Co-opetition How can a new small company quickly establish leverage over its competitors? One way…
It’s Still a Tower of Babble Privacy and Security Remain the Thorniest Problems I want…
Five years ago, I wrote a post on this blog disparaging the state of the Internet of Things/home automation market as a “Tower of Proprietary Babble.” Vendors of many different home and industrial product offerings were literally speaking different languages, making their products inoperable with other complementary products from other vendors. The market was being constrained by its immaturity and a failure to grasp the importance of open standards. A 2017 Verizon report concluded that “an absence of industry-wide standards…represented greater than 50% of executives concerns about IoT. Today I can report that finally, the solutions and technologies are beginning to come together, albeit still slowly.
The term “Internet of Things” (IoT) is being loosely tossed around in the media. But…
LinkedIn shares yesterday plummeted precipitously after the company announced poorer than expected results, and downgraded prospects for the remainder of the year. Looking beyond the downgraded forecast and the costs associated with the $1.5 Billion acquisition of lynda.com, some analysts scrutinizing the press release, noted that there was no growth reported in the user base of “over 350 million users”, despite moves into China and other markets. Premium user revenue grew significantly but that did not come near to offsetting the total revenue number. Revenue and number of users are the two numbers followed most closely by investment analysts.
LinkedIn’s recent acquisitions have been noted as a LinkedIn strategy for compensating for flat overall user growth, and for diversifying into new markets to augment growth.
As some may already know, Google is launching its Fi mobile phone service in the United States, and with aggressive expansion plans, hopefully, into Canada and Europe. Google has partnered with Sprint and T-Mobile in the United States. But the intriguing aspect of this new business is Google’s intent to offload phone service to WiFi wherever possible. This prospect has been looming in the wings for awhile, with the talk of true Metro-scale WiFi using VHF white space, and Google’s innovative experiments with “Loon Balloon,” (see my earlier post), and with low orbiting satellite WiFi coverage. Whether these risky and expensive experiments will materialize is another question. However, the prospect of wider area, stronger signal metro WiFi continues to move forward. Google’s hybrid approach using both mobile service frequencies and WiFi to provide full mobile voice and data service is beginning to sound very interesting.
I met today with Ali Kashani and Janice (pronounced “Janeece”) Cheam of Energy Aware in their offices in Chinatown, East Vancouver. Ali is a UBC Vancouver Engineering Ph.D, and Janice is a Sauder “BComm” graduate. Together, they are the brains behind Energy Aware’s novel approach to the “hairball” of the Internet of Things. I began our meeting as a skeptic, and came away impressed with their approach, their market savvy, their chemistry as a team, and the big name partners they have already attracted.
Recently there have been a number of reports that Apple’s release of its new operating system, iO7, had caused unexpected problems for battery life in most older iPhones. Another way of saying this, is what a mobile phone salesman at The Waterfront, in downtown Vancouver said to me, “Everybody wants there phones to do too much stuff!” His comment came after I had bought one of the new external batter boosters for my smartphone. An entirely new accessory market has opened up, selling extended battery life for you phone, when you are not able to use your charger. This is not a real or long term solution. As many of my students know, battery life and heat dissipation on the microchips are among the most important areas of technology research today. It is also worth noting that this problem has also led to advances in the Universal Serial Bus (USB) architecture which are also likely to help address the problem of power and energy efficiency technology devices..
It has dawned on me that an entirely new Mega Multidimensional War of Titans is developing, entirely separate and distinct from the mobile smartphone Multidimensional Mega War of Titans. In many ways this new industry war may be more strategic, larger and more valuable than the smart phone war. The emerging new battleground is the Mega Global War of the Internet of Everything. The global players in this newly developing war are well known names in high technology: ARM, Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Intel, and Qualcomm, not to mention a new class of players like The Zigbee Alliance, Honeywell and a host of others. A number of small Canadian companies are also in the thick of this.
ZigBee is fighting for its place in the internet of things against Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy and Z-wave. It has to overcome fragmentation, sneak into user’s homes and keep Bluetooth at bay. Can it do all three.
Poor ZigBee. As a wireless standard, it has long faced an identity crisis that pitted it against Wi-Fi in the home and proprietary standards or Bluetooth for low-data rates. But as companies such as Comcast embrace the connected home and thanks to anacquisition last year, the standard could get its day in the sun and a place in the home.