Game changers: Ricoh, Apple Arcade, Vivint Smart Home

Apple Arcade is a game changer

Apple Arcade goes live today along with iOS 13. The game service offers thousands of titles, much like the App Store itself, for a flat monthly fee of $5.00, and puts an end to constant ads and endless solicitations to upgrade to the paid version of a game. For game developers, it offers a massive channel into enormous markets but, like the App Store, a much smaller revenue per user stream. Wired

dis-rup-shun: For all but the most avid gamers who need to own the latest and most unique games Apple has created a way to corner the casual games business. Apple Arcade games offer a better iOS compliant experience, making them visually and audibly better, without the significant annoyance of in app advertising. Many casual gamers are addicted to one or two titles and can be easily lured into a $5 per month expenditure, opening up new worlds of endless fun and focus.

Are you ready for a 360 degree camera?

Ricoh’s Theta Z1 is a small, very portable, two lens camera device for about $1000 that enables amateurs to take high quality 360 degree pictures. The dual 1 inch high quality sensors result in pro quality 360 images and videos. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: The smartphone wars, as often discussed, are being waged on camera quality and the definitions of consumer photography, consequently, are being pushed to new places. Did you ever imagine you might want to take a 360 image of the family at the Thanksgiving dinner table, or capture not only your child’s amazing performance on the soccer field, but the electricity of the crowds on the sidelines? AR viewers, despite being a very niche-y product, will be bolstered by consumers who want a really immersive way to enjoy their own 360 photography. This development begs the question: which smartphone maker will be the first to implement 360 photography in its phone device?

Vivint Smart Home goes public

Through a reverse merger with a Softbank-backed company, Mosaic, Vivint will be publicly traded with a valuation of $5.6 billion. Blackstone Group acquired Vivint in 2012 for $2 billion. Mosaic Acquisition Corp.’s CEO is David Maura, who is CEO of holding company Spectrum brands whose products include a number of lock companies including Kwikset and Black and Decker locks.

dis-rup-shun: Why are traditional, incumbent home security companies so valuable? For several reasons. One, they are cash machines that bill hundreds of thousands of households and businesses every month. Two, the home security hardware and software platform is a platform for many new home services and products, if vendors can just figure out which ones are most valuable to consumers. Maura, by finding synergies between Spectrum Brands’ products, Softbank’s many tech investments, and Vivint’s customer base, can build a powerful channel into the home that offers integrations (and synergies) not yet enjoyed by Google and Amazon. There is something brewing here.

Datadog hot cloud metrics software IPO jumps 39%

Datadog creates software to help companies monitor the health and operations of their cloud resources, either in their own data centers or third party services. The company competes with Amazon, Splunk, Elastic, Cisco and others. Its share price reflects 41 times 12 month trailing earnings. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The future of computing, or shall we say the present and future of computing, is in the cloud. While the cloud giants such as Amazon and Microsoft are building bigger and better clouds and cloud tools, nimble experts such as Datadog are building better tool kits and riding on the coat tails of the giants. It’s a great strategy and a textbook play from Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma. Great investments can be found in the cloud.

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.