, the company that makes the Taser and a host of other law enforcement technology has developed a dash cam capable of reading license plate numbers. Concerns about infringement upon civil rights accompany this new technology, as ethics boards determine the limitations of its application in law enforcement. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Violating the law is one thing, but getting caught is another. How many times have you driven a car with an expired registration because, despite your best intentions, you were late sending in the renewal? Chances are you were not fined as police have far too many demands to scrutinize every window sticker. Axon’s cameras, however, could do the trick and quickly notify police persons that you were in violation of this or other crimes, like driving with stolen plates or that the car is registered to a criminal. If all laws were more systematically enforced thanks to technology, would that make for a better society or a call for fewer or less stringent laws?

The ladies on the hill rough up Zuckerberg

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chairperson of the Financial Services Committee says candidate Elizabeth Warren has “opened up the opportunity” to consider breaking up Facebook. Warren has declared that she will break up Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon if elected. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: It could be Zuckerberg’s boyish looks, lack of contrition over election interference in 2016, or his extremely ambitious plans for the Libra private currency, but he is Congress’ favorite whipping boy. Congress’ disdain for Zuckerberg guarantees that Facebook will be the first of the Big Tech companies to take the beatings, fines, regulations, and dismantling, if that unlikely action comes to pass. Apple’s Tim Cook, on the other hand, has been making nice in Washington D.C. and building up political capital. Mark needs to take some fatherly advice from his Silicon Valley neighbor.

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.