Blockchain For Educational Records Becoming A Reality

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Here’s a perfect and practical use of the Blockchain technology. Sony Education Group has just finished developing a system for storing and managing educational records using the open ledger concept. Think degrees, diplomas, standardized test records…something they call a “digital transcript.”

Sony developed the idea about 18 months ago and believes it is ready for commercialization. It’s original premise was actually to fight fraud while enabling a simpler model for 3rd parties wishing to access information for job interviews, etc. Sony is actively pursuing partnerships with universities, high schools, preparatory schools to aggregate the information and present it in a highly efficient manner.

Sony believes it can expand the system to move into areas like digital asset management, IOT logistics, real estate and content.

Cruise launches Autonomous Car Service in San Francisco

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Think autonomous car services are still far off, well think again. Cruise (a San Fran based startup) has begun testing Cruise Anywhere with its employee based in San Francisco. Employees are able to hail a self-driving vehicles and go anywhere they wish in San Francisco using a mobile app (just like ???).

Right Now, Cruise is using a small fleet of vehicles (modified Chevy Volts with lots of sensors and software, but says it has plans to expand fleet by a 100 vehicles in coming months.

Dot.com Giants Battle Over Physical Presence.

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As Amazon and Walmart go head to head in an arms race to win over the consumer direct market, we are seeing a high stakes game of trial and error play out right in front of our eyes. Good news is they are focused on consumer value propositions and enriching them through convenience and simplicity….at the heart of the consumer today.

This week, Walmart’s Jet.com announced it will trial a brick and mortar grocery play to see how consumer react to a food retail concept store. Jet.com’s value proposition is the delivery of fresh produce right to your door without the need to even be home to receive it.

Walmart acquired the Jet brand as an accelerator for competing directly with Amazon’s Fresh grocery play and pickup services. All of which can and will be used to extend Walmart’s digital footprint where they have invested heavily in online ordering, store based pick up and new partnerships with Uber and Lyft for home deliveries.

Amazon’s Alexa Is Dominant Platform By Far

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Amazon continues its dominate run to take over the world and become our one and only retailer. Growth has come from many different elements of Amazon’s ever expanding business models and while it stumble early on with hardware (the horrible Amazon One phone), it has seen the patience pay off with Alexa.

Recent reports suggest Amazon has a 70.6% share of the voice digital assistant space….virtually leaving all competitors to fight for the remaining balance (including Apple and Microsoft.)

In 2017, 35.6 Million consumers in the US will use the voice activated assistant devices, up ~130% from prior year and growing. These figures are supposed to hit the exponential curve as the hardware integration begins to penetrate automotive and appliance markets where consumer value is immediate.

Analysts expect Amazon to give back some market share as Google Home and others scale, but dominate it will remain and who knows…with additional advancements in hardware it will be hard to catch.

 

Facebook Translates Your Thoughts Into Text

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Facebook has many ambitions, some of which are obvious, some of which are not so obvious. Yesterday, Facebook announced its intention to build a brain computer interface that could allow people to type a message with just your mind.

Essentially….FB uses a technology to that scans your brain more than 100 times per second to detect you silently speaking and translate that into text. If you stop for a moment when you are typing an email, you will notice you are silently speaking what you are typing…this is what they are picking up on (try it and you’ll get it.)

They apparently have about 60 engineers working aggressively on the concept and have working prototypes of individuals being able to type 8 words per minute. They believe they can eventually accelerate this to 100 words per minute (well above typing speeds for average workers.) The applications are endless…help for people living with complete paralysis, people who suffer strokes and lose mobility skills to augmented and virtual reality controls.

FB is running all of this (and much more) through their Building 8 program and in partnership with UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Ultimate goal is to be able to solve the need for implants and to deliver non-surgical solutions at scale across a broad set of use cases.

Pre Order Your Flying Car

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The moment we have all been waiting for is here…It’s no longer about getting in line to buy the world’s best electric car, it’s about the new line for buying a flying car.

Aeromobil (known as the flying car company) announced the launch of its new model and plans to begin taking pre orders for a limited 1st run of production. Car company has committed to making its model commercially available this year with scale building on deliveries between now a 2020.

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Concept is pretty cool and definitely looks interesting. Car can transform from car mode to air mode is roughly 3 minutes, has a driving distance of 434 miles and a flight range of closer to 466 miles depending on conditions and throttle usage.

Top speed is said to be roughly 100 mph in care mode and 225 mph in air mode.

Good news is that is hasn’t skipped safety…plane or car (whatever) can deploy a parachute in case of emergency and comes with a full suite of airbags and pilot assisted flight functions.

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Pricing is TBD, but don’t expect it to come cheap until scale builds.

IKEA Gets Into Smart Home Market…Makes Total Sense

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Ikea is jumping on the smart home bandwagon by offering its own suite of smart home connected furniture. From floor lamps and light bulbs to backlight kitchen cabinets and TV stands, they are quickly helping to not only decorate the home, but empower it.

All of the various offerings are connected to your preferred device through an in home hub (called Zigbee) that uses essentially netowrks all devices via radio signals. You can program and control lights all from the comfort of your phone.

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You can quickly see how Ikea is morphing to meet the demand of the digital home by leveraging its significant foothold in consumer products to unlock future value for the brand and consumers.