Lab: IOE 13 Internet of Things Video

The Internet of … the Universe

Peter Platzer, CEO of NanoSatisfi, wants the public to revise how it thinks about satellites. At our May 16 Techonomy Lab: Man, Machines, and The Network in Menlo Park, Calif., Platzer explained that the satellites people normally think of—big, bulky, exorbitantly expensive, and reserved for the military and government—are in actuality decades outdated. He equates the most modern satellite being flown by the U.S. military today to a “Pentium 2 running Windows 98,” using technology that’s far from cutting edge. With successful prototypes for smaller, cheaper, more connected satellites, NanoSatisfi imagines "The Internet of the Universe" and a reality that allows even the average person to be in control of a satellite.   More

Global Tech Startup Culture

Beirut—yes Beirut—Has a Vibrant, Growing Tech Scene

Beirut image via Shutterstock

OK, Beirut, Lebanon may not yet be a startup hub like Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, or even Dubai. But recent success stories suggest that the Middle Eastern city is emerging as a serious contender. They include event-ticketing and crowfunding platform Presella, mobile music app Anghami, and local tech darling Instabeat, a swim-goggle-mounted heart-rate monitor. “You can get a feel that there is a community developing,” says Rabih Nassar, founder of element^n, a company that provides cloud platform services. “There are a lot of ideas, a lot of young people who want to jump in.”   More

Business

Red Flags About Google Glass Hyperventilation

It's one of the defining technologies of our day, already, even though it's not even really released. Everybody has a question or a complaint about Google Glass. Whether you think them cool or creepy, the combination of the technology's potential and the fact that Google is the vendor has the world reacting. Sage observer Larry Downes argues in Harvard Business Review that there is no stopping this tech. But he makes note of calls to regulate it, much like governments that initially insisted someone walk in front of early cars carrying a red flag to warn horse-riders of the oncoming danger. Congress and governments generally seem to have no clue this time, either. Google, meanwhile, is saying nothing.   More

Business Manufacturing

Could Crowdsourcing Make Better Cars?

Co-created cars could have better cupholder designs, among other features.

Whoever designed my car doesn't drink coffee during their morning commute. Otherwise they'd never have put the cupholder in front of the gear stick. The manufacturer of my next car might actually be interested in my input. According to a report out this week from consulting giant PwC, co-creation is a growing trend in the automotive industry.   More

Global Tech Government

Using Tech to Anticipate Tornado Strikes

iStock_000018566764XSmall

Approximately 16 minutes before the massive twister struck Oklahoma on Monday, meteorologists used satellites and radars to issue a tornado warning in Oklahoma City. Sixteen minutes may not be much time—but it’s certainly a major advance from 30 years ago, when the average lead time was five minutes. In the 1950s, it was even illegal to predict tornadoes because of the uncertainty and panic that could result from a false forecast. Those 11 additional minutes likely saved more lives as people burrowed into safety shelters and basements. But imagine if they had as much as 30 minutes or more.   More

Finance

Look Who’s Crowdfunding Now

220px-Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore

The world’s most famous real-estate mogul, Donald Trump, is jumping into the crowdfunding fray. Trump has partnered with Bill Zanker, founder of The Learning Annex, to create FundAnything, a crowdfunding platform that allows people to create campaigns for any amount of money in various categories—creative arts, causes, personal pursuits, business ideas. The site charges a nine percent commission, returning four percent to the creator if the fundraising goal is achieved. FundAnything also enables entrepreneurs to offer non-financial rewards in exchange for donations.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Qihoo, Alibaba Tie-Up Set For Turbulence

Alibaba's eTao ties up with Qihoo

A sudden rush to form new partnerships on China’s Internet is creating some interesting new tie-ups, including the latest one that is seeing e-commerce leader Alibaba join with security software firm Qihoo 360 in the e-commerce search space. This new pair-up actually seems relatively minor, with Qihoo using Alibaba’s specialized eTao search engine to power e-commerce searches on Qihoo’s own so.com general search site. This kind of tie-up isn’t all that uncommon in search, where portals and other companies that want to include a search function on their home page often license a third party’s engine like Google’s or Baidu’s for the job.   More

Jobs Learning Opinion

Class of 2013: Narcissism or Altruism? In a World of Abundance, Time to Decide

Graduation image via Shutterstock

I'm jealous of anyone graduating college today. You are stepping as a newly-burnished adult into an era of unprecedented promise, innovation, and opportunity. The world you will witness and contribute to can be fairer, wealthier, and more peaceful than any that people have ever known. What makes all these glories possible is the exponential pace of change driven by technology. Your generation takes that for granted, and revels in it. But it makes those older than you deeply uncomfortable, and many simply refuse to see it. That puts a lot of responsibility on you.   More

Energy & Green Tech Global Tech

Dutch Eco-Engineering: Using Nature to Protect Against Climate Change

Zandmotor vlucht-711-04-2011foto: Rijkswaterstaat/Joop van Houdt

Necessity truly is the mother of invention. With almost three quarters of the Netherlands at or below sea level, Dutch engineers are finding new ways to protect themselves from the increasing threat of floods due to climate change by using nature as a defense against rising tides. For example, the Sand Engine is a vast reservoir of sand continually cultivated to protect eroding beaches,   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Tencent, Walmart Heat up China E-Commerce

New moves from Internet giant Tencent and global retailer Walmart are turning up the competition in China’s e-commerce wars, which are quickly becoming a contest to see who can outspend whom. Both of these latest initiatives look quite pricey, especially Tencent’s move that will see it roll out an ultra-fast product delivery program. WalMart, meantime, is pouring big money into a campaign to build a new in-house clothing brand for its recently acquired Yihaodian online store. The current trends are a bit worrisome, as they indicate no near-term easing in China’s e-commerce price wars that have raged for about two years now.   More

Government Jobs Opinion

The Knives of Class Warfare Turn Towards Tech’s Plutocrats

I have lots of quibbles with Joel Kotkin's recent essay published at the Daily Beast and already echoing elsewhere. He gets numerous facts wrong, and some of his assumptions are silly. But anyone in tech better pay close attention to his thorough summing-up of the numerous ways that tech's billionaires and their often-wealthy allies increasingly aim to influence social policy at a time when more and more Americans (and others in the developed-world middle class around the world) find middle-class life out of reach, and poverty grows among the less educated.   More

Business

Kirkpatrick, Levy, Markoff: Chroniclers of Technology in Conversation

Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick joined longtime tech journalists Steven Levy and John Markoff onstage at the Computer History museum in Mountain View, CA, last week for a wide-ranging discussion about their decades covering the industry. Levy is a senior writer at Wired and the author of seven books on everything from computer hackers and cryptography to the inside stories of the iPod's invention and Google's birth. Markoff is a senior writer for The New York Times who began writing about technology in 1976. The Computer History Museum's John Hollar moderated the conversation, which delved into the seminal breakthroughs and personalities of tech history.   More

Startup Culture

At Jeff Skoll’s Annual Woodstock for Social Entrepreneurs

8636195715_0b36e47079_z

Jeff Skoll made his fortune as the first full-time employee and president of eBay. Now, as a philanthropist, he uses his eponymous foundation to back people tackling problems like education inequality and disease. A few weeks ago I attended the Skoll Foundation’s tenth annual World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. The three-day event takes place at the Saïd Business School at Oxford University, where in 2003 Skoll endowed a center devoted to social entrepreneurship.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Can Crowdsourcing Succeed in Life Sciences?

Synapse image via Shutterstock

It’s no secret that crowdsourcing has been a successful approach in many industries. Even complex and technical topics can be addressed this way; one great example is Foldit, an online game that lets regular people design efficient protein structures. Those designs are submitted to a top protein laboratory, which tests to see whether predicted structures match the real-life structures of specific proteins. In the biomedical community, though, Foldit is an outlier. The concept of pulling in as many minds and resources as possible to solve a problem, though proven to work repeatedly in other industries, has not gained real traction in life sciences.   More

Internet of Things

How to Take the Internet of Everything Mainsteam

(From left) Jon Brunner, Frank Chen, Kerrie Holley, Dave Icke, Trae Vassallo (photo: Asa Mathat)

The big challenge ahead for the Internet of Everything (IoE) is to bring it to the mainstream—and a couple of keys to that transition are the proliferation of smart phones and wearable devices, said a panel of technologists and investors at the Techonomy Lab: Man, Machines, and the Network conference on Thursday in Menlo Park, CA. “For generations, Hollywood taught us what mainstream was, and now Silicon Valley is showing what mainstrem will be,” said Frank Chen of Andreessen Horowitz. The IoE will do that by bringing computing and programming into everyday intimate life.   More

Internet of Things

How Big Companies Are Feeling Their Way into the Internet of Everything

(from left) David Kirkpatrick, Rob Chandhok, Dave Evans, Paul Rogers, Vijay Sankaran (photo: Asa Mathat)

The big players in technology seem to agree that the Internet of Everything (IoE) is a huge transition that will have an impact on many aspects of life, though they still see the shift from their own points of view—not yet with a single coherent vision. That’s the takeaway from the opening panel at Thursday's Techonomy Lab conference on IoE. On stage were Rob Chandhok of Qualcomm, Dave Evans of Cisco, Paul Rogers of General Electric, and Vijay Sankaran of Ford.   More

Internet of Things

Warrior: We’re Only 1 Percent Done Connecting the World

WarriorPadmasreeTE12

With more than 1.4 million Twitter followers, Cisco Systems' chief technology and strategy officer Padmasree Warrior might seem as connected as you can get. But she says the world is only 1 percent of the way toward total connectivity.   More

Society

Is the Offline You a Better Person? One Man Finds Out

There's a Liz Phair lyric that sums up tech journalist Paul Miller's year without the internet: "...if you do it and you're still unhappy, then you know that the problem is you." The story of the 26-year-old Verge editor’s experiment is a subject of fascination in the press this week. Suffering from burnout and quarter-life existential angst, Miller cut himself off from online access. He downgraded to a dumb phone, delivered assignments via thumbdrive, and contacted sources, friends, and family by phone instead of email or Skype. And he kept that up for a mostly painful 365 days.   More

Internet of Things

OK Glass, Mute the Children (#ParentingThroughGlass)

"Tech geek mom" Trae Vassallo sports her Glass.

I had a surprising revelation after my first weekend with Google’s Internet-connected specs: Glass is perfect for parents. After all, who needs hands-free productivity more than a parent? Who has more need for a smart assistant? Who gets more joy from photos of surprising kid moments? Parents! And you could be next: If you have given up your self-respect for the pragmatism of a minivan (I confess I have), you are a prime candidate for Glass.   More

Finance Government Startup Culture

Why the JOBS Act Hasn’t Launched Equity Crowdfunding

When the JOBS Act was signed into law, its knotty crowdfunding provisions quickly became a source of consternation for the SEC. More than one year later, the law continues to languish, as the SEC moves slowly to implement its two most important provisions. One would enable general advertising for private investment offerings, and another would open the floodgates by allowing unaccredited investors to participate in online equity crowdfunding.   More