Tag Archives: innovation

Elon Musk – Can summon his car!

 

Having just returned from Elon’s home country in South Africa; I understand where he is coming from in terms of making our roads safer. Driving over there was erratic to say the least. ” Talk about being on your toes”

Tesla Model S and Model X owners recently got a software update introducing Summon, a feature that enables the cars to park themselves. With this release, CEO Elon Musk made a bold prediction: in 2018, this feature will work anywhere a Tesla can drive.

This is a glimpse into the (very near) future of car ownership, courtesy of Tesla: Your car will “…eventually be able to drive anywhere across the country to meet you, charging itself along the way. It will synchronise with your calendar to know exactly when to arrive.”

With the update, Musk also made a bold statement about the Model S. “It is probably better than human at this point in highway driving.” He qualified that by saying, “It’s certainly better than human at staying in the center of the lane [and] if it isn’t better than human yet, it will be in the coming months.”

To us all driving safer on the highways

Steve

2016 – The Year of AI

Well the long festive season is over and I’m back at my desk  after a well deserved break and contemplating this New Year with renewed energy, vigour and excitement. This is going to be a great year for ideas and making new connections and sharing common visions to discover your purpose. Which leads me onto my first topic of the season and one which is going to make a lot of ripples in knowledge based industries.

Microsoft has hailed 2016 the “Year of AI,” according to its annual trend list. Microsoft asked 16 members of its technology and research team to forecast the biggest breakthroughs for 2016, and AI was the area generating the most excitement. Virtual assistants, conversation assistants, AI-enabled user interfaces and customer service AIs were some of the user cases described.

The tech giants see this era as an important step to  focus on artificial intelligence, and they’re predicting major breakthroughs in 2016 — we shall see more evidence of this technology’s rapid advancement from deceptive to disruptive growth phases as the year progresses..

In 2015, artificial intelligence went mainstream. Major tech companies including Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter made huge in roads into AI, almost all of technology research company predictions included AI, and declared that AI-driven technologies were the next big disruptor to enterprise software.  This makes it likely that in 2016, new inventions will increasingly come to market from companies discovering new ways to apply this wonderful technology versus building it. With game changers now having access to cost effective quality AI platforms to create new products, we’ll also likely see an explosion in new startups using AI.

Smart machines will assist employees being more productive, not replace them. Analytics industry leader, Tom Davenport, predicted that “smart leaders will realize that augmentation—combining smart humans with smart machines—is a better strategy than automation.”

Business leaders will be given the choice to use these intelligent vehicles so that AI sourced information has the option to present solutions and explain how they arrive at their answers to common problems and allow better, more efficient decisions be made as part of a companies growth.

AI-powered applications will start to infiltrate companies other than technology firms. Employees, teams and entire departments will champion process re-engineering efforts with these intelligent systems whether they realize it or not. As each individual app eliminates a task, employees will automate many of the mundane parts of their jobs and assemble their own stack of AI-powered apps. Teammates eager to be  competitive will follow, along with team managers who are looking to execute on cost-cutting efforts.

With innovation progressing rapidly within large organizations in sectors such as retail, finance and pharmaceutical will focus even more efforts on remaining competitive and discovering the next big thing by forming innovation hubs. Innovation laboratories have existed for some time, but in 2016, we’ll begin to see more resources devoted to innovation  and more technologies discovered in these think tanks actually implemented across different company functions and business lines.

2016 will be a big year for AI. But what is even more significant, 2016 will bring about a major shift in the perception of AI. It will cease to be an intimidating, hypothetical set of notions and theories and will be better understood and accepted as more people realize the advantages of AI to supplement what we do to make our lives even more rewarding.

To your Success in 2016

Steve

Harvesting Energy from our Oceans

Energy harvesting from our surroundings has now taken on another leap forward from what is a limitless supply from our oceans. For all you sun worshippers out there living near the coast; in the not too distant future you may have your household electricity being supplied by clever power stations that extract the energy stored from your local sun bathed surf.

Hawaii’s new OTEC power plant harvests energy stored in warm ocean water;

The OTEC plant cost $5 million to build and is the world’s largest power plant using this renewable and clean energy source. The project was funded and developed through a jont venture between Hawaii’s Makai Ocean Engineering, the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research, and the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) at the University of Hawaii.

It’s new technology enables  thermal energy using the temperature differential between warm surface water and deep sea cold water to turn a turbine that is used to generate electricity. As it relies on surface heating from sunlight, the supply of ocean thermal energy is practically limitless, especially in sub tropical areas where the ocean’s sea water warms up rapidly. Similar to a fossil fuel plant, the OTEC system provides this energy in a steady supply that can be notched up or scaled back quickly in response to grid demand.

 

Whilst the inital investment to get this  innovation off the ground seems small in comparison to traditional grid stations Makai still face financial hurdles. They plan to develop a site in Japan and then hopefully the collective interest will enable further expansion on what is poised to be the next must have technology for clean renewable energy.

A fantastic business which could significantly reduce our fossil fuel emissions around the globe. And one topic I’d like to discuss in our forum.

 

To the next

 

Steve

Metal – Lighter than Air

Imagine metal that’s lighter than air but still contains all its immense strength and robust characteristics.

Well those smart technicians at Boeing have announced a revolutionary new material called microlattice that is the lightest metal ever made.

It’s incredibly strong, but because it’s 99.99 percent air, it balances neatly on top of a dandelion

.Boeing says it created lightest metal ever

Ultra-light materials like microlattice enable streamlined, efficient designs for future airplanes, vehicles and buildings.

Weight savings are crucially important in aircraft manufacturing, since a lighter aircraft requires less fuel, which is airlines’ largest operating expense.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was a breakthrough commercial jet because it used light-weight composite carbon fiber material, rather than aluminum, to generate the best fuel efficiency in its class.

The microlattice looks like a sponge or a mesh, and is simultaneously flexible and very strong, according to Boeing. Should it become widely used, Boeing said the material could help airlines save huge amounts of money.

The main use of the material would be structural components, such as sidewall or floor panels of commercial jets.

The material was jointly developed by HRL Laboratories, a joint venture between Boeing and General Motors, in collaboration with Cal Tech and UC Irvine. The microlattice weighs only about one tenth as much as carbon fiber, and is actually slightly lighter than air itself, said Bill Carter, the director of the Sensors and Materials Laboratory at HRL.

It will likely first be used on space rockets that Boeing plans to build in about five years, and it should make its way into commercial planes about five years after that, said Carter.

These are the subjects I want to discuss in my Mastermind group. So come and join me.

To your success

 

Steve

Jeans That Fit – At Last

Retail is going through a radical transformation and online purchasing has seen incredible exponential growth over the last 5 years as our lifestyle becomes more mobile online. Many start ups have started to experiment with how the market will play out next – but the most fundamental area that needs addressing are “returns” and that 15 lost minutes( in the dressing room) when sizing becomes a real problem on hitting your bottom line on customer refunds. A smart US start up “LikeAGlove” hopes to close that gap & to demystify online clothing shopping using a smart fabric. Its sensor-equipped, conductive fiber-woven leggings discreetly measure a woman’s figure and create an accurate digital representation of her figure. Shoppers can then instantly browse  clothing of their choice in the exact sizes that will fit them.

This is a very important step up as a game changer ; Because of the large variance in women’s sizes between designers, it’s difficult to find a good selection of right-sized clothing online. LikeAGlove’s sensor-packed leggings make measurement accurate, private and, fundamentally easier. I see this company moving forward and partnering with other online retail disrupters out there ( maybe even me) with new ideas that get away from traditional bricks ‘n’ mortar shopping.

The company is hopeful that they’ll be able to expand the technology to include other types of clothing, like tops, dresses, and more.

If you’re in search of some seriously high-tech leggings that will simplify your search for your perfectly fitting pair of jeans, search no longer. Just grab a pair of LikeAGlove leggings.

I’ll be watching this company closer as I have a few ideas of my own that compliment the whole social shopping experience.

Hope the size works for you.

To your success

 

Steve

 

Most jobs automated in 500 years

In 500 years less than 10 percent of people on the planet will be doing paid work.

Thats a prediction by Venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson who discusses the future of automation. Among his visions is that 90 percent of people will be unemployed in 500 years, thanks to automation; instead of doing busy work or a “physically repetitive thing for a living,” we’ll be involved in information or entertainment. … There will be no farmers, there will be no people working in manufacturing anymore.

As mentioned in my previous post ….Everything about Uber has been automated except for the driver. The billing, the fetching—every part of it is a modern, information-centric company. Interestingly, what that means is as soon as automated vehicles arrive, that driver is easily removed. You don’t have to restructure any part of that business.

What you’re farming out to humans today are those things that computers just barely can’t do. We know from Moore’s Law and improvements in computing that in two or three years [much of this] work will be automated. If a startup or new business venture has created a job that involves human labour, it probably has done so in a way that is pretty marginal. Whether you’re a technology enthusiast or a detractor, the rate at which this will shift is probably going to be unprecedented. There will be massive dislocation.

“It pretty much will be what life was like for most of human history—just without the gruesome servitude. The concept of a “job” is pretty recent. If you go back a few hundred years, everyone was either a slave or a serf, or living off slave or serf labor to pursue science or philosophy or art. We’ll live off the production of robots, free to be the next Aristotle or Plato or Newton,” he explained. “Unless we’re miserable without doing busy work.”

Whilst this is not going to effect us in the short term  it’s importance is a fundamental consideration for the progressive idea generators out there; The long term players creating the next wave that will shift society as we know it to the next level: A well-informed innovator with an abundance-focused approach to the effects of increasing automation and the future of work. Jurvetson also underscores the importance of finding and funding these entrepreneurs who are thinking big and solving global problems — despite their inherent risk.

 

If you would like to add a comment on how you forsee the future job market; please sign up and drop me a line.

To you traversing your next idea

 

Steve

 

Does your Cabbie speak English?

There’s been a lot of news in the UK on the subject of cabs vs Black Taxis and the battle of app driven booking systems that under cut the cost of travel in the London marketplace. I’m all for disruption if it saves money doing everyday tasks. But Uber has created quite a stir in Blighty across the pond. And the traditional Black Cab owners are up in arms about this online platform that threatens to erode their livelyhoods.

I’m all for a level playing field so our UK Taxis need to compete or dominate on a similar scale and develop a robust booking system that attracts the masses so they can hold onto marketshare.

In the meantime other players like Hailo will come onto the scene to provide additional competition.

But the latest tech breakthrough is even more extraodinary…

Uber has teamed up with Duolingo to enable its drivers in Colombia to self-certify their proficiency in the English language — and for riders to specifically request an English-speaking driver. The Duolingo proficiency test takes $20 and about 20 minutes for drivers to complete remotely; organizations like the Harvard Extension School, the Max-Planck Institute, Carnegie Mellon, LinkedIn and Upwork all accept it. To date, Uber reports that 1,000 of its drivers have been certified.

This is so important as only last year, Uber launched a similar “Uber English” service in Shanghai, but interviewed and selected English-speaking drivers in person, one by one. By dematerializing this vetting process and using Duolingo, a crowdsourced language service with 100 million users, Uber can scale its English-certified drivers quickly and easily. No doubt a major opportunity  of employment for new arrivals of foreign nationals embarking on a new life in Europe and other countries if Uber rolls-out this additional feature.

 

What disruptive idea interests you?

To the next

 

Steve

 

 

 

Download apps at the speed of light!

Fujitsu has developed the world’s first 300 GHz band compact receiver with an internal antenna. It’s capable of high-speed wireless communications at a rate of several tens of gigabits per second — over 100 times faster than current mobile technology. Radio signals with a frequency greater than 100GHz, called the terahertz band, allow for increases in usable frequency range and communication speed of more than 100 times compared with the 0.8-2.0 GHz range used by current mobile devices. Now, Fujitsu has developed technology that combines a receiver-amplifier chip and terahertz-band antenna with a low-loss connection. This has made it possible to reduce the receiver’s size to one tenth that of previous receivers, making use in mobile devices possible.

One of the main hurdles was that existing high-sensitivity terahertz-band receivers consist of a receiver-amplifier module and separate antenna, with a specialized component called a waveguide to connect them, which makes for large receivers. The most effective way to miniaturize them is to build the antenna directly into the receiver-amplifier module and eliminate the waveguide. Modules with built-in antennas are built by connecting the antenna and the receiver-amplifier chip through an internal printed-circuit substrate, making a waveguide unnecessary. The problem then is that the most common materials for printed-circuit substrates for high-frequency waves are ceramic, quartz, or Teflon, but when used in the terahertz band, there is significant signal attenuation and loss of receiving sensitivity.

Why is this  important: Imagine visiting a download kiosk at an event hall, station, bus terminus, shopping mall or theme park and being able to instantly download 4K or HD video straight to your smartphone. Fujitsu envisions “split-second data transfers between mobile devices and split-second backup between mobile devices and servers,” according to Next Big Future.

Fujitsu and Fujitsu Laboratories will begin field trials of multi-gigabit-per-second, high-speed data transfer using this newly developed compact receiver, aiming to commercialize this technology around 2020.

This will dispel  the common frustrations felt from  ‘on the hoof’ downloads from highly expectant video hungry consumers.

These are the topics that interest me; Sign up and join in with what could be!

 

To the next

 

Steve

Turn Smog into Gemstones

I’ve just supported a great innovation on Kickstarter. The Largest Air Purifier Ever Built that  Sucks Up Smog and Turns it Into Gemstones!

A very clever designer Daan Roosegaarde has unveiled the Smog Free Tower, a 23-foot air purifier that captures smog from the outside air and turns these smog particles into gemstones. The tower purifies 30,000 cubic meters of air each hour, and each gemstone is the product of roughly 1,000 cubic meters of air. Roosegaarde is currently raising funds via the crowdfunding site Kickstarter to cover the travel costs of transporting the air purifier to major cities like Beijing, Mumbai and Paris, with smog gemstone cufflinks and rings as backer prizes. So I’ll be getting a small cube to remind me about how I’m helping the planet by purifying the air in inner city environments.

The process taking place inside its walls  powered by 1,400 watts of sustainable energy, which is comparable to a water boiler, and the studio says it hopes to one day integrate solar PVs into the design to power the process—which works not so differently than some ionic air purifiers. Roosegaarde explains; that the way it works is by charging the Smog Free Tower with a small positive current, an electrode will send positive ions into the air. These ions will attach themselves to fine dust particles. A negatively charged surface -the counter electrode- will then draw the positive ions in, together with the fine dust particles. The fine dust that would normally harm us, is collected together with the ions and stored inside of the tower. This technology manages to capture ultra-fine smog particles which regular filter systems fail to do.

smog tower

I think this was an important project to get involved with because it demonstrates another example of how creative thinkers are transforming scarcity into abundance. This architectural feat appeals to me as its a blindingly obvious solution to a growing problem; your born with a fine set of lungs – it makesense to keep them clean. Unfortunately us humans through our industrial endeavours have polluted certain areas of the planet through the need of  our ever expanding consumption of stuff;  and this innovation marks a turning point to give something back to our congested communities. Environmentally it ticks many boxes and will set the scene for other concepts to support its success through crowdfunding, DIY innovators and other material based sciences. This is a project which has immense scalability; Can you imagine giant versions of these towers sucking in huge amounts of polluted air with the residue being used in the building industry or other sectors as a sustainable material.

This is truly exceptional and an example of an idea I get excited about and want to discuss. This really lights my inner fire. I hope this encourages you to comment & contribute about what could be next.

To your success.

 

Steve

The Scourge of Negative News – – – – – No good for an Abundant Mind

I don’t subscribe to a newspaper or online news service and have’nt done for over 20 years. Even though I have been priviledged to have worked for some of the best newspapers & broadcast networks on the planet. I still think the FT( Financial Times) is the best newspaper in the world. The reason being I’ll come back to later.

Did you know that humans pay over 10x more attention to negative news than they do positive news. The media knows this and feeds us the same addictive content day in day out.
I’ve built up my own resistance to it by filtering out the headlines that grab your attention with that cerebral message of scarcity. I’ve become adept with a trained eye at filtering out only the good stuff that matters.

But this negativity …It’s like a drug , It’s so unhealthy… The Amygdala a small gland in your brain responsible for emotional reactions ( your in built early warning system)  responds to it like glue in a zombie like state. That whole feeling of overwhelm on scarcity, poverty, bad news, tragedy is what sells newspapers and we the public get suckered up into it.  This is not balanced news reporting and the Red Tops ( Tabloids) know this.

News networks are run by depressed stressed out executives that realise they are losing market share to highly competitive, disruptive media aggregators. Chasing the ever decreasing advertising dollar to prop up the negative merry go round.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a news service that reports nothing but positive news of abundance, innovation, science, achievement, etc without the spin. How do you think your Amygdala would  make you feel then … fantastic, great,  on top of the world, full of energy, self belief. Imagine a news network that reports wonderful stories of “goodness” that nourishes your mind. On subjects like Artificial Intelligence, Human Innovation, Robotics, the latest 3D printed mobile phone etc. The abundance of opportunity that lays around us. That’s why I hold the FT in high regard as it reports news in an unbias way and says it like it is.

What I’m trying to say here is don’t join the pack and fill your head with scarcity thinking and suffer the “procrastination trap” like everybody else ;  go get creative and nurture your mind. As the mind matters. Think about what you are putting into it. As Tony Robbins once said in one of his seminars. If you treat your mind like a garden “Do you want it full of weeds” or as a “landscaped masterpiece”.

Having an abundant mindset is going to get you out of the funnel of limitation. I can promise you that!

 

To your success.

 

Steve