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 New Remote Dr. Robot
Obamacare, higher tax rates, reductions in across-the-board government spending, expanded oversight and federal regulation all create fertile ground for wringing even more efficiencies out of every nook and cranny 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 reduce 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: Team@trendsdigest.com. TD

Copyright Trends Digest 2014

The New Mobile Madness for Wine Lovers

Courtesy of Hahn

The Wine industry is on the verge of a major marketing shift as mobile wireless devices offer enhanced ability to send and receive data making marketing, selling, tracking, and packing a less laborious process. Here’s where wine and technology meet. The door of opportunity is wide open for an endless supply of apps that make the marketing, supply chain, inventory, data collection, and order fulfillment more economically possible.  Even more importantly, bridging the gap between sampling and buying may get a whole lot easier for the average wine enthusiast.

Wine apps are currently available in the mainstream marketplace. What is yet to come is a better ability to connect with bottles, labels, and interact with the product and supply chain. Just picture yourself enjoying a new wine at a restaurant. You love the ‘2010’ Cabernet and want to order a case for your wine cellar. So, you hold your phone close to the wine label, and zing! Up pops a tantalizing description of your wine with links to ratings and ordering information. All you need to do is enter “yes” to the “order now?” prompt. Undoubtedly, there are some complexities like individual state laws, but where there is complexity, there is also opportunity and an “app for that”. Well, pretty soon, you might be in luck because if all goes well, RFID/NFC enabled cell phones are likely to open up a whole new avenue of shopping.

Ok, just on the off-chance you haven’t heard of Radio Frequency Identification or better known as RFID, it’s basically a little radio signal chip that gets embedded into a label, money, credit cards or whatever the object and transmits a signal to a reader. Of course, right now, RFID works best in situations where the object has the right proximity to the reader. Quite intentionally — because you don’t want the object you are connecting with to be confused with other tagged objects. However, RFID has shortcomings since applications are beginning to be more precise as the tagged object is further and further from the reader, such as driving your entire grocery cart through a scanner. Near Field Communications (NFC), a subset of RFID which works with closer objects (about 4 inches or less), has become a more preferred standard and may supplant many other short range data transmission options. Future cell phone generations equipped with RFID/NFC readers will have some major uses for marketers. Thus far, the RFID industry has been a bit sluggish — stalled by privacy issues, costs, trying to get better scans of the target, and mitigating signal interference issues. The recreational uses present a new frontier for marketers looking for innovative ways of breaking through all of the messaging noise to sell their products. Future iPhone generations are supposedly planned to be equipped with NFC readers. Imagine all those new apps! According to the NFC Forum, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology provides global interoperability of contactless identification and interconnection technologies. NFC operates in the 13.56 MHz frequency range, over a typical distance of a few centimeters. The underlying technology is based upon common technology standards supported by global communication device manufacturers and network operators with the intention of being compatible with hundreds of millions of cards and readers already deployed globally. There are many mobile phones already on the market sporting NFC technologies today with more coming online. Given the significant bash made by QR (Quick Response) codes, those ugly little imprints used by airlines and websites for transmitting data, many assumed QR would steal the show for some time. However, QR requires image capture, which is often awkward and a bit tricky. Mobile phone manufacturers like HTC, Lenovo, Huawei, Samsung, ZTE, Nokia, Motorola, and Apple have either announced or rumored roll out plans for NFC in upcoming generations of handsets. However, it is more likely that NFC and its successors will come out on top. The next decade holds an unprecedented roll out of device on device interaction that is sure to keep wireless networks humming and you and I wondering if we’re going to get radiated in the process as we’re caught in the cross fire.  At least if we do, we’ll do it over a good glass of cab. TD

Copyright Trends Digest  2013All Rights Reserved.

RFID Enabled Cell phones – What it Means for Marketing

NFC Enabled Courtesy Microsoft

NFC Enabled
Courtesy Microsoft

Just picture yourself enjoying a new wine at a restaurant.  You love the ’91’ Pinot Noir and want to order a case for your wine cellar. So, you hold your phone close to the wine label, and zing! Up pops a tantalizing description of your wine with links to ratings and ordering information. All you need to do is enter “yes” to the “order now?” prompt. Well, pretty soon, you might be in luck because if all goes well, RFID enabled cell phones might open up a whole new avenue of shopping. Ok, just on the off-chance you haven’t heard of Radio Frequency Identification or better known as RFID, it’s basically a little chip that gets embedded into a label or money, or credit cards or whatever the object and transmits a signal to a reader. Of course, right now, RFID works best in situations where the object is closer to the reader. Quite intentionally — because you don’t want the object you are connecting with to be confused with other tagged objects. Future cell phone generations equipped with RFID readers may have some major uses for marketers. Thus far, the RFID industry has been a bit sluggish — stalled by privacy issues, costs, trying to get better scans of the target, and mitigating signal interference issues. The recreational uses present a new frontier for marketers looking for innovative ways of breaking through all of the messaging noise to sell their products. Future iPhone generations are supposedly planned to be equipped with RFID readers. Imagine all those new apps! According to the NFC Forum, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology provides global interoperability of contactless identification and interconnection technologies. NFC operates in the 13.56 MHz frequency range, over a typical distance of a few centimeters. The underlying technology is based upon common technology standards supported by global communication device manufacturers and network operators with the intention of being compatible with hundreds of millions of cards and readers already deployed globally. TD

It’s Downtown or the X-urbs

Houston, Texas, skyline.

Downtown or X-urbs?

A Nation on the Move?  And what’s causing this trend? Gen-Xers, and Gen-Yers want to raise their family in quality of life locations, while baby boomers are trying to locate another nest and retire early. While downtown, in cities across America, people are living closer to work, often deciding not to own a car at all.

Suburbia Moves Closer to the City

Downtown areas are being revitalized at record rates as condos, apartments, mini-grocery stores, and car rental companies cater to the city dweller.

Cities to Watch: Houston, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Chicago

So what will downtowners need? Better shopping, more variety in grocery stores, urban, organic landscaping, kid-friendly developments, community-oriented housing, more convenient rental car locations, and healthier food choices. What is driving the back to the city trend? Incentives for fuel and emissions savings, suburban congestion, the commoditization of suburbia, and new opportunities created by the decline in housing and property prices.

Telecommuters Take Commuting to the Next Level

As rural dwellers, we can’t help but be fascinated by the exodus of America’s knowledge workers and professionals to more rural destinations. Pollsters and journalists seem to miss the mark when they try to point their finger at how, for example, states in the West are shifting demographically and politically. Well folks, people are homesteading again – very well, not the kind that happened at the turn of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, but this time it is tech-homesteading. The acceptability of web conferencing, text messaging, and technology that, while reducing physical/personal human contact increases virtual and qualitative human contact, has freed up individuals to telecommute and perform their work functions from “virtually” anywhere.

During the last decade, this was a gradual progression as organizations allowed telecommuting and small businesses and consultants began mo

This is particularly appealing to Generation Xers and Yers who are more focused on quality of life than their parents. A major contributor to this trend has been the massive investment in telecommunications infrastructure, which is essential to the telecommuter. Rural telephone cooperatives, satellite providers, and local phone and cable companies have made broadband both real and affordable. Don’t forget overnight mail. Internet shopping has changed the world. Being able to get the same goods and services delivered to your door in Fessenden, North Dakota is a necessity. What will the next decade hold for these new rural settlers? Be prepared for more changes in local political structures, at least some small town urbanization as commuters, in getting away from the city, seem to bring some of the city with them.

These new settlers tend to be between 25 and 48, well educated, and more socially and environmentally conscious. Over the next decade, what will these urban transplants need? More small business and home office technology tools, better grocery stores and pharmacies, pet care, healthcare, social organizations and networking to keep them from getting bored. Other needs might include better convertible options for home and home office combinations that deliver voice, data, video, for work and entertainment. Additionally, some smart state and local governments might be able to think up a few tax incentives to lure these telecommuters to their areas. Join TrendsDigest in February 2009 to help us select the top new homesteading communities for telecommuters. – TD

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