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  • feedwordpress 02:44:19 on 2014/02/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, digital strategy, Digital wallets, GPS, iBeacon, , industry disruption, , Innovation News, Interactive design, Macrumors, Major League Baseball, MLB, Paypal, qualcomm, retail 2.0, retail strategy, , WIFI, WIRED   

    5×5: Will Apple’s iBeacon Win the Beacon Wars? 


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    5×5: Will Apple’s iBeacon Win the Beacon Wars?

    It’s Friday – time for RE:INVENTION’s 5×5. Every Friday RE:INVENTION’s leadership team explores a news topic or research report in depth, sharing our unique perspectives.

    UP THIS WEEK: Beacon Technology, Apple’s iBeacon, and Innovation

    What is a beacon? A beacon is a small, low cost sensor that uses BlueTooth to track your location inside buildings and push information to your phone. It’s more precise than GPS or WiFI and consumes less power. The technology has the potential to bridge physical locations and digital experiences, transforming how retailers, event organizers, transit systems, enterprises, and educational institutions communicate with people indoors.

    To date, iBeacon (Apple’s brand for low energy BlueTooth) appears to be leading the pack in advancing this new technology. But the beacon wars have just begun. Paypal, Qualcomm, and a variety of smaller vendors are entering the market with their own beacon hardware.

    This Week’s Reference Articles

    THIS WEEK’S QUESTION

    Will Apple’s iBeacon emerge as the leader in beacon technology? Or will another company win the beacon wars?

    OUR TEAM’S RESPONSES

    Kirsten Osolind (“President and COO”)

    Beacon technology will improve the way consumers use smart phones and transform numerous industries by solving the indoor geo-location challenge. It has great potential to facilitate better mobile payments thereby disrupting the whole credit card ecosystem because of its range. But there will be hurdles with regard to beacon technology commercialization. Beacon technology already has privacy advocates and legal experts buzzing about the implications. The key to beacon technology success will be winning over consumers and heightening their user experience.

    At first blush, the company that seems best positioned to achieve competitive advantage is Apple. Apple is exceptionally good at function and interactive design. Apple excels at branding and educating consumers about new product categories. According to TechCrunch, Apple appears to have a secret leg up on the competition since “every compatible iPad currently deployed in a retail store is already capable of being configured as an iBeacon transmitter — and the iPad is already dominant in the retail space.”

    But here’s the rub. Android can discover beacons that aren’t your own, while Apple restricts this ability. Open ecosystems typically win when it comes to consumers embracing new technologies.

    And since Apple doesn’t have patents on the technology involved with iBeacon, competitors will increasingly come forward with low cost beacons of their own.

    Regardless of who wins the wars, Apple will relentlessly improve and expand the system going forward. And that’s a good thing. When it comes to beacon technology, this is just the first wave of innovation. There’s much more to come.

    Joe Barrus (“The Technologist”)

    iBeacon is Apple’s brand for low energy BlueTooth.  What makes BlueTooth LE special is that it requires very little power to run and won’t be a drain on your device’s battery.  This will finally allow independent communication between devices and other objects that have not previously been thought of as being communication enabled.

    Technologists have long been predicting the arrival of The Internet of Things which is a future state rapidly coming where everyday household items (or things) are hooked up to the Internet allowing for remote control or two way communication.  Examples might be your oven signaling you when the food is cooked or your refrigerator doing your monthly shopping without you.  BlueTooth LE will take this concept one step further by enabling local point-to-point communication between devices and “things.” but only within a short range proximity to each other.

    The use cases are boundless and, in my opinion, fairly exciting to think about.   Many are thinking about consumer oriented uses, however, use cases can span across many different environments from driving revenue for a company to providing social good.  What it will really drive is extreme personalizition of experience and increased inefficiencies.  Imagine going into Starbucks and having the coffee maker automatically start brewing your favorite drink without having to get into line.  The coffee-maker communicates with your phone to start the order and the cash register automatically debits your account.  This can leave the baristas free to focus on making coffee and customer service.  BlueTooth LE can also further enable augmented reality use cases for your smartphone or tablet.  Imagine walking through your favorite tourist city and as you come across various landmarks, etc. with embedded BlueTooth LE devices, your device could overlay imagery or text to provide additional information on that landmark, etc.

    Apple is very good at branding and driving adoption of new technologies by connecting well with the consumer.  However, the technology is not exclusive to Apple.  So, while Apple may perhaps be first to market with some innovative usage of this technology, other vendors will quickly fall in behind to fully take advantage.  I am looking forward to it.

    Dennis Jarvis (“The Marketeer”)

    While perhaps not befitting the label of disruptive, Beacon Technology represents yet another evolution in our daily digital lives. iBeacon leads the way and my money is on Apple capturing the lion’s share while competitors seek their own point-of-difference.

    Let’s consider the dynamics of this evolution, those that are good, maybe great, as well as the possible pitfall? On the one hand, Beacon brings with it the potential for significantly adding value to our experiences, be they entertainment events, retail, transit, education, etc. And, consumers will be drawn to the siren, with all of its conveniences and efficiencies. The availability of a seamless stream of real-time information at any leisure venue – ballgames, museums, concerts, etc. – will enable unencumbered access to tickets, seating locations, insights about the event, and concession bargains. Add to that the ease of navigation afforded to us at retail, along with specials and deals seemingly more within reach, and the ability for more efficient exchange of currency, means Beacon technology is a sure bet. Yet, I wonder just how many more push notifications we can or want to handle. Still, the real pitfall comes with the realization that the ultimate success of Beacon technology, as with most things digital, resides with our dependence on just how responsible organizations are in managing it, versus exploitation to the point where we say “enough.” Already, we are somewhat skeptical as evidenced by the following: 93% of consumers are concerned with their privacy from digital technologies; 73% don’t want their clicks tracked; 41% distrust businesses who collect data about them online; 40% are uncomfortable about personalized ads pushed to them; 36% have unfriended a brand over privacy concerns (Brandology. May, 2013). So, yes the public most certainly will gravitate to “the” Beacon, but it will be monitoring and voting on organizations and companies who violate their trust.

    Jorge Barba (“The Culture Guy”)

    There’s potential. Beacon technologies will keep driving the big trend of “automation”, where there is less human interaction. This might not work for every person and situation though, as some people will prefer to talk to a human at some point.

    The main topic of conversation will be how this changes the retail experience, but the bigger picture here is that we may end up getting fatigued by all the varied applications that can use these technologies.

    The iPhone might end up pushing this forward, but there are a varied amount of apps that could potentially play here: Square, Google+, Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook, among others. These are all situation aware apps that one way or another have the signals necessary to know where you are.

    We are already inundated with notifications from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other apps, in the big picture, how will this sit with people? What happens next?

    This is the short-term issue I’d think about. This is a wave that is just getting started, and people will be forced to adopt this technology because of their phones. Many questions still remain unanswered.

    Kane (“K-9 Intern”)

    I don’t need much guidance to find good products. I rely on my nose. Dogs like me instinctively know how to sniff out opportunities. Hmmm….wonder if I can patent my nose as a tracking device?

    THE FINAL WORD
    Apple’s iBeacon is a strong contender in an exciting emerging category. Beacons can be utilized for a bevy of new purposes from geolocation to shopping analytics to targeted messaging. Many of the new entrants will provide solutions that complement each other. At RE:INVENTION, we’re excited to see where the industry is headed next.

     
  • feedwordpress 00:57:22 on 2013/12/11 Permalink
    Tags: 2013 trends, 2014 forecast, , Albert Cheng, bill clinton, brian burke, , Disney, e-learning, eMarketer, , foursquare, gamification, gartner, gartner's hype cycle, , , , , Innovation News, IPOs, , macarthur foundation, , , , mozilla, mozilla labs, multi-tasking, NEXT TV Summit, open badges, openbadges.org, recofriendations, Schrage, second screen, the Fed, trend hunter, , VC funds, VCs, , , washington post, youGov   

    A Look Back: Michael Schrage’s Four 2013 Innovation Predictions 


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    A Look Back: Michael Schrage’s Four 2013 Innovation Predictions

    As the business world looks back on this year’s trends and looks forward to 2014, we’re revisiting what experts predicted for this year last December.

    Last week, we reviewed and evaluated Vivek Wadhwa’s five 2013 innovation predictions. On tap today: a review of MIT Sloan School research fellow Michael Schrage’s four 2013 innovation predictions, as featured in his December 2012 Harvard Business Review Guest Post.

    Let’s get started…

    1. Proliferation of Open Badges Online

    According to Schrage, badges would increasingly be used in the online world to earmark valid and verifiable accreditation from companies, academic institutions, and professional associations.

    Scorecard: Miss.

    Open badges have their roots in gamification. Alas, the gamification backlash has begun. Gamification currently is at the very top of the Peak of Inflated Expectations in Gartner’s Hype Cycle, dangerously close to teetering into “the trough of disillusionment.”

    Gamification: Gartner Hype Cycle Position

    The Trough of Disillusionment (A Definition)
    “Technologies and related startups … fail to meet expectations and quickly become unfashionable. The press usually abandons the topic.” (SOURCE: BUSINESS INSIDER)

    According to Gartner research VP Brian Burke, companies/developers that get fixated on points and badges fail. “You just can’t put badges on something and expect it to work,” Burke has said.

    In June 2013, Mozilla Labs, the MacArthur Foundation, and former President Bill Clinton launched the Open Badges Project to promote the use of badges to identify online credentials. Q42013 project momentum has been slow. In fact, the project hasn’t had any press coverage since Schrage’s HBR forecast.

    We suspect that open accreditation badges will face a long uphill battle for three reasons: (1) talent capabilities need to be proven, not asserted (2) the judgment of “capabilities” is subjective and (3) the idea of badges conflicts with America’s “prizes for all” culture and is likely to suffer from gamification’s downslope trend. Without secure signing, open badges are subject to a huge host of other issues.

    We’re doubtful that badges (Mozilla or otherwise) will revolutionize e-learning or disrupt higher education in the near future.

    2. A Big Boom in Second Screen Multi-Tasking

    Multidevice engagement and multi-tasking would be increasingly omnipresent in 2013, predicted Schrage. Content creators worldwide would readjust their business models accordingly.

    Scorecard: Miss.

    Networks, advertisers, and social-media services trying to capitalize on the “second screen phenomenon” have encountered challenges. Twitter is still the only social television app with any critical mass.

    Many noted experts are beginning to declare that you can’t make money with second screen. That second screen equates to “no-income advertising.” The more we drive consumers to the second screen, the harder it becomes to monetize their time and attention.

    According to a new report by eMarketer, roughly half of all Americans look at their social networks while watching TV but only one in six post something about what they’re watching.

    Disney’s Digital EVP, Albert Cheng, especially dislikes second screen. “Second screen apps are not a game that we want to be in,” said Cheng at the Next TV Summit in San Francisco during September. “Second screen is a distraction.”

    If brand and network hesitancy and absence of ROI are not enough to thwart second screen, most viewers DVR shows and watch them later (save for rare “extreme fan” exceptions like the Super Bowl and Breaking Bad’s finale).

    We simply don’t see second screen stealing ad share away from television.

    3. Recofriendations

    According to Schrage, social media recommendations from friends would be taken more seriously in 2013, offering sophisticated reasons and rationales for recommendations. Schrage predicted we’d see feedback loop links between Quora and Outlook/Gmail/Linkedin/Facebook. Links between Expedia/Outlook/and social networks. Links between Powerpoint/Slideshare/and social networks.

    Scorecard: Miss.

    Are we guided by what the Jones’ are doing? In the real world, yes. Via social networks? Surprisingly no. The value of social recommendations is on a steep declining slope. While research has shown that 70 percent of consumers trust social media recommendations from friends more than traditional advertising, people don’t buy what their friends RECOMMEND on social media platforms.

    Is Facebook’s search technology failing marketers? A growing number of companies believe that Facebook ads don’t work. New research from YouGov reveals that 83% of shoppers will ignore friends’ social media recommendations this holiday season. Social recommendations increase discovery and trust, but not sales (particularly among males). Keller-Fay, the word of mouth specialist, reports that 90% of brand conversations still take place offline.

    As for the extensive recofriendation feedback loop links across all social networks? Didn’t really happen.

    4. Easy Capital

    Schrage believed the Fed’s policies would make it easier for innovative entrepreneurs to raise capital in 2013. He expected entrepreneurship to be perceived as an “alternative investment” with huge appeal to institutional investors seeking diversification options. “There may never be a better time to be a charismatic entrepreneur with a scalable prototype,” Schrage wrote.

    Scorecard: Miss.

    Though the final tally is not yet in, year-end 2013 venture capital investments are expected to be lower than 2012.  VCs are taking smaller stakes and structuring fewer deals with liquidation preferences. Most VC funds are small. IPOS are still unlikely to be a rich exit (even Twitter stock is proving volatile). And the series A crunch continues. Overall seed stage investment in startups has decreased from a year ago.

    Medical devices startups, in particular, continue to face a VC funding freeze. Medtech investments are at their lowest point in 9 years. The 2.3 percent medical device tax is contributing to the gloomy fundraising outlook.

    The cold hard facts: ninety percent of all businesses in the US have 0-5 employees. They are small and most will stay small.

    MY OVERALL EVALUATION OF MICHAEL SCHRAGE’S 2013 INNOVATION PREDICTIONS
    Optimistic. The Year That COULD Have Been. Predictions are just educated guesses. Optimism can be a good thing but it can impair your forward-thinking vision. Without realism, unbridled optimism can lead to real-world disaster.

    So, how would you score Michael Schrage’s 2013 predictions? Which trend surprised you most this year? What was YOUR favorite 2013 innovation or technology prediction? Did it come to fruition?

    Up next week: Trend Hunter Jeremy Gutsche”s 20 predictions for 2013 predictions, revealed IN THIS VIDEO. Due to space, we’ll recap five of our favorites and assess whether his predictions came true.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:42:11 on 2013/12/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Innovation News, Kindle, Mayday, , , transformation, XBOX One   

    Looking Ahead to 2014 


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    Looking Ahead to 2014

    There are more than enough posts about predictions and trends for 2014 out there to entertain your mind. I’m not one to make predictions. I prefer to set the agenda. Two things I will talk about in this post to look forward to the next year: connected experiences and how we think about innovation.

    Let’s Talk About Connected Experiences

    While most of the discussion in 2014 will still be around the hot topics of Big Data, The Internet of Things, 3D Printing, and other buzzworthy topics; what holds these things together and can’t be easily replicated is an overall connected experience.  Organizations will still look at all of the hot topics as separate pieces, to see how they can integrate them, and this is usually how it starts: you starting testing in isolation until you figure out if works for you.

    But experiences are more fluid and connected than ever. The recent advances in sync technology that the XBOX One brings to the table is a leading indicator on how devices are connected experiences. You can bring them with you anywhere. And, while tablets and smartphones will become pervasive touch points in those experiences, the human element will not be replaced. People still want to have contact with people, if it makes sense.

    Amazon shows that they understand this better than ever with their Mayday feature that comes with the newest breed of Kindles. Whether they got it right or wrong isn’t the point. What they are saying is that they want to have contact with customers, and will be available with one click when the customer needs them. This is thinking ahead of the game, and just comes to show how they are “retail”.

    The Key Takeway Here

    The conversation about emerging technologies should be around the connected experience and outcomes for customers, not the benefits for an organization. Your point of view should define what to do and what not to do.

    To look back is to look forward. The saddest thing about 2013 is that the word “innovation” keeps getting diluted. It is now a marketing ploy. Before the end of the year, and every day after that, companies who are serious about innovation should ask themselves this question: how can we be the only ones who do what we do?

    The answer to that question isn’t about Big Data, or any other “hot topic”, it is about what are you enabling customers to do. How are you transforming them?

    People don’t remember specific features, they remember the experience had. Companies are confusing a product upgrade with innovation, and to believe that changing one thing is enough to make a splash is short-term-ism at its finest. A recent post on the Wall Street Journal has pretty much put it in perspective how executives are looking at innovation: “something that is innovative to them”.

    The Right Way to Think About Innovation

    The right way to think about innovation is this: how are we transforming customers? How are we helping them be innovative?

    This is a different way of thinking about value proposition; it’s about developing human capital. Not simply delivering a product or service “because that is what companies do”. Companies that believe that out-featuring competitors is the way to innovation riches are kidding themselves. You might feel that way in the short term, but you are simply adding more wood to the fire that creates a thick screen of smoke that distracts and annoys people.

    Customers, people, users, are experiencing more chaos than ever. Too many choices are creating noise in their lives. This is a huge opportunity for both startups and established companies to make an impact in people’s lives. The sooner you rethink how you look at innovation, the faster you will orient your efforts towards really thinking about how you might transform them.

    To finish, I’ll leave you with this last thought: the more you say you are innovative, the less innovative you are.

     

     
  • feedwordpress 21:22:14 on 2013/12/06 Permalink
    Tags: , , big fishes make the best sushi, drone delivery, Drones, , holiday sales, , Innovation News, jeff bezos, omaha steaks, Pasi pietikainen, PR   

    Amazon’s Drone Delivery and Signaling Intent 


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    Amazon’s Drone Delivery and Signaling Intent

    It’s Friday, and that means RE:INVENTION’s Leadership team is discussing another hot topic in our weekly blog feature, 5×5. New to our blog? Every Friday our team reviews and debates a controversial news article or research report.

    UP THIS WEEK: A look into Amazon’s Drone Delivery

    Last Sunday on 60 Minutes, Amazon declared that it will offer 30-minute or less air drone delivery for packages under 5 pounds by 2019. There are a variety of opinions on this announcement, from those believing that Amazon has reinvented shopping by bringing together the best aspects of both online and in-store experiences, to those that believe that drone delivery is infeasible and simply a PR stunt.

    This Week’s Reference Articles:

    THIS WEEK’S QUESTION

    When is signaling your intent strategic?

    OUR TEAM’S RESPONSES

    Kirsten Osolind (“President and COO”)

    You use defensive driving strategies to signal your intent when you are out on the open road. Signaling can also be useful in business to create strategic advantage.  In fact, nearly every aspect of marketing signals value to potential customers: SEO, social media, your website, blogging, press releases, analyst presentations, investor calls, annual reports, news articles, even discussions with employees and customers.

    Any company can release preemptive announcements to ruffle a competitor’s feathers and upset industry balance. In the case of Amazon, their recent drone delivery announcement was less of a signaling event than it was a deflection. A PR stunt designed to drive attention away from lackluster earnings performance and recent negative PR about working conditions in company warehouses.

    Using a video to unveil Amazon Prime Air? Brilliant. Sci fi in real life.

    And it worked. The social media world exploded after the sensationalistic headlines.

    Is Amazon innovative? Absolutely. Amazon offers an extremely diverse product line and they already make it super easy to get their products to your front door. The company has appeared in the top five on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list year after year. They continue to play the long game.

    Is drone delivery innovation possible in the near future? Not yet — but that really doesn’t matter. While cynics, optimists and realists alike debate the feasibility of drone deliveries, the regulatory challenges, and implications for privacy and liability, Amazon has successfully captured “share of mind” just in time for holiday sales. In his response to this week’s 5×5, RE:INVENTION market analyst John Clark shares a nifty chart revealing the impact the drone announcement had on Amazon’s site traffic and sales. Worth a look.

    For the record, drones terrify me. If you were my Facebook friend, you could explore my Photo Album featuring drones caught on camera across San Diego. What scares me more? I once dated the “actor” who plays the customer in the Amazon Prime Air video.

    For a great weekend read on the power of preemptive announcements, check out “Big Fishes Make the Best Sushi,” by Pasi Pietikainen.

    Joe Barrus (“The Technologist”)

    I think the Amazon Drone Delivery announcement was more about reinforcing innovation as part of Amazon’s brand and a marketing ploy rather than a serious investment.  Drone delivery certainly has potential to achieve same day delivery at low cost. Ironically Amazon’s attempt at innovating logistics itself is fraught with logistical hurdles not to mention regulatory hurdles.  If government was not in the way, I’m sure Amazon could launch an effective service tomorrow.  However, regulatory and liability roadblocks are aplenty in the way of making drone package delivery to your doorstep a reality.

    Nevertheless, I do think it is possible to achieve partial success in this area.  Drones could become a very effective way to move packages between distribution points.  Drones could move packages point-to-point between regional and local distribution centers.  This could be an effective way to achieve same day delivery within a manageable airspace.   Amazon could partner with existing delivery services such as UPS and FedEx to achieve this reality.

    Amazon’s announcement’s primary purpose was to reinforce in everyone’s mind that Amazon is continuously investing in innovative ways to meet customer demand at low cost.  As a marketing ploy, it could potentially influence more loyalty amongst customers given everything else being equal.  A customer could be influenced to buy from Amazon simply because they know that some of that money is going to be re-invested into improving customer service rather than shareholder pockets.

    But I do think their investment does have serious undertones.  As long as they continue to stretch their imaginations and push existing boundaries and regulations, they may emerge successful at some point.  Regulations are natural innovation killers.  It’s nice to see companies with deep pockets challenge the status quo to continue to push innovation in an effort to remain competitive and retain customer loyalty.

    Jorge Barba (“The Culture Guy”)

    You fake it until you make it. Amazon has a reputation for pushing boundaries, and making it. This is what they are aiming for with this announcement. A call to action, if you will, to potential partners who would want to make this happen with them. It might also have been to put themselves in the conversation at the start of the Holiday Season.

    Whether it was a PR move or not, doesn’t matter. When you are company who always pushes it, and makes it, you are in the unique position to do preemptive announcements.

    John Clark (“Market Analyst”)

    Signaling intent can be a very strategic move when it is done properly. If an innovation isn’t yet developed, the company releasing its information to the public must know either that competitors will be unable to mimic it or that they will inevitably copy it. If other companies are conducting similar research, it may be more strategic to release that you are the first company to have developed that idea.

    UPS and other companies have been doing research similar to Amazon’s on drone delivery, but Amazon’s decision to release this information five years ahead of when the drones will be in use gives the company the public image that it was the first to develop it.

    Amazon’s Jeff Bezos undoubtedly made his decision to release the drone delivery news in a strategic, timely manner. Announcing the company’s research and development in a 60 Minutes feature on the Sunday preceding Cyber Monday was an effective way to generate hype around the company and therefore more online traffic to the Amazon website. And it worked. Take a look at the following graph, which outlines the number of unique IP addresses that visited the sites on Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

    cybermonday2013

    Though Amazon is at the top of this chart every year, the amount of unique IP visits on Cyber Monday is significantly higher than the other companies listed.

    This is not an allegation that Amazon is completely faking it, as I fully believe that they are working towards releasing drone delivery technology. Amazon is widely recognized for being a very innovative company. However, I do think that it will take longer than five years for the drones to be fully developed and approved by the FAA. The concept of same-day drone delivery, especially if it can be done within 30 of ordering, will reinvent shopping, bridging the gap between e-commerce and instant gratification and allowing for the best of both online and in-store shopping. For now, as the reference article from Forbes puts it, figuring out how to accurately forecast delivery locations and quantities is a more pressing issue for delivery logistics.

    Kane (“K-9 Intern”)

    Sorry. I’m simply too busy to blog right now. I’m trying to coordinate a drone delivery of Omaha Steaks as part of Amazon’s test market strategy. Let’s catch up later, after I’ve had my tasty snack.

    THE FINAL WORD

    We can only speculate Amazon’s intentions from releasing news on its air drone delivery services. Whether they strategically made this announcement to cover up negative PR, to drive shoppers to their website on Cyber Monday, or simply because they wanted to inform the public of their innovative company culture, the bottom line is that the announcement has generated a lot of excitement and anticipation for a revolutionary online shopping experience.

     

     
  • feedwordpress 00:25:53 on 2013/12/04 Permalink
    Tags: 2013 predictions, alivecor, , , , cheap tablets, eHealth, google glass, google now, Harvard Business Review, , , , innovation forecast, Innovation News, innovation trends, look back look forward, mDevices, , , rethink robotics, retrofit, scripps health, tablets, tech trends, , UCSF, , wall-ye   

    A Look Back at Vivek Wadhwa’s Five 2013 Innovation Predictions 


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    A Look Back at Vivek Wadhwa’s Five 2013 Innovation Predictions

    Over the holiday weekend, Global Language Monitor released its Top 50 Business Buzzwords of 2013. Some of the words on the list? Content. Social Media. Game Changer. It’s official – Trend Recap and Forecasting season has begun.

    Before the entire business world starts to look back and look ahead, it’s always entertaining to revisit what the “experts” predicted for this year last December. I love keeping score.

    Let’s get things started with a review of Singularity University Professor Vivek Wadhwa’s five 2013 innovation predictions, featured in his WASHINGTON POST COLUMN. I’ll briefly recap each of Wadhwa’s predictions and evaluate his clairvoyant powers.

    1. A cheap tablet explosion

    Wadhwa predicted that the price of tablet computers would drop to under $100 in 2013 and keep dropping to near zero over the next two to three years. “Companies will give tablets away,” he said, “in exchange for plan subscriptions.”

    Scorecard: It happened (kinda).

    PC shipments declined 8 percent in 2013 while tablet shipments increased 53 percent. The market is being driven by a shift to lower-priced devices across all device categories, not just tablets. The average price of a tablet during 2013 was roughly $380 but if you factor out Apple iPADs, the average tablet price drops below $40.

    It is important to note, however, that recent research suggests substantial buyer remorse for cheap tablets. Many industry analysts think Apple will be able to retain premium vendor pricepoints. Tablet quality still has a clear price threshold.

    2. Wireless health self-monitoring devices will go “mainstream”

    Mobile devices will reshape healthcare in 2013, Wadhwa declared. He raved about the AliveCor Heart Monitor and heralded its potential for success.

    Scorecard: We’re headed that direction.

    Is a m-health gold rush on? Absolutely. RE:INVENTION recently featured the CEO of Retrofit on our blog. A new 2013 Consumer Electronics Association survey found that one-third of mobile device owners have used their mobile phones to track some aspect of their health.

    Still, “mainstream” is an optimist’s exaggeration. Less than 5 percent of U.S. broadband households currently own wireless health monitoring devices (like AliveCor). A mere 1,000 patients are currently using AliveCor devices, primarily through the company’s clinical trials with Scripps Health and UCSF. In November 2013, Alivecor transformed their heart monitor into an eHealth Service — that’s promising.

    3. Manufacturing jobs will return to the U.S.

    We’ll see a renaissance in design and creativity in 2013, portended Wadhwa, driven by advances in robotics, A.I., and 3D printing. And this will bring a wave of manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. Wadhwa also expected growing commercial availability of a new generation of robots like Baxter from Rethink Robotics and the grape-picking Wall-Ye.

    Scorecard: A renaissance? No. Progress, but it’s slow…

    A September 2013 BCG study revealed that over half of executives at manufacturing companies with sales of more than $1 billion INTEND to return some production to the United States from overseas. Twenty-one percent say that they are in the “process of some reshoring.”

    On the robotics front, Rethink Robotics recently expanded its Baxter Research Robot into the Asian market in partnership with Nihon Binary. But the price of robots will need to come down dramatically before they go mainstream. At $32K, the Wall-Ye is more expensive than manual labor. Despite its cool factor, Wall-Ye only has 17 likes on Facebook.

    When it comes to the robotics industry, we place our bets on drones. Even average Joes wanna own their own personal aerial surveillance technology. Some of us find the privacy implications terrifying. If you were my Facebook friend, you could explore my Photo Album featuring drones caught on camera across San Diego. Eerie? You bet.

    4. From big baloney to big opportunities in big data

    Wadhwa forecasted huge big data success stories in 2013 and triumph for Google Now, Popular Science’s 2012 Innovation of the Year.

    Scorecard: MEH.

    RE:INVENTION’s team discussed the deluge of Big Data in a recent Friday 5×5 blog post. Big Data still has a credibility problem. While Big Data can provide unprecedented amounts of information, many companies are still struggling to use Big Data effectively. If your company doesn’t have deep pockets like Google or Facebook and tons of dedicated data analysts and engineers on staff, mining business answers from Big Data can be a backbreaker. And from consumers’ perspectives, Big Data comes with the threat of infringing on privacy.

    Huge data sets are useless unless they provide actionable insights. For companies to generate value from Big Data, they need to connect data sets to insights to action in a fast, repeatable way.

    All this said, our lives and daily patterns will increasingly be up in “the cloud” for bidding to the highest payer. And this makes some folks nervous. For a quick read on the challenges Google Now faces with mainstream acceptance, check out the reader comments on THIS ARTICLE.

    5. A surge in wearable devices and new user interface paradigms

    Wadhwa brazenly predicted the obsolescence of the computer keyboard and mouse in 2013. And he expected Google Glass to soar: “When Google releases Project Glass…I predict we won’t even need computer screens at all.”

    Scorecard: When pigs fly, Sir Vivek Wadhwa.

    Wearable devices will be a companion to mobile phones, tablets, and computers, not a replacement. Gartner predicts that less than 1 percent of consumers will replace their mobile phones with a combination of a wearable device and a tablet by 2017.

    While size matters less and Time Magazine recently reported that people overwhelmingly prefer 7-inch tablets over 10-inch tablets – many wearable devices lack utility because of their tiny screen size (particularly tough for us older “vision-challenged” folks). Kind note to you youngsters out there: you will get old, despite Google’s hell-bent intention to cheat death. Dare to dream, Google. Dreams are great innovation kickstarters.

    As for Google Glass, the product faces H-U-G-E challenges before going mainstream. Privacy issues, a fugly design, usability problems, and fear (fear of Google and fear of change). Google’s “do no evil” mantra is akin to a car salesman telling you to trust him.

    For the record, we suspect Google will be a huge proponent of stealth drones. We’re NOT ALONE IN THIS OPINION. And we don’t think tablets and computers will be replaced by interactive glasses or wearable devices any time soon.

    MY OVERALL EVALUATION OF VIVEK WADHWA’S 2013 INNOVATION PREDICTIONS
    Pretty good job. Miss Cleo, John Edward, and Sylvia Browne would be impressed.

    So, how would you score Wadhwa’s 2013 predictions? Which trend surprised you most this year? What was YOUR favorite 2013 innovation or technology prediction?

    Later this week, I’ll review MIT Sloan School Center research fellow Michael Schrage’s four 2013 innovation predictions, as featured in his December 2012 Harvard Business Review Column.

     
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