I usually do the interviewing but this time Eric Stromquist and Kenneth Smyers from ControlTrends turned the microphone and camera on me. Check out the video below.
I usually do the interviewing but this time Eric Stromquist and Kenneth Smyers from ControlTrends turned the microphone and camera on me. Check out the video below.
Those of you familiar with my background know that it is in real estate technology. Those of you that understand my present passion know that it is in disruptive technologies, most of them enabled by the Internet of things.
June 21-24, 2016 I attended RealComm/IBCon 2016, the world’s largest real estate technology conference. During the conference I had the opportunity to meet and talk to the most brilliant thought leaders in real estate. A few of them stepped in front of the lens to share their views and the videos were posted on my Facebook page. Here they are for you to browse.
If you like a video, click through to the clip on Facebook and let me know via the comments on the video. Enjoy!
The flight is the most symbolic to date in the Solar Impulse around the world mission, which is to show the world the possibilities of clean energy technologies.
The Statue of Liberty symbolizes American liberty, fought for in a new frontier and enabled by a new form of government created by risk taking pilgrims, colonizers, explorers and pioneers. Today clean energy is the uncharted frontier and technology is the enabler.
It is an amazing reality that Solar Impulse pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg can fly indefinitely using only the power of the sun if weather and limitations of human endurance allowed. They, like pilgrims, have taken great risk to try something else. They, like colonizers, have developed the foundation, this one of clean energy technology, for others to build upon. They, like explorers, have foraged into the unknown on a mission that literally changes with every shift of the wind. They, like pioneers, have tirelessly pursued their vision with hard work, passion and optimism.
Lady Liberty’s torch represents progress and her crown is composed of seven sun rays, one for each of the seven seas and continents. Solar Impulse similarly represents progress and is leveraging the power of the sun to bring the message to the seven seas and continents that the future is clean.
Tune in this evening from wherever you are in the world between 11pm and midnight US Pacific Time (2-3am Eastern) and watch this symbolic flight live at www.SolarImpulse.com. #FutureIsClean
You may also be interested to view these WorkTechWork pieces on Solar Impulse:
June 10, 2016: Note: The Solar Impulse fly over NYC earlier this week was delayed due to weather. They will attempt again tonight, June 10, at approximately on 11pm USA Pacific Time (between 2-3am the morning of June 11 in NYC). Tune in & watch history in the making!
“Each obstacle can lead you to a better path, maybe to an opportunity,” André Borschberg shared with me in this interview on Sunday, the day after Solar Impulse completed the Pacific Crossing and arrived in Silicon Valley. The camera wasn’t rolling right at the beginning so I added a short intro. Enjoy!
“It is not with what we have learned that we will go further than others. It is with what we have not learned, with what we have not yet done and thought” Bertrand Piccard, Initiator, Chairman and Pilot of Solar Impulse shares in this interview.
Solar Impulse is a mission to fly around the world with only the power of the sun and share the message of clean and renewable energy. This is accomplished with a pioneering attitude and by leveraging the best of technology to do what has never been done before.
Piccard is no stranger to breaking records and inspiring the world. In 1999 he completed the first non-stop balloon flight around the world, setting world records for aviation’s longest flight in both distance and duration. When I asked his advice for entrepreneurs he referred to the function of balloons and then explained, “a good entrepreneur is the one who can drop his certitudes, his beliefs, all the common assumptions, to raise to other levels and catch other influences, other visions of the world, other solutions and strategies that will bring him in completely different directions.”
Piccard is not alone in this mission. Solar Impulse is also piloted by André Borschberg, Entrepreneur, Engineer and Explorer. The two are supported by an excellent team and by technology at every level, including monitoring and alerting the pilots and providing global live coverage during each leg of the mission. The Solar Impulse mission exemplifies the WorkTechWork mantra: Don’t work for technology; make technology work for you.
The world is watching the most incredible journey since mankind landed on the moon, the first round the world solar powered flight. Solar Impulse is the plane, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg are the pilots and wearable technology is an enabler in the journey. Today during a Facebook LIVE Q&A session, I asked Piccard, who is the initiator and chairman of this adventure, this question:
You are coming to Silicon Valley, the epicenter of the wearable technology revolution. Can you talk about the Omega cuffs and other sensing technologies that help you stay fit, alert and safe while in flight?
In reply, Piccard shared how he uses meditation and emWave Technology by HeartMath. “Its a mix of technology and meditation and its quite interesting,” he explained with a cheerful grin.
In addition to leveraging wearable tools to meditate, the pilot suits Piccard and Borschberg wear include special cuffs made by Omega. The cuffs are similar to cuffs used to check blood pressure but include an interesting connected feature, they vibrate in order to alert the pilot of critical information about the plane.
Thus, sensing and notification technology allows the pilot time to relax and even sleep while flying for days on end. These sensing and notification technologies are being built into all kinds of wearable technologies, including the two smart watches I wear, the Apple Watch and the Moto360. Both of these wearables have heart rate monitors and both of vibrate with notifications.
But Piccard and Borschberg are leveraging the technology to accomplish something far more amazing than letting me know about a text message arriving. They are showing the world what is possible with clean energy. In his response, Piccard also expressed that Silicon Valley is “really the place for pioneers, of pioneers and innovation.” Indeed, he is right and he will be welcome here as a pioneer in solar energy when he touches down tomorrow.
2014 is the year of the wearable.
No, wait. Scratch that; it didn’t happen.
2015 is the year of the wearable.
No, wait. Scratch that; it didn’t happen.
2016 is the year of the wearable.
No, wait. Scratch that; it won’t happen either!
What? Aren’t you the guy who wears two smart watches? Isn’t this your annual wearable technology predictions update? Yes, I am and yes, it is. But I’m also not lulled in by the seductions of wearable hype. The wearables market is experiencing a fun and interesting journey; it is a market going places, although there are a few areas where it seems to be pulling in two directions and I’ll mention three of them.
There are things happening really fast that are awesome. But at the same time there are also things happening slower than eager technologists and early adopters would like (generic, yes, but I’ll get there don’t worry).
There are experiences that are being delivered that are wonderful. But at the same time there are also some questionable experiences.
There are richer wearables use cases, user interfaces and user experiences. But at the same time there are also still a few folks out there disconnected from markets producing irrelevant use cases (their strategic marketing content also may not be market relevant) and the UI and UX may also be lagging behind.
Three is enough to demonstrate; each of these could merit its own blog post. Let’s take a look at the 10 predictions and see where we are today with some of the companies in the 2014 Industry Watch. Note, I said some. I heard you after last year’s lengthy update, Wearables Dirty Laundry. This update is half the size even though there is probably twice as much that should be covered. Please enjoy this summary and highlights with a few deeper embellishments where some real battles are being won and/or lessons being learned.
We are getting closer! As time is going on, the fad devices are fading. Consumers are becoming more aware of wearable tech.
In the buy sell arrangement of retail, consumers have all of the power. What is that power? Purchasing power. They will not exercise it unless they perceive that a product is relevant and creates sufficient value for them.
Early adopters have a different value equation than later stage adopters. Entrepreneurs as well as large corporates are taking the lessons learned from early adopters and applying them to satisfy more needs. Some are doing this faster than others. This prediction applies generally to the general market trend so for it I have laid out several company/product examples.
Misfit announced Misfit Ray and Specter since the 2015 update (Wearables Dirty Laundry). Ray is a wrist worn wearable, it fits the traditional mold Misfit became famous for. It is a sleek and beautiful wearable.
But, just like when they introduced a light bulb, I have questions about Misfit’s strategy with Spector, which is due out some time in 2016. Specter is a set of “wireless” ear headphones that also track activity (note the air quotes, they’re important later). So far so good and not far off the beaten path, right? I’m not so sure.
Misfit claims Spector also tracks sleep duration and quality. Yes. Sleep. They expect you to wear your earphones when you sleep. Now I don’t want to be biased because I personally don’t want to sleep with earphones. Why don’t you have a look at this image and decide if you want to sleep with it.
Now back to those air quotes. This doesn’t look exactly wireless to me. Redefining wireless to mean something with wires that doesn’t use wires to talk to your phone is a bit of a stretch. Mix in sleep with these wires and my gut tells me this may not be the best idea. Perhaps they have some strategic insight into their customers and target market that indicates that the product should be used in sleep situations. But if they don’t have the qual or quant, then the function is not relevant and should be removed from the advertising content.
Google Glass is evolving. It is becoming an enterprise solution with an enterprise grade experience. There is little solid info I can write here because my sources all can’t speak publicly on this. But what is public is the message on the Glass homepage, “Thanks for exploring with us. The journey doesn’t end here.”
APX Labs is still kicking it in an awesome way. Anyone who has met Brian Ballard, Founder & CEO, knows why. The leadership in the space is getting noticed and the messaging resonates. How so? Let’s look at their home page.
What do you notice? I notice strategic relevance to the market. “A new way to work” catches the eye and is then backed up with “We help your employees where it matters the most.” That is powerful relevance. That is showcasing that wearables satisfy customer needs.
Epson is now taking pre-orders for its new Moverio BT-300 glasses, which launched at #MWC16. The BT-200 is still available for $699.99. The enterprise BT-2000 headset is also available for $2,999.99. What do all of these do? They create real value by satisfying consumer needs, thus the quick mention here.
Note that Epson is one of many large corporates delivering real value in enterprise wearable tech.
Samsung announced their seventh watch during the year that has passed since the last wearables review, the Samsung Gear S2. I can’t really judge it because I haven’t used it, but the features list is impressive. If you’re not in the Apple ecosystem for your mobile device, this may be a good choice for you.
Device silo barriers are still a challenge; however, progress is being made as the market shifts toward an ecosystem that is more open and interoperable. This is happening far quicker than other industries, such as IoT enabled intelligent buildings, where incumbent solutions were designed and built to last 30 years in many cases.
An obvious leader in this space that was not included in the research on this particular prediction in the past is Apple and the Apple Watch. The release of OS2 for Apple Watch enabled growth in the ecosystem of apps that link the watch to other devices. Moreover, Siri is capable of controlling HomeKit compatible devices. I see a lot of promise in this area in the future both with Apple as well as other key players, even if tech analyst and insiders wish the watch did more.
Companies that combine the information of multiple sensors in multiple wearable devices will create more value for their consumers than producers of single wearable devices. (Click to view original 2014 Industry Watch).
This is still one of the more interesting predictions and it is still a challenge to see it clearly happen. Here are three examples.
My most favorite company in this by far is still Sensum. Since discovering them and meeting Gawain Morrison, Sensum’s CEO, a couple years ago, I’ve grown fond of the product, the solution and the people. But don’t take my word for it, Morrison explains it best in this clip:
Apple Watch leverages sensor data in itself and another device (the mobile phone’s GPS). But this isn’t the same scale this prediction is really referring to. Yes, it creates more value, but at the same time many people want a watch with a GPS in it. I anticipate we’ll see more wrist worn devices in the future with both GPS and GSM, but I’m not adding that as prediction #11, just saying this is where it is going.
Wearable textiles have advanced tremendously in the past year. Those in the space, especially those providing precision clothing solutions for athletes, are extremely bullish on the sensor and data fusion that will occur. I’ve compared wearables to zippers that were also cost prohibitive and the market didn’t imagine the ubiquity of zippers in pants today.
Wearables will become more intelligent because of developments in sensor technology and the ability to translate data from these sensors into insight via analytics. (Click to view original 2014 Industry Watch).
I still think we’re on track with this prediction but will only talk about a solution from one company, Apple. Rumors of a new version of the Apple Watch that include more advanced sensors that were pulled from the first version because of accuracy issues are becoming more prevalent. I don’t think that this is because of people repeating what they’ve heard and putting their own spin on it. My sources lead me to believe there will be more sensors. My hope is that they’re consistently more accurate than what is experienced with the heart rate in the current version of the Apple Watch.
This is happening and we’re also beginning to see the prices of wearable types that have been on the market drop. For example, you can get a Phyle Phrm38bk Heart Rate Monitor Watch for only $22.13 at WalMart. Obviously this is not a brand people are familiar with, or an experience most people would be satisfied with, but the fact of the matter is that the sensors inside it are going down in cost. For devices where prices have not yet gone down as sensor costs have gone down, there is a different value equation where the data and insight are being leveraged to improve the product, so we can’t expect the prices of everything to go down.
I started off last year’s update with this, “The battery technology in use in most wearables today is about 20 years old.” One year later we haven’t seen any new miracle batteries come to market. I wish I had more to say here. A lot of people were tossing around a lot of fluff this time of the year last year about the Apple Watch. Most people who purchased it in 2015, including myself, have no issue with charging it every night. Yea, it would be nice, but we’re not there yet so we’ll get by charging frequently.
This is by far one of the best winners in the past 12 months. So many people are finally on board with designing wearables that actually fit the user expectations for beauty. My favorite is WiseWear. Jerry Wilmink, WiseWear’s Founder & CEO, has a team and a strategy no one is going to be able to beat. He started with beautiful womens bracelets with simple functionality built in and has secured the mentorship and endorsement of fashion legend Iris Apfel.
At #CES16 WiseWear announced their men’s belt and buckle. It’s a statement. The design is impeccable throughout, including the special clasp with the WiseWear brand’s W built right into it (see more on that here). Thank you Jerry for leading the world in this area!
People are going to use undetectable wearable technology by using wearable ultra-sensitive micro sensors, sensors smaller and more sensitive than the innovative seat belt microphone in Audi’s R8 Spyder that enables clear cell phone conversation with the top down at lightning speeds. (Click to view original 2014 Industry Watch).
This is where the world is getting more technical and more amazing. Last fall mCube, announced the world’s smallest 3 axis accelerometer. At only 1x1mm and 75% smaller than the 2x2mm accelerometers on the market before its announcement, this sensor is a welcome addition to the wearable producer’s toolkit.
mCube isn’t alone in developing smaller sensors that will enable wearables to fit seamlessly in our lives but they’re the only ones included here not because of time constraints but because they’re approachable. They’ve welcomed me to their office multiple times and we’ve enjoyed conversations about the status of the market and the future, whisperings of which they love to hint at (no big secret, they are great with monolithic MEMS and things are getting smaller). I am bullish that sensor tech will get small enough to be seamlessly integrated in our wearable tech infused lives. It will be due, in large part, to great leadership in this space by mCube.
The hottest story on privacy right now is Apple vs FBI. Of course this is not related directly to wearables but the outcome of this case and the debate will have ramifications in the wearable space, especially since Apple produces the most popular wrist worn computing wearable the world is aware of. Ponder this comment by US President Barak Obama at SXSW earlier this week, “I am of the view that there are very real reasons why we want to make sure the government cannot just wily-nilly get into everyone’s iPhones or smartphones that are full of very personal information or very personal data.”
I won’t be surprised to see stories in the future where wearable data is hacked and data is used to expose things like health information and physical activity, including sexual activity, of celebrities or public figures. Society as a whole, though, won’t care about this a few months after the story breaks, as is the case today with the Ashley Maddison hack last summer.
The topic of contextually appropriate wearables is not ever going to be the topic of conversation at parties; however, the magic contextually aware wearables will make most certainly will be when the wearables enable experiences that are context appropriate. Disney is the leader in contextual experiences; the Magic Band is magic because of context. Dig in on the Magic Band if you’re learning about it for the first time here.
Lets talk about why this is really interesting: Money. The new home of the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, CA is not a smart stadium because it has 2,000 beacons, over 1,200 Wi-Fi hot spots providing wicked fast internet, 90 Kezar digital ticket scanners and a great app with amazing features; Levi’s Stadium is a smart stadium because it leverages data from and solutions possible through these technologies to create real, monetizable value that enables higher profits on games and other events.
When the greatest Internet of Things (IoT) technologies available today are appropriately deployed to make a smart building, they completely disappear. They become part of an enriched experience, not a technology experience. This weekend, Levi’s Stadium will become the largest smart building the world has experienced, either live at the stadium or live on television screens world wide. Let me share my first Levi’s Stadium experience with you.
2014 was a tough year. I returned to Silicon Valley from Australia and gave myself 6 months to figure out what I wanted to do. I began blogging here on WorkTechWork and dug in to the Silicon Valley technology scene. During the year I completed a few good projects and built out a great network that includes many new friends. Later in the year I spent 3 months working at a hardware startup in the connected home space that ran into major problems in November. All opportunity with the startup was dead and gone by mid-December. Jobless, without a project and with the holidays to celebrate as if nothing was wrong so as to not dampen the mood of my young kids, I was having a hard time keeping it together.
When the phone rang Saturday morning December 20th, I had no idea I was about to experience the smartest stadium in the world. Jeff Stevens, who I had worked with volunteering with VLAB and on a couple side projects during the year, was on the line and asked if I wanted to go to a 49ers game that afternoon. Since the days of Joe Montana and Steve Young I had followed the 49ers but had never been to a game. That answer was YES!
Do you know the first thing I did with Jeff still on the phone? Download the app. I didn’t know where the seats were, what the game time was, who they were playing and at that moment I didn’t care. I had only heard great things about the technology in the stadium and I knew I wanted that app.
So why is this app wonderful for fans?
But it gets better because this app, which is the creation of Venue Next, enables Levi’s Stadium to gather data, fuse it with data from other sources (like those 2,000 Bluetooth beacons) and make data driven decisions that improve the profitability of an event and provide a better experience attendees. It is an experience they’re willing to pay more for. Just how much more? In-seat delivery is available to every seat in the stadium and costs $5.
Is it worth it? What if you miss the most amazing play of the game? There is nothing that beats the thrill of a long run and touchdown. During the game, 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick did just that with this 90-yard run.
Some moments are best enjoyed not in line, but from the 3rd row at the 20 yard line, or wherever your seat might be.
Miss this to save $5 and you’ll regret it. I didn’t miss it and I won’t forget it. If you’re reading this before heading to Super Bowl 50, download the app now!
The Levi’s Stadium experience isn’t just about the app. The entire stadium is carefully laid out and you can tell every effort has been made to make it visually appealing. You don’t see any of the technology because the thousands of antennas for all of that Wi-Fi, the additional cell phone carrier distributed antenna systems to provide cell coverage and all of those beacons are neatly tucked away. You’re not distracted by cables and wires for speakers, you hear the game and feel how the sound system both amplifies the experience and at the same time balances the crowds energy.
Some technologies, such as the gigantic displays at both ends of the field, are meant to be seen and enjoyed. You can see both displays in this panoramic. Notice how nicely the digital signage on the balcony fits into the scene. The gigantic displays provide instant replays to the fans. Advertising opportunities abound for brands who want to reach fans via the gigantic displays and smaller balcony screens. They are part of the technology enriching the experience and creating monetizable value.
Towards the end of the game, Jeff and I met up with Robert Scoble and Rocky Barbanica to explore the stadium. We checked out the different concession areas and watched the kicker kick a field goal right at us. It was cool. Everything about the stadium is cool. This includes the cool blue lights on the escalators.
I get excited about technology working for you, especially when it is creating enriched experiences and real, monetizable value. Smart Building technology in Levi’s Stadium is no exception.
Whether or not you’re in the stands this Sunday, take the opportunity to learn more about smart building technology on Feb 16th at the San Francisco Bay Area’s chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum. Tickets and info here.
One component of every nonresidential building may be an indicator of how complex creating a smart building really is: Ballasts. Jesse Foote, Senior Research Analyst at Navigant Research explains, “You need a different kind of ballast for different lamp types (fluorescent, metal halide, high pressure sodium, etc), and for different tube sizes (T5, T8, CFL, etc), and for different wattages, and different numbers of lamps, and start types (instant start v programmed start), and ballast factors. And, of course, there are multiple companies that manufacture ballasts.”
The result is that deployed today in nonresidential buildings around the world are hundreds, maybe even thousands of different kinds of ballasts. Ballasts have been the go-to solution for regulating energy in commercial lighting for decades. But with the entrance of LED lighting, which in some cases boasts 50% energy savings, runs up to 5 times longer and produces a higher quality light, ballast moderated lighting installations are on the decline.
Ballast Unit Shipments by Region, World Markets: 2015-2024
(Source: Navigant Research)
While shipments are decreasing it doesn’t necessarily mean that building owners, operators and facility managers are rapidly replacing ballasts, because doing so is costly, labor intensive and facilities management does not typically get a sweet allocation of a building budget. These costs present a problem companies are vying to solve.
Alternatives have entered the market that make switching to LED less costly and less invasive. One example, Lunera, developed LED lightbulbs that makes it possible to switch from CFL, from metal halide and from high-pressure sodium bulbs without replacing the ballasts or fixtures. Thier retrofit solution brings the benefit of LED without the drawback of ballast replacement.
A second example is Enlighted, who’s investor Q Motiwala from Draper Nexus will speak on an upcoming MIT Enterprise Forum panel on Smart Buildings. Enlighted has come up with a creative business model to address the FM budget issue. The Enlighted Global Energy Optimization™ (GEO™) financing option offers Enlighted customers the opportunity to get the benefit of intelligent LED systems without a major capital outlay.
Enlighted CEO Joe Costello recently explained in an interview by Stacey Higginbotham on Episode 30 of the Internet of Things Podcast, “You don’t cough up a single penny. We come into the company. We say…we’re going to design it, going to install it, going to finance it. You don’t have to put up a cent. It doesn’t impinge on your balance sheet one iota and you start getting the energy savings right away.”
This is a disruptive financing model with disruptive technology in a complex industry ripe for disruption. It is no wonder the Draper Nexus investment in Enlighted is part of a $150M fund dedicated to smart building related technologies. Silicon Valley investors looking for real value from the Internet of Things are finding it in smart building solutions. For more information on smart buildings, check out the upcoming MIT Enterprise Forum panel on Smart Buildings to be held Feb 16, 2016 at SRI.