Robots become human, human become robots

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The Hanwha Eagles is a South Korean baseball team that recently introduced robot fans. You can now watch the game at home and participate in the stadion at the same time. The robots have Led displays that can send messages to the team through your iPhone. In addition to the usual support messages like “Go Eagles!” or “I Love You, Eagles!” the robots wearing uniform shirts and jeans can relay text messages sent by the fans within the park or outside. They can also show the fan’s face on the screen, adding more fun to the game. [Read more...]

Real Disruption Happens When Technologies Combine

Disruption is the most recent rhythm of the technology debate. The uberization of everything if often mentioned, so is the disruptive potential of abundance. However disruption is also about finding the right product-market fit.

In a new report, the Institute for the Future argues that:

“technological change is increasingly driven by the combination and recombination of foundational elements.”

So to imagine the future, it is not just about advances in technology, like in computing power or miniaturization, but also at the intersection of these technologies. The intersection might be the disruption; completely new oppurtunities and new markets all together.

The report presents a technology horizon map that is designed to help anticipate the future of combinatorial innovations emerging at the intersection of distinct territories. The map presents 20 new innovative combinatorial forecasts you can use to navigate the future as it unfolds. The the bigger picture: a more interconnected technology landscape.

Schermafbeelding 2014-07-28 om 10.40.20So click around on the map in 13 “territories”–what it calls “frontiers of innovation”–and then examine the overlaps. Here are a two to get started. [Read more...]

From PC to PC: Personal to Pervasive, Computer to Computing, and Beyond

If by any measure our good friend Bill Buxton is right, then after 20 years of long-nosed innovation, mankind is finally arriving at its destination of Being Digital. Two decades go, Nicholas Negroponte famously stated that “computing is not about computers anymore, it is about living!”

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PC #1: Pervasive (Personal) Computing
Mr. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO, deals with this today. The Microsoft Windows main focus on Personal Computers now has become a proud relic of the past. Digital Transformation has opened up the era of Pervasive Computing, or “living” for that matter. A few days ago, Mr. Nadella promised to “streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems into one single converged operating system. This means one operating system that covers all screen sizes.” OS kernel, that is! Also, Mr. Nadella talked about Universal Windows Apps. Both Personal and Pervasive, that means! [Read more...]

The Smart City Needs To Deal With The Same Problems As The Internet

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The analogy between the internet and the smart cities I wrote about a few weeks ago is not only based on the similarity in opportunities. Much like the internet, the smart city is also subject to social and cultural dilemmas like privacy and security. A city tracking its citizens, even for helpful reasons, impacts the personal liberty we count on in public spaces.

Smart city projects rely on sophisticated infrastructure that governments aren’t capable of creating themselves. The crucial software systems and networks that underlie city services will likely lie in private hands. Smart grid utility-metering systems, for instance, collect and transmit detailed energy consumption information, which help consumers understand their energy use but can also reveal their habits. As such, they have come under fire for threatening privacy and civil liberties. This could be as simple as your Nest Thermostat being part of the Google Ecosystem and they might use your Nest data to serve better ads, or your Nest data ending up in the analytical software of NSA-like parties.

There are at least three classes of security and privacy issues that may result:

  • protecting the connected assets from attack;
  • protecting the data gathered from those assets from misuse;
  • protecting the privacy of individuals whose assets may be supplying the data (via, e.g., electric meters or connected cars).

A big challenge for smart cities is combining with, and migrating away from, legacy systems throughout the city. The smart city is as good the software it uses is therefore a common saying. However, the same goes for privacy and security.

A smart city is as secure and private as the software it uses.

The Four Pillars of a Decentralized Society

“What if we could rebuild our society in a way that works for everyone? Epochal changes are now underway that are radically transforming how society operates. Johann Gevers will describe this revolution, and how it will create vast new economic opportunities and unprecedented social freedom.”

The World’s First Family Robot

As I wrote last week: the robots are on the move. And they might show up at your doorstep early 2015 if you head over to IndieGoGo and pre-order Jibo, the world’s first family robot.

Specifically, Jibo is a social robot. You talk to it, ask it questions, make requests. It talks back and provides answers. It sort of like the physical embodiment of Siri, Google Now, or any of the voice-activated assistants services available on our smartphones or tablets. Jibo however,  tries to act like more of a participant than a tool.

Check out the early demo.

Analytics to Power the Four-leaf SMCT Clover

Business warriors badly need their SMCT, their Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks. Common technology-wise, these four letters consitute the four-leaf clover of Social networking, Mobile apps on smart devices, pervasive Cloud, and connected Things of sorts. This SMACT platform is expected to build up in four Olympic 4-year periods (2004-2020) with exponential impact. This fully depends however on the heart of the matter: the intelligent A-stem in the middle which stands for Analytics, based on big data.

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Know & Do What You Want to Know & Do
Today, the Social and Mobile leafs may seem well established while Cloud and Things remain underdeveloped. True as this is, we first and foremost need to see that only the four-leaf clover’s Analytics stem, through which big data flows, can so to speak “nourish” the leafs to become first class crop. True excellence is grounded in both knowing & doing what you want to know & do. [Read more...]

What would Google do now that IBM and Apple are friends?

IBM-AppleApple and IBM announced their alliance yesterday. The two old enemies made an agreement to make 100 business apps and sell iPhones to corporate customers. Engineers of the two companies will work together on serious business apps. IBM’s business DNA can help Apple to make a move into this direction. We know Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has an appetite for business. Earlier this year he expressed his enthusiasm about the enterprise market as follows:

“It’s clear that the enterprise area has huge potential, and we’re doing well from a percentage of companies that are using iPhone and iPad. It’s up to unbelievable numbers. The iPhone is used in 97% of the Fortune 500, and 91% of the Global 500, and iPad is used in 98% of the Fortune 500 and 93% of the Global 500″

[Read more...]

Smart Cities and the Internet of Things: Follow the Money and the Data

smart-cities-1As we introduced here on the blog earlier, our next (and last) installment of our four reports on the internet of things will be all about the concept of smart cities. After our initial exploration of the internet of things in the first report, the personal (and wearable) internet of things in the second report, and the third report on the industrial side of IoT and the integration of Information Technology and Operational Technology, cities are a logical next step in which all these concepts are converging. And cities are a huge piece of the Internet of Things-pie.

All big themes associated with the internet of things, like efficiency gains, predictive maintenance and ubiquitous connectivity, have a enormous relevancy towards cities. More than half of the world lives in cities, and by 2050, it will be two-thirds. This rapid increase in population coupled with financial constraints, the convergence of technologies and a desire to reduce environmental impact is creating new challenges and opportunities for cities in areas such as energy use, mobility, security, infrastructure, healthcare and governance.

That’s where the IoT comes in.

We all know the staggering predictions about what economical impact the IoT will have on the world. In terms of numbers, the loudest drumroll is currently being produced by Cisco that, in June 2013, estimated the present potential of things at 613 billion dollars, and presumes that the market will amount to no less than 14,400 billion dollars in 2023. In this context, Cisco is talking about savings — the reduction of waste — plus the direct sale of products. McKinsey assesses the economic impact of the Internet of Things at somewhere between 2700 and 6200 billion dollars in 2025, with the healthcare sector, infrastructure and public sector services as the most promising domains. 

If we zoom in on these numbers we end up at cities (or urban environments) pretty fast. A more recent research by Bosch titled  “Capitalizing on the internet of things” talks about 5 key markets as where the estimated 596 billion in IoT-revenue will come from.

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[Read more...]

The End Game of the Sharing Economy

“Airbnb does business in 34,000 cities, has a valuation of over 10 billion dollars, and in a very short time has disrupted the world of hospitality and travel. Its co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky envisions the future city as a place where sharing is front and center — where people become micro-entrepreneurs, the local mom and pops will flourish once again, where space isn’t wasted, but shared, and more of almost everything is produced, except waste. But the journey from here to there won’t be all smooth sailing. What are the ups and downs of the sharing economy, as businesses like Airbnb confront critiques about regulation, economic development, and fairness? What role might businesses play in creating more shareable, more livable cities? How will the sharing economy, with its de-emphasis on ownership, be a tool for addressing urban inequality?”