The Next Tech Boom

I-Robot's New Remote Dr. Robot

I-Robot’s New Remote Dr. Robot

Not only has the tech sector been relatively recession proof, but the next monster tech wave is on its way. There are a number of trends coinciding that should give the tech sector, yet, another boost. While this is good for Silicon Valley and the other tech hubs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a signal of health in the economy but rather a shifting of efficiencies. The next boom will continue to sharpen the stark contrasts between unskilled and highly specialized elements of the labor force.

I-Robot’s  Remote Dr. Robot
health care costs,  higher tax rates, reductions in across-the-board government spending, expanded oversight and federal regulation all create fertile ground for squeezing even more efficiencies out of every corner of the economy. And those efficiencies are going to come from productivity gains from the tech sector. At the root of it is tech’s deeper reach into automation and ability to cut overhead by getting more humans out of the loop or multiply the efforts of humans who are in short supply, such as Long Island Jewish Medical’s Center’s use of a mobile tele-robot to make doctor visits when the doctor is away from the hospital. More hospitals are turning to advanced robotics for pharmaceutical inventory control and data management, as well as basic functions for monitoring patient care. Mobile apps connected to telematics applications are eliminating city parking meters and allowing remote monitoring of parking spaces. Small satellite imaging from space is creating mountains of data that can now be used for monitoring crops, writing home insurance policies, and monitoring pipelines. As the economy bumps along into 2014, the next wave of worker automation is likely going to build momentum. As technology keeps reaching down and eating more layers of the workforce, it becomes apparent that the workforce will be sharply divided between no tech and high-tech. Workers with only rudimentary technical skill sets are a target for automation. Technologies that have been in the pipeline and not quite ready for prime time will be dressed up and sent to market. Think PRODUCTIVITY. The next tech boom will be enabled by expansion of enhanced broadband and smart sensor applications with back end “big data” functionality. Both Silicon Valley and retail got a boost from automation in the 90’s by inventory control tagging and software. Next generation advanced will draw the product and consumer even closer and reduce even more humans and middlemen. RFID and Near Field communication (NFC) have had mixed results in bringing drive through check-out to carts full of groceries in the U.S. But next generation automation has a stronger wave behind it, as more earnings pressures befall major industries. Improvement in security, sensitivity, and performance of short range radio frequency chips, like Near Field and RFID will usher in another mass adoption, as wireless broadband expands and M2M (machine to machine) proliferates. Retail, healthcare, automotive, banking, and energy are examples of a few sectors that will be pressured by deeper automation due to cost and regulatory impacts.
Here‘s a list of just a few of the technologies that we believe will help heat up the next tech boom.
There are a lot more companies that will benefit from the coming wave. For a more detailed analysis, contact us at: TD

Copyright Trends Digest 2016

Copyright Trends Digest™

The Future of Telecom – Eaten by Mobile Computing

googleglassTime is a wondrous thing. There is nothing we can do to stop it. Seconds, days, years go by with little tribute until cataclysmic events change the course of history.

First of all technology advances mixed with telecom deregulation unleashed a market place that has gone wild with personal communications and a remaking of the telecom industry as a whole. The Trends Digest™ team of experts has been performing research in this market for more than fifteen years and has captured, through hundreds of studies and analyses, trends foreshadowing the future. While we will give you a glimpse of the future right here in Trends Digest™ online, you can always find more data in our in-depth research studies.

An Increasingly Wireless World — Nearly Two Thirds of the World’s Population has access to a Mobile Phone! And in 2013 nearly two thirds of the world’s population was connected to the internet!

If only Alexander Graham Bell could be alive to see the telecom market today. Bell obtained the patent for the first telephone in 1876. Grown from his invention have been thousands of companies and tens of thousands of communications devices. Ok, you saw it coming, and we, at Trends Digest™, saw it coming about ten years ago. But the 2009 numbers spell the death of the landline as the economy pulled the final plug on wire-line services particularly in the U.S. where the “Baby Bells” are now practically giving away service. A lot of alternatives have been fighting for this market including cable, wireless, and satellite. For now, in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, mobile wireless is winning as hard wired communications become a thing of the past. In North America, 2010 saw the demise of Canadian company Nortel, the continued remaking of AT&T, and cable operators advance in packaged offerings for voice, data, and video services. In 2013, mobile computing eats everything including the mobile phone which finally brings reality to video calling (thank goodness you can turn those pesky cameras off if you want to).

The U.S. has actually been somewhat late to the party in full mobile wireless adoption, partly because of the rivalry between standards, incompatibility issues between coverage areas, handsets challenges, and regulatory issues. This tumult has created a lot of unknowns for the consumer. But, with competition, volume, and cheap handsets, the balance has finally been tipped. Many of the contributing factors included the 1996 Telecom Act’s provisions for permanent number portability (keeping your number if you switch carriers), escalation of email, text messaging, and a cultural shift in “being connected”. As North America has been playing tug-of-war with regulations and the old Bell operating companies, the rest of the world skipped wires, went straight to cell phones, and is now plunging full throttle into wireless banking from cell phones. Even though thatch houses in Kenya might not have many of today’s western conveniences, cell phones rule. Mobile computing is now reaching product maturation globally. So, now what? Devices are going to get even smaller as the computer and human begin to merge. Augmented reality by Google in the form of glasses is only the beginning. TD
Copyright Trends Digest™ All rights reserved. 2013

Light Radio – A Disruptive Lightning Strike for the Telecom Industry

Light CubeFinally, we can welcome a disruptive event in telecom industry –the arrival of a tiny two inch cube that threatens to topple thousands of tacky old telecom towers. The proud creators are Alcatel Lucent and Bell Labs. It’s a welcomed event, particularly since these little cubes can be cobbled together to create the right infrastructure and bandwidth at a shockingly enormous power and cost savings, according to Alcatel Lucent. This is one of the more disruptive trends that we’ve spotted for awhile in the telecom industry. First of all, carriers are wrestling with significant issues, such as having operated at low or below cost for many consecutive years. They’re now forced to make a profit while simultaneously upgrading networks to 3G-4G/LTE. Not to mention, standards globally are still shaking out, and networks are in various forms of evolutionary adoption from 2G to 4G via WiMax, Cellular, satellite, and everything in between. Furthermore, phone companies are staring down the dark abyss of some key trends, such as market saturation and must develop novel ways to increase growth, while maintaining enormous capital costs for upgrading technologies. Particularly in the U.S., baby boomers may be high tech but, like we told you ten years ago, older boomers are not necessarily taking advantage of all of the features. In fact, 80% of older boomers are only using 20% of the features. For cellular providers growth is always a bit of a good news/bad news story. The good news is that as mobile users make their mobile device their primary computing device, unlimited applications continue to grow. The bad news is that mobile providers, already in a state of price sensitivity, are constantly dealing with the proposition of diminishing returns. Alca-Lu’s adorable little cubes, if they work as planned, are a global market disruptor of gargantuan proportions. Not only do they offer a huge power savings as well as a configurable capability to extrapolate the right bandwidth configuration, but they offer the potential for a broad array of new business models. What business models you might ask? Let’s think creatively for a moment. Maybe the wireless companies should focus on customer service and let a business partner expand operations and pick up the more nominal capital costs of testing and deployment. In fact, in terms of creativity, we have a long ways to go in the telecom market. Doing away with those cumbersome, awful looking towers eliminates a range of problems including environmental issues, OSHA issues, property leasing, and some more complicated aspects of power supplies. Now let’s talk about disruptions to the rest of the market if these cute little cubes manage to take off. First of all, the tower market will be tripping over its guy wires to survive. Line of sight technologies might remain tethered to a tower for awhile until bandwidth, spectrum, handset, and meshed networks can be resolved in the public safety arena. Do you really want to haul a tower around the Grand Canyon when you could just drop a cube in your backpack? There are some definite winners and losers in this space if light radio takes off. Tower manufacturers and O&M providers could be the big losers in this disruptive swing unless they can adapt to other segments. Also, this raises an important question about the roles that carriers want to have in the longer term. In the U.S. market where Uncle Sam has been footing the bill for getting broadband out to the boonies, lower cost of ownership and ease of access might offer new franchising opportunities or opportunities for smaller companies to make more localized investments. As long as the carriers ultimately get subscribership and can guarantee quality of service, who cares?

As a general trend, companies often don’t recognize disruptive trends outside of their own markets because they are too caught up in an industry-specific myopic vision of the future. Don’t worry, this happens to every industry. But as new models take hold, convergence offers significant multi-market advantages that will bring about new business models as service providers look outside of their own industries for opportunities and advantages to gain economies of scale. TD

The Future of Mobile Computing

Future ComputingMobile computing is at a cross-roads right now and is, again, on the cusp of another evolution. Dell is going private, and HP stock is down by double digits. With smart phones, tablets, and PC hybrids, something’s got to give. If you’re using a touch screen smart phone for public safety, all is well until you start exposing it to real emergency situations, including extreme climate, rapid inputs that jam up the operating system, and constant reboots and updates. None of these are perfect scenarios when lives are on the line. Not to mention, it is often difficult, in a lab, to simulate high stress conditions and the human behavioral interaction with the device under stress. You probably know what I mean. Think about your operating system not responding on your smart phone when you keep punching the icon again and again only to throw your phone into a tizzy and then have to hit the “power off”.Forget the touch screen. Enter next generation wearable computing. Thalmic Labs has come out with a gesture controlled armband which can read muscle impulses and recognize common arm and hand gestures. Myo is Thalmic Labs’ armband, which can, via Bluetooth, connect user devices and use gestures to interact with the computing device. A gesture algorithm was created by Thalmic through integrating common nervous system reactions in the arm and hand muscles and developing an algorithm of computer instruction. As smart phones and tablets get lost in the shuffle, computing will become more integrated with the human as wearable devices interacting with micro computing devices begin to get traction.
Copyright Trends Digest 2013 All Rights Reserved

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