CES: Voice Assistants Are No Longer Just for Smart Speakers

If CES is any indication, 2019 may be the year that voice assistants become more integrated into our daily lives. Amazon and Google went head-to-head in Las Vegas last week with a flood of partnerships touting smart home and CE devices that now support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Among the products featuring voice support included LG’s much-hyped rollable OLED TV; Panasonic’s new 4K OLED TV; Samsung’s 2019 TV lineup; Vuzix Blade AR glasses; an array of speakers, soundbars and headphones; new smart displays from Lenovo, Archos and KitchenAid; and a collection of home security devices, kitchen and bathroom appliances — even toilets. Continue reading CES: Voice Assistants Are No Longer Just for Smart Speakers

Tech Firms Launch New Foundation to Create IoT Standards

Tech companies including Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Samsung have formed a new group with plans to develop standards for the burgeoning Internet of Things industry. The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) is charged with creating “IoT solutions and devices that work seamlessly together.” (OCF will replace the Open Interconnect Consortium that was formed in 2014.) “We believe that fragmentation is the enemy of IoT,” said Qualcomm exec Michael Wallace. Other founding members include ARRIS, CableLabs, Electrolux and GE Digital. Continue reading Tech Firms Launch New Foundation to Create IoT Standards

EU and U.S. Agree to Data Privacy Pact, Now Awaits Approval

After three months of often-tense meetings, Europe and the U.S. agreed to a pact to enable digital data to move back and forth across the Atlantic. Negotiating beyond the January 31 deadline, European and U.S. officials hammered out details of the “EU-US Privacy Shield,” which will enable Google, Amazon and thousands of other businesses to continue operations. But the agreement isn’t out of the woods: it still faces official approval by the EU’s 28 member states, and EU privacy advocates have vowed to oppose it. Continue reading EU and U.S. Agree to Data Privacy Pact, Now Awaits Approval

Amazon, Microsoft Lead Boom in Cloud Services for Enterprise

As big companies such as General Electric and Netflix close down their data centers and move operations to the cloud, Amazon and Microsoft are enjoying rising revenues in their cloud operations — and increasing competition between each other. In the process, they’re also gaining dominance over rivals including Google and IBM. Recently, GE has reported whittling down its reliance on data centers from 34 to four. Netflix closed its last data center at the end of last summer. Continue reading Amazon, Microsoft Lead Boom in Cloud Services for Enterprise

Intel Debuts Low Cost, Low Power Chips for Internet of Things

Intel has made a strong move to compete in the Internet of Things, by announcing Quark, a new line of low-power, less expensive microcontroller chips. The new Quark chips draw 27 milliwatts, one-thousandths of a watt, compared to Intel’s standard chips that draw approximately 15 watts, and will be priced at $2 to $3. The new chips do not adhere to the Intel’s x86 chip design, which the company has used since the 1980s. With microcontroller chips, Intel faces new competition from Freescale Semiconductor and Atmel. Continue reading Intel Debuts Low Cost, Low Power Chips for Internet of Things

Apple and GE: Future of Business is Personalized Technology

The Internet has revolutionized consumers’ lives, say Apple and General Electric, but the business world has yet to enjoy similar benefits. Both companies have stated that they see enterprise as the next frontier. Apple and GE are just starting to focus on this space but both have plans to empower enterprise with tools — with Apple focused on the mobile Internet and GE on sensors and predictive data analysis — that interact with people, track tools and mediate between people and machines. Continue reading Apple and GE: Future of Business is Personalized Technology

Sponsored Geofilters on Snapchat Draw in Advertising Dollars

Mobile video and messaging app Snapchat has become increasingly appealing to advertisers, who are using sponsored geofilters to turn their users into brand ambassadors. Although Snapchat still hasn’t built out its basic advertising infrastructure, advertisers are signing up to run fledgling campaigns in which people can add geofilters only when they are in specific locations. Among the brands that have launched such campaigns are Nike, GE, Target and McDonald’s. Some videos generate between 30 and 50 million views. Continue reading Sponsored Geofilters on Snapchat Draw in Advertising Dollars

New Patent Group Wants Royalties for 4K HEVC Video Codec

HEVC Advance, a new patent group, has warned that it will demand royalties for the HEVC video codec that allows 4K streaming within the same bandwidth now used for 1080p streaming. HEVC, which also can provide 1080p streaming in half the bandwidth, has been seen as the best solution for cost-effective 4K, and the current threat could torpedo its adoption. Currently, HEVC-supported smart TVs have enabled Netflix’s 4K services on those receivers; some smartphones also use HEVC. Continue reading New Patent Group Wants Royalties for 4K HEVC Video Codec

Airware Offers Commercial Drone Operation for the Enterprise

Drone startup Airware has launched a commercial drone operating system with plans to make unmanned aerial vehicles easier to use. Interested businesses would pay a monthly subscription to license Airware’s Flight Core autopilot technology, Ground Control Station, and cloud platform. The system of hardware, software, and cloud computing allows businesses to customize drone missions for their own needs, whether it involves surveying farm land or inspecting cell towers. Continue reading Airware Offers Commercial Drone Operation for the Enterprise

Invention Machine Quirky Puts Emphasis on Internet of Things

In 2011, Manhattan-based Quirky turned a college student’s idea for an adjustable power strip into a successful retail story. Since then, the company, which has deemed itself somewhat of a digital destination for inventions, has helped commercialize nearly 400 products. Quirky has initiated a corporate partnership program and is gearing its focus towards Internet connected products such as light switches and air conditioners that can be controlled by smartphones or a Wi-Fi network at home.  Continue reading Invention Machine Quirky Puts Emphasis on Internet of Things

Samsung Opens Five-Story Innovation Museum in South Korea

Samsung opened its Samsung Innovation Museum at the company’s headquarters in South Korea this month. The museum features some of the most iconic inventions of the modern era, including Samsung TVs, smartphones and semiconductors. The creation of the museum is an effort by Samsung to escape its image as a “fast follower,” and showcase itself as an innovator. The five-story museum occupies about 118,000 square feet. It comes as Samsung goes up against Apple again in patent court.  Continue reading Samsung Opens Five-Story Innovation Museum in South Korea

Consortium Seeks Engineering Standards for Internet of Things

The Industrial Internet Consortium — which includes AT&T, Cisco, General Electric, IBM and Intel — said last week that it plans to develop engineering standards for the connection of objects, sensors and computing systems in large industrial assets, such as oil refineries, factories and harbors. The consortium aims to establish standards for how machines will share information and move data. The group also plans to publish case studies, conduct forums and cooperate on security practices. Continue reading Consortium Seeks Engineering Standards for Internet of Things

Instagram Flexes its Muscles with E-Commerce and New Ad Deal

Social photo- and video-sharing site Instagram has signed its first major advertising deal with an agency. Instagram is launching a paid ad program with Omnicom Media Group, which agreed to a year-long commitment of up to $100 million that will deliver ads from brands tied to Omnicom’s media and creative agencies. Instagram, which launched in October 2010, was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Today, Instagram says its 150 million active users upload 55 million photos daily. Continue reading Instagram Flexes its Muscles with E-Commerce and New Ad Deal

The AMAZE Project: Space Agency Brings 3D Printing to Metal

The European Space Agency plans to apply 3D printing to metal in order to build parts for jets, spacecraft and fusion projects. ESA and the EU, together with industrial and academic partners, are developing the first large-scale 3D production methods to create metal parts that are lighter and more affordable than conventional parts. While 3D printing is already being used to produce plastic products, applying the process to metal parts for rockets and planes would save money and be more efficient. Continue reading The AMAZE Project: Space Agency Brings 3D Printing to Metal

Vine Marketing: Airbnb Launches Video Crowdsourcing Campaign

The Airbnb travel accommodations website teamed with ad agency Mullen San Francisco to launch a new experiment in Vine marketing this past week. The “Hollywood & Vines” campaign will result in a short film composed of six-second Vine videos submitted by consumers. Shooting days ran August 22-25, with assigned shots posted hourly. “If your Vine is selected it will be featured on the Sundance Channel and you’ll receive a $100 Airbnb coupon,” explains the campaign’s site. Continue reading Vine Marketing: Airbnb Launches Video Crowdsourcing Campaign

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