One category of mobile device will blow away all others in the pace of its growth, expanding 70% in each of the next three years and yielding a $135 billion market by the end of 2015. Vendors will move 142 million units of this device in 2013 and up to 402 million by 2015, project analysts at Barclays. That's more than three times the…
CES 2012 is already closing in on us fast.
Last year I wrote some unique blog posts about items I found while wondering the floor at CES. I did not restrict myself to just electronic gadgets like phones and media players, but I enjoyed seeing the future with appliances, entertainment systems for the home and other ways that innovative technology is (and will be) changing our daily lives. So, before I make the drive, I wanted to pass along some buzz items I stumbled upon on the Internet, which are innovative consumer products.
The first comes from Daniel Chin who is the person behind the HyperDrive and HyperJuice product line. His new product is called CloudFTP and its simply a device which when attached to a USB storage device creates a private WiFi so you can access your files wirelessly. This would give you the ability to have media stored on a large drive in your house, yet access it via your iPhone, iPad or Android device quite easily. Although its really a new product in its first iteration, this seems to carry the aurora of the kind of innovation CES likes to promote. In fact it received a CES Innovations Award – Design and Engineering Showcase Honors. Retail price is 99.00 and a link to a video and information about the company is below.
TAGG the Pet Tracker System:
Where is the dog? No longer will you have to ask the family this when you can use Tagg The Pet Tracker. This device uses a GPS transmitter to keep tabs on where your pooch has wandered off to. Need I say more? Those of you who are all too familiar with coming home from work and needing to drive around the neighborhood to track down the location of your dog (or cat) can simply whip out your handheld device or log onto your computer and you instantly can see where the dog is. Battery life goes for 30 days and even texts you when the battery is low. Retail price for the system on their web site is about $99 and you would then subscribe to their services for the tracking features to work. I found a $7.95 per month fee on their website.
Basis band (wellness monitor)
I’m starting to see more traction with consumers on the heart rate monitors and sleep monitors coming out and promiantly displayed at Best Buy. This one is even more unique. Not yet released to the public but coming quite soon, the Basis Band comes from a company called BASIS. Their device tracks your heart rate, sleep, caloric burn, and body temperature. They also have what is called a Galvanic Skin Response, which tracks the intensity levels of your workout through sweat. It does a lot and all on the wrist! No straps! The cost per the CEO of Basis is $199.00. It connects to a cloud service (no information that I can find on how this works for them) but you also can download the data metrics from the device to your computer (which would run with their software services I would hope.) Definitely an area to investigate. I will plan to see them at the show.
More to come!
LINKS TO THE STUFF ABOVE:
I came across an app similar to GASBUDDY called “Sit or Squat.” That’s right. You heard me. Now finding a bathroom, potty, abode, or whatever you call it can happen in the palm of your hand. And you can help your fellow citizen by even identifying, rating, and naming public bathrooms you have expereienced. Talk about social networking. According to their website they have 114995 toilets logged.
Where has this been our whole lives! Especially in Manhattan.
The app and subsequent website are a partnership with Proctor and Gamble specifically created to help to connect with their Charmin customers. Not a bad concept except for one thing – when was the last time you had Charmin in a public rest room?
I suggest you check it out. Availble on iPhone.
Their website is http://www.sitorsquat.com and they are also in the itunes store.
Kids today may look back and reminisce to their children about that company their parents and grandparents loved so much called Kodak. At least if that is what we believe is happening to one of the most iconic brands of the 20th Century. Los Angeles Times’ Michael Hiltzik’s column this past week talks frankly about the eminent demise of the Rochester, NY company, alluding to the talk about its possible filing for Chapter 11. While the company is still solid today (as of this writing) it’s not too far fetched to say Kodak may not survive the continued technology changes and innovations in how people remember “moments” (no pun intended there.) Their primary business market is almost non-existent today. (SEE LINK TO LA TIMES COLUMN BELOW and PLEASE READ!)
This got me wondering. How can we learn from the past and look at the future with technology companies? IBM comes to mind as a past technology company who’s current business is dramatically different. They survived. Another company, Polaroid, was a competitor in the non-digital camera business to Kodak – but they are reinvented (although smaller) into another unique company. Zenith TV – remember them?
But could this happen to one of today’s powerhouse companies? Could we see Apple in the same light 100+ years from now? Microsoft?
Can Kodak re-invent itself once again to be a player in the consumer “memories capture” playground? Stay tuned.
Talk about big brother. In the last few months we were shocked to learn that our iPhones and Android phones were constantly tracking our phone location and keeping this information in a “safe” place on our Smart Phones. OK, were you really surprised? I think those of us in the Google world were not surprised. I think the average iPhone owner may have been more surprised (as the demographic of the iPhone user is usually anti-big brother/anti Google.) But the realization showed us that the business of providing telecommunication technology includes the massing of information about the users. As a user who gave his life over to Google (I’m embedded with GMail, calendar, and contacts) my HTC EVO 4G smartphone is an incredibly useful smartphone.
So, while I was shocked about the data collection, I assumed it was happening – in some form. I tried to actually turn off the location services on my smartphone, but I quickly learned that many of the features of the phone become useless. Interestingly in the last few weeks my Android OS was upgraded.
Now I see my “location” icon is showing as “ON” on the toolbar above even though GPS is off (maybe Google felt guilty about tracking locations without telling us.) But to keep on my topic:
Recently I came across this article in the New York Times: “Projects Use Phone Data to Track Public Services” by Joshua Brustein talks about how this data (assumed not identifiable) is being “mined” to see patterns which can help with giving information to users to identify when a subway is coming to your station or buses are running. The article is fascinating. It shows us the power of “the data.” What I mean is when we amass large data sets and add in our human imagination, sometimes the results are incredibly powerful. In the case of the article, if you monitor an anonymous smartphone, plot its GPS location along with its signal strength (where its radio/cell loses service and then comes back) you begin to see patterns showing where users are going underground (thus losing signal) then popping up somewhere else when they come back onto the cellular grid. If these two points (the actual GPS locations) are plotted in locations where you have train services, the resulting data shows you a narrative of a subway experience. The article can explain it better and I highly recommend you read it.
A recent blog posting by Olga Kharif and Serena Saitto on the Bloomberg website states that Google is in plans to test a payment system using their Android OS and VeriFone Systems Inc.’s pay point machines. While all this information comes from a “close source” and is not being verified by either Google or VeriFone, its does show there to be a potential for growth for the VeriFone folks. In reviewing their 10-k SEC filing, its evident in their statements that about 50-60% of their annual revenue is mostly derived from over overseas sales. This is attributed to the high penetration in the US of electronic payment machines as well as the requirements from foreign governments for more sophisticated systems to ensure VAT (Value Added Tax) and Sales Taxes are being collected (and thus paid to the governments.) If the news about the tests with VeriFone Systems and Google are true, its seeming like a good thing for VeriFone to help setup this NFC infrastructure and tap open this US market for the next generation of electronic pay systems.
As I blogged about a few months ago, NFC – Near Field Communication – is a type of RF technology which allows a fast burst of data to go from one unit to another unit when they are placed close together. You may have heard about RFID (R – F – ID) technology already in use. Some of our debit cards have this where you can touch the card to the Credit Card machine when checking out and your payment information is moved through the device to the terminal for payments. Embedded in the debit card is a chip which is passive (sleeping) but awakes when waved near the credit card reader. The reader then begins a communication with the chip, which includes an authorization process and ends with your debit account information being sent to the Credit Card machine. Its the easiest way to describe the process. We’ve all been using this type of technology: Mobile Speed Pass; E-Z Pass for those of you in the Toll Highway states; the card your employer gave you to get you into the building is also a type of RFID technology.
So imagine doing this with your cell phone, which is much different than Mobile Speed Pass, E-Z Pass, and your credit cards. This is because your mobile is connected to the internet and the mobile phone network.
Keep your eyes peeled for announcements to come. I think in the long run making commerce more streamlined will help the consumer avoid fraud (and put more money in our pockets.) Oh and let’s not forget – Apple and iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 is rumored to have NFC mobile hardware built in to the phone. Rumored….
The post I refer to is here:
Bloomberg Blog Post – Google Is Said to Test Mobile-Payment System With VeriFone – By Olga Kharif and Serena Saitto