Uber under fire in London

London may ban Uber in 21 days

The Transport for London agency regulating city transit has determined that Uber drivers are violating a number of important regulations, including using someone else’s photos on their profiles, and banned drivers are opening new accounts under different names to continue driving. Uber’s SEC filings reveal that 24% of revenues come from five large metros, including London — meaning a loss of London equates to somewhere in the neighborhood of 5% of total revenues. Wired

dis-rup-shun: While regulation of transportation has always been highly political, the role of government, and purpose of regulations, is to protect the citizenry. In the Gig Economy, the regulatory roles of government are as important as ever, as ordinary citizens are turning themselves into professional drivers, hoteliers, and temporary workers with little to no certifications, training and minimal background checking. Does that not suggest the opportunity to create an app based service to train, certify and background check on-demand employees?

Spot dog robot being tested by law enforcement

Boston Dynamics’ spot robot has appeared in many videos, showing off its ability to pull heavy loads, dance, and climb stairs. The Massachusetts State Police are reviewing how such a device can be used in law enforcement. CNET

dis-rup-shun: The use of robots in law enforcement is not new, and has diffused fatal situations. One of particular note was cessation of the mass shooter in Dallas, Texas. The increasing flexibility and strength of robots, combined with ever improving Wi-Fi cameras, makes deploying robots in place of humans a reliable strategy. Expect to see law enforcement a target market for robotics, although this market will grow quietly, as the target customer does not wish for the public to understand the tools it has at its disposal.

Space pallet concept enables shipping gear to Moon

NASA has developed a concept vehicle that is essentially a platform for heavy cargo that can be released in space from a heavy rocket before positioning itself for a gentle landing and unloading. The space pallet, once safely in place, would then shut down permanently. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: The Moon landing program of today is using technology that seems light years ahead of the pocket-calculator power of the Apollo crafts. New challenges, however, include navigating through increasing numbers of satellites and space debris. Marrying today’s technology with environmental consciousness will likely lead to programs to clean up man made space debris, as SpaceX’s first 120 of 42,000 Starlink satellites are already annoying astronomers.

Give the gift of Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi routers and repeaters are not a very glamorous holiday gift, but a number of new technologies, including mesh network-creating routers and Wi-Fi 6 (the next version of Wi-Fi) routers are now on the market in attractive and reasonable products. Some interesting offers for massive Wi-Fi capacity include TP-Link’s Archer AX6000 and Amplifi’s Alien. For creating a mesh network to cover all of your home, try Nest Wifi, Netgear Orbi AC1200, Linksys’ Velop Tri-Band AC2200, and Razer Sila for gamers.

dis-rup-shun: Common consumer devices don’t yet support version 6 of Wi-Fi, but we can expect to see some products in 2020. Wi-Fi 6 and/or mesh networks will greatly enhance the home computing experience, as these technologies should end dead spots in large homes, and should help make Wi-Fi doorbells, that are often a long way from the home router or on the other side of metal lath, function as advertised. Between these technologies, and the arrival of 5G, connectivity woes should soon be over.

Wi-Fi 6: what is it and why do you care?

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Later this year, routers, PCs and smartphones will support Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi 6 is also know as 802.11ax, but the wise people at the Wi-Fi Alliance have decided to take on consumer friendly naming, so future versions will be incremental numbers. This version is better in several ways: it is up to four times faster, it can serve many more devices simultaneously, and it can connect to devices as far away as a football field. Wired

dis-rup-shun: This Wi-Fi upgrade is coming at an important time. We are all extremely dependent on Wi-Fi and are daily reminded of its failures. Wi-Fi is simultaneously loved and hated. Supporting more devices more reliably is critical to keeping consumers generally happy with technology. With 5G coming this year, all the buzz will be about the newer, faster cellular standard and Wi-Fi will be seen as yesterday’s technology. The Wi-Fi Alliance was wise to keep the standard on the front page.

Apple caves to demands for third party repairs

After announcing new iPhone battery lock software which precluded third parties from replacing batteries, Apple has changed its tact and initiated a program to certify third parties to perform repairs. This is in response to backlash over its restrictive policy. CNBC 

dis-rup-shun: Apple has been seeking to differentiate itself from other Big Tech companies by doing good. It has taken the high road on data privacy in order to distance itself from Google and Facebook. Its policy of discouraging third party repairs was bad for small businesses and bad for consumers, and was an “evil empire” move. Kudos to Apple for changing its stance.

Google moves Pixel phone production from China to Vietnam

Google is equipping a former Nokia factory in Vietnam to be a smartphone factory, as production costs, and, of course, tariffs can be avoided by relocating out of China. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: If the trade war endures beyond another year, we can expect it to reshape some Asian economies that will be beneficiaries of production moves. This evolution will strengthen a number of economies that will be even more attractive global trading partners, will force Chinese factories to be more competitive, and will increase the political stability of the region.

Best Buy online sales up 17%

Best Buy’s Q2 results are mixed, but online sales increased 17% over last quarter. Same store sales were up 1.6%. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: Despite the domination by Amazon of online sales, both Best Buy and Target have posted online sales growth. Why are these brands succeeding online? In the case of Target, the company is blending online and in-store experiences. Best Buy may be benefiting from consumers’ increasing confidence and convenience of online shopping. The Amazon Effect, a term generally describing the destruction of brick and mortar retailing, may also be the cause of an increase in online shopping across brands.