Thursday, September 27, 2012

Factory of the Future

 The world is getting smaller. Technology has made our world faster, cheaper more responsive to change and, you guessed it,  smaller. Behold the new face of manufacturing the 3-D printer. Now, the 3-D printer has been around for a while, however, with recent advancements in 3-D printing technology the printer is cheaper and more effective. early models could only form 3-D models of resins and plastics, new models can print metals like steel, silver and even materials like ceramic and wood. In the future every mass produced object from cars to plastic key chains to furniture could be manufactured using 3-D printing technology. Traditional manufacturing used a method of subtractive processing where as materials where taken away i.e. drilling, molding etc,. What makes 3-D printing so exciting is it cheapens the process by using additive processing by where by layer of layer of material is formed to make a three dimensional model. This process removes the need for assembling parts from individual processes. For example an entire car could just merely be printed rather than each individual part be molded and then put together; no parts, no rivets, just one whole piece. Any entrepreneur with just a three dimensional design, and a few thousand bucks, could manufacture a product with little to no help.

This technology is cheap. The average 3-D printer costs about $1500 to $5000. Compare that to the average piece of factory equipment and you can see why the technology is so promising. Literally anything can be made with just a 3-D computer design. In fact recently a gunsmith manufactured an AR-15 with a 3-D printer. This huge leap in scientific advancement has many over-arching repercussions to consider. One being the manufacture of weapons by anyone in the privacy of their own home, Ted Kaczynski 2020? Furthermore, where will these leave the worlds unskilled labor force if manpower is no longer needed due to the ease of production. Businesses are becoming smaller and smaller, like the rest of our world, and with the evolution of business and manufacturing many will have to adapt greatly to overcome. This new technology opens the door for a great many of possiblities both good and bad I think it will be interesting to watch it's development.                                                   
Factory of the Future

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Coming Mobile Business Revolution

Mobile is changing everything. From the time we wake up, to the time we go to bed we are constantly using our mobile devices. In many ways they have become an extension of ourselves. Not only is this mobile revolution changing the way we live it is changing the way we do business. You can just look at the app market which in the last few years has become a multi-billion dollar business. Furthermore, many businesses, namely those monetizing through advertising, are struggling to stay above water in combating the growing trend. Even companies like Facebook are struggling to define their place in a  growing mobile market.

My day started like most anyone else. My phone's alarm sounded, waking me up to my favorite Bowie song. I quickly jumped out of bed hit my workout app and started today's days routine. Afterwards, I jumped in the shower while listening to my "shower" playlist, mostly motivational gems like "Eye of the Tiger." I got the kids ready and ate, while scrolling through my Twitter and looking for news. We checked the bus schedule through the Columbia Transit site and the kids played an educational app while we waited for the bus. Your day may have started slightly different but with one theme uniting us, our mobile devices have begun to define who we are. Our interests, our work, our day to day activities are all directly reflected through our phones and the apps we use on a daily basis.

This mobile business revolution with its focus on apps has become big money for a great many of businesses, but has shaken up even one time industry leaders and forced them to adapt to survive. Facebook is a major player that has been adversely effected.  The app industry is slated to become a two billion dollar industry in 2012, a hefty feat considering it is only a two year old concept. Many of these apps are raking in money through advertisers fees and paid subscriptions the app gaming company Zynga is slated to be worth $100 million. To put that in perspective it took Google three years to break even and become profitable. Facebook has been one of the largest companies struggling to keep up. Facebook makes the majority of its revenue from ad revenue posting advertisements on it's site. However, Facebook can not effectively advertise on the smaller screen of mobile devices and with a majority of people now accessing their Facebooks from a mobile device this makes a huge problem for the site to remain profitable.

So, how can businesses stay afloat and capitalize on this growing market? Companies need to become mobile. Just like companies in the late 90's and early 2000's moved to websites to stay relevant companies in the 10's need to develop apps or in the least optimize their websites to be mobile browser friendly and optimize to advertise while still being user friendly. Technology is moving at such a fever pace no one is safe from the effects of stagnation if Facebook does not quickly and effectively find a way to capitalize on the growing mobile revolution they may to find themselves in the anal's of history. 
The Coming Mobile Business Revolution

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Next Big Identity Threat

If you're the average person your phone holds your life. Schedules, appointments, reminders, personal pictures, notes, your favorite music, banking information, etc; New features being championed by credit card companies would even turn your phone into a credit card. This has made the cell phone a prime target for hackers and identity thieves alike. Most phones, however, offer little in the way of security make your phone a prime target.

If you're like me you have apps galore. Everything from Facebook and Twitter to Evernote, Pandora and everything in between. Most of us live our lives off our phones. From the alarm that wakes us up in the morning to the playlist that puts us to sleep at night. So much of our identity is stored to our phones and identity thieves want access. With many phones connecting directly to our content with out passwords for easy access, a cell phone in a thief or hacker's hands could be devastating.

What's more cell phone providers, credit card companies, Google and Paypal are rushing to push apps which could potentially give thieves direct access to our bank accounts. MasterCard, Citibank and Google have teamed up to bring you Google Wallet , which works anywhere that accepts MasterCard Paypass and would allow you to swipe your phone just like a Paypass card. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile also have a similar app Isis in the works. These all work on what is called a NFC, near field communication, chip. The technology does seem like a promising development for the future of commerce, however, with few firewalls on phones to prevent catastrophe it may not prove to be viable.

The smart phone killed the phone as we once knew it. When cell phones first become popular most people had it glued to their ears or spent their time frantically texting away. However, with the rise of the data revolution many users spend much more time on the internet on their phones than actually talking to people. In fact most of us spend more time talking to our friends via facebook on our phone than actually directly talking our texting them. Many developers had that in mind and many operating systems are dangerously without protection. Like computers you can buy virus protection for your mobile device but few people actually do. Which leaves the devices open for security breeches. With added security issues mobile developers should evolve to take greater steps to provide security for their customers but if not people need to take security into their own hands. You have been warned.

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The Next Big Identity Threat

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kinect Sesame Street allows Kids to Interact With Show

Ever watched your kid jump and down and talk at your TV during Sesame Street like Elmo and company are really listening? Well, now they are. Microsoft and Sesame Street have teamed up to bring Kinect Sesame Street to kids across the nation. The plan is to uses the  Kinect for Xbox 360 to allow children to interact with the show. Instead of merely watching kids will be allowed to actively answer questions, communicate and interact with what is going on in the show. This could help be a boon for Sesame Street which is using the device to develop more interactive content for their television programming. The current Kinect Sesame Street offers only episodes from last season but will offer more episodes in the future and the shows direction will move towards more interactive content. The use of the Kinect for Sesame Street could have further implications for other children's programming and classrooms as a whole.

The Kinect Sesame Street allows children to communicate with what they are seeing in ways they never have before. The program, which is available next week, allows kids to throw balls back and forth with Elmo, count coconuts on with Grover, even communicate with on screen characters who react to what the child says. Sesame Street already has a host of apps, but this will be their first attempt at integrating their television content with your child's interactions.

What Sesame Street hopes to accomplish with this is an active learning environment for your child. With the television being a passive medium many children do not retain information by simply watching. However, through the act of participating with these programs the children are opened up to a more effective learning environment. Other educational programs could soon follow suit. Nat Geo WILD also has a plan in the works.

The impact could reach beyond television and into the classroom. The technology could allow for more advanced subjects to be taught through one-on-one interactive learning allowing individual students and classrooms to receive hands on interactive education. What are your thoughts? Is this something you would buy for your child and what do you think the further implications of this could be?

Kinect Sesame Street allows Kids to Interact With Show

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Nintendo's New TVii Puts Google TV On Notice

Nintendo has just released word of its new WiiU console and already pre-orders for the system are selling out. That's because once again Nintendo has out done itself and changed the way we interact with video games, even entertainment as a whole. The new Tvii for WiiU blows Google's Google TV out of the water by successfully integrating TV and Internet in a unique and user friendly experience. This development is huge and is likely the reason WiiU is already selling like hotcakes. The WiiU will come in two different specifications.One a white 8 GB device retailing at 299.99; the other a black 32 GB device retailing at 349.99. As can be seen above the WiiU comes with a tablet like controller that features a touchscreen. Like the Wii controllers this controller uses motion control and for multiplayer the Wii nunchuck controllers can still be used. The new Tvii feature, however, is truly what sets the device apart. Tvii integrates Hulu, Netflix, Tivo and your current cable providers content into one searchable location and then plays it on your television. No changing inputs required and works no matter who your cable provider may be. Tivo, as of right now may be the only DVR that Nintendo is working with, however, Nintendo indicates that may soon change. To show furthermore that they had pulled out all of the stops, while watching your favorite show, movie or sporting event the WiiU controller displays information and stats about what you are watching. This feature is most impressive when watching sports, giving you a breakdown of stats field position and other games. It even categorizes games in order of your personal preference. In all the WiiU looks pretty damn exciting and I personally can't wait to get my hands on one. Tell me what you think. What's your favorite thing about the new WiiU?

Nintendo\'s New TVii Puts Google TV On Notice
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