The Internet of Things & Design

The Internet of Things has taken society by storm over these past several years. Technology has advanced in more ways than most could have imagined in a seemingly short period of time. Developers have been so engrossed in product network connectivity and automation, that what we’re experiencing now is a lack in product design. The level of sophistication that we’re seeing in our technology requires an even greater consideration when it comes to product design. The Harvard Business Review recently released an article which reflects on the current this compromise between the Internet of Things and product design.   Society has become so accustomed to efficiency in service since the surplus of on-demand apps. Developers are aiming to please those consumers, and bring that same automation and efficiency into their homes, thus, home automation has been rapidly expanding over these past few years. From network connected refrigerators to voice service products that control your home security system, the level of technological expertise is nothing short of brilliant.   The Amazon Echo, which has been referred to as an “intelligent personal assistant”, is a voice service product designed to control various systems in your home. While certainly an ideal concept, the Amazon Echo is the perfect reflection of imbalance between the Internet of Things and design. For one, the Amazon Echo is a cylinder shaped speaker, that, while transportable, isn’t the ideal when you think of an “intelligent personal assistant”. The ideal here would be smaller devices, stationed throughout that home that extend for wider ranges, or more simply through the consumer’s mobile device. There’s a certain level of sophistication...

MWC 2016 in Barcelona

Inspiring Innovations at MWC 2016 in Barcelona The mobile industry is characterized by startling innovations followed by rapid changes. This continues to create a myriad of opportunities for both industry leaders and consumers. The MWC 2016 showcased the current and future direction of the global mobile industry; introduced cutting edge technological developments, key growth areas, new non-traditional services and offered strategies for future growth. The Panos Petropoulos blog gives you a quick glimpse of the most intriguing aspects of this year’s mobile congress.    A Mobile Industry Characterized by Rapid Change The MWC 2016 highlights ways in which unstructured data collected by machines can be used, analyzed and drive advances in the field through the IoT. The Internet of Things or loT is an amazing system of connected computer devices that are both natural and artificial with unique identifiers, equipped for data transfer over a network without traditional human-to-computer or human-to-human contact. 4G and 5G technology can be used to boost the potential of the loT system and give consumers a better and more varied portfolio of services. New strides in virtual reality headsets for smartphones that enables users to immerse themselves in an amazing gaming or video experience were also introduced during the mobile congress. With increasing consumer demand driving a more intuitive experience design, virtual reality is set to play an increasingly important role in the future of the mobile industry. Additionally, advances in utilizing femtocells that are small base stations, in tandem with 5G technology for cellular systems is another exiting area that was touched on at the mobile industry event. Utilizing fem cells in 5G infrastructure could...

The Age On Social Media

Last month bbc.com released an article, Safer Internet Day: Young ignore ‘social media age limit’, which discusses the varying perspectives on how young should children be subjected to social media. Often times when parents think of social media, it holds a negative connotation for them. In a survey from CBBC Newsround, as depicted in the article, “More than three-quarters of children aged 10 to 12 in the UK have social media accounts, even though they are below the age limit,”. The study was conducted in partnership with the UK celebration, Safer Internet Day, which took place on February 9th. The UK Safer Internet Centre launched the event in efforts to to promote safe and responsible usage of digital technology amongst our youth. In partnership with over a thousand organisations, UK Safer Internet Centre gives schools the opportunity to explore these issues with students through films and education packs. Most social media platforms set their age restrictions at 13 and over, predominantly due to a US law called Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act which prohibits operators of websites or online services from collecting personal information on children under 13 online. The study depicted in that article goes on to share that of the 1,200 people surveyed, between the ages of 10-18, 49% of children under 13 claimed to be users of Facebook. What’s unfortunate about the situation at hand is that children can lie about their age, as proof is rarely required. These social media platforms are regulated to an extent, but children are still subjected to vulgar and offensive language. What’s becoming increasingly common amongst young teens on these...

Amazon Sets Their Eyes on Brick and Mortar Retailing

Online retail giant Amazon is planning to open hundreds of bookstores across the country. The decision comes after the company’s success of its first store in Seattle just last year. Recent news has shaken competitors Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million Inc., which have both spent years building up their retail presence throughout the country. Experts speculate on the possible ramifications this move can have on such companies, wondering whether either company can stay afloat. The E-commerce giant has already established its presence in the book market retailing online, and one can only wonder what it can do once its brick and mortar stores finally open up. Amazon reportedly plans to open 300-400 new stores nationwide according to Fox Business. This strategy is not new for online retailers, in fact, Amazon joins an ever growing trend. Online retailers such as eyeglass seller Warby Parker, beauty subscription service Birchbox, and online fashion store Bonobos, have all expanded into the physical stores. As mentioned before, the online retailer has experimented with this move before. Just in 2014, Amazon launched an online physical bookstore in partnership with leading Italian bookstore chain Giunti. “You’ve got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400,” said General Growth Properties CEO Sandeep Mathrani. Although the number is substantial, sources believe Mathrani may have gotten his figures from Amazon real estate executives. Amazon may model its stores’ business model after its Seattle store. The store carries thousands of books that are chosen based off of Amazon’s customer reviews, ratings, and of course, book popularity. The Seattle store also sells Amazon’s...

France, Is It The New Epicenter For Tech?

In a blog post last month, I covered the world renowned technology trade show, CES 2016. Thousands of professionals from around the world gathered in Las Vegas to showcase their latest technology. Of the 3,800 exhibitors at this year’s show, a substantial amount of those were startup companies. Eureka Park, the startup destination at CES, welcomed over 500 companies this year, compared to 375 in 2015. 2016 CES showcased a number of startups from France this year, of the participating 500 startups, 130 of them were French. TechCrunch recently released an article reflecting on these companies, French Startups Are Also Taking Over CES. TechCrunch attributes the growth of these French startups to La French Tech, which is backed by the government to improve the startup community. Fortune.com released an article following CES 2016 claiming “France Is Tech’s Unexpected Powerhouse”. Of the 165 most innovative companies, from CES Unveiled, 45 came from France. So what did we see from France at this year’s show that has everyone talking? 10-Vins released their “Nespresso-style espresso brewing” wine machine at CES last month. The D-Vine “brews” single-serve pours of wine from specifically selected wineries by 10-Vins. Similarly to a coffee pod, the vial is placed in the machine and in 30 seconds pours a glass of wine at the proper temperature based on individual microchips. 10-Vins claims that the microchips on each of their vials signal to the machine how to decant each glass of wine, which to 10-Vins co-founder Thibaut Jarrousse, “is very complicated to get right.” Another company at the forefront of the French spotlight, which I found rather resourceful, was...

Staying Ahead of the Curb: Useful Tips to Follow When Venturing Into Emerging Markets

Emerging markets are starting 2016 in a rough patch. According to Bloomberg, global investors and companies have pulled over $735 Billion out of emerging markets in the past year. Unfortunately for them, predictions aren’t forecasting any signs of improvement. The Institute for International Finance predicts that up $350 Billion will be withdrawn from developing countries in the coming year. A slump in commodity prices, rising American interest rates, as well as skepticism over China’s slow economic growth, have driven investors to place their capital elsewhere. “We’ve seen massive outflows from emerging markets to the benefit of Europe and Japan,” said Ibra Wane, a Paris-based senior equity strategist at Amundi Asset Management. As an investor or entrepreneur looking to invest in emerging markets, current economic forecasts for these markets can seem a bit deterring. Fear not though, venturing into new markets can always be a bit scary for investors, especially when predictions seem so bleak. Successfully breaking into emerging markets requires a substantial amount of due diligence, and a true understanding of the economic landscape you’re venturing into. Entrepreneur.com discusses some very important tips and strategies that can help entrepreneurs navigate through unfamiliar waters. We will be covering some of those strategies in this article. What is Consumer Consumption like in these Markets? If you are introducing a new product into an emerging market, it’s important to study their consumer culture. Is consumer consumption strong, steady, or weak ? Is the economy generally strong enough to stir consumerism, or does it still lack that capability. Investors should look to conduct business in economies that don’t hold gross economic disparities between...