It’s an irony of the second Age of Reason that the abundance of data—the effervescence of sources and ease of delivery—makes so many more questions answerable while at the same time making it very easy to get lost. We’ve dedicated an issue to exploration, to a broad, cross-platform look at the fruits of Big Data.
Remind isn’t a game or social network—it’s a texting tool used in many parts of the U.S. to establish stronger lines of communication among teachers, students, and their parents.
About 1 million teachers and 17 million parents and students have downloaded Remind, a free app developed by a San Francisco startup of the same name. In such states as Texas, Alabama, and Georgia, 40 percent to 50 percent of teachers use the software, the company says. Educators can update homework assignments, solicit volunteers for field trips, and send photos from the classroom without having to count on paper handouts making their way into and out of backpacks or on parents regularly checking their e-mail.
This is the age of invisible apps “that just notify us when something is going on,” as trend spotter and venture capitalist Mary Meeker said recently. Cyriac Roeding, 41, started reaching out to shoppers in 2010. Shopkick’s cofounder and CEO, and a German expat, he did so via ultrasound, a high-frequency signal that communicates with the app, verifies shoppers are inside the store and offers them kicks. “I’d done some soul-searching,” says Roeding, who wondered, “What’s the intersection of mobile and the physical world? The answer was easy: It’s called shopping.”
Twice a year more than 1,000 store representatives come to Paris for an event called “Podium,” where they select which pieces of merchandise they will carry. The family has decreed that each flagship store must pick at least one item from each of the 11 métiers–thus pushing them beyond handbags, scarves and ties to perfume, jewelry, watches, home accessories. In giving these managers an elaborate menu to choose from, each store boasts merchandise unique to itself. The moneyed globe-trotters who constitute the Hermès customer base constantly find themselves on a worldwide treasure hunt. For example, only in Beverly Hills can they find a $12,900 basketball, and the $112,000 orange leather bookcase was sold exclusively at the Costa Mesa store. So when they fall in love with that $11,300 bicycle there’s a pressure to get it, since the company’s website, while ahead of many luxury competitors, offers just a smattering of the Hermes product line.
Forbes with a story of the long time French luxury goods innovator
Photo Credit of my favorite Hermes product – their small pattern silk ties
If federal agencies regularly come to 18F for “agile” software development — a term for a rapid, highly iterative project management process — they might eventually make that a priority when seeking IT contracts with outside tech companies, Tangherlini said.
The group was also formed to advance a collaborative, creative approach to software development, said Greg Godbout, 18F’s senior team lead. The code for FBOpen, and all other 18F projects, is posted publicly online on Github, a software code repository, and the team encourages developers at other agencies to use the code to build new features into their own Web sites.
When in an unfamiliar neighborhood, you might turn to your GPS-equipped smartphone for navigational help, or, if you’re feeling gregarious, you might ask a stranger for directions. Soon you may not have to do either: Your shoes may subtly guide you on your way.
That’s the promise of Lechal, a new kind of sneaker that vibrates to signal which way you should turn. Developed by the Indian startup Ducere Technologies, the Bluetooth-enabled shoes will sync with an app that uses information from Google Maps to steer the user toward her destination. A buzzing on the right foot signals an upcoming right turn, a vibration on the left means turn left.
In addition to serving as personal tour guides, the shoes will be personal fitness trainers, recording such data as calories burned and miles walked, as well as signaling when to speed up or slow down to achieve specific exercise goals.
“People get on the A380 and they absolutely love it,” he says. The upper deck on the Emirates version, he adds, is “just one big party.”
(Other carriers configure their A380s differently, with some including economy seating in the upper deck.)
The son of a tanker ship captain and an economist, Mr. Clark joined Emirates in the mid-1980s. His basic insight about the A380 is simple: It can be a canvas for a new kind of luxury flight experience. It was Mr. Clark who came up with the idea to install two showers for first-class passengers. Airbus engineers thought the idea was crazy because it would require more fuel to fly the water for the showers. But he dismissed their objections. The showers would immediately distinguish the plane from anything else in the air.
He also put a large bar on board, along with a pair of semicircular couches, equipped with seatbelts in case of turbulence.
The Arccos ($399, arccos.com), which goes on sale this month, is like having your very own caddie, except it doesn't carry clubs or polish balls. This set of 14 gumdrop-shape sensors, which stick into the top of your golf clubs like thumbtacks, keeps track of your game and suggests appropriate clubs to use. It's similar to a competing product called Game Golf, but that model requires you to clip a vibrating beeper-like device to your pants; when I used it, I was never sure if my shots were registering or my table was ready at the Olive Garden.
Leveraging my smartphone's GPS via Bluetooth, the Arccos app not only figured out what course I was on, it knew I was at the 18th hole, 393 yards from the green. (The app has access to maps of 17,225 golf courses in the U.S.—which the company says is all of them.)
Apple Inc. created the blueprint for a smartphone when it covered the touch screen of its first iPhone in glass instead of plastic. Now, it is betting $700 million that sapphire, a harder and more expensive material, can replace glass and better protect future devices.
The first sapphire display screens for the forthcoming larger iPhone and smartwatch are expected to roll off production lines this month at a Mesa, Ariz., facility that Apple opened with materials manufacturer GT Advanced Technologies Inc.At full capacity, the plant will produce twice as much sapphire as the current output from the nearly 100 manufacturers world-wide, says Eric Virey, a senior analyst at French research firm Yole Développement.
Humin, the app that aims to replace your iPhone contacts app is now in the App Store. Will.i.am, Richard Branson and Angry Birds creator Peter Vesterbacka were all part of the private beta launch a few months back. The app is now ready for everyone with an iPhone today.
Humin hooks into your phone, Facebook and LinkedIn contacts and combines them with your calendar, email and voicemail to provide context to all those people listed in your phone.
Called Baseline Study, the project will collect anonymous genetic and molecular information from 175 people—and later thousands more—to create what the company hopes will be the fullest picture of what a healthy human being should be.
The project will collect anonymous genetic and molecular information from 175 people. Getty Images
The early-stage project is run by Andrew Conrad, a 50-year-old molecular biologist who pioneered cheap, high-volume tests for HIV in blood-plasma donations.
Dr. Conrad joined Google X—the company's research arm—in March 2013, and he has built a team of about 70-to-100 experts from fields including physiology, biochemistry, optics, imaging and molecular biology.
Good to see the FAA has given BP the first license to operate commercial drones. Curt Smith had told ne in The New Polymath in 2010 about early experiments with drones to supplement Cessnas to monitor pipelines in remote areas.
“BP's Prudhoe Bay operations rely heavily on gravel roads, which require constant maintenance. AeroVironment's Puma drones, which are hand-launched and have a 9-foot wingspan, use laser-based sensors that can pinpoint problems on the roads, identify how they should be repaired and calculate how much gravel would be needed, the companies said.
The drones also can create 3-D models of gravel pits, and then calculate how much gravel remains and identify areas that are vulnerable to flooding.”
“could be the consumer’s best friend in “showrooming.” A button with a new technology dubbed Firefly on the new phone lets you instantly capture that HDTV, a movie poster, a box of cereal — and a lot of data with it. You can store the information, including the price and where to buy it. And of course, a listing if the product is on Amazon.”
But it also has some interesting features like Dynamic Perspective
Since it launched in 2012, Saujani’s program has gone from 20 girls in one classroom to graduating 3,000 girls from clubs and camps across the country. Saujani says 95% of graduates want to major in computer science in college.
These future female developers are valuable to tech companies in ways beyond simply filling open spots. Most Internet purchases are made by women, and understanding their instincts is a key to business success. “We’re falling behind the rest of the world if we don’t teach our girls how to code,” says Megan Smith, VP of Google X, a semisecret facility at Google in California working on advanced technology. In June, after revealing that only 17% of its engineers were women, Google launched a site called Made With Code that features free programming projects for girls. The company pledged $50 million to programs like Girls Who Code.
When it opened in June at Six Flags Great America, Goliath broke three world records for wooden roller coasters: the tallest drop (180 ft.), the steepest drop (85 degrees) and the fastest speed (72 m.p.h.). Steel roller coasters eclipse these figures, but many amusement-park purists swear by the rickety charms of old-fashioned wooden rides. The look is dangerous—like it could collapse in an instant. For adrenaline junkies, there’s no finer catnip.
Though you still have to deal with due dates, hold lists and occasionally clumsy software, libraries, at least for now, have one killer feature that the others don't: e-books you actually want to read.
To compare, I dug up best-seller lists, as well as best-of lists compiled by authors and critics. Then I searched for those e-books in Kindle Unlimited, Oyster and Scribd alongside my local San Francisco Public Library. To rule out big-city bias, I also checked the much smaller library where I grew up in Richland County, S.C.
Of the Journal's 20 most recent best-selling e-books in fiction and nonfiction, Amazon's Kindle Unlimited has none—no "Fifty Shades of Grey," no "The Fault in Our Stars." Scribd and Oyster each have a paltry three. But the San Francisco library has 15, and my South Carolina library has 11.
Matte gray, with the chiseled angles of a Nighthawk stealth aircraft, Ghost doesn’t look like a boat. Its 38-foot main hull is designed to travel above the water’s surface, propped up by two narrow struts, both 12 feet long and razor-sharp at the front so they can cut through ocean debris. Underwater, each strut is attached to a 62-foot-long tube that contains a gas turbine engine. Hinges allow the struts to move up and down like wings. While parked, or traveling through shallow waters, they can be extended to the side. In deeper waters, at speeds of eight knots or higher, they can rotate downward to lift the hull into the air, eliminating the jarring impact of waves.
Meriem Chabani and colleagues won first prize in the latest Jacques Rougerie Competition for their Arctic Harvester, which is designed to support 800 people. The idea is to float this donut-shaped facility off the coast of Greenland, where workers would collect small bergs from the surrounding area and move them into a central bay where they'd melt. The freshwater would be used to feed plants grown in a hydroponic greenhouse. The fruits and vegetables produced could be sold to people living near the coast of the mainland.
PayPal operates in more than 200 markets, manages more than 148 million accounts, and facilitates a variety of financial transactions in 26 currencies. In this McKinsey interview PayPal’s vice president and general manager for Continental Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Laurent Le Moal, presents a fascinating picture of the digital payments economy around the world
“In the past, when people just looked at payments, they were looking only at how the process could be made faster—for instance, all the debate around near-field communication. That’s not the problem anymore. Now the challenge is adaptability. How can we work with any form factor that makes sense for the merchants and their customers? What it means for us is not being prescriptive when it comes to the technology or requiring form factors to use PayPal. If it makes sense to integrate with a vendor’s point of sale, we will do that—using what already exists and not asking the merchants to completely change their hardware. If it makes sense for the consumer to use his phone to type in a code, we can also do that—as opposed to using a card to make a transaction. This also means going into the hardware business. PayPal has a device that attaches to a phone or a tablet to accept card payments—and this has been one of the ways to gain entry into these new services and control the entire end-to-end experience.”
“With the rise of digital goods, this approach no longer suffices. Such goods can generate ten times the number of transactions normally expected in traditional e-commerce, but the value is lower. Even if customers are much more engaged, they sometimes generate lower revenues. We still need to determine the marketing implications of this new interaction. And this is just one example of growing diversity. Entering new markets like Russia, Turkey, and Africa requires us to think more about customer segmentation in ways that are more nuanced than we have in the past. The devices these consumers use, the type of goods or services they consume—everything is different, including the way marketing targets them. E-mail marketing needs to evolve in a world where consumers expect high relevance and targeting but also widespread usage of social media. All this has completely changed the media mix—and we’ve brought new media into this mix by adding channels like Twitter and Facebook.”
“Half of these experts (48%) envision a future in which robots and digital agents have displaced significant numbers of both blue- and white-collar workers—with many expressing concern that this will lead to vast increases in income inequality, masses of people who are effectively unemployable, and breakdowns in the social order.
The other half of the experts who responded to this survey (52%) expect that technology will not displace more jobs than it creates by 2025. To be sure, this group anticipates that many jobs currently performed by humans will be substantially taken over by robots or digital agents by 2025. But they have faith that human ingenuity will create new jobs, industries, and ways to make a living, just as it has been doing since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.”
Employers say the ideal candidate must have more than traditional market-research skills: the ability to find patterns in millions of pieces of data streaming in from different sources, to infer from those patterns how customers behave and to write statistical models that pinpoint behavioral triggers.
At e-commerce site operator Etsy Inc., for instance, a biostatistics Ph.D. who spent years mining medical records for early signs of breast cancer now writes statistical models to figure out the terms people use when they search Etsy for a new fashion they saw on the street.
To get help, employers are increasingly looking to an elite program called Insight Data Science Fellows Program, which helps funnel doctoral candidates from fields like astrophysics, neuroscience and math into the profession. The program, based near Stanford University and funded by tech companies, has a 100% placement rate.
“The palazzo unites characteristics from motor, yachting and aviation sports such as a sports car rear diffuser, the business jet gang way or the motor yacht flybridge. The interior is just as extravagant as its owner: minimalistic and modern shapes fused with classy and antique design elements embedded in timeless ambiance.”
Once the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) establishes airspace rules, which is likely to happen next year, the drone industry could fuel a decade-long, $82-billion economic boom, according to a study done by the industry’s leading trade group. Already, one analyst estimates the global market for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at $250 million to $300 million. The truth is, we’re witnessing a Kitty Hawk moment—the start of an era in which drones will change the world and the way we live in it. They’ve saved lives overseas; at home, they will make our cities and grids smarter, keep people safer, and help save our planet. And, as you’ll see on these pages, they can be fun, too.
The Chicago mapping and traffic information enterprise started life as NAVTEQ, acquired by Nokia in 2007. The map databases curated here go into four out of five cars with in-dash navigation, and the company makes 2.7 million map database revisions every day. Here's global traffic-monitoring effort supports nav/traffic routing in 41 countries and processes more than 1 billion data points per day coming in primarily from anonymized cellphone GPS signals and roadside traffic monitors. Twenty-five traffic "editors" cover North America and Australia from Chicago, monitoring police scanners, government Twitter feeds, and 12,000 traffic cameras to provide real-time traffic route guidance.
The traffic team is done with this probe data minutes after it arrives, but it doesn't get discarded. The Big Data analysis team at Here teases other useful info out of it, such as mapping drive-through restaurant lanes and confirming POI viability. (No cellphones have stopped at that supposed fuel station in a month; should we strike it from the database?) But the most interesting knowledge they're teasing out of this pile of ones and zeroes is behavioral. By studying the speed traces of millions of vehicles on freeway ramps, dead-man's-curves, and blind-uncontrolled intersections, they can begin to model how real humans behave in these situations and teach this to the would-be autopilots.
Launched in July 2010, just months after the iPad reached retail, Flipboard effectively reinvented print periodicals for the tablet form factor, aggregating content from a vast range of publishers, news sources and social networks to create touchscreen-enabled, swipe-friendly personalized magazines bolstered by a growing arsenal of customization tools, multimedia features and sharing options. The free Flipboard app also spearheaded a revolution in digital advertising, introducing full-page, click-through ads that emphasize both design sophistication and reader relevance.
Four years after hitting Apple's App Store, Flipboard boasts more than 100 million active readers and adds 250,000 to 300,000 users every day. The company touts direct partnerships with more than 8,000 publishers.
It's not the type of plane either Kent Brantly or Nancy Writebol likely planned to take home.
But when health officials evacuate the two American aid workers infected with Ebola in west Africa, it will be the plane they take.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has outfitted a Gulfstream jet with an isolation pod designed and built by the U.S. Defense Department, the CDC and a private company. The pod, officially called an Aeromedical Biological Containment System, is a portable, tent like device that ensures the flight crew and others on the flight remain safe from an infectious disease.
I had traveled from New York to Nairobi to learn how to do exactly this—to pay for things with a phone—and to understand why Kenya has gained a reputation as the mobile payments future. Almost everyone in the country uses M-pesa (M, for mobile;pesa is payment in Swahili) to transfer money from one phone to another via encrypted short message service, or SMS. In all, there are about 18.2 million active customers in a nation twice the size of Colorado.
Despite delusions of being an early adopter, I’d never used my phone to pay for anything, not even a macchiato at Starbucks. Also, though I believe myself well-traveled, I’d never even set foot in Africa. All to the better, my editors said; there were already too many self-styled experts on how East Africa was leapfrogging more mature economies on mobile payments. My mission was more grounded: survive a 10-day tour on a phone and nothing but a phone.
At Tesla, Popple could rely on early adopters eager to pay a premium for an electric car. As the new chief executive officer of Proterra, which makes an $850,000 electric bus, he’s got a tougher audience: municipal governments that are used to paying as little as $300,000 for a diesel-guzzler. They’re reluctant to invest so much in the promise of energy savings down the line. Proterra argues that the wait isn’t long. “We’ve seen paybacks against diesel and hybrids in as little as two years and as long as six years,” says Popple. He’s persuaded some powerful backers. On June 18 he announced a $40 million round of investment led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (where he remains a partner), GM Ventures (GM), and the Pritzker family’s Tao Invest, bringing Proterra’s total outside funding to $100 million.
Twice is one of many startups attempting to make the environmentally sound choice preferable and easy for consumers while making a profit in the process. The statistics driving these efforts are shocking: In the U.S., 90% of mobile devices are thrown away rather than recycled. Up to 40% of the food produced gets trashed. Americans junk some 12 million tons of textiles each year. “There’s no way we can continue to produce waste at the level that we are and survive on this planet,” says Adam Werbach, a co-founder of Yerdle, a site where people trade things they might otherwise throw out. “It really is much easier to click a button than it is to knock on your neighbor’s door.” And that is the convenience gap these enviro-preneurs hope to close.
“Cities tend to operate in silos,” says Judith Rodin, Rockefeller’s president. “And resilience is very much about building a systems approach. The idea is having a single post that really is integrating across systems--both within city government, but also between city government and other elements of the fabric of the community.”
The new CROs will think about how to prepare for natural disasters, but will also consider aspects of social and economic resilience. Rodin shares the example of New York after the recession; when Mayor Bloomberg realized the city was too reliant on the financial sector, he started working to bring in more tech companies. On the opposite coast, San Francisco is thinking about how to add more non-tech jobs so the city can try to stay strong if technology companies start to falter.
After running a global challenge last year, the Rockefeller Foundation narrowed down a list of 400 applicants to 100 winning cities across seven continents, and will start the program with a smaller group of 33. Some, like Ramallah, or Byblos, Lebanon, were very much at the beginning of their resilience planning, says Rodin. Others, like San Francisco and Rotterdam, have spent more time planning for disasters, and are well positioned to help create and test new technology that they can later share with other cities in the program.
Companies ranging from established giants such as IBM, SAS, and Microsoft to startups such as Tranzlogic and Kaggle offer affordable, cloud-based data-crunching services-which can help you get nondigitized data into data-crunchable form-and today virtually anyone can get his or her hands dirty in the great Big Data mud pile.
Businesses successfully mining Big Data are cross-referencing their internal information-pricing histories, customer traffic patterns-with multiple outside sources to increase revenue by understanding customers' behavior better, reducing costs by eliminating inefficiencies and human bias, strengthening client bonds by anticipating clients' needs, enriching service offerings with new knowledge, and giving employees new tools to perform their jobs better.
Metlife has been piloting insurance kiosks at Walmarts in a few states
“The initial screen requires the user to select from three options based on whom they are buying coverage for – themselves, a family member or as a gift. The next screen offers policies for four age groups – 18-44, 45-54, 55-59 and 60-65. Once the user selects the appropriate age group, the following screen presents two coverage amount options. Based on their inputs, the system notifies the user of the annual rate for their term policy and which color policy package to grab from the kiosk display.
The user then locates their designated colored box on the kiosk display, which contains a prepaid $5 card for the policy amount, and scans it at the store checkout. Once paid, the individual must call the firm to answer six health questions, with no medical exam required. If approved, individuals can activate the term life policy for a full year. Those who don't qualify can get a refund at Walmart."
August is one of America’s biggest travel months—when vacationers hit the road, the airport, or the beach—but getting away doesn’t necessarily mean getting away from it all. Consumer Reports’ 2014 survey of 1,044 American adults finds that 94 percent of travelers bring electronic devices on vacation. In many cases, that tagalong is a smart phone: Two out of three Americans take one on vacation. But that’s not all they carry. These days Americans take three devices along for the ride, on average, according to our survey.
What should be on your packing list? It depends on where you’re going and what you’re doing. If memorable vacation photos are important, for instance, you should consider toting a dedicated camera with a decent optical zoom and image stabilizer, features you’re not likely to get with a smart phone. If you need to keep kids in the backseat occupied, a tablet loaded with videos and games could provide a little peace and quiet. And if you’re contemplating lazy beach reads, a dedicated e-book reader that’s easy to read in the sun will serve you much better than a do-everything tablet.
This is one in a 2014 guest column series which builds on the one in 2009 where 50+ had written about how science/tech has evolved their hobby/interest.
This time it is Simon Griffiths. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa he has been in the enterprise software industry for 20 years. He works on global product marketing for international ERP vendor, SYSPRO. And on his gauge at home where he has recorded daily rainfall just almost as long.
To most people the word "meteorology" conjures up images of a TV presenter talking about current weather conditions and the forecast for the next few days. That portrays the wrong image of meteorology, it’s meteorology as entertainment rather than the science that it is.
Human societies have tried to forecast the weather probably since they started cultivating crops. The subject of meteorology was begun as far back as 350 BC when Aristotle gave it its name. The history of meteorology is an intriguing subject and .">.">summarized well. There are different branches of the subject – e.g., maritime, agricultural.
My introduction to meteorology was as a subject a university, but it was never something I considered too interesting. My views began to change in my final year when one of my lecturers suggested that there was a research job for a company that was seeding clouds in eastern South Africa. As I had no other employment lined up, I applied for the job, and shortly afterwards, got it. That was in 1979.
The job brought me closer to meteorology than ever before – it was a case of academic discussions becoming practical. I launched weather balloons, tracked and recorded the soundings from the transmitter on the balloons, and got to understand the process of forecasting from the company meteorologist. During the summer rainy season I worked on the weather radar and watched how clouds moved and developed in real-time. I even found it interesting to learn about the intricacies of cloud physics, which had been too theoretical for me before. Within 18 months, I could act like an expert and gauge the distance of a storm just by looking at it.
While I was there, and afterwards, the company was featured in several media reports about its cloud seeding work, unfortunately the only website that still has a valid link is to a BBC TV program called The Rainmaker. The Economist also wrote an article called "Cloudbusting", published on 21st August 1999. There were later academic articles about it, such as a report in the American Meteorological Society journal in September 1996.
It was also where I got my first exposure to computing. The company was very data-oriented – as much as it could be then. Its weather radar was linked to a Data General mini-computer where we could record and store the profile of thunderstorms. A particle-measuring laser probe was added to the wingtip of one of the aircraft to get detailed data on atmospheric particles. From one of the particle scans we could clearly see a snow crystal, which lead me to joke that I had seen snow in summer. I learnt to program there, writing programs in Basic and FORTRAN, as a kind of apprentice to the technical director, an ex-US Navy and NASA engineer. During my time the computer was upgraded, and we got new removable disk drives that could hold a whopping five megabytes of data – a lot in those days.
While I was working there in 1980, I was told about one of the great technological marvels of meteorology, the Cray super-computer at NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) in Boulder, Colorado. This was a machine that cost millions of dollars and could compute calculations at a then incredible rate; and it was housed in a special super-cooled environment. These days, the average smartphone has more computing power than that Cray.
The fact that I was introduced to computers while doing meteorological work should not come as a great surprise. Meteorology and technology have been closely linked in recent decades. Computing power is what it takes to do the mass of complex calculations required for a forecast. The two main elements of forecasting are data from observed measurements (wind, temperature, pressure), and the application of physical laws of the atmosphere. A further complication is that while the atmosphere is governed by the laws of physics, the Earth’s weather is a chaotic, non-linear system – in simple English that means it is highly sensitive to initial conditions, and the output is not proportional to the input. That is why a major challenge has always been making accurate weather forecasts for a reasonable period into the future.
Until the advent of computers, it was practically impossible to do this to any great scale. These days we take it for granted that major weather forecasting services use computers to do their numerical forecasting.
Another revolution has been the use of satellite imagery to back up weather forecasting. Until the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) satellites of the 1970s, we could only observe the atmosphere via land- or sea-based weather stations, and then create synoptic charts as a guide to what the weather was doing. Now we can use both to show what the weather is like. This was recently born out to me when there was a warning of a major cold front approaching South Africa.
Only a few years ago, we got our weather news from the radio, TV or newspapers. Now people have apps on their smartphones like AccuWeather and can get hourly information geo-located to their position.
Despite all the incredible technological advances in the last fifty years, meteorologists can still only forecast with any accuracy for a few days into the future, and are known to get even that wrong. I wonder what advances will happen in the next fifty years.
During my visit to Oracle HQ in Redwood Shores this past week I wondered how they had managed to get the America’s Cup boat all the way from the docks to the lake in the campus. How did it manage the traffic on Hwy 101 for one? :)
Sergio Segal, a resident of the city and with even more curiosity than I have had spent hours watching and photographing the helicopter transporting the boat, the mantling and dismantling of the massive crane which hoisted it in place and the end result.
He told me he thought Sheedy Dryage was the contractor. I can believe it. Its website says it is “capable of performing almost any hoisting, rigging, or hauling task efficiently and safely”
John Sontag has seen the future—or at least Hewlett-Packard’s version of it. Sontag, vice president and director of Systems Research at HP Labs, has been in charge of the team developing “The Machine,” an experimental piece of computing hardware that HP executives hope will be the template upon which the future of networked computing is built. In an interview with Ars, Sontag explained how the core technologies of The Machine—memristor-based memory and low-cost silicon-to-optic interfaces—will change the shape of computing.
The Machine is a hyper-dense collection of computing hardware that could be used in anything from a data center to a mobile device. It has terabytes of storage and a much smaller power draw than today’s computing devices—all because of memristor-based memory and optical interconnects.
Thinner, stronger, and more flexible than materials now on the market, graphene is ideal for wearable devices like smartwatches and for tablets that can fold into the size of a smartphone.
“We will someday see an era where mobile devices will truly become flexible—easily folded and unfolded—and that’s when we’ll need graphene,” says Claire Kim, a Seoul-based analyst at Daishin Securities.
The first companies to commercialize graphene technology in mobile devices will have an advantage over the rest of the industry, she says.
Oracle invited me to moderate a panel in their DaaS launch today. Watch the whole hour for some great perspectives on this exciting new market category, and our panel starting around 26.00.
Talking to Steve Miranda and Omar Tawakol before and after I got even more excited about the concept
a) There is a new generation of data asset entrepreneurs like Omar (whose company, BlueKai Oracle acquired) who are about separating signal from noise– under NDA I have been briefed by other entrepreneurs focused on supply chain, HR and other DaaS. Scary smart folks.
b) Watching Omar talk about all the social and other marketing data feeds, Steve talking about feeds from machines and wearables, you realize we are not anymore in the Kansas of internal, structured data so many companies are still heavily invested in
c) How rapidly business and deployment models are changing. While the old model of “buy hardware, install software, load data, clean for quality – pay for all that” is not going away the speed of getting started with and the economics of DaaS are going to be compelling
d) How effortlessly Oracle with its decades of data management experience and horizontal and vertical application knowledge could play in a wide range of DaaS categories.
We’re standing in a cavernous airplane hangar not far from the United Technologies headquarters in Hartford, Conn. In a couple of hours Chênevert will be hosting the company’s annual investors conference, and the building is filled with impressively huge displays of the conglomerate’s well-known industrial brands. Nearby is a Sikorsky S‑76D helicopter, an SUV-like 13-passenger aircraft favored by the energy industry for ferrying workers out to oil platforms. Not far away is a Carrier industrial air-conditioning system powerful enough to keep an entire office complex chilled. And then there’s the drivetrain of an Otis elevator — similar to the ones that will be hoisting the 50 double-decker elevators in the 117-story Goldin Finance building under construction in Tianjin, China, and expected to open in 2016.
To Chênevert, however, the star of the show is the newest jet engine from Pratt & Whitney (yet another venerable United Technologies business unit).
If this narrative sounds familiar, that’s because it is: companies have been promising the dawn of the smart home–a futuristic dwelling full of gadgets working seamlessly to satisfy your every whim–since the ’50s. Yet early efforts failed to deliver because of clunky tech and consumer wariness.
SmartThings, which launched in 2012, has arrived amid a legitimate sea change in home automation. In the past few years, the rise of cloud computing has made it easier than ever to build gadgets that connect to the so-called Internet of Things, meaning they can be monitored and controlled from afar, usually with their own smartphone app. There’s also been an uptick in the production of sensors and devices that enable you to smartify objects that are dumb. (Think plugging a desk lamp into an adapter controlled by your phone, or rigging a door with a motion detector that pings you about intruders.) By 2018, the research firm IHS Technology predicts, people will have installed 45 million smart-home services. “We’re really starting to see major volume here,” says Lisa Arrowsmith, an IHS associate director. “It’s an exciting time.”